Tag Archives: radio

The White Noise Is Deafening

“We’ve reached peak social – a point at which the signal to noise ratio of social updates is unsustainable…”
~Larry Kim, Founder of WordStream


“We’ve got several thousand participants and  thousands of responses.”  So I thought, “Uh huh, and what does that mean?  Do we have more listeners, more donors, more people moving toward Christ?”

Are we drilling down to optimize our stations for PPM, but ignoring meaningful measurement of social media or community development?   We measure our social media efforts on a whole different level than we do other things.  Pushing  “like,” or reading a Bible verse seems like “engagement,” but I’m not sure it is.

Radio continues to churn out hundreds of thousands of posts, blogs, tweets or Instagrams a day, but I’m not sure many of us know what it means.  How does it affect us?  Is there any kind of measurable benefit buried in there?  Because I have 300,000 likes on Facebook does that mean I’ll rule the world?

It’s easy to confuse activity with accomplishment and reaction with meaning, but what Larry Kim says is true.  The insatiable desire for more compelling content is blurring the lines of what’s compelling and what’s not.  It’s not about “likes,” it’s about “loves,” and what is compelling to us is not necessarily compelling to the “audience.”  I always start with, “Are they saying you’re compelling because you’re you, or because you’re Christian.”  It’s a confusing measure that we all in the format have to understand.  Compelling has to do with something “I can be first to tell others”, and “something that moves me.”  I’m sure there’s a lot more, but it’s a beginning.

TJ Holland is one of the brightest programmers I’ve ever worked with, and he has some interesting observations about the use of Facebook.  Some radio stations keep reposting content that doesn’t provoke a response because it’s important to them.  Most don’t take down posts that aren’t getting responses.  There is a “me focus” in a lot of what we do, rather than a “we focus.”  And, of course, that doesn’t work on Facebook.

I’m plagued with the question of whether what we do makes a difference, or is it just something we do?  I know the effect the Warriors’ Seth Curry has had on his team.  Are we as good as Curry when it comes to impact, or are we assuming everything we do must be compelling just because we’re doing it?

There are no radio people on the list of the 100 most influential digital marketers.  Is it maybe because we’re great radio people and just ok social people?



Tommy Kramer Tip #160 – Deliver INFORMATION, not Guesses

On a recent ‘listen’ to a guy in New York that I coach, he came out of a Peter Gabriel tune by saying “I still remember when that song was in ‘Say Anything’… back in the late 80s or early 90s… that John Cusack film…”

Oops.  Incomplete prep.  Not good.  With all the resources we have today, there’s simply no reason to not have the information ready.  He could have (1) looked it up on imdb.com, (2) Googled the movie, or (3) just asked Siri.

Here’s what I told him: People don’t tune in to hear you GUESS about things.  You’re supposed to KNOW, whether it’s just when a movie came out, or what time an act will go onstage at a concert the station is hosting, or telling me about a contest or promotion.  Deliver information, not just guesses.  YOU’RE the authority.  (Or at least you SHOULD be.)

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

What’s Your Story?

“Marketing is no longer about the stuff that you make, but about the stories you tell.”
~Seth Godin


Apple has a story.  Budweiser has a story.  Nike has a story.  In-N-Out Burger has a story.  Most successful brands do.  They have a story beyond their “product” that has been burned into the minds of the consumer.

Microsoft doesn’t.  Microsoft is a utility program – a good one – but a utility program mostly purchased transactionally instead of emotionally. There aren’t a lot of positive Microsoft stories.  Stories are what people remember.

Take that all down to the level of say, your radio station, and how does it translate?  Is there a story you tell everyone about the station – one that is about the music, but beyond the music at the same time?    Something that taps into your listener’s passion?  Something that’s uniquely yours and not shared by other stations in the same format?

This post is a “how to” one.  Here are two people who can help:

The right story starts with the “why.”  Simon Sinek’s concept links well with media brands.  You just have to figure out why your station does what it does, and why people become fans.  Chances are you can weave those into a terrific story.

