Tommy Kramer Tip #186 – How long should an Interview last?

If you wonder about how long interviews should last, the quick answer is “It should end before I want to kill the guest.”

Seriously, in practical terms, plan on ONE segment. Anything past that should earn its way onto the air by adding something new and compelling to the interview.

Remember, an interview’s purpose isn’t to drum up business for the guest. It’s to make the guest come across as interesting enough or entertaining enough for me (as a listener) to even CARE about what they’re pushing, whether it’s a new album, concert, movie, charity, etc.

And I’d recommend never having a guest on for more than an hour, no matter who it is.

No doubt you’ve heard “leave the listener wanting more,” but not all air talents have the discipline to really do it. The minute you find yourself checking the clock to see how soon this segment will be over, you should have already ended it.

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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 #127 – I was gonna say…

Bet you’ve heard this a hundred times…one person says something, then the other person says “I was gonna say…” and tacks on another thought. If you’re that second person, this may seem innocuous to you, but it carries several liabilities:

First, it’s not in the “now”, so, of course, it stops the momentum. (Or even makes it go backward.)

Second, what “I was gonna say…” REALLY says is “I’m determined to get this thought in, even though the moment has passed, come hell or high water.”

Third, it gives the impression that you have to get in the last word—or even worse, like you’re trying to “top” the other person’s thought.

So the solution for “I was gonna say” is…don’t say it.
Remember, every single thing said by each person (and that can be a caller or guest) should move the subject FORWARD, like the game “leapfrog” that we played as kids.

When you stop wasting words and embrace the discipline of just letting it go instead of forcing a thought in, you’ll have taken a step forward in being perceived as not wasting the listener’s time. With all the ‘buzz’ about PPM indicating that breaks should be short, it’s important to realize that it’s not really always about length as measured by a stopwatch; it’s also about how long it FEELS.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2015 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #93 — The 3-second rule

You might need some help with this one from your PD if you work at a station that thinks it’s good radio to backsell more than one song, or to talk about a song that played before the one you’re talking out of.

I’m sure you’ve heard of “the 3-second rule” that a lot of people use when they drop food on the floor—that if you pick it up within 3 seconds, it’s still okay to eat it. (I call this the “how to get ptomaine poisoning” rule.)

Let’s borrow that and make our own version of the 3-second rule. My buddy Randy Brown, when he was a great PD in Dallas, says that often back then, he’d have a friend or date in the car with the radio on, and when a jock’s break finished and they went into a stopset, Randy would ask his passenger “What was the last song that played?” NO ONE ever remembered. And that was the song that had JUST FINISHED PLAYING, not one from two or three songs ago.

“But I’ve got a ‘bit’ I want to do about the song before last.”
Tough. Either just let it go, or save it for another time, when it makes sense to do it.

“But that song three songs ago ties into my promoting a station event with that artist.”
Then your PD should allow you to move it, so you’re not, in effect, saying “the group that did the song you didn’t hear eight minutes ago is coming to town soon.”

I’ve said this before: Time moves in only one direction, from now…this moment…forward. This is the definition of True Momentum, and a huge key to sounding logical and organic.

Live by the 3-second rule, or die by it. Your choice.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2015 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #64 – Momentum is King

As you’ve heard or seen me state before, Momentum and Pace are different things. Pace is how fast you go, but Momentum is how straight a line there is between Point A and Point B. You don’t necessarily gain Momentum just by going faster. It takes being concise, and good construction, like a great writer’s book that you can’t put down.

Recently, this came up in a dramatic way as a Talk show I work with really got it, and moved effortlessly forward by keeping a close eye on the lengths of calls. I told the host to think of each call as a scene in a movie, and that while not all movies are great, we only resent the ones that bog down and waste our time. By itself, Momentum turns a “C-plus” show into a “B-plus”. Content will vary from week to week, but good editing and constant forward movement are like the tide coming in. Unstoppable.

It’s the same in every format. Given two equal stations, the one with better Momentum will always win. And it’s not just about what happens when the mic opens. It applies to your Imaging, your commercial Production, your jingles (if you use them)—everything. Example: Don’t just sit there, not even realizing that every time your Imaging ends “dry voice”, then the next song starts, you just LOST momentum. Do something about it. (Call me and we’ll build it into everything you do.)

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Tommy Kramer
Radio Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2014 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #36 – Before NOW doesn’t matter

You hear so many jocks these days say things like “Off mic, we were talking about x….” or “Before we got on the air, we were talking about x….”

As a listener, I don’t care what you did off-mic, off the air, or even just one minute ago before I tuned in. (I didn’t hear it.) Time only flows in ONE direction for the Listener—from right now—this moment, forward.

This same mentality applies to resets. Instead of those “backward references” like “a few minutes ago, we were talking about x…” just set the subject up now, as if for the first time, and then go ahead with whatever else you have to say.

This is how you welcome in new listeners, and by definition, you have better forward momentum.

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Tommy Kramer
Radio Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2013 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #3 – The First Exit

TK Tip 3 – The First Exit (click to hear mp3 version)

Okay, so you’ve gotten the hang of being “the Moon” instead of trying to “be the Sun.” And you’re really working hard at coming up with “camera angles” that set you apart from everyone else. That’s great! BUT THAT’S NOT ALL.

The biggest step is still in front of you: Taking the “First Exit” out of things.

Simply put, it’s the first line of “resolution” as you do a break. Not the first “funny” line, necessarily, because some Content isn’t funny. And, of course, you don’t want to get out before your point is made. (I believe the Latin term for that would be subjectus interruptus.)

Face it, most air talents just beat things to death. They get to laughing about something in the Control Room, “riffing” and throwing in more stuff, until it all just turns into a big bag of mush. There’s no Momentum in that. It’s like buying a ticket to see someone, then they lock the doors so you can’t leave the theater.

The first line or remark that gives “punctuation” or “resolution” to the break, GO! Just hit the button, go into the next element, and STOP TALKING. Don’t go on to make another point, or “wrap up” or “summarize.” Don’t throw in the call letters again, or give a time check, or do a tease, or play some recorded “bumper” that says your name, or in any way do anything that impedes the progress. Just GO FORWARD. RIGHT NOW.

If the ending you planned (but didn’t get to) is really great, simply reset the subject later, and do that line. But 99% of the time the FIRST exit is the BEST exit, because it adds an element of surprise to the show.

Being less predictable is the best thing you can give the listener.

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Tommy Kramer
Radio Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2013 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.