Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #447: The Touchstone Factor

A touchstone is something that serves as a conduit between two people. It connects them. I touch this end, you touch that end.

Content on the air is exactly the same – or it fails. If something you talk about is something I can identify with, or see myself doing, that “touchstone” is a winner.

So ask yourself this question: Why would you talk about something that’s only about you?

If I’m not in the picture (as a listener), you’re not going to be very successful.

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

Frost Advisory #593 – Is Your Station Worth 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, Mike Schmidt, Lou Brock, and Ozzie Smith.

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 #446 — Momentum: What it Really Means

Momentum is defined in the dictionary as “force or speed of movement; impetus,” with these examples:

The car gained momentum going downhill.
Her career lost momentum after two unsuccessful films.

I wonder whether most radio stations understand this.  I hear “pace” often – but not necessarily any momentum.  Pace is just going faster or slower.  That’s not momentum.

Technically, it’s when one thing seamlessly flows into another.  But Content-wise, it’s also about your listeners feeling that something is going on – something that compels them to hear more of your show (or your station).  THAT’S when you have momentum.

I’ve learned a lot of ways to inject momentum into formatics, and the mechanics of how to construct and run the various elements so “the big wheel keeps on turning,” and those definitely do help turn stations around.  But momentum as a Personality, and within a show, is a deeper dive.

That’s why concentrating on pace is an incomplete thought, and focusing on ratings is always the wrong focus.  You have to create an entity that defines momentum – an inexorable forward flow – first.  Then the ratings will come.

Frost Advisory #592 – Christmas And Your Station’s “WHY”

Every Christmas for the last several years I’ve thrown a few coins into the Salvation Army bucket down the street at the H-E-B. But not this year. Nope. They’ve changed their bell ringer. The guy standing outside the store ringing the bell is different this season, and I’m upset about it.

Ludicrous, isn’t it? Obviously no one would stop donating to the Salvation Army because Bert replaced Barry at the bucket.

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

Simon Sinek
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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #445: Reinventing the Wheel

It seems like sometimes the message is, “We’re not reinventing the wheel here.”

I always thought, “Why not?”

You could argue that the wheel is the perfect example of something that’s only stayed around as long as it has BECAUSE it’s been continually reinvented.  (Nobody’s having to stop and put a patch on an inner tube on their Mustang Mach-E these days.)

How this applies to music radio:

In the early 1950s, Todd Storz in Kansas City and Gordon McLendon in Dallas got away from what was, up until then, “block programming” or “middle of the road” music to try a new idea:  Top 40.  Wheel, meet new wheel.

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Frost Advisory #591 – What’s Christmas Got To Do With It?

Is there a connection between Christmas and your station’s strategy? No, I didn’t say Christmas MUSIC. I said Christmas.

They say there are more “religious” radio stations in the United States than any other format category. They also say that those religious stations have fewer listeners than any other. Ouch!

Many Christian radio stations could best be described as “a bunch of stuff all on one station,” consisting of a little of this and a little of that with little connection to the WHY.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #444: Everything is Local, or It’s Not

Sometimes, in an effort to seem “bigger,” we lose focus.

Here’s a question for you: If I hear your station for the first time, does it sound and feel local, or not?  (And I’m not talking about street names.  I mean things that we share with the listener, things that the listener can picture himself or herself going through, too.)

If you don’t feel local – personal – then you’re generic.  (Think generic food, as opposed to “brand name” food.  “Corn chips” don’t translate the same as “Fritos.”)

Local = emotional engagement.

Generic = who cares?

Frost Advisory #590 – And Then After That We’ll Do More Stuff

So, I’m driving down the road minding my own business and I decide to punch the radio button to listen to a mainstream AC playing Christmas music.

E-gad! I didn’t know Alvin and the Chipmunks had so many Christmas songs.

And then I heard the announcement that said something like, “We’ll be playing Christmas music until Christmas (right then I realized I should be taking notes) and then after Christmas we’ll go right back and play the best variety of the 70’s, 80’s, 90’s, and zeros.”

It wasn’t even December yet and they were already promoting the thing after the thing.

The further away something is the less relevant it will seem.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #443: The 3 Questions

(This is a companion piece to Tip #24, “The 5 Subjects.”)

With any piece of Content, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Why is this on? “Because it’ll be funny” shouldn’t be the primary reason.  Lots of shows are fairly funny at times, but aren’t really connective or transformative.
  2. Where am I going with it?  Think of an Ending FIRST, then figure out how to start it, and then how to shape it.  This doesn’t kill spontaneity; it clarifies it and cleans it up.  When you know where you’re going, you go in more of a straight line.
  3. What does this mean to the listener – TODAY?  If something you say actually resonates with me, I’m more likely to come back and listen to you again.  But if it’s just generic “any day” Content, or flimsy jokes based on “click bait” postings, you’re probably not going to have much of an audience.

You earn the listener’s attention one connection at a time.