You can also find help from author Donald Miller’s Storybrand site.  You may recall Miller from his book, “Blue Like Jazz.”  Someday, when I have enough time, I’m going to attend his sessions on building your brand’s story.  But I’ve already learned from him the value and importance of the right kind of story.



Tommy Kramer Tip #159 — The Greats are the Greats for a Reason

The Beatles.  John Grisham.  Jack Nicholson.  Meryl Streep.  Jack Nicklaus.  Vincent Van Gogh.  Michael Jordan.  Movie Director John Ford.  Steve Jobs.  All Greats in their chosen fields.

And believe me, the Greats are the Greats for a REASON.  There’s something about each of them that’s not only special, but it would stand as great in any era.  That’s why people will still be listening to Frank Sinatra when they can’t even remember Nancy Sinatra.  People will still be watching “Casablanca” (even though it’s “only” in black and white) and understanding the nobility of the struggle against a regime that wants to limit freedom, and understand the sacrifices that have to be made to preserve that freedom, as long as that video exists.

Either the theme, or some individual skill set made a great thing (or person) great.  And yes, this certainly applies to radio.  Whether your “great” was Wolfman Jack, Robert W. Morgan in Los Angeles, Fred Winston in Chicago, Ron Chapman in Dallas, or your local morning guy that no one in a neighboring state knows – but you still love (in my case, Larry Ryan in my hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana) – magnetic, truly entertaining air talents get put in the “Greats” folder and STAY there.

But here’s the hidden factor: the greats are great for MORE THAN ONE REASON.  Think of it like an old 45rpm record – gotta have an “A” side, and a “B” side.  Your “A” side gets you noticed, but it’s not enough to sustain you.  You also have to find that other thing, like a pitcher coming up with an excellent slider to go WITH his hundred-mile-an-hour fastball, to get to the level of TRULY Great.

Because truly great equals MEMORABLE.  The Beatles didn’t just do one great song.  Jack Nicholson didn’t just do one great movie.  And Michael Jordan wasn’t just a great shooter.

I hear a lot of jocks now, and a lot of STATIONS now, that have no “great” quality of any kind.  So it’s impossible for them to come up with that “memorable” quality because they have no foundation of greatness to build upon.  If that describes you, or where you work, get help NOW.  Because the millennials EXPECT great, and have no patience at all with mediocrity.  Get a great Consultant, and map out a great Strategy.  Get great air talent, or at least people with a spark that makes them stand out at a party or a backyard barbecue or in a play, then hire a great Talent Coach to develop them.

If you don’t, you’ll just fall into the abyss of “okay, but not great.”  Remember, all dinosaurs had to do to disappear from the Earth was stand still.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #158 — Do things for the Right Reasons

The three reasons things are usually done:

  1. (Air Talent) “It’ll be funny.”
  2. (Program Director) “It’ll get ratings.”
  3. (General Manager): “It’ll schmooze a client.”

These are not Strategies, they’re just aspirations.  Let’s examine them…

Something being “funny” is certainly not always a reality, and you can’t just use that crayon all the time anyway.  I would just say, “Try to make the show fun,” and keep in mind who your listener is.

“It’ll get ratings.”
Even with all the latest tactics on affecting PPM (or now, Nielson), you really can’t predict what will “get ratings” except in terms of doing things every time you open the mic that are compelling to the LISTENER.   And it goes deeper than that, because anything that seems calculated SOLELY to get ratings will ring HOLLOW with the Listener.  You can use any tactic you want to, but unless what you’re doing is either Informative or Entertaining (or both), it won’t work.

“It’ll schmooze a client.”
This means nothing to the Listener, and maybe even works AGAINST the Talent if it’s perceived as “selling out”.

There are only two legitimate reasons to do anything on the air:

  1. It’s Relevant to the listener.
  2. It has a Benefit to the listener.

Those things will ALWAYS work.  Tactics have their place, but believe me, if you do things for the right reasons – STRATEGIC reasons – winning becomes a byproduct.

Self-promotional afterthought: you can’t do it without great talent.  If you’re a PD or GM, rather than getting caught up in a vicious circle of hiring, then firing, consider bringing in a coach to develop your talent.

– – – – – – –
Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.