Tommy Kramer Tip #197 – Quips, Comments, and Stories

The primary ingredients of any really good talent in a music format are Quips, Comments, and Stories. A little more about each…

A quip: My morning show partner years ago in Dallas, Rick “the Beamer” Robertson once came out of “Billie Jean” with “Well, what can you say about Michael Jackson…that hasn’t been operated on.” (I don’t even know that this made sense, but it was just plain funny.)

A comment: a remark about something that may or may not be funny, but it is YOURS. Comments can’t be in every single thing that you do, but there should be a healthy dose of them in each show. Friendships are formed through the exchange of opinions. If you don’t HAVE any, we can’t be friends.

A story: I think of stories as “little plays” about “adventures” we have. Note: Please avoid the “Christmas newsletter” mentality. Make sure that the listener CARES about the subject, or you’re just a car going as fast as it can toward an oak tree.

These three things, along with the more “plain vanilla” Content – promoting things, sponsor liners, whatever – are pretty much all you’re going to do, and they should be balanced. And remember, there’s an art to making “plain vanilla” stuff stand out and be different from the last time you talked about it.

If you know what arrows you have in your quiver, you won’t waste your time trying to use something else.

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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 #196 – A Deeper Dive into Camera Angles

One of the two of three most game-changing tips I’ve coached over the years is “camera angles”. It grew out of film classes in college, and a lifelong love of great movies, directors, and actors. In short, it’s about the perspectives you gain – like the Director of a movie decides – from a different point of view.

But, as with everything that’s artistic at its core, there are layers and colors inside that technique.

So here’s another way to look at it that may help you: It’s not just where you put the camera. It’s about what you SEE when you put yourself in someone else’s shoes. It’s Emotional, rather than just technical.

It’s not a fact-finding mission. It’s a way to see inside something from a perspective that can tell a different story.

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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 #195: Laughter, the Best – or Worst – Medicine

There used to be a thing in Reader’s Digest called “Laughter, the Best Medicine.”

But often, at least to someone my age (I was a kid then), it was lame.

Think about this, as it applies to radio.

Genuine, “can’t help it” laughter IS great “medicine”.
But laughter that comes across as some sort of “default setting” reflex, or that icky “trying to MAKE me think it’s funny” laughter is POISON.

People can tell when it’s real. Go ahead and argue if you want, but it’s true.
I tell people to try NOT to laugh, so when you do, it’ll be genuine “snot bubble” laughter.

George Carlin once said the goal in school was to make the guy next to him at the lunch table laugh so hard that he snorted an entire cheese sandwich up his nose.

Listen to some audio of your show and ask yourself this: “Did the laughter sound real?”
(Hint: If you really need to ask that, it didn’t.)

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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 #194 – THE Role Model for Team Shows

Often in coaching, I find that the best examples may lie outside the radio arena. A lot of the techniques and strategies I teach come from movies, music, and Sports.

At one station I work with, finding the right partner in a team show has been an ongoing issue. Having worked with literally hundreds of team shows, I was brought into the discussion of “what to look for.”

My example had nothing to do with radio: John Lennon and Paul McCartney.

Here’s why…

Lennon was primarily known for aggressive, edgy songs like “Revolution”, “Day Tripper”, “I Am the Walrus”, “Help!”, “A Hard Day’s Night”, etc.

McCartney was mostly known for pretty songs, like “Yesterday”, “And I Love Her”, “Let It Be”, “The Long and Winding Road”, “Hey Jude”, etc.

But Lennon also wrote beautiful songs: “In My Life”, “Girl”, “If I Fell”, and “All You Need is Love”. And McCartney wrote some really powerful, straightforward rockers, like “Can’t Buy Me Love”, “Helter Skelter”, “Back in the USSR”, and “Drive My Car”.

And THAT’S what you want in a team show: people who may be defined by ONE thing each of them does, but they CAN do other things. Picture the Olympic rings – slightly overlapping circles with a common area they share, and a larger area that’s unique to each.

