Frost Advisory #550-Yeah, It’s Pretty Complicated

When I checked out of my hotel I told the desk clerk, “You may want to have someone check the thermostat in my room. I never could get the room to warm up on the chilly night.”

I shared that the thermostat had numerous functions that made the simple process of making the room warmer almost impossible to figure out.

The desk clerk replied, “Yeah, that remote is pretty complicated.”

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #403: The Big Goal, and How to Get It

It’s easy to wonder why radio stations sometimes decay, or never really become top stations.  This needn’t happen.  Bill Young, PD of KILT in Houston for many years, was a major influence on me and countless others who worked for him.

Before it became okay to own a zillion stations, Bill had an AM and an FM that were both hugely successful for one reason: he filled the hallways with the most talented people he could find.  Then he let them do what they do: create great radio, great Production, great Promotions, and come up with great ideas that challenged the “We’ve always done it this way” prison.

My friend “Brother Jon” Rivers, a great Top 40 jock who then became probably the best-known personality and Programmer in Contemporary Christian radio at KLTY in Dallas, put it this way: “If you hire enough really talented people, you eventually reach ‘critical mass,’ where the station EXPLODES – in a good way.  It gets so good in every area that success is just a byproduct.”  That’s the Big Goal.

If your station isn’t this way, I would recommend doing everything you can to change it.  Hire the brightest minds.  If budget is a challenge, hire young, less experienced people and let them grow under this umbrella.

I’m not one of those “everything was better in the old days” people, but in radio, that certainly can sometimes be true.  ALWAYS look for the creative “spark” when you make a hire.

Frost Advisory #549 – Design Your Station Like A Song

I don’t like to brag but I was third chair Sousaphone player in high school band. I could puff out my cheeks right along with the best in a three county radius. My West Texas public school education learned me a lot about good music.

But enough about me. I wonder what we could learn by comparing the design of a radio station to that of a great song.

Let’s start at the beginning. Perhaps you’d like to take notes.

Programming consists of two distinct elements – music, and the stuff that isn’t music. (Well, now! THAT’S some fancy talk!)

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #402: Team Shows are like a Marriage

Anyone who’s done a team show knows that it’s very similar to a marriage. As a matter of fact, I know many air talents who refer to their partner as “my work wife” (or husband).

You spend a lot of time together. (If you don’t, you won’t be very good.)
You’re working toward shared goals.
You want it to last. (Especially now, “movement” isn’t nearly the same as it was 20 years ago. A new job is pretty hard to find when one company owns multiple stations. If you divorce one station, you probably divorce all the stations in that cluster, or maybe even all the stations in that company.)

So, remember this: If you “cheat” on a team show, it may bring on a divorce. Here’s how I define “cheating” in the radio context:
Hold your ego in check. If you don’t, resentment sets in.
If you habitually talk over a partner, resentment sets in.
If you don’t share the credit, resentment sets in.

And remember that nobody goes to a party to hear someone fight with his wife.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Frost Advisory #548 – Are We Taking Our Listeners For Granted?

For almost a year now life has been very different for most of us. Many aren’t commuting to work resulting in morning and afternoon drive radio listening being very different. Some are homeschooling their kids through no choice of their own. Many have experienced restaurants at minimal capacity, social connections significantly limited, and churches closed. (I’m a part of a new church launch that was shut down longer than we were open.)

Are we grateful for our listeners? Are we grateful they still make us a part of their daily lives?

“Gratitude unexpressed is perceived as ingratitude.”

Andy Stanley

For the last twenty years I’ve spent enough time on airplanes and in rental cars that they’ve awarded me me special status. I get to board before the family of 17 heading off to Walt Disney World, a can of Fresca delivered with my licorice chewies, and I get assigned cars with fancy GPS systems that tell me, “You’re going the wrong way!”

So, what do those companies think of me when I’m hardly traveling at all?

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #401: TEAM Ego, not Individual Ego

One of the main things I watch out for as a coach is when someone’s ego gets overblown.  Here’s why…

The Beatles squabbled often, and George Harrison and Ringo Starr grew to resent how John Lennon and Paul McCartney were making a LOT more money than they were – when often, George, in particular, contributed lyrics or musical ideas that played a big part in fleshing out a song that John or Paul “wrote.”

Many groups, like U2 for example, learned from this, and simply listed “U2” as the writers of their songs.  Problem solved.

As a team show, or as a radio station. a COLLECTIVE ego, where you have pride as a whole, as a TEAM – but not one person’s ego dominating everything – always works best.

Frost Advisory #547 – What We Can Learn From Valentine’s Day

We can all remember the first time someone said, “I love you.” (We can also painfully remember when someone didn’t).

We are created to be known. From the early playground experiences of “Mommy, mommy, look at me,” to the moment you discovered the pretty girl knew your name.

“To be loved but not known is comforting but superficial. To be known and not loved is our greatest fear. But to be fully known and truly loved is, well, a lot like being loved by God. It is what we need more than anything.”

Timothy Keller

Being known means we’re valued, seen as special. Being known validates who were are, that we have worth.

There is no place this is more evident than in the greeting card aisle at your local supermarket or drug store.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #400: One Story at a Time

You hear a great story.  Then you hear another one.  But the odds are overwhelming that you’ll only remember one of them.

A story can’t set up a story.  That should be TWO breaks.

In Music Radio, the reason for this is usually just a lack of discipline.  Or ego.

The cure: ONE story per break.

In Talk Radio, we often hear the host tell a story, then bring on a guest, who then tells another story.  Or even worse, we often hear the host tell most of the story while introducing the guest, then that person comes on and tells the longer, more detailed, and often more boring version.

The cure: Make it simpler; more compact.  Do a SHORT intro, then just let the guest tell his (or her) story.  Then, INSTEAD of launching into a story of your own (which can come across like you’re trying to “top” the other person), simply REACT to the other person’s story.

This discipline is what I often refer to as “The Barney Fife Method” – meaning, like the deputy on the old Andy Griffith Show, Barney only HAD one bullet.  I constantly tell people “Fire your one bullet.  Then you have to ‘go back to the courthouse’ to get another one.”

Frost Advisory #546 – What Are You Willing To Sacrifice?

Take a look at your high school yearbook. I dare you. It’s embarrassing to think about how we used to think.

How could we possible have… thought that was cool… dressed like that… worn our hair like that?

In my not-so-effortless transition from thinking that programming a radio station was about 1) playing cool songs I like, and 2) evaluating talent on the basis of “he’s got a good voice and runs a tight board,” to embracing things like strategy, branding, and actually mattering to people, one of the first books I came across was Al Reis and Jack Trout’s “The 22 Immutable Laws of Marketing.” (Do yourself a favor and read it.)

One of the concepts shared was “The Law of Sacrifice.”

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