Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #395: When to Plan the Next Break

Shows that “fly by the seat of their pants” inevitably sound loose and have ‘dead’ time that needn’t be there.

Now, some 355 stations into this talent coaching stuff, one thing has become abundantly clear to me: people need to plan, not just “wing it.”

Here’s the easiest way to get a simple system in place…

Right after you finish a break, lay out the NEXT break.  If you’re in a team show, it’s doubly important.  A quick run-through (“Okay, next we’ll do the rodeo thing; I’ll start.  Remember your line that we’re going to get out on…”). Now, with that done, you now have several minutes to relax, chat, etc.

The old saying is “if you fail to plan, your plan is to fail,” and by and large, it’s true.

Note: This does NOT kill spontaneity; it just kills uncertainty.  And sounding SURE is what creates the “command presence” that all great air talents have.

Frost Advisory #541 – People Are Searching For WHY

In this pandemic Christian music radio stations have never had more in common with those who don’t yet listen. Why is this important?

Successful formats are based upon consensus. Consensus is a result of common ground through familiarity.

No familiarity? No consensus. No format.

“People don’t buy what you do; they buy why you do it. And what you do simply proves what you believe.”

Simon Sinek

Every year Google compiles a list of the most searched for words of the year. In 2020 people search for WHY.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #394: Confidence vs. Ego

There’s a huge difference between Confidence and having a big Ego.  A great Talent needs confidence.  Without it, you’d never try anything different, never find the things that are unique to you.

And confidence shows.  Think Sean Connery as James Bond.  Tiger Woods.  Paul McCartney.

But ego shows more – and usually it’s not a flattering image.  At all.

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Frost Advisory #540 – Being Worthy Of Remembering: A Year-End Reminder

Have you ever met anyone that has their own statue? Interesting thought, isn’t it?

I’ve had the privilege of meeting several. I met Ronald Reagan when he was running for president in the ’70s. In my baseball life I’ve met Stan Musial, Jack Buck, and Mike Schmidt.

What makes someone so special that they are worthy of a statue?

Is it talent? Or personality? Maybe just right place at the right time?

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #393 – Tasks vs. Creativity

If you’re so busy doing so many things – so many contests, so many (management) “initiatives,” so many other jobs (podcasts, voice tracking another station, writing website articles, social media postings) – you will inevitably lose Creativity.

You only have so many breaks during a show to talk about ANYTHING.  There are always things to plug, but you can’t plug everything equally.
The winning template is to only have one “big” thing and one “little” thing.  Say a major contest as your Big thing, and something else as your little thing.  That way, you still have time to do something creative on a regular basis as a main ingredient of your show. Continue reading

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #392: The Gordon McLendon News Test

It’s said that radio pioneer Gordon McLendon used to put prospective news people through a simple, but incredibly revealing, test.

He’d hand you a story off the AP wire and say “Read this… to yourself.”  After the talent read it (silently), Gordon would turn the page face down on the desk and say, “Now tell me what it said.”

He wanted Storytellers.  Writers who could take “facts” and turn them into stories, with an “arc” to them.

All the McLendon stations had incredible News talents who, even in Top 40 (the format that he and Todd Storz invented), compelled listeners to stay with the station instead of going somewhere else to keep up with what was happening.

Obviously, this isn’t just a technique to use for News.  It plays into everything we do.  Any idiot can read to me, but not everyone can ENGAGE me.

This is THE point of even being on the air in the first place.

Frost Advisory #538 – This Unique Christmas, For A Time Such As This

2020 has been a year like no other. But even in this unusual season Christmas can bring out the best in us. More people are tuning to your station than at any other time of the year.

I knew of a few stations that top a million listeners per week and numerous others that reach the top five. This was once considered unimaginable for a niche format playing mostly unfamiliar music.

Many stations do their best job of connecting on common values with stories of hope, comfort, and new beginnings. Over the last several weeks I have heard some amazing stories and songs.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #391: The Significance of Bubblegum

Connecting with the listener – as soon as possible in any given break – is Job One.  I’ve spent hundreds of hours doing sessions about this one thing with air talent in every English-speaking format, and the best example is the simplest one:

I like bubblegum.  You like bubblegum, too.  Let’s be friends.

That’s the way we form relationships as kids.  We start with what we have in common.  The problem with so much of radio today, where some faceless voice selects an article or a subject from the internet or social media, then adds a lame punch line to it, is that it lacks that fundamental “bubblegum” ingredient.

This is why “News of the Weird,” “Trivia,” “Stupid Criminal Stories,” “This Day in History,” and contests that are too complicated and don’t sound like I can win the prize anyway are massive “Fails” today.

Reject all those.  START with what you and the listener have in common.  If you don’t really know who the station is targeting, ask your PD today.  If you need help learning how to do this, well, there’s always coaching…