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 #575: How the Jack Benny Format Applies to Radio Today

If you’ve never heard it (or seen his TV show on some classic channel), the Jack Benny Show was groundbreaking in its day. And it still has a basic formula that I assure you WILL work today: he made everyone else the star.

Whether it was his announcer, his wife, a singer, a guest, or any other cast member, Benny was quite willing to take a back seat. He never minded being the butt of a joke, overshadowed by another comedian, or made to look like a fool.

The result? People LOVED HIM. Yes, him. They liked the other cast members, too, but people felt sympathy for – or empathy with – him.

I can’t stress how important this was in my own career, and how many people I’ve coached to use this technique. It always works.

Put your ego aside.

The more you willingly give the spotlight to someone else, the more people will like you.

One caution: In a team show environment, remember that the “side people” can’t completely take over the show. The headliner still has to shine, too.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #573: The Road to Brevity

Brevity is the most useful skill you can develop.

Sadly, instead of brevity, we often get bloviating. So let me help you with what I recently wrote in a coaching session recap…

Thinking “How few words can I use to say this?” is the road to brevity. As you police yourself to get rid of repetition and edit yourself better, your longer breaks will actually stand out more, as a result. (Funny how that works.)

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #572: The Barbecue Test

Here’s a quick way to measure or grade your on-air performance: Is what you’re saying something you’d say at a backyard barbecue to a person you just met?

If it’s not, then why are you saying it?

“Too inside” is a disease. You potentially have a new person tuning in for the first time right now. What are you going to say to welcome that person in? And more importantly, what will you say that compels that person to stick around today, or come back tomorrow?

The simplest, shortest break you do may the one that catches that listener’s attention; that makes him or her think, “This person is like me.”

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #571: In the Mood

Moods matter. Some shows I’ve heard recently have one – but ONLY one.

We’re humans.  We have moods – all sorts of different ones, each day.  So, the challenge for you is to not just plaster on a veneer every day, but to have a definable mood to each show.

Tip: Reflect the mood around you – what you feel at home, or when you stop at a store for coffee, or at the place where you work. Feed off that. Let it guide you to be in step with the Listener.

When I sense that you feel what I’m feeling, we bond. And as I always say, we’re not paid by the word; we’re paid by the connection.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #569: Conquering the “One Speed” Thing

“Ear fatigue” can be caused by many different things. I want to refocus on one that I’m hearing way too much – the “one set speed” delivery.

It doesn’t seem to matter if the song is “having a stroke” fast or “worm crawling” slow, the air talent is at one speed all the time. No variation. It’s boring. That person is a time filler, rather than a true personality.

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Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #568: The “Me Too” thing for Radio

Years ago, when I was riding my Brontosaurus to work, I was paired with a partner named Rick “The Beamer” Robertson to do a morning team show in Dallas. I drove there from Louisiana to talk to the PD about the gig, and met Rick for the first time when he arrived about a half-hour later. The first thing he did was to stick out his to shake, and say, “Hi, I’m Rick, your mail-order bride.”

I knew we were going to get along.

The station, sadly, wasn’t that great, but we worked hard to have a great morning show, and did well. It was a lot of fun.

But here’s where you get something to think about… Continue reading

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #566: Speaking Well = Success and Respect

Okay, this tip is for radio and TV talent, but it’s also kind of for life in general.

I wholly believe that if you want to be successful – and be respected – the key is speaking well. This will get you ahead in almost any profession, but I believe it especially applies to radio and TV.

In my work with hundreds of on-air talents, and particularly with the TV personalities I’ve coached, we stress two essential ingredients: Continue reading