Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #364 – Be a Roomba

If you truly want to be a great air talent, be a Roomba. (Yes, the little robot vacuum cleaner.) Always be looking for “dust” – things you can do better, in radio terms. Be honest about your work. Listen to yourself like it’s someone else. What would your critique of that person be?

Team shows actually have an advantage, because everyone on the show can be on the lookout. If you trust each other and set egos aside, you can improve twice as fast!

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #363 – How You Start

In well over 20 years of coaching so far, I’ve worked with a lot of incredibly good air talents, some to refresh and regroup so they can STAY great; others to simply help them grow even more.
The flip side of that is working with people in the earliest stages of their careers. And it seems like the “newbies” all start with the same question, “What’s the secret?”

Here it is: be WORTH listening to. Whatever your subject matter is, whatever you say has to make some sort of impact. Not necessarily big, huge, dramatic impact. Simply being perceived as someone who’s actually talking to me, rather than just “a voice saying words”. That sounds easy, but it’s a daunting task for a young talent. It’s not about your voice. It’s not about being “funny”, per se. It’s just about being PRESENT, in THIS moment, every time the mic opens. Every…single…time. The minute you turn in a half-hearted effort, you deserve to lose listeners.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #362 – Stories Aren’t About What Happened

This may sound counterintuitive, but stories aren’t about what happened.

For our purposes as air talent, they’re about what we FELT about what happened. The Emotion is the core, and that’s the thing that connects with the listener.

If all you can bring to the table is just some comment with no real emotion attached to it, or just some stupid punch line, you’re not going to connect.

Focus FIRST on the Emotion. THEN put the story together.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #361 – Not Wasting Words

One of the most powerful building blocks in becoming a great talent is not wasting words.

It’s kind of like learning to drive. On one side is the curb – saying TOO little, so nothing was said that made your Content “pop”. On the other side is the double yellow line – belaboring a subject where there’s nothing new left to say, but you’re still talking. That’s a head-on collision waiting to happen.

The cure: prep to where you get what you want to say down to the most concise form possible. Then just let it “breathe” a little when you do it on the air.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #360 – The Better Idea

The Better Idea. That’s what always wins. Apple. Streaming. Social media.

As an air talent, limiting yourself to just trying to match the other guy, or just trying to do a decent job…well, that’s setting the bar too low.

What you should want to do is get better, get clearer on what you want to do, and get more proficient at doing it. Here are three easy steps toward getting better in just one month:

Step 1 – be able to tell someone, in detail, what your listener’s life is today. The more you know about the listener, the more relevant you can be. Relevance is ALWAYS the better idea.

Step 2 – do what the format allows, but make sure that you come across as a person, not just a voice. This is multi-layered, because we’re also voice actors, to a degree. Start with trying to sound ON the air just like you sound OFF the air.

Step 3 – Reject the typical or the easiest thing to do. Keep adding stuff all the time. Burn material like jet fuel. Try something this week that you’ve never done before.

That should jump start things. ⏱

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #359 – Your Station and…Relevance

You can’t MAKE yourself seem more relevant. You have to just BE relevant.

No ‘slogan’ (like “Favorites of the Eighties, Nineties, and Today”) will do this.

And it’s not confined to radio. A TV station where I live uses “On Your Side” as their slogan. I wasn’t aware that I took any particular side, but after watching their hapless evening news team, I don’t WANT them on my side.

Kleenex. That name probably has relevance to you. Lysol = hugely relevant, especially as COVID-19 proved.

At some point, your NAME has to STAND for Relevance.

So remember that what happens when the mic opens – usually in the first 10 seconds or so – is what either keeps the listener here, or chases that listener away. Say something relevant.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #358 – The More You Learn…

Watching one of the 700 “home renovation” shows my wife loves recently, I was caught up in what a worker said.

This is a guy who runs one of those machines that excavates earth at an alarmingly fast rate. But he was interested in learning other things, too. So, even though he’s just starting out in a landscaping career, he apparently has an eye for the future as he said, “The more you learn, the more you’re worth.”

