Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #346 – Never Fear Bombing

Years ago, when I was inducted into the Texas Radio Hall of Fame, I found myself sitting with an entire roomful of radio legends. All sorts of “war stories” were flying around that room, and although there was an incredibly wide range of differing personalities, it seemed like we all had one thing in common:

Never Fear Bombing.

Every mistake you make will lead to getting better, because no one wants to make the same mistake a second time.

As a talent coach, I WANT you to jump, THEN see if there’s water in the pool. “Playing it safe” is for people who don’t have very much talent.

Now obviously, you shouldn’t do something that will get you in trouble with a client or the FCC. But those are the only cautions. DO something! TODAY.

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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 #345 — The Opt-In World

My friend and partner John Frost posted this advisory recently:

Frost Advisory #491 – We live in an OPT-IN world

There is a phone in our home that we never answer. Seriously. A constant barrage of robo-calls and “Anonymous” caller ID’s has left that phone to be no more than a nuisance. In fact, we no longer even listen to the voice mails because of so much time wasted checking them.

We live in an OPT-IN world, defined by Merriam-Webster online dictionary as “to choose to do or be involved in something.” If I didn’t give you permission to communicate with me then your efforts, automated as they be, will be met with an unanswered ring.

While you may not have directly asked your listeners to OPT IN, ultimately they have. They have expectations. They have experiences with your station perhaps they desire to have again.

Maybe they heard something, felt something, or realized something that they wouldn’t have without your radio station in their life.

So….have your listeners OPTED IN for songs they don’t know by artists they’ve never heard of, deejays that talk too much, traffic reports for traffic they’re not in, or newscasts about politics and bad things happening to people?

The more you do what your listeners have OPTED IN for, the more impact you’ll have.

John Frost, Partner
Goodratings Strategic Services
561-625-4211 office
561-676-5559 cell

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John and I have worked together for almost 25 years, and he never fails to inspire. Let me add another camera angle to his tip – what it means to YOU as an air talent.

The question to ask yourself is “Do I opt in?” Think about it. Have you opted in to carrying out the Strategy of your station? Have you opted in for the work ethic it requires to really give it your best effort every day?

Show Prep, Performance, Awareness of what the unspoken bargain is with your listeners – if you don’t choose to opt in for the best performance you can give, why would you expect to be rewarded for it, in terms of the all-important Time Spent Listening?

We’re at the start of a New Year. It could be the best year you’ve ever had in connecting with the listener. Or it could be just another year of not really doing what you’re capable of to EARN the listener’s time. Do you opt in to being great, or are you in danger of being just another “Voice Saying Words”?

Here’s the good news: it’s actually easier – FAR easier – to do great radio than it is to do “average” radio. Read the Frost Advisories, my tips, and the Mason Morning Minute each week at www.goodratings.com, and you’ll see how easy it is to make the listener opt in to your show every day.

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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 #344 – Why “Crunch and Roll” is Essential

It’s a Top 40 “basic” mechanic: “Crunch & Roll,” which means that in a song-to-song music sweep, you want to hit the NEXT song, THEN talk, not “start early” over the end of the first song, and then continue blabbing over the intro of the next song.

It matters because when that next song begins, then you start, it “turns the page” – meaning that the listener can FEEL the Forward Movement. (Momentum.)

When you start early, we don’t feel that page turn. No momentum. And a station without good forward flow will get beat by a station that HAS it almost every time. There are some exceptions, but very few.

This concentration on Momentum (not pace; that’s a different thing) is most evident in the movie world, where George Lucas and Steven Spielberg ushered in a totally new era in the seventies with movies that ALWAYS churned relentlessly forward. (Think Star Wars, or Raiders of the Lost Ark.)

Never get so “comfortable” that you forget about Momentum. The world moves ahead faster all the time. (Remember your first cell phone; your first computer? Ick.)

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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 #343 – A Lesson from Author Sandra Brown

If you’ve never read any of the red-hot thriller novels of Sandra Brown, you’ve missed out on a truly gifted storyteller. My wife and I have read dozens of her books, and since radio is essentially storytelling in microcosm, you might learn something from this comment recently in her book ‘Standoff’, which is a short book she wrote for a Book Club. She said it was daunting because most of the action takes place in a confined space, adding “With each book, I challenge myself to try something I’ve never tried before. Can I pull this off? This self-imposed fear factor is a positive thing. It stimulates creativity and urges me to step outside comfortable boundaries. It makes each book different. Most important, it keeps readers from getting tired of the same ol’ same ol’.”

YES. EXACTLY. You should ALWAYS be willing to try something new; something you haven’t done before. This is something I push every air talent I work with to do, and I usually have to prod them once or twice a year to KEEP doing.

Honestly, when it comes to Talent Coaching, this is essential. As you’ve heard from me many times in these tips, Consistency is fine, but Predictability is Death. You’ve got to turn things upside down once in a while and shake them until change falls out of their pockets. When you stop trying new things, you stop making progress.

