Category Archives: Tommy Kramer Tip

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #439: The Real Traffic Jam is Doing Traffic

The last two tips have questioned why music stations choose to do formal newscasts or formal weather forecasts (ski resorts and cities near volcanoes exempted). Now let’s deal with doing Traffic updates on the air…

Start by remembering that we’re living in the twenty-FIRST century.  “Here’s how we’ve always done it…” is a waste of time to even discuss.  Here’s why you don’t need to do what now passes for traffic updates:

  1. You can’t compete with the Navigation System in my car (or in my phone, for that matter).
  2. 99% of the time, Traffic reports are about traffic that I’m not in, and you can’t cover everyplace because the Update takes too long.

Here’s a different thought: Have a traffic update on the air be one listener reporting on one specific problem.  (“I’m Greg Blunderbuss, and here at the Fairfield ramp to I-20, there must be 30 cars backed up.”)  Maybe two people per update, different areas each time.  Whatever.  Just not a droning sea of information about someplace else.

And yes, these can still be sponsored. $

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #438: How to do Weather

So let’s talk about the weather…

The typical scenario nowadays is to have some local TV weather person come on to “play” with the morning show and do the weather, or – even worse – to have someone from a weather service read the forecast in a boring monotone, with way too much information.  “Clear to partly cloudy today with a thirty percent chance of showers or thundershowers, and a high in the mid-fifties.  Southerly winds 8-10 miles per hour.  Then it’ll become mostly cloudy and windy overnight with a sixty percent chance of more precipitation, and a low around 32,” etc.  Ugh.

We should do the weather, but ultra-short-form.  “Some clouds today with a chance of rain.  High of 54.  Tonight, no rain, low near 32.” Continue reading

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #437: No News is Good News – and Here’s Why

We can probably all agree that ideally, everything you do on the air should play to a strength.  If not, it’s probably best to eliminate it.

I feel sorry for air talent with no training in News writing or delivery being forced to do headlines.

Really, except for All-News or NewsTalk stations, News – I’m talking about actually doing a newscast – seems kind of outdated, to me.  Not that many people come to a music station for News these days, because there are so many other sources to get it from.

Please understand that this shouldn’t mean that you ignore the News.  But what I’m recommending is that if there’s a significant story, you just do a break about it when you stop down, without the formality of a News structure.  It’s my opinion that we turn what’s likely to be a liability into a true strength this way.

Obviously, this is something that Programming has to okay.

We’ll address another so-called ‘service element’ – the Weather – in the next tip.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #436: The Learner’s Heart

One of the benefits of doing this talent coaching thing for a long time is that you learn how to appraise talent quickly.  After just a couple of coaching sessions, one thing always stands out: the person with the learner’s heart is going to get better.  The person whose ego gets in the way of learning isn’t going to progress much unless that changes.

So which one are you?  Are you open to suggestion, to change, to experimenting?  You can still have your opinions, of course, but to have that be a closed circuit just means standing still.  If nothing else, getting thoughts from a different perspective from someone you trust will make your decision-making quicker and more certain.

Lebron James has a coach.  So does Tom Brady.  So has every Olympic champion.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #435: Don’t Marry the Information; Marry the Story

Overwhelmingly, especially in Music radio, News sounds like News – the facts.  (Boring.)  And Information from a print source SOUNDS like it’s being read.

Here’s how to eliminate that:  Don’t marry the Information; marry the STORY.

Any idiot can read the facts.  But it rarely sounds natural.  It rarely sounds conversational.  And “print words” poison any exchange.

What happened, or is likely to happen?  How would it (or does it, or did it) make people FEEL?  Only when you plug into the core Emotion of the story will it really connect with people.

I start there.  Then I strip away anything that sounds too “official” when it’s said out loud.

People don’t connect with facts.  They connect with Emotions.  That’s why some “stories” aren’t interesting or compelling.  They fill the air with words, but don’t say much.