All posts by Tommy Kramer

Tommy has spent over 35 years as an air talent, programmer, operations manager and talent coach - working with over 300 stations in all formats. He publishes the Coaching Tip

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

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #412: Friend, not Audience

Radio is full of people talking to an audience.

This is a mistake, because we say things differently, more casually, when we’re just talking to a good friend.  We repeat points unnecessarily, use language that’s a little too “formal,” and sound just a little distant, when we talk to more than one person.

There is very little space between you and the listener.  You’re in my car, two feet away.

ALWAYS say things like you’re talking to ME – a friend – instead of a group of people.  Radio is at its best when it’s one-on-one.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #411: The Prime Directive for Content

The Prime Directive was the guiding ‘mission statement’ in Star Trek.

Here’s ours, in music radio:

Whatever you want to say needs to be as good as your best song.
If it’s not, why are you saying it?

This manifests in two ways – Subject matter, and Delivery.

Subject matter should be top of mind, and you want the listener to be able to easily see himself/herself in that situation.

Delivery: “as good as your best song” can be in the WAY that you say something.  Sounding like you actually care (with some degree of emotional engagement).  Painting a good word picture.  Or simply being a good companion to the music, rather than an interruption.

Unless I’m working with you, I can’t tell which of these you need to work on.  But I’ll bet there is one.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #409: A Lesson in Greatness – Robert W. Walker

Radio used to be populated by “big” voices, guys with a cannonlike delivery who ANNOUNCED or PRESENTED things.

But then it changed, and one of the best examples of how is my friend Robert W. Walker.  Rob didn’t have a huge voice, but it was an ultra-easy-to-listen-to voice.  He wasn’t “jokey” funny, but his insights (especially when he made himself the butt of the joke) were often hilarious.  He pulled you in toward him.  It seemed intimate, one-on-one.

He also was a brilliant writer and Production talent.  Some of his station promos raised chill bumps when you heard them.

But I would classify his main talent as something that sounds very simple: People just LIKED him.  He was what everyone in radio thinks they could sound like, but not that many actually can.

I think there are two main things to learn from Rob:

  1. Never underestimate being likable.
  2. Never think about your voice.  Just be you.