It’s the same in radio. The deeper your knowledge, the wider your skill set. And surprisingly, you also get better at executing any one particular task.

These are “next step” areas:
• Getting better at sounding natural.
• Getting better at putting just the right emphasis on the words to paint a visual picture in the mind of the listener.
• Getting better at transferring a real Emotion in whatever it is you’re talking about.
• Getting better timing.
• Getting a better and deeper understanding of the listener.

The minute you stop learning, you start slipping. We’re lucky to make a living moving air around. We OWE our profession a willingness to learn more about it.

(That’s why this website exists.)

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #357 – SPECIAL EDITION: Coronavirus Guidelines

We’re in uncharted waters right now, because the Coronavirus is the #1 subject locally, nationally, and globally…

So let’s look at it both Strategically and from a Coaching perspective.

Strategy

These are the core ingredients in what we should want to air right now:
Acts of kindness
Stories of hope
Examples of self-sacrifice…

In short, be the “glass half full” station. If that seems corny to you, grow up. Negativity and Fear are everywhere. If you feed them, they get worse.

Coaching Tips

The Coronavirus isn’t the subject of every single break (you still want to be entertaining, too), but the virus IS the “backdrop” of everything.

If a large portion of the Content is people sharing about what the virus means in their lives, then remember that it’s not just their sweet stories, but also their concerns, and what that means in terms of being a good wife/husband/neighbor.

Something along the lines of “Yes, we’re going to play lots of songs and keep you up on the weather and traffic, etc. but let’s talk, if you want…”

Keep these things in mind:
Whenever there’s a “theme” (like taking calls about a certain thing), two ingredients are essential…

[1] A different emotion each time. If calls are all the same emotion, but just different details, that’s gonna get old quickly.

[2] Keep ‘em short. A call isn’t a conversation, it’s a sound bite. The SUM of the sound bites is the conversation.

It’ll be a challenge for some air talents to steer away from “It’s gonna be all right” platitudes and “Hallmark card” affirmations, but do your best. Remember that something as simple as your tone of voice can calm people and connect with them.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy. Kramer Coaching Tip #356 – Your “B” Side

You want to be KNOWN for something. Some quality – humor, relatable “just like I am” presence, unique vocabulary – SOMETHING that makes you different from everyone else.

But you don’t ONLY want to be known for one thing.

In the days of vinyl 45 rpm singles, the “A” side was why you bought it – at first. But as the Beatles proved, the “B” side was often just as good. It’s that way in everything. Harrison Ford was Han Solo, but he was also “The Fugitive”. Lebron James is a great basketball player, but what he’s given back to his hometown is what defines him as a human being.

To LAST, there has to be depth. (This is something that people in the public eye need to pay attention to. Today’s “trending” is tomorrow’s “Is he still alive?”)

Develop your main thing to the fullest. Then add another thing.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #355 – Finding the Right Volume

This may seem academic, but I’m hearing a lot of that “bull-horn” delivery lately.

Finding the right volume isn’t usually something you just “get”. It takes exploring different mic techniques, and learning as much as you can about your vocal “instrument”. Being able to “caress” something, vocally, is important. We’re voice actors, not just “personalities”.

Voice trackers, in particular, often sound totally out of touch with the music, because they don’t think about volume and intonation. Or, as the great voice coach Marice Tobias calls it, “noticing” a word, rather than the typical instruction to “inflect” or “sell” it.

Let me try to quantify this for you:
The Standard is what I refer to as “normal plus ten percent.” You work in either direction from that “setting”. The extra ‘ten percent’ is simply to guarantee that you can be heard in the car, in traffic.

Louder than that – if it’s just a big boom-y “deejay” delivery – will make you sound robotic, unmindful of the “texture” that whatever you’re saying needs. Softer is okay if you move closer to the mic to project a bit better, but if you get TOO soft, you may not be heard at all. And THAT would be a real shame.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2020 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.