Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #382 – Memories and Shared Experiences

When you do something on the air that makes the listener think “Me too,” you hit the jackpot.  Memories and shared experiences aren’t just about what happened and when it happened.  They’re about the Emotions that people feel when they go (or went) through them.

This is why “interesting” isn’t the same as “relevant.”

When you tap into Emotions, you gain DEPTH.

Most of the subpar shows are just about things, data, facts, and “fluff” srories.  These are almost always boring.  But when an emotion is called up, people “lean in” with their ears.

Emotions are the goal of everything that we do.

Frost Advisory #528 – You’ll Use Everything You’ve Ever Learned

“But what do I talk about?” a struggling air talent asks while clutching the front page of the local newspaper or “This Day in History” with the dreaded celebrity birthdays.

“Burl Ives would have been 111 today.” (I really heard this!)

Air talent have to be reminded that their content needs to add value to the station’s music design. Non-music elements will either push listeners away or bring them closer. It’s not filler, it has to add value.

Here are some ideas:

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #381 – What you CAN do that TV CAN’T do

One of the main arguments against radio today is that “people would rather watch TV.”  Or stare at a computer, tablet, or cell phone screen.  For our purposes, let’s just use TV as an example.

I watch an NBA game, and BETWEEN TWO FREE THROWS (!) they run a commercial.  (The game itself, of course, is shrunk down so that my 70-inch screen might just as well be the 24-inch screen I had in 1988.)  This is SO invasive.  Announcers in every sport talk right up to the moment a pass or pitch is thrown.

And baseball has been so ruined by TV directors that you see a pitcher, then – in the middle of his windup – they change cameras to show the batter, then another switch is flipped and you see a player field the ball.  They could all be from separate games, and you wouldn’t even know it.

And NFL games?  Don’t even start.

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Frost Advisory #527 – It’s About Being Transformative; The Outside Shot

A couple of weeks ago I began a conversation I entitled “It’s Better Than Just Being Good.”

I shared…

Over the years I’ve learned that there are basically three different levels of discussions about programming.

There are conversations about being competent, and conversations about incremental improvements.

But those two topics are not necessarily transformative.

I recently eavesdropped on some focus groups for a radio station that is viewed as elite in our format. You would know of them. The listeners didn’t talk about the station the way we do – the nuts and bolts, the songs and deejays, liners and promotions. No, they talked about how the station fits into their life.

“It’s like being in the same room with my friends.”

“I can talk to my kids about this.”

“I’m in a better mood when I get home.”

In other words, the value of listening to a station is viewed on how it relates and transforms their lives. Better mood. An escape from the negative. How it connects with the conversations I have with those I love.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #380 – A Tip from Acting Teacher Roy London

If you’ve worked with me or read any significant amount of my stuff, you know that a lot of what I coach comes from the acting world.  Although he only lived to be 50 years old, Roy London has been a heavy influence on me.

A fine actor himself, over the last fifteen years of his life, Mr. London became one of the premier acting teachers in Hollywood, a profound influence on the likes of Sharon Stone, Jeff Goldblum, Hank Azaria, Geena Davis, and Garry Shandling, just to name a few.

One of London’s main tenets is “It’s all about Love.  Every choice comes from trying to connect with Love.”

Man, that is spot-on.  While some radio talents have had success being negative and snarky, the ones that most people hold dear are the ones who are consciously trying to connect on a human level.  And Love is the highest of human values. Continue reading

Frost Advisory #526 – What We Can Learn From The NFL

It’s football season!

With Americans dealing with the pandemic these last six months, the initial lock down and the recent openings, you’d think that the opening of the NFL season would be a time of celebration.

Instead, the talk is about players kneeling (or not), teams refusing to come out of their locker room for the National Anthem, fans booing a players’ gesture of solidarity, and decline in viewership of 13% year to year. Social media posts are just as likely to be about the protests as they are about the game itself.

Let’s be blunt. The NFL has lost control of its brand, either inadvertently, or due to factors outside their control, or lack of leadership.

This Frost Advisory is not about freedom of speech, the merits of the protesters, or taking sides. It is about what our radio stations can learn from the NFL’s loss of its brand values.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #379 – Why Your Slogan Can Mess Up the Air Talent

My brilliant friend and associate John Frost recently heard a station that used the slogan “We Actually Care.”

These people are obviously… well, stupid.  As a coach, this concerns me because the air talent that has to live UP to what the station says about itself is virtually crippled by it.

First of all, the only possible inference of that phrase is that they’re better than the stations that DON’T “actually” care.  (But I’m not familiar with any station that has “We Actually Don’t Care” as their slogan.) Continue reading

Frost Advisory #525 – It’s Better Than Just Being Good

“They’re only talking about nuts and bolts,” my friend Shawn (not-his-real-name) said to me. “Don’t they know there is more to programming than clocks and music rotations?”

“Perhaps not,” I reply. I know that all too well because I was once that kind of PD. Clocks. Rotations. Sweepers and liners. Games and gimmicks.

Then I learned a totally new way of thinking.

Over the years I’ve learned that there are basically three different levels of discussions about programming.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #378 – The Boulder in the Lobby

If you listen to the air staff, way too many stations nowadays have what I call “a boulder in the lobby.”

“The PD has no power, so we can’t do things we want to do.”
“The wrong people DO have power, so the best ideas can’t even get heard.”
“The GM is just a Sales Guy, and doesn’t understand Programming.”
“The new owner is just a financial guy, and doesn’t know anything about radio.”

In one station I worked at, a person they hired to fill a key position lived on a houseboat, and bathed in a lake.  He always smelled like catfish dung.  It got so bad that several coworkers left various deodorants on his DESK, and many complained to the boss – who did nothing about it.  Slowly but surely, people left the station.  I know that sounds kind of gross, but it happened.

So here’s the deal: as a Talent, when you come into the station every day, you have a decision to make.  You can walk around whatever the “boulder” is and give it your best effort to do radio that’s worth listening to.  Or you can go work somewhere else.

What you should NOT do is stick around, but have a grousing or negative attitude.

New York Yankee great Joe DiMaggio, in his last season, once ran hard on painful bone spurs to make a difficult catch.  Mickey Mantle (who was in right field as a rookie) told Joe that he needn’t have done it because Mickey had it in his sights.  But DiMaggio answered, “There’s always some kid who may be seeing me for the first or last time; I owe him my best.”

So do you.