Tommy Kramer Tip #192 – The Relationship between Ego and Confidence

Over the last two decades of coaching hundreds of radio stations, I’ve rarely heard this dealt with, except behind closed doors. (Usually the GM or PD questioning me about a “difficult” talent.)

If you really want a better daypart, a raise, or even just genuine respect between yourself and your boss, it has to be earned. Many, many times, a jock has told me that he or she would like to be given a shot at a drive-time slot or maybe being an APD. My answer is always the same: Make yourself the best CANDIDATE for that position.

But if you drill a little deeper, you’ll see that the reason the “higher-ups” haven’t given you that opportunity is actually in the same ballpark that getting the listener to bond with you lives.

Here’s what it boils down to:
Ego without Confidence = no.
Confidence without Ego = yes.

A closer look at this:
We all have egos. A healthy ego is fine, but DISPLAYS of ego are off-putting.
Confidence is what you want to exude. Ego works against that. We all follow the most confident person, but we rarely ever just follow the person with the biggest ego.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #177 – Being Local Does NOT Always Win

There’s this myth going around these days when a station faces a syndicated show as a competitor. A lot of stations think, “Well, they’re not local, so they can’t beat us.”

WRONG.

Being Local does NOT always win. You have to be the best CHOICE. Just because you know street names and buildings doesn’t mean that you’re the most compelling, the most fun, or the most desirable companion in my car, or my office, or at home when I want the radio to keep me company.

I’ve coached many syndicated shows over the years in several different formats, and frankly, we’ve made a habit of blowing right past people who think that because they can “get out and shake hands” with listeners, they’re not in any trouble. But of course, the TINY percentage of your listeners that you’ll meet – or will EVER come to a station event – makes this idea totally outdated.

Whoever’s the most intriguing, the most entertaining, or just the most likable will win. Heritage, especially to Millennials, doesn’t mean much (if anything). It’s all about who’s the most relevant to THEIR lives.

And surprisingly, what we’ve seen for years now is that this is true for almost ALL age groups. In the internet/twitter/snapchat/instant information age, AUTHENTICITY is the only thing that plays well to everyone. The air talents who have that (regardless of their own age) always do well.

Drop “be local” as your focus and substitute “be GREAT AND local” and you’ll be on the right track.

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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 #174 – Establish the Touchstone EARLY

“I never knew that a lawn mower could make a guy so happy.” That was the opening line of a break I heard the other day.

My reaction was instantaneous – but not the one this talent would have wanted: So? Who cares?

Content has to be facilitated by establishing some sort of relevance to the listener EARLY – as early as possible.

This particular break was completely self-absorbed. A guy talking about how his riding lawn mower had broken, so he had to cut his huge lawn with the old-fashioned “push it to the end of the earth” mower. I suppose he considered it to be “sharing”, but it missed the mark on several levels:

1. It wasn’t top of mind.
2. It wasn’t particularly interesting.
3. It didn’t lead to any conclusion that informed or surprised me. It was just all about him.

Unless you can connect it to MY life (as a listener), I don’t care. And if I don’t care, I’m likely to just hit a button and go to a different station. Or, for that matter, I could just turn the radio off entirely.

It’s easy. “We’re all kind of like real estate agents. As we drive through the neighborhood we survey it – see which neighbor’s house needs some paint, or who hasn’t mowed his lawn in a month…”

Now you’ve gotten my attention, because I certainly CAN identify with that. (I had a neighbor whose stoned-out teenage son would leave their stinky trash cans out in the driveway for DAYS at a time, wafting their noxious fumes through the air. Not exactly the scent you want to inhale while you’re grilling some burgers. Unless you’re making them out of feet.)

Establish the “touchstone” EARLY. The quicker, the better. Really think about that first line out of your mouth that kicks off Content. You only have a few seconds to engage the listener…or not.

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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 #172 – Learn from Mike Nichols, Part 3

In his last interview, the great director, actor, and comedian Mike Nichols really opened the door to what fueled his process.

I’ve talked about a couple of his concepts in the last two tips, but this one may be the most important one when it comes to understanding what really creates a distinguishable and memorable presence on the air:

Your show, like a movie or play, isn’t totally real life. It’s a VERSION of real life.
And your persona on the air isn’t totally you. It’s a VERSION of you.

