Tommy Kramer Tip #76 – It’s my first time

I once put up a sign on the Control Room door that said:
“I just got into town. I got into the car, turned the radio on, and hit the ‘scan’ button. It landed on your station. I don’t know what station it is, what the format is, what the dial position is, or who you are. You have thirty seconds.” (Now, PPM is showing that it’s more like TEN seconds.)

I base everything I coach on “first time” listening. If I just tuned in for the first time, can I get what’s going on here? Are you making references to things that I don’t understand, since I’m not a regular listener to the show?

All too often, the Air Talent assumes that the Listener has been there for a few minutes, or that “everyone knows” what he or she is talking about. I call this “The Eminent Danger of the Assumption.”

Reset the stage for the Listener. Don’t assume anything. Remember, I just tuned in.

Think of what was originally called the “Fox Block” – the little box in the corner of the screen when you watch a football game that tells you the teams, the score, the time left on the clock. (It’s now standard on every network.) Radio doesn’t have the visual tool that television does, so we have to do it verbally.

As you listen to an aircheck with your Talent, if you hear the “assumption” mentality, simply stop the audio and ask, “Who is this? What station am I listening to? What’s going on here?” The Talent will get it immediately, and start to police himself. Plus, he’ll start to ask those questions when he hears a competitor, and think that they’re lame for not knowing what he knows. That builds confidence.

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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 #40 – First Impression

You only get one chance to make a First Impression. And remember that it takes twice as long to undo a first impression as it does to create it. And you have no control over whether or not you even get that chance. The Listener decides.

The natural tendency for a Talent in a new situation is to do too much, to try to show the whole bag of tricks, like an overzealous lead guitar player who tries to play every ‘lick’ he knows every time he plays a solo. Meanwhile, the old hands—Eric Clapton, B. B. King, etc.—have the patience to do only what’s just right for THIS song, knowing that the full repertoire will be uncovered over time, as more songs bring more emotions and more opportunities to express their range of skills.

Remember that trying too hard can be felt on the other end of the radio, and pushes the listener away. Your insecurities or nervousness will be magnified by the microphone.

Se here’s a simple thought that will always work: Just be of service to the listener. Then just add a little more of you in how you do that each day. It’s very rare that someone will dislike you if you’re genuinely trying to help them.

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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 #31 – The Person Who Just Tuned In

Here’s a little reminder of something a lot of air talents forget: At this moment, as you start this break, you’re not only talking to one of your P-1 listeners; you’re also speaking to the person who just tuned in…maybe for the first time.

If you think this way, you’ll be more welcoming, and always be inviting in more cume. More cume means a better chance for a diary or PPM device to go to one of your listeners.

This doesn’t just apply to what the jocks do or say. It’s important for a PD to embrace this, too, and design things accordingly. For example, the other day I heard a local station do a “Complete the lyric” contest—where the idea was to pick up where the song clip the jock played left off, and sing the next line.

I’m sure that on the drawing board, this looked great. But to me, it’s just one more station ‘preaching to the choir’—talking exclusively to the listeners they already have. If I’m new to the format, I don’t KNOW the lyrics to the songs you play yet. Since the most important factor in any contest is for me (as a listener) to believe that I have a real chance to win, this is a swing and a miss. I give up, tune out, and you miss an opportunity. (However, you do get to give yet another prize away to one of the 30 people who win every contest you ever run.)

If what you do is more open-ended, you’ll get more listeners to pay attention. Aim at the target listener, but don’t exclude anyone. McDonald’s targets women with kids, but that doesn’t mean men can’t eat there.

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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.