Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #547: The Attention Span of a Hummingbird

Radio isn’t the same as 20 years ago – or even 10 years ago. It can’t be. There are so many other entertainment options, from wasting hours reading nameless, faceless people’s comments on social media to a gazillion channels on TV, You Tube, etc.

Radio listeners today have the attention span of a hummingbird. A couple of minutes (or less) and “click” – off they go.

This is why, as an air talent, you need to do something compelling or entertaining NOW. If there’s nothing going on for a few minutes, the listener is gone. The average “listen” is now less than 20 minutes, and people want to be engaged – or you’re dead in the water.

If you’re a PD, you’d better be encouraging everyone to be a full-blown Personality. This doesn’t necessarily mean trying to be funny. CONNECTING with the listener is what works. What do you and I have in common? Talk about that.

Frost Advisory #694 – Thank You Mighty Much: A Thanksgiving Reminder

When I was 13 years old, I learned a lesson in gratitude I’ve never forgotten.

“Thank you mighty much” were the words Ed Sargent shouted to every person as they left Hillcrest Food Market in my hometown of Eastland, Texas, a town of 3,000 counting horned toads.

Ed appreciated his customers and everyone walked away with something free. For the grown ups, perhaps it was the Coke machine that wouldn’t take their money. For the kiddos, it was “don’t forget your surprise” as they reached their tiny arms into the large jar of bubble gum.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #546: All Morning how Hosts, All the Time

When I was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, several of the people attending got into a discussion of how we got there. It was surprising to me that many other inductees felt the same way I did, that at the start of our careers, we might have been the worst air talent at the station.

My big break came when I got out of college, after working at the local station there, and graduated to Top 40 monster KEEL in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana.

The morning guy was Larry Ryan, a legend in those parts, just as Ron Chapman (and later Kidd Kraddick and Terry Dorsey) were legends in my next stop, Dallas.

But at KEEL – BESIDES Larry Ryan, we had Howard Clark, long a mainstay at powerhouse Drake-consulted KFRC in San Francisco, Steve Kelly (who’s probably been on every concert promo you’ve noticed in the last 20 years), and a guy named Ronald F. Montgomery, maybe the most popular deejay on the staff.

Anyone in that lineup could have just slid into the morning slot if Larry Ryan left. (Howard did. And I eventually did mornings in both Dallas and Houston, which led to the Hall of Fame thing.)

Later, as Corporate Talent Coach for the 45 Paxson stations (now iHeart) in Florida, I encouraged every one of our PDs to hire PERSONALITIES in every single daypart. When you’ve got a whole staff of potential morning drive candidates, life gets a lot easier.

Two questions:
Is this your philosophy?
If not, why not?

“We don’t have the budget” is the typical excuse, but that’s why you hire people with potential and then TRAIN them.

This is why I went into coaching. I want every single person I work with to have an excellent, enjoyable career. And I want every one of them to be capable of stepping into a Morning Drive slot if that’s their desire.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2023 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #545: You’re Not the Expert

You hear this all the time – an air talent weighing in on something, drawing conclusions or espousing opinions without any clinical background.

Here’s a message for you: Stay in your lane. You’re a deejay (or Talk show host), not a psychologist or a psychiatrist. The EXPERT is the expert. You’re the conduit for putting the Subject on the air.

Don’t try to be what you’re not. Try to be the best at what you are.

Frost Advisory #692 – A Really Nifty Way To Communicate: The Rule Of 3

I don’t remember very much that I learned from my first two radio gigs. After all, I was a teenager and my face hadn’t cleared up yet*.

But I do remember learning the Rule of 3 in promos from an early programming mentor Howard Clark. (He had actually worked for several really big radio stations in places like New York, San Francisco, and New Orleans. I, however, had only driven by really big stations).

  1. Tell them what you’re going to tell them. (That’s a tease, don’tcha know!)
  2. Tell them.
  3. Tell them what you told them.
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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #544: Topics – The Deeper End of the Pool

Geez, I hate the word “topic.” It sounds so cold and formal. (I use “subject” in coaching.)

Here’s why – nothing is a “topic” in or by itself. The deeper end of the pool in the search for on-air Content is when you add YOUR FEELINGS (or story), so you’re not just reading a social media posting, then asking for people to call in and do your show for you.

When it becomes personal, that’s when it’s actual Content. Without that, it’s just noise.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #543: Respecting the Music – A Subtle Way to Stand Out

Some radio stations make it kind of hard to listen to your favorite songs. A few examples of how that can happen:

Cue tones that fire too early, so that nice soft ending is CRASHED into by an Imaging piece or the next song.

Air talent that comes in too early on the end of a song. (Do we EVER get to hear a song end?) There’s a “last, logical place” to come in or for the next element to fire. On every single song.

Deejays that talk really fast over a slow-paced song. This comes across like you’re not listening to the music at all.

The “talk right up to the vocal” disease. Ugh. Say what you have to say. Then shut up.

Or someone finishes a Content break, then a dreadfully slow and/or low-level song plays.

You may think these things don’t matter much, but if you don’t respect the music, or you’re not sensitive to it, that shows. And some people sound like they’re just waiting for the song to end so they can talk, like the song is some sort of minor annoyance. (Actually, YOU are the annoyance.)

Keep in mind that with all the streaming services available today, I can hear every single song you play – without you.

Stations that have some sort of sensibility to the music just resonate better with the listener. It’s subtle, but it’s true. When you’re that station, people notice. It may be subconscious, but it makes a tangible difference.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2023 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.