Don’t really like an artist you play? I doubt if saying that on the air will endear you to the listener who adores that artist.

Reading something for the 50th time this week? Make it sound like you just thought of it, and you have a real INTEREST in it.

Can’t stand kids? Well, depending on the format, you may not want to reveal that fact.

My friend and partner John Frost talks about being “transparent” on the air, and I agree, with my version being “Crack your chest open and show us what’s in there.” BUT, I don’t believe in total transparency. Some things aren’t useful, or reveal a side of you that may work against trying to win over more listeners.

As I’ve taught this over the years, many times the reaction has been indignant, with something like, “But that’s not me.”

You do get that Tom Hanks isn’t really Forrest Gump, right? And he’s not the guy in Saving Private Ryan, either. It’s ACTING. However, each of those characters IS a version of him.

If you need help creating the most effective version of you, get it. Every athlete, every actor has a coach…for that very reason.

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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 #171 – Learn from Mike Nichols, Part 2

Legendary film and theater director, actor, producer, and comedian Mike Nichols did an interview just before he passed away, sharing many of his unique perspectives on what makes people watch and listen to you.

One of them was this thought: There are only 3 scenes: Negotiations, Seductions, and Fights.

For radio purposes, Negotiations – with the listener or with a partner – work if they’re well done. Events, Contests, etc. need to be worth the listener’s time; that’s what we’re negotiating for.

Our “Seductions” aren’t about sexiness. Our “seduction” is about attracting the listener to you and making him or her want to come back again, or for more time, or more frequently.

And our Fights are really just situational banter. Unlike a play or movie, we may only have the audience for a few minutes. So while emotions play a huge part in pulling the listener one step closer, remember that we have to be “friends at the end”. Nobody goes to a party to see a guy fight with his wife.

If you want to learn more about this, well…just click or call.

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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 #164 – Information and Details = Ugh

The words “information” and “details” are poisonous words. You should try to avoid them.

If you’re a regular follower of my tips, you know that “left brain” thoughts or words don’t really click with the listener as much as “right brain” stuff.

For the uninitiated, the left brain is about order, reason, math, numbers, percentages. The right brain is where emotion, art, creativity and allegiance all live.

When you say something like “Find the details on our website” or “Go to my Facebook page for more information,” what people HEAR is “There’s a bunch of crap in a really tiny font that you can go read.”

What you SHOULD say is something like “Find out more on my Facebook page” or “Everything you need to know is at khip.com” instead.

You’re talking to a PERSON, not a robot getting information.

ALWAYS live in the right brain. “A juicy steak” is better than just “a 14-ounce rib-eye.” You want to paint PICTURES with words, not numbers or lists.

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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 #153 – What John Oliver Gets about Social Media that Most People Don’t

If I hear “Join the conversation” one more time, I’m going to scream. This is trite and uninspired. First of all, to me (the listener), it’s NOT a “conversation” UNTIL I join it. It’s just a bunch of people I don’t know jabbering away on Twitter. It ranks right up there with someone’s picture of kale zucchini on Instagram. (And any “conversation” about that should include the words “makes me want to hurl.”)

John Oliver, the wonderful host of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight” really gets how social media should be used. Instead of the nebulous, pandering, “What do you think?” or the even more beaten-to-death “join the conversation,” Oliver gives people something to DO.

Example: In April of 2016, Oliver did a piece on the expensive seats in Yankee Stadium in a prime location, known as the “Legends Club” – the first five rows of seats. Priority seating access, people (servants, actually) bringing your food to you so you don’t have to stand in line with the plebeians who have to wait for their lukewarm 15-dollar beer – you get the picture. Oliver quoted the Yankees’ COO actually saying — out loud — in a radio interview that “If you buy a ticket in a very premium location, we don’t want you to sell it for a buck and a half” to a fan who “may be someone who has never sat in a premium location…so that’s a frustration to our existing fan base.”

Indignant about this “rich people don’t like sitting next to people who aren’t rich” perspective, Oliver BOUGHT two “Legends” seats to each of the Yankees’ first three games – right behind home plate. And he offered to sell them to you for 25 CENTS, with the provision that you COULDN’T dress nicely!

To get them, you tweeted a photo of what you and a guest would wear to the game, with the hash-tag #IHAVENEVERSATINAPREMIUMLOCATION.