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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 #342 – The Odds

We’re in a world of numbers now. Sabermetrics dominate Sports. Take baseball, for example. “He hits .372 against lefthanded pitchers with men on third base and less than two out when it’s raining…”

Well, okay…but that’s not predictive. It’s just a measurement of what ALREADY happened.

The REAL odds are this: every time you step up to the plate, it’s 50/50. You’ll get a hit, or you won’t. This MATTERS, and it’s why Sports is such a great teacher, because every player or team will have its day sometimes, no matter what the percentages say.

You’ve got an incredible opportunity in radio, because every time you open the mic, the odds are dead even. You have a really good chance of saying something that’s cool, entertaining, or informative – not just “blah”. (Queen called it “Radio Ga Ga.”)

To continue the baseball analogy, you can’t get a hit if you don’t swing the bat. TRY SOMETHING. Phrase it uniquely, or come up with a “camera angle” that’s NOT like every other air talent would say.

If you do, you’ll have a great career. If not, you’ll just be a noise in the background.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #341 – No One Comes to the Party just for the Dip

Recently, in a coaching session with a person who was playing it “too safe” on the air, I told him this: No one comes to the party just for the dip.

So okay, your station (and your show) has Music, News, Weather, Traffic updates, etc. The usual “basic survival kit” for broadcasting.

But now you need to add Personality, Companionship, and Things You and the Listener Have in Common.

Without those, you’re just the dip.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #340 – Hire Class Clowns

A great rule of thumb for finding air talent is to hire people that were “Class Clowns” in school.

The mere fact that someone was willing to take on that role denotes Confidence, and wanting to have Fun. A great radio station needs both in order to succeed.

When I was a kid, I was a class clown, BUT it was never intended to disrupt the class, only to make it more enjoyable. I didn’t butt in or interrupt the teacher, and didn’t just say something stupid or something to draw attention to myself. I just looked at it like there were things being said that needed a comment.

Relating this to my wife one night not long ago, I said, “But some teachers – unbelievably – didn’t seem to WANT to do a team show.”

That made her spit the water she was drinking about three feet into the air.

And THAT, my friend, is what makes a valid 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
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #339 – The Coaching “Starter Kit”

It’s hard to find time to coach the talent. Program Directors these days are busier than ever. Let me try to help you. Here’s the coaching starter kit, from my perspective…

1. The first question a talent has is usually “How long will the session last?” My standard answer is “Not long.”
We get past that quickly by zeroing in on whatever has to be “serviced”, but then moving on to the one step FORWARD that the talent should work on. That should be something more artistic, if at all possible.

2. People who fear coaching have either never worked in a true coaching environment – (just critiquing an air check is NOT it) – or they’re just afraid of change. It’s up to you to turn that fear into welcoming the sessions. Coaching should be Personal, Individual, not some “cookie-cutter” exercise. You want the station to have consistency from show to show, but each Talent is different within that framework. Stress both of those things.

3. The real focal point is to get the Talent to see the “goal” as always getting a little better. It’s an ongoing process, like learning to play a musical instrument. It takes some work, but it pays you back for the effort.

Realize that some people you help get better will end up leaving. It’s inevitable. But you should WANT to be the breeding ground for people who move on to better things. When you’re recognized for that, you never have much trouble finding someone who wants to come work with you.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #338 – It’s Not the Control Room Show

At industry functions or during market visits, I’m often asked “Where do you start?” Especially by young air talents.

Here’s the answer: It’s not the Control Room Show. It’s the CAR show. That’s where the listener is. Picture his or her environment, then place yourself IN it.

Little tiny things can destroy that feeling. Here are just three examples…

Saying “out there” (like “out there in Plano”) or any “there”-type references, like “up in x” or “down in x.” This just tells the Listener that he or she is somewhere ELSE, and you’re in a little room, miles and miles away.

Talking “plural”. This takes away from you and me, in the car. Examples: “For all the listeners,” “if any of you,” “some of you…” etc. Talk to ME. ONE person.

Generic Content. I don’t CARE what happened to someone in Wyoming unless I live in Wyoming. As the great Lee Abrams points out, no station seems to be claiming the city, like “Chicago’s…(name of the station)” anymore.
I can’t understand why anyone would give up the local connection voluntarily. Be from HERE, and be PROUD of that.

And be right here with me, in my car…or not. Your choice.
(Choose wisely.)

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #337 – Like Your Job…and Win

Consider this:

The people who seem the most joyous, and that love their jobs, are the ones we want to listen to.

By and large, we don’t tune in to be bummed out. And you don’t even have to be funny; just happy.

Look at it this way – you get paid for moving AIR around. You SHOULD be happy about that. (Other people actually WORK for a living.)

We got into radio because it seemed like it would be fun, and it seemed easy. No one thinks “Let me find the hardest, piece-of-crap job I could possibly do, and then do THAT for the rest of my life.” We all pretty much move by “lines of least resistance”. You’d be surprised at how many people would gladly swap jobs with you right NOW.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.