Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #408: The Opposite

Sometimes, something 180 degrees away is what works best.  You can’t do it all the time, but it’s one of the first things that I consider.  Here are three examples.

  1. The opposite of what anyone would think: Homer Simpson, “If Jesus had a gun, he’d be alive today.” (I thought I’d fall off the couch when I heard that.)
  2. Wally, on Contemporary Christian Music network WAY-FM: instead of automatically playing an artist’s songs when he’d have that artist on as a guest, he’d do “Win it to Spin it,” meaning that the artist had to do some challenge in less time than Wally did it in order to get his/her song played.  One I remember was when he had a singer form a pyramid of Spam “cakes” – without using his HANDS!  (The guy had to stack them up into a pyramid with his MOUTH.  Ewww!  Hilarious on the air, and as a YouTube video.)
  3. Once when I was on the air, my boss wanted me to do an all-request hour every Friday night.  After doing it the “plain vanilla” way a couple of times, I went in exactly the opposite direction, saying “This is an all-request hour, but I’M doing all the requesting.”  Totally unexpected, I had more people call in when they COULDN’T make a request than when they could.  (A couple of weeks later, when I got a novelty album with 20 different versions of the song “Louie Louie,” I started the hour with “You can request any song you want… as long as it’s ‘Louie Louie.'”  Believe me, there’s nothing funnier than hearing an “anthem” song done in Mariachi band style, or as a waltz… or hearing the same song requested for an entire hour.)

Try the Opposite once in a while.  It opens up brand new roads.

Frost Advisory #554 – Your Listeners Are Tuning Out! Why Don’t You Care?

We radio folk tend to think of tune out as a benign little concept akin to teenagers button pushing looking for the latest Taylor Swift song. While that does happen and we should do our darnedest to minimize programming that results in tune out, there is a far more ominous idea lurking in the bushes.

Some people leave a brand and never come back.

A friend of a friend told me that when people leave a car brand they seldom come back. Eek! Specifically, when folks have an accident they are far less likely to purchase that brand of car again. Maybe it’s partly psychological (“It’s the car’s fault”), or maybe it’s the potential embarrassment of the folks at your dealership pegging you as the one that side-swiped the delivery truck of kumquats headed toward the orphanage. (There’s a sentence you don’t see real often!)

What if we radio folk considered the seriousness of “tune out” as if the listeners were NEVER going to tune back in? That is, they were likely to leave the brand once and for all.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #407: The Rule Of Three Is Now The Rule Of Two

The old comedy axiom is that the 3rd time gets the biggest laugh: watch any old sitcom or comedy movie and you see it over and over.  Something gets a laugh.  A few minutes later, it gets repeated, and gets another laugh.  Finally, much later, there’s a “call-back” and it gets said again, and that’s the “big” laugh.  That’s the Rule of Three.

But now, that’s outdated.  Everyone’s attention span is shorter now.  The Rule of Three doesn’t apply anymore.  Now it’s just 1, 2 instead of 1, 2, 3.  To sound like TODAY, you need to shorten that rhythm of yesterday.  If you do it a third time now, it usually just sounds like you’re trying too hard.  (Or maybe it doesn’t even make sense, because Time Spent Listening is so much shorter now.)

Frost Advisory #553 – What We Can Learn From Texas

You’ve probably seen them. The clever little social media posts that say something like “Tell me you’re from Texas without mentioning Texas.”

There’s also…

“Tell me you love pizza without saying pizza.”

“Tell me you love baseball without mentioning baseball.”

You get the idea.

In our case, tell me that you reflect my values without saying you reflect my values.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #406: A Lesson from Alex Trebek

Watching ‘Jeopardy’ these days is strange for the millions of people of all ages who grew up watching Alex Trebek emcee the show.  First, Ken Jennings, the greatest contestant of all time, hosted.  Then the Producer of the show, Mike Richards, came in with his “Don Draper” looks and professionalism.  Then Katie Couric, enthusiastic, but…

While we know a little about Jennings and a lot about Couric (but in another setting), we knew a lot more about Alex.  He loved travel, his pride in Canada was cute, and just the WAY he conducted the show spoke volumes about his respect for what could have been just another Game Show.

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Frost Advisory #552 – A Programming Lesson From Daylight Saving Time

It was an hour that never existed.

We changed our clocks from 2 AM to 3 AM. Rod Serling might say, “Imagine if you will that one hour never existed. No babies were born. No one died. Next stop, the Twilight Zone!”

That hour doesn’t matter.

Waiting through the first part of a boring movie. You hope it will get better.

Sitting down at a restaurant. The waiter is slow to come over. Minutes tick by without giving your drink order. You hope it will get better.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #405: Meet the Listener Where He/She Lives

The whole key to Content is one simple thought – “tethering” the Subject to the Listener.  You have to meet her or him where they live.

Just recently, I watched an old “Andy Griffith Show” rerun about a Mayberry High School reunion.  It touched everything I felt about my own reunion, how it reawakens old feelings, puts things in perspective, etc.  (Andy saw his High School girlfriend, wondered why they drifted apart, then realized why when they got into an argument over staying in Mayberry as a “big fish is a small pond” instead of her moving to Chicago to compete in a larger arena.)

Over the years of watching what are now classic sitcoms, two names keep coming up: Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell.  Name any big show in that era – Andy Griffith, M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore show, etc. – and they wrote episodes for it.  They had the knack of writing something very particular to each character, but framed by what the viewer had in common with them.

That’s your challenge, too.  If you need help, get some coaching.  This is an Art, not just a technique.

Frost Advisory #551 – They Make No Money When Stuff Sits On The Shelf

What’s the best time to buy Christmas decorations?

Yep! AFTER Christmas!

Ever wonder why Valentine Day’s cards are half price AFTER Valentine’s Day, appliances at cheapest after the big Labor Day sale, and car dealers are eager to sell to you at $100 over invoice?

It’s because they don’t just make money off of selling stuff, they make money off of MOVING stuff.

They make no money when stuff sits on the shelf. And it takes up the space that could be used for something that MOVES.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #404: More Music Shouldn’t Mean Less Personality

It’s a big challenge for a Programmer.  You want people to listen, so you play their favorite songs.  But if all you are is a playlist, you’re not even competing in the radio world.  You’re competing with entities like Pandora, Spotify, Amazon Music, iTunes music, etc.  (Even my cable TV network has dozens of music channels.)

What every station should want is effortless flow and momentum, but still having (or taking) time to DO something.  “More music” can often mean “less Personality.”  That’s a death trap.

But on the other hand, “No restrictions,” the opposite side of the coin, is a trap of a different kind.  Great personalities have to be as good as the best song you play, too.

Music. Personality.  You don’t want one without the other – in ANY daypart.