Two people who are nothing alike can result in a tug-of-war on the air. Two people who at least have SOMETHING in common, but come to that only once in a while to join forces – well, there’s that “extra dimension” that you should be looking for.

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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 #193 – Just the 3 of Us

This is a team show tip, and there’s a special bonus prize included.

Okay, let’s say that you’re in a 2-person team show. Here’s how the listener sees it: It’s just the three of us, over lunch together (or over breakfast, if you prefer), and once in a while, a caller joins us.
Just like in real life, the third person at the table (me, the listener) may not be saying anything, but I’m still here.

Now here’s the Easter egg – a hidden secret from my vault:

You can have an exchange between the two of you with me at the table – but you can’t ever IGNORE that I’m at the table.

Read that last point again. The minute it feels like you’re JUST talking to each other, I might as well leave.

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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 #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 #191 – Ratings: Turn the Page

By now, you’ve probably seen the latest ratings. Often, if they’re not what we hope for, it’s easy to sink into “the sky is falling” mentality that tends to dominate the hallways when a station has a down “book”.

Yes, it does look like the political climate, the clownish debates, and the election process and aftermath hurt a lot of formats. While many Country, A/C, CHR, and Contemporary Christian stations got slapped around a bit, the clear beneficiary was the News/Talk arena.

So what do you do now? Here’s what I’m telling my non-News/Talk stations:

It doesn’t matter. Turn the page. Assume that TODAY is the day ratings start (or end). The point is, EVERY break we do has the potential to make a listener either [1] come back or stick around for a second helping, or [2] hit another button because we didn’t give them a reason to stay.

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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 #190 – Tying a Neat Bow around it

There’s this virus floating around – you get to the end of a break, and instead of just getting out, you try to “tie a neat bow around it” at the end.

Don’t, please. These “summations” sort of treat the listener like he or she is an idiot. Always assume that the Listener is AT LEAST as smart as we are.

We’re not doing Aesop’s Fables here. When you resort to “The moral of the story is…” that just sounds preachy; even smug. While “Preachy & Smug” might be a great name for a morning team on a Sports station, it’s certainly NOT how a station in any other format should want to be perceived. : -)

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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 #189 – Short, Longer, Longest

You should be able to do three versions of anything you need to promote: Short, longer, and longest.

Examples:

[5 seconds]
“KBUT 94.9 window stickers are free at any Tom Thumb grocery store…”

[10 seconds]
“KBUT 94.9 stickers on your window or bumper look great, tell people what kind of music you like, and can win you cash! Pick yours up today FREE at any Tom Thumb store.”

[20 seconds]
“KBUT 94.9 bumper stickers look great and they’re free—and just like duct tape, if you put enough of them on your car, you can actually cover up a broken window or a big dent. And the number on each one is what we use to give out cash and prizes—like maybe even a NEW car! So get your sticker today at any Tom Thumb grocery store, then listen for your number to be called out on the air.”

Now you probably already know that the shortest version is the hardest one to do. But at any length, CLARITY is the key. You can always add more word pictures, if more length will work. But if you can’t do the super-short versions, you’re not great yet.

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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 #188 – No “Hallmark Card” Content, please

Even very bright talents will slip up once in a while and do “pap for the masses”, thinking that it works.

This is what I heard one jock say recently:
“I love this…‘good moms let their kids lick the beaters; great moms remember to turn off the mixer first.’ Yeah, I’ve been there.”

Really? This sounds like a Hallmark Card for Mother’s Day, or something Ann Landers or Erma Bombeck might have written—in 1981. And no, you haven’t “been there,” or we’d have noticed the Child Protective Services van outside that house. (Because, apparently at some point, that mixer was left ON.)

Let’s be clear: I’m certainly not against doing things that are heartwarming or encouraging. That’s fine, but NOT if it sounds insipid or obsequious.

If you don’t know what those words mean, just ask Siri. Because, contrary to what that air talent thought, it’s not 1981 anymore.

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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.