Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip $473: The First Two Goals

There are two immediate goals in radio:

1. You have a listener. Keep him (or her) around for a while.

2. Compel that person to come back again tomorrow.

Without meeting these first two goals, NOTHING else can be accomplished. No matter what your Strategic plans are, no matter what the Board of Directors’ monetary aims are, no matter what your “Imaging” tries to accomplish, unless you learn how to grab a listener and make that person want to listen again, you’re dead in the water.

Some questions for you:

Do you spend more time on these fundamental goals than other things in a given day?

Do you give conscious thought to who that person is that’s listening, and HOW to appeal to them?

If not, why not? Do you just want to fail? My brilliant friend and associate John Frost used to have a miniature billboard on his desk that read “It’s the Cume, Stupid.”

Cume builds one person at a time.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #472: How a Team Show is like Baseball

In baseball, the pitcher and catcher better know what the other is likely to do. If you’re a pitcher and throw the wrong pitch, what you don’t want is for the catcher to have to wait for it to stop rolling before he picks it up. 🤣

That’s why they use signals.

All team shows should, too. If you don’t, you’re not going to be as cohesive as you’d like to be. A simple “point at me as you’re saying your last word” leads to instant communication, effortless momentum, and being “tight” but not stepping on each other.

Two other signals:
Hold your hand up and point to yourself = “Come to me.”
Hold your hands up over your face = “Do NOT come back to me. I have nothing.”

This is a foolproof way to sound better.
It’s amazing how many teams have told me “We don’t need signals.”
Yes, you do. Make it easy for yourself and for your partner.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #471: Trying Too Hard

Trying too hard – whether it’s to be funny, to really “sell” something, or to ingratiate yourself to the listener – just doesn’t work out well in the long run. Yes, we all do it when we first start out, but a developed talent realizes sooner or later that “trying” can be FELT on the other end of the radio – and it pushes the Listener away.

What you want is to sound just like you do in a normal, animated conversation with a friend. You’re not trying to impress them, or show them how smart you are. You’re just trying to share a thought. Or even just a mood.

When we “amp up” the performance, it’s just noise coming out of the radio.

Note: Some people do just naturally sound a little dead or monotone, and usually someone coaches them to have a little “sparkle” or “smile” when they open the mic. Unfortunately, this rarely works. People who speak in a monotone don’t belong on the radio. They didn’t entertain their friends in the 4th grade, and they still can’t. (Sorry to sound so harsh, but find the person everyone listens to in real life, then put THAT person on the radio.)

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #470: Make Yourself the Best Candidate

One of the advantages of being a talent coach is that people tell me things they won’t even tell their boss. My process is very personal – for a reason. I want to help everyone I work with to be the very best they can be, so they like doing their job, and go in every day with a good attitude.

Often, I hear things like “I’d really rather be doing a team show,” “I want to move up to afternoons,” or “I want to become a Program Director.”
My answer is always, “I’ll help you get that.” But it’s always followed by “the thing you need to do is make yourself the best candidate for that job.”

I could name hundreds of people I’ve coached who’ve realized their dreams because of that thought. Opportunity DOESN’T just knock once. It’ll beat the door down if you’re the one who deserves it.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #469: An Action Plan for When Disastrous News Hits

The shootings in Uvalde, Texas last week at Robb Elementary School were undoubtedly a tragedy, but they were also was a moment of truth for your radio station and your show.

Basically, you had two choices:

(1) Pick a specific topic inside the story (gun control, mental illness treatment, etc.) and then seek listener feedback, or
(2) Avoid a “topic” sound, and simply go with something like “We all saw the News, we know what happened, let’s talk about what we’re feeling today.”

The first is the most standard, has some options, and will (did) get solid reaction. The second is more intimate, and can help avoid having it all turning political.

Each will work, or a mix of the two (in different hours) will work, but I would lean toward the second strategy. By dropping from “radio” to a more direct approach to the Emotions we all were feeling is the deeper end of the pool.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip $468: Why You Should Listen to Yourself

It stuns me how few air talents these days ever listen to their own show. Back when I was on the air (when dinosaurs ruled the earth), it was a given that the cassette “skimmer” that