Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #373 – Funny Isn’t the Goal

We all want to be entertaining on the air.  But “funny” isn’t the only thing that entertains.  And for that matter, “punch line” humor is dead, anyway.
It’s the UNEXPECTED remark that cracks people up.  But great vocabulary, the ability to paint a picture, and vulnerability are all ingredients of “entertaining,” too.  Think “A Christmas Story” about the kid and the B.B. gun.  (God bless you, Jean Shepherd, for writing that.)

In coaching hundreds of Personality morning shows, I think these may be two of the main things I’ve learned:

  1. Step One is never just to try and be funny.  Step One is to be Relevant.  THAT’S ALWAYS THE GOAL.  Then – and only then – should you turn your sense of humor and your personality traits into something to do on the air.  But if the listener can’t see himself/herself in it, then it’s just another deejay telling a joke.  Ho hum.  (You know, I can just click Amazon Prime on my phone or iPad and see Jim Gaffigan.  He’s funnier than you.)
  2. You can’t MAKE someone funny.  (Partner, caller, etc.)  But that can actually work, and become humorous if you put it in the right context.  Use your imagination.  Instead of going for a joke, go for a funny REACTION.

Frost Advisory #519 – What Are We Learning Through This?

“Second verse, same as the first.” Herman’s Hermits

Over these last several months these weekly Frost Advisories have had a few recurring themes. For one thing, it doesn’t look like the pandemic is going to be over anytime soon. For another, we need to be thinking about not just getting through the day-to-day grind but also what we are learning through it.

What are we learning about how to encourage during a national emergency? What are we learning about creating a shared experience where people don’t feel isolated? What are we learning about being human and relating to what people are going through?

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #372 – How to Use Listener Feedback on the Air

Whenever you’ve got something working, and the phones are active, it’s important to not have responses just blend into only one ‘camera angle.’  Varying emotions being expressed and BREVITY are mandatory.

Just like a great movie.  Whenever the plot starts to get too familiar, or a scene lasts too long, it doesn’t work.

So… you want a different thought in each call, not just the same premise with different names or details.  And all you want to use is a little one-thought “bullet” from the call.  Remember that each call you air is a sound bite, and the SUM of the sound bites is the complete conversation.

Frost Advisory #518 – Right Here, Right Now: A COVID-19 Discussion

The worst version of our format is “nice Christian people talking about nice Christian things to nice Christian people.”

The best version of our format is like a friend who sticks with you through life’s ups and downs and is an encourager every step of the way.

In execution, the first option is any day anywhere. The second option is right here right now.

When a station focuses on “right here right now” it forces the elimination of all generics. No more platitudes. No more “hang in theres.”

COVID-19 isn’t going away, at least anytime soon. Our normal in March is not the normal in July and may not be our normal in October.

Our focus needs to be now. Because “now” is the one thing we most have in common; yes, even more than our beliefs or our values.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #371 – There’s Always Another Level

If you’ve had success, it’s easy to think that the learning process is pretty much over.  But there’s always another level.

Legendary guitarist Jimi Hendrix thought Eric Clapton was stunning, but Clapton thought Hendrix was miles above him.  Steven Spielberg thought John Ford was the world’s best movie Director, but Spielberg’s movies will be benchmarks for generations to come.

Great ideas and new approaches are everywhere.  The late night talent on a tiny station you pick up driving somewhere may do something so original that it bowls you over.

No matter how good you are, you can get better.  And more importantly, you should WANT to get to yet another level.  Keep trying to learn more, or you risk becoming a dinosaur.

(From my perspective, this is the essence of coaching.  Helping YOU get to the next level.)

Frost Advisory #517 – You Can’t Make Me Because I’m A…

You can’t make me! Because I’m a Republican/a Democrat/a Texan, a hard working self-made man/someone that can’t be pushed around/a free thinker!

I find the “controversy” over wearing a face mask to be peculiar. Why? Because from my perspective, MY world view, it makes perfect sense to wear one. It’s only a minor inconvenience, if that, it’s a great conversation starter at the grocery store and the gym (about the only places I can go), and it covers up my big nose.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #370 – It’s Not Really a Conversation

There’s what you want it to sound like; then there’s what it actually is.

“We just have a conversation with the listener.”  Well… not exactly.

It’s NOT really a Conversation.  Music radio is at its best is when it’s concise and at least momentarily memorable – or at the VERY least, when it doesn’t waste our time.

This thought helps; it’s NOT a conversation.  It’s just an Observation with an Emotion tucked in.

Thinking this way won’t leave you frustrated if you don’t get phone or social media response.  Your job is to offer things up that are incisive or entertaining.  Getting a reply isn’t the real goal.

Frost Advisory #516 – A Declaration Of Independence… From Mediocrity

244 years ago our country was born with a Declaration of Independence, and a subsequent Bill of Rights for all citizens to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. But as Believers, we know that with those rights comes responsibility.

Your radio station has the right to do anything you want. Even the right to be mediocre if you so choose. Many Christian stations are just that as a result of a mishmash programming lineup comprised largely by unfamiliar songs by unknown artists.

But with every right comes a responsibility.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #369 – A Goal Without a Plan

Football player and coach Herm Edwards said, “A goal without a plan is nothing but a dream.”

You want to get better.  We all do.  But how?

If you don’t have a plan, you may luck into something, but probably not.  And even then, you’ll be tested.  Something will come up, like a hurricane, or the Coronavirus, or the Black Lives Matter movement, and you’d better have some process in place that’ll work for you.  As we’ve seen, people often blurt something out that backfires on them.

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