Frost Advisory #515 – What Are You Learning Through This?

If you’ve been following along over the last several weeks you may have noticed that my Frost Advisories have focused on the challenges our stations are facing during this season of the coronavirus and racial tensions across the country.

I’ve commented on training talent, on connecting with the local African-American community, on finding the right camera angle for our format that is designed to encourage, and about sharing stories that give insight and create empathy.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #368 -Mean It

When you open that mic, the most important thing to do is what seems like the easiest one: MEAN IT.

But this is actually very difficult to do without some training.  If you sound even the slightest bit insincere, or like you’re just serving up information with no real emotional investment in it… well, that’s why everyone’s impression of an air talent is that kind of pukey, surface-level-but-no-deeper “announcer guy” (or vapid nitwit).

ESPECIALLY if you’ve been blessed with an exceptional voice, remember that Emotions top “a great voice” every time.

If you sound like you actually MEAN what you’re saying, your listener will feel it.  If you don’t, in baseball terminology you “just fouled one off your own foot.”

A lack of credibility is never anyone’s first choice.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #367 – Promos: Stop Telling Me what to Think or Feel

Not long ago, I saw a TV ad for a European car, and the voiceover began with “The thrill you’ll feel when you sit down behind the wheel…”
No.  I’ve driven one of those cars, and because it sits about 4 inches off the ground, I didn’t feel the “thrill,” I felt like I was getting a colorectal exam at sixty miles an hour.

This ‘telling people what they think or feel’ (or what their reaction should be) is really annoying.  Al Ries and Jack Trout call it “Marketing your aspirations.”

It’s rampant in radio, too.  Just this week, I heard a morning show promo that said “Great stories, and lots of laughs” (or some other bragging drivel).  Not true.  I heard them, and their stories were “pat” and predictable, and the farthest thing from “laughs” I could imagine.  They just recycled stories from the internet, and plugged their Facebook page.

Instead of constantly telling your listeners what you WANT them to think or feel about your show or your station, just promote the Benefits of listening to you.  The best show promo just plays me a clip of the show, then tags it with who you are and when you’re on.

Let the listeners decide for themselves.  Let go of the hype.  No one believes it.

Frost Advisory #513 – Embrace The Struggle. That’s Where Growth Occurs

Interesting times, eh?

So… what are you learning through this season of COVID-19 and the protests of racial injustice?

What are you learning about your radio station that wasn’t as clear before?

One of the things I’m learning is that when we get outside “our lane” we are noticeably irrelevant. In other words, when we start doing a bunch of stuff that no one comes to us for we lose our impact.* It’s bad enough to be talking about National Pie Day (that’s 3.14, don’tcha know?) in ordinary times, but in these times we sound pert near foolish.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #366 – A Tip from Paul Newman

This is a “Next Level” tip.

A lot of what I coach comes from the acting world, not specifically from radio.  Last week’s tip was a thought from Marlon Brando, and then I was reminded of this great piece of advice from an appearance the great Paul Newman made on an episode of “Inside the Actors’ Studio”:

“You can’t have a dramatic pause if you always pause.  You can’t get someone’s attention by being loud if you’re always loud.”

When you “stretch” yourself and get different “reads” you start pre-selecting in real time.  You have CHOICES, and avoid just “doing what you always do.”

Remember: Consistency is great, but Predictability is death.

Frost Advisory #512 – We’ll Never Have More In Common: Let Me Try This Again

A few weeks ago my Frost Advisory titled, “We’ll never have more in common,” I cited the coronavirus pandemic as the basis for sharing that we’ll never have more in common than now with the people tuning to your station for the very first time.

Well, I was wrong.

The murder of a black man by a white policeman last month in Minneapolis has set off a series of protests and marches that still occupy many hours of cable TV news. My brilliant friend Brian Yeager at KTSY in Boise shared a unique perspective with his listeners:

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #365 – A Tip from Marlon Brando

Widely considered to be the best actor ever, Marlon Brando once said a key was “Never let them catch you acting.”

There are a ton of air talents who obviously haven’t ever considered this.

Never let ’em catch you “listening to your voice” as you speak.
Never let ’em catch you TRYING to be funny.
Never let ’em catch you feigning an emotion.
Never let ’em catch the mood you were in when you were arguing with your partner a few minutes ago off-mic.
Never let ’em catch you sounding insincere when you’re talking about something serious.

Great actors make the roles they play look effortless, the same way that Michael Jordan made it look like he could jump up and just STAY up until he felt like coming down.  You never see all the insanely hard work it took to make it seem that way.

We already have the phrase “Be like Mike.”  I’d think “Be like Brando” too.