Tommy Kramer Tip #195 – Laughter, the Best – or Worst – Medicine

There used to be a thing in Reader’s Digest called “Laughter, the Best Medicine.”

But often, at least to someone my age (I was a kid then), it was lame.

Think about this, as it applies to radio.

Genuine, “can’t help it” laughter IS great “medicine”.
But laughter that comes across as some sort of “default setting” reflex, or that icky “trying to MAKE me think it’s funny” laughter is POISON.

People can tell when it’s real. Go ahead and argue if you want, but it’s true.
I tell people to try NOT to laugh, so when you do, it’ll be genuine “snot bubble” laughter.

George Carlin once said the goal in school was to make the guy next to him at the lunch table laugh so hard that he snorted an entire cheese sandwich up his nose.

Listen to some audio of your show and ask yourself this: “Did the laughter sound real?”
(Hint: If you really need to ask that, it didn’t.)

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #350 – They Think We’re Selling Fish

It was an innocent enough question, I thought.

Do people you run across seem to know about the station?  The lady hired to drive the station van around the city all day long responded, “No.  They think I’m selling fish.”

Selling fish

We’re consumed with ourselves.  Everyone we know knows our station. “The Curse of Knowledge” puts us in a position where we can’t even comprehend what it is like to NOT know what we know.  It’s that “imagine the world without the color blue” thing.  We can’t.

“Almost no one visits your restaurant, almost no one buys your bestselling book, almost no one watches the Tonight Show…

We think we’re designing and selling to everyone, but that doesn’t match reality…

Growth comes from person-to-person communication, from the powerful standards of ‘people like us.’  And it comes from activating people who are ready to be activated.”
~Seth Godin

I know of a radio station that achieved an historic #1 ranking in Women 25-54 in part by an influx of quarter hours from new people in the ratings panel.  Those weren’t new listeners mind you, they were just new panelists.  In other words, they weren’t listeners that we manipulated, they were already fans ready to be activated.  And they were fans for a reason.  They were fans because that station mattered to them.

We can’t adjust our tactics in an effort to manipulate our listeners into changing their lifestyle for one more quarter hour.  They don’t even know what a quarter hour is, AND they think we’re selling fish.

You can’t manipulate your way to number one.  There are no short cuts.

You have to do things that matter.

Tommy Kramer Tip #194 – THE Role Model for Team Shows

Often in coaching, I find that the best examples may lie outside the radio arena.  A lot of the techniques and strategies I teach come from movies, music, and Sports.

At one station I work with, finding the right partner in a team show has been an ongoing issue.  Having worked with literally hundreds of team shows, I was brought into the discussion of “what to look for.”

My example had nothing to do with radio:  John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Here’s why…

Lennon was primarily known for aggressive, edgy songs like “Revolution,” “Day Tripper,” “I Am the Walrus,” “Help!,” “A Hard Day’s Night,” etc.

McCartney was mostly known for pretty songs, like “Yesterday,” “And I Love Her,” “Let It Be,” “The Long and Winding Road,” “Hey Jude,” etc.

But Lennon also wrote beautiful songs:  “In My Life,” “Girl,” “If I Fell,” and “All You Need is Love.”  And McCartney wrote some really powerful, straightforward rockers, like “Can’t Buy Me Love,” “Helter Skelter,” “Back in the USSR,” and “Drive My Car.”

And THAT’S what you want in a team show:  people who may be defined by ONE thing each of them does, but they CAN do other things.  Picture the Olympic rings – slightly overlapping circles with a common area they share, and a larger area that’s unique to each.

Two people who are nothing alike can result in a tug-of-war on the air.  Two people who at least have SOMETHING in common, but come to that only once in a while to join forces – well, there’s that “extra dimension” that you should be looking for.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

The True Meaning Of Leadership 

“You were born to be a player. You were meant to be here. This moment is yours.”
~Herb Brooks, Coach for the U.S.A. Men’s Ice Hockey, 1980.

Water Challenge

It was a sunny day at the Blue Lagoon in Nassau, Bahamas.   A bunch of us were laying out on the beach in front of the lagoon when it came time for a water challenge to see who could get across and through the obstacles first.   It began with a young man on the cruise none of us knew, and Bill Corbin, leader of K-LOVE‘s pastor team.

They both jumped, ran and climbed, but it became clear Bill would win, and he did.

But then he jumped back in the water and swam to where his “competitor” was still struggling and began to encourage him through the rest of the obstacles until he too had completed the course.

It was an incredible demonstration of the value of leadership.   Bill didn’t do an arm pump and take a victory lap, he turned back to encourage.

We think of leadership in directive terms, telling people what to do, and often how to do it.   We’re very good at being “corrective”, too, but we don’t think as much about encouraging our own team members, cheering them on to their own victory.

Leadership isn’t just about finding difficulties and correcting them, that’s management.   We can always find something wrong, and it’s easier than being the encourager, which is leadership.

Sometimes it seems that way back in the darkest parts of our minds the “corrector” lives, ready to pounce.   But, like all good leadership, it’s a choice.   One seems easier than the other.   One gives you temporary short term improvements, and the other allows you to help the other person grow and accomplish long-term, valuable growth.   One creates a better employee, and the other creates a better, more motivated person.

Which one do you think is most apt to help you achieve your goals?


Frost Advisory #349 – A Programming Lesson From Merle And His Camera Shop

It caught my eye.  That silver convertible with the gizmo that makes the top disappear into the trunk.  Kinda cool, thought a certain mid-life crisis male.

Then I saw a blue one of the same model, then a red one a few days later, then another silver one just like it.  All of a sudden I was seeing them everywhere.  They weren’t relevant until they were.

My friend Eddie needed to get a passport photo for a sudden trip.  He went online and found a place way on the other side of town.  It was quite a drive but he was running out of time.

On his way back to his house he drove past the small shopping center near his house.  He happened to look over and saw the sign in the window of the Merle’s Camera Shop that read, “Passport photos here.”  It had been there all the time but he hadn’t noticed.  It wasn’t relevant… until it was.

“It’s funny how our minds are attuned to filter out almost everything except what’s relevant to us.  We can be in a crowded ballroom buzzing with people and still hear our own name.  It gets our attention and pulls us in.

It’s a good lesson for radio talent.  If you’re talking about what’s relevant to the listener, you’ll draw them in.  If you’re talking about what’s irrelevant to the listener they’ll never hear you at all.  That’s why there are so few true personalities, they’re too busy talking about what’s trending instead of what they have in common with the listener.”
~Alan Mason

Here’s the problem.  Every programmer and air talent nod their heads in agreement that their radio station should be relevant, all the while airing another ubiquitous Impossible Question (“Belly button lint originated in which remote tribal village in the Amazon?”), another traffic report about traffic I’m not in, or another tidbit about what celebrity said what at the Grammy’s/Oscars/Golden Globes.

We throw a bunch of stuff at the wall without using the precise filter of relevance.

Start with the listener and work back.  What does she care about RIGHT NOW?

Take it from Merle.  It’s not relevant until it is.