Frost Advisory #563-How Will Your Station Be Remembered? A Memorial Day Idea

Memorial Day is often considered the official kick off of summer. But more importantly it is a time set aside to remember those who gave their lives for our country.

This time of remembrance is a good time for us to reflect on how we’d like our radio stations to be remembered.

We get a glimpse of this each year as we compile the Station of the Year entry. It forces us to stop our day-to-day busyness and ponder the most noteworthy things of the preceding twelve months. We discover some things stand out, other things are vapor in the wind.

When people talk about your radio station…

do they speak of the 25-minute music sweeps with fewer commercials, or do they talk about how you help people help people?

Do they talk about how Jack and Jill read “This day in history” from Twitter every morning at 7:20, or that your station cheers on moms and dads for the most important commitment they’ll ever make – raising good kids?

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #416: Team Show Tip — What’s Your Partner’s Role?

So many team shows are “the funny person, and the person who laughs at the jokes.”

But often, the funny person isn’t all that funny.  And the person who laughs sounds insincere, or even reluctant to live that role.

First of all, there’s a difference between saying funny things (which is pretty rare) and “saying things funny,” which is all about “camera angles” and vocabulary.

But usually, it’s about a lack of “blocking” in the theater sense of knowing what you’re going to do, and where and when that will happen.

“We can’t rehearse.  It always seems flat when we do it a second time” is an excuse I hear often, but it’s not about knowing exactly what the other person will say.  If you talk about a break beforehand, you don’t have to know what they’ll say.  You just need to know WHEN they’ll say it.  (And you should know what KIND of comment to expect.  That just grows out of knowing each other well.)

Hand signals – which most teams are reluctant to use – make this ultra-easy.  It’s stunning how many people think they don’t need them.  (And they’re wrong.)

And being willing to get out on the first “reveal” (the First Exit) is another technique that will guarantee success.  (Because it’s a surprise even to YOU.)

If you’re just making your partner into an information giver and/or a laugh track, I wish you well, but I won’t be listening.  It’s just too predictable.

Frost Advisory #562-Free Tacos With Purchase

As wonderful as it sometimes can be, our format tends to default to sameness. Songs can sound alike. Promotions can sound instructive rather than inspiration. At its worst, it can sound like…

nice Christian people talking to nice Christian people about nice Christian things.

Well, that may be nice, but it doesn’t make for compelling programming.

You’ve probably heard me say…

There is no format as compelling when done well… and no format as uncompelling when done poorly.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #415: Another Tip from Roy London

Roy London: Actor, writer, teacher and coach.

If you watch the Academy Awards, you’ve heard his name.  Brad Pitt, Sharon Stone, Forrest Whitaker, Jeff Goldblum, Geena Davis and dozens of other actors have spoken about his coaching’s impact on their careers.  At one point, he taught over 250 actors weekly, and coached many more privately.

I’m a radio talent coach, and have worked with over 1500 radio personalities and a few TV personalities and anchors, but my background is in acting.  And believe me, radio IS about acting.

So here’s a piece of advice from Roy London: “You have to live in your vulnerability.” Continue reading

Frost Advisory #561 – The Bridge Between Two Souls: Your Station And Your Listeners

I wanted to play the guitar since the first time I heard James Taylor when I was 14. My first was a twelve-string that Jimmy Osteen’s mother sold for $15. Looking back on it I wonder how Jimmy felt about that.

In the many decades since I’ve played the guitar with Tommy Kramer, Dan Heidt, Kenny Parsons, Ralph Underwood, and Wally Pierce. Not coincidentally each has a special place in my life. (I suppose the same could be said for other musical instruments but frankly I can’t imagine such a bond between a couple of guys who puff out their cheeks playing the Sousaphone).

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #414: Why Coaching is a Good Idea

It’s always amazed me how some people resist coaching.  Where would any great actor or any great athlete be without coaching?

They’d be in the minor leagues, or be selling shoes to make money while they did Shakespeare to 10 people in a park for free.

Critique and Coaching are not the same thing, so there is that.  Some people have had the “under the microscope” experience that makes them feel like they can’t do anything right.  But coaching – real coaching – is always about finding what you do best.  The rest is just “weeding the garden.”

Yes, you do want to master “the basics” and understand structure and vocal technique and a hundred other things.  But if you’re not trying to identify and cultivate what you do best, you’re not growing.  You’re just doing the same show every day.

So if that didn’t sway you, here’s the short version:  Not being boring and predictable; that’s why coaching is a good idea.

Frost Advisory #560 – Love What Your Listeners Love: A Mother’s Day Programming Lesson

I heard someone play the violin this morning in church. I love the violin, but for a different reason than you might think. I love the violin because my mother loved the violin.

“Sometimes you have to watch somebody love something before you can love it yourself. It is if they are showing you the way.”

Donald Miller, “Blue Like Jazz

It’s my guess that almost everything you love is because someone else loved it first. Whether it’s going to the ballgame with dad, or learning how to make your mom’s apple pie, or the family gin rummy game after dinner.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #413: We Do It a Certain Way

Ask yourself these questions:

  • What does the Program Director want the station to sound like?
  • Does the morning team have the same vision?  How about the other dayparts?
  • Do YOU know what makes your station sound different, and unique?

I deal with this all the time.  Great stations have common factors.  The thread of consistency; the gold bar at the core of the station, should be not only known, but clearly identified and discussed among the staff. Continue reading

Frost Advisory #559 – It Needs More Salt: The COVID-19 Edition

These are interesting times.

I can’t recall a time where our country was more polarized. Whether it’s politics, race relations, face masks or where your elderly mother can get the vaccine, it seems like we’re regularly ducking for cover. Even the MLB All-Star game is controversial, and that is mom and apple pie stuff.

What in the name of Dr. Fauci is going on?

So, how do we stay relevant in our mission while also handling the inevitable complaints?

When we hear criticism about our station we often react in a way that is absolute. There is a complaint about song and we yank it from the playlist. Someone criticizes a comment from a deejay and we make her write “I will not try to be relevant” on the blackboard a hundred times. A general manager once told me he had so over-reacted to every complaint that his station had little worth listening to anymore.

Consider this.

Rather than react in absolutes where SOMETHING MUST BE DONE RIGHT THIS MINUTE, consider the complaint as if a customer in a restaurant had just asked for more salt. They are simply telling you how they would like prefer their food; not anyone else’s food – THEIR food. Even with a politically charged topic they are really just sharing how they see things, not suggesting that you should go out of business.

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