Tommy Kramer Tip #56 – The Barney Fife Method

Barney Fife, the classic Don Knotts character on the old Andy Griffith Show, probably never thought he’d become a role model – at least not for radio. But that’s exactly what happened.

Sure, many radio jocks share Barney’s ego, bravado, nervousness under pressure, taking rules too seriously (or ignoring them), trying to pretend you know more than you actually do, bad singing voice, and rather vague knowledge of the human anatomy (“the obondalla isn’t in the leg, Ange…it’s in the brain”), but the passing on of the “idiot torch” is not what made him a role model. It’s that in his shirt pocket, this fearless deputy, this symbol of law and order, this staunch upholder of the people’s rights carried… his one bullet.

Barney Fife was given only one bullet by Sheriff Andy Taylor (and told to just keep it in his pocket until he needed it) for a simple reason – to keep Barney from shooting his foot off.

It’s the same for you. We’ve all heard the “ONE thought per break” rule. But under that ‘umbrella’ heading are two additional guidelines: One STORY per break, and/or one EXAMPLE per break. This is the Barney Fife Method, one “bullet” per break.

As a listener, I may love ice cream, but I can’t eat two banana splits.

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

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