Totally intrigued by this, I saw the two winning fans at the first game, sitting with all the high rollers and multi-gazillionaires, dressed in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles costumes! Well done, John Oliver, you strange but brilliant British fellow. If you get to Hawaii, come to my place, and we’ll sit in shorts, tee-shirts, and flip-flops (my attire EVERY day) and I’ll throw a steak on the grill for you.

The lesson: Let’s DO something, and get in on the ACTION, not just “join the conversation.”

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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 #149 – The Power of Certainty

Obviously there are exceptions, but for some reason, a lot of things I hear from jocks on music radio stations these days sound somewhat tenuous in their delivery. So let’s focus on that for a moment.

Here’s the goal:
Be SURE of what you want to say when the mic opens. Stumbling over words because you haven’t really digested them yet, or hemming and hawing around because you haven’t fully fleshed out the “story board” for this break, just makes you sound unprepared or weak.

CERTAINTY carries more weight than anything else. People who sound hesitant, or like the information owns THEM, don’t pull the listener in closer. They’re just audio wallpaper.

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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 #140 – The thing about being VISUAL

The GM of one of my client stations was looking for a morning show partner. After auditioning one possible candidate on the air, he had doubts about their being a viable team, since both of them were more “reactors” than “initiators” (fill in your own terms here). My reservations had nothing to do with filling those roles. I was concerned with who was going to bring Content to the table, since what they were saying, while it was “pleasant”, wasn’t really engaging.

The most successful air talents (in any day part) are the people who make you SEE in your mind’s eye what they’re talking about. Being visual is the starting place from which everything else emanates.

Here’s an example. Years ago when I was doing a morning show in Dallas with a brilliant partner, Rick “Beamer” Robertson, it was the opening day of the Texas State Fair. If you’ve never been there, it’s held in the Fair Park neighborhood where the Cotton Bowl stadium is – not the nicest part of town.

I reminded the listeners that on the opening day of the Fair, you get in free if you bring a canned good to donate to charity. Rick replied with “I have to explain to my Dad that beer is not one of the major food groups. He brings a 6-pack of Pearl, and thinks that’ll get the whole family in.”

We got out there. (The First Exit.)

So the next break, I wanted to finish up by talking about some of the things to see there that weekend – the Auto Show (very cool), the Texas vs. Oklahoma game was right next door that Saturday, and that would make a great day—go to the game, then go to the Fair. And lastly, I mentioned one of the main attractions, the “Texas Star”, a 212-foot high Ferris wheel (the tallest in the USA) that you can see for miles.

Rick then commented that he loved being on it, but he had a fear of heights, and it always seemed that at some point, when they were letting people off the Star, he’d get stuck at the very top – over 20 stories up! He audibly shuddered on the air, and I tried to calm him by saying, “Yeah, but the one good thing about being up there is that you can just see your car being put up on blocks.”

VISUAL.

Here’s the point: If I (as a listener) can’t see it, what you’re saying is just a noise my radio is making.

But more importantly, if YOU can’t see it, you can’t talk about it.

If you’re a GM or a PD, think about this the next time you’re looking for an air talent.

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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 #130 – Team show tip: Listener first, THEN each other

This tip is specifically for team shows, but it applies to anyone who has someone else in the studio, whether that’s a partner or an interview with someone.

It’s really boring to tune into a couple of people who start a break (or a segment) by only talking to each other. It makes the listener feel like he or she is outside the house, looking at the party through the window.

There’s an easy fix for this, but you have to do it EVERY time: Talk to ME (the listener) first, THEN talk to each other.

Here’s an example from years ago, when I worked briefly on the morning show with one of my dearest friends, “Brother” Jon Rivers in Dallas at KLTY. (You’ll also hear our newsman and Producer reacting.) It was on a Monday. I had taken the previous Friday off to go work with a station in Orlando, but instead of turning to me and saying “So how’d your trip to Florida go?” listen to how Jon started it…

Note: If you listen closely, you’ll hear Jabba the Hut’s laugh as I mention him. The laugh was Jon’s idea, and he loaded it into the computer before we got on the air that day. Just another example of Jon’s brilliance. Production Values—even for something that small—can add an extra dimension.

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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.