Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #334 – Being Authentic

There’s a lot of buzz nowadays about “being authentic.”  Some stations even state it as a concrete goal, but come nowhere near it when that mic opens. Here’s why:

Even if you think you’re being authentic, that isn’t determined by YOU.  It’s determined by the Listener.

Actors stuck in soap operas, who would love to star in feature films but never get offered any, think they’re being authentic.  But of course, they’re only ACTING authentic.
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Frost Advisory #480 – Every Station Wants To Grow, But Few…

It was one of those neighborhood association things and I couldn’t turn down the opportunity to debate the great pothole scandal of 2019 (and get some chocolate chip cookies).

I looked around the room and didn’t recognize one person. No one introduced themselves. After an awkward few minutes it dawned on me that I was in the wrong place. And worse, they had no cookies.

How do you make someone feel welcome?

That’s easy if you’re inviting new neighbors. You prepare low risk munchies, (the anchovy and liver dip will have to wait till you know them better), you get name tags for the guests, and you make sure to introduce everyone as they arrive. (“These are the Joneses. They live in the house on the corner with the overgrown shrubs.”)

In other words…

You want to make them feel welcome as quickly as possible.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #333 – Friendly Competition

Great radio stations are different from just “radio stations where people work.”  Great stations know who they are, who the listener is, and have air talent that competes with each other on who will have the best “moment” that day.

They also root for each other to have their own memorable moments, too.  Being the best player on a team with only one or two good players – well, there’s no real joy in that.  We should want to lift each other up and challenge each other to do really good radio.  Every day.

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Frost Advisory #479 – What You See Is All There Is


Our minds crave simplicity.

What are THOSE stations doing? Let’s do that!

We only know what we know. Nothing beyond that.

“WYSIATI… What you see is all there is.

“The confidence that individuals have in their beliefs depends mostly on the quality of the story they can tell about what they see, even if they see little…

You will often find that knowing little makes it easier to fit what you know into a coherent pattern.”

Daniel Kahneman, “Thinking Fast and Slow
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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #332 – Everyone Has a Story, But…

The saying is that “Everyone has a story.”

That may be true, but the problem is that most people aren’t very good at TELLING it.

That’s why you have to EDIT them.

It’s Beginning > Middle > End.

What it should NOT be (but we hear way too often) is “Meandering” – Beginning > Middle that’s too long > Ending that’s predictable, or something being repeated that was said earlier in the story.

TAKE OUT what’s nonessential.  When you eliminate unnecessary details and nebulous “side roads,” and you don’t try too hard to either make it “meaningful” or to somehow get to some punch line that just comes across as silly or insincere, you’ve left more room for Emotions.  And that – the Emotional Core at the center of a story – is what impacts the listener.

Frost Advisory #478 – Learning The Language Of Your Tribe

We learn to talk by imitating our parents. It’s so instinctive that we hardly notice that Mommy is referring to herself in the third person (“Give it to Mommy”), inverting the perspective so the child learn will learn to say it correctly.

Your station’s tribe has a language.

Music is the language of your tribe.

But not in the way you may think.

“Before recording technology existed, you could not separate music from its social context.”

David Byrne
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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #331 – The Best Thing You Can Hear…and Do

Curiosity may have killed the cat, but it also made for great musicians, explorers, writers, painters, and radio staffs.

When you have a bunch of people who are all continuously curious about how to get better, you have lightning in a bottle.  And you can feel it in the hallways.  It shows on the air.  And people listen to you simply because they WANT to.

You don’t have to dangle a lot of incentives in front of them, although contests are fun.  You don’t have to pander to them and compliment them all the time – especially not for their good taste in listening to you.  And you don’t have to worry about what your competition is doing, because if you’re talented and still working to get better, the other guys are already dead men walking.

Give me the people who come up with ideas for better systems, who want to try something on the air they haven’t done before, and want to have FUN doing their jobs.

But here’s the deal: every person you have who doesn’t think like this holds you back.  Hire wisely.  Interview the person, not the job posting.  Find the ones who want to help you do GREAT radio.  Then coach them up.

Frost Advisory #477 – I Love Everything We Do. But That Doesn’t Make It Right

It was an innocent enough question, I thought.

My friend Val and I were talking about life at his new job. “What has most surprised you?” I inquired.

He then began to cite some things that I couldn’t have predicted. He saw things through new eyes; a fresh perspective, not yet tainted by personalities, biases, and heuristics.

“The longer you’ve served where you are and the longer you’ve done what you are currently doing, the more difficult if will be for you to see your environments with the objectivity need to make the changes that need to be made. The shorter version: Time in erodes awareness of.”

Andy Stanley, “Deep and Wide”

I know of a station that was excited to show to show off their promotional van’s new colorful logo design. After one such event I asked the promotions person if those at the event were aware of the station. She replied,

“No. They think I’m selling fish.”

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #330 – Avoiding California Airhead Language

“And I was like…”
“Then she was like…”
“So I was like…”

Like what?  Like someone who never passed seventh grade English?

“She was TOTALLY not going there…”  (Could she partially go there?)  “I’m SO doing that…”  (Well, all I can say is “You SO sound like a dolt.”)

Look, I’m all about “street language” and I definitely don’t think we should speak “The King’s English” – but we need to sound like we’re not 14-year California airheads.

Here’s why: Someday, a plane might fly into another building.  Or another “quiet guy” is going to walk into a mall and start shooting people.  And when that happens, you want people to take you seriously if you’re going to comment on it.  Radio is about having fun, and being topical; but at times, it’s also about being CREDIBLE.

Note to anyone in California: feel free to do all the Texas and Louisiana jokes you want.  (Louisiana is my home state.  Texas is where I spent the majority of my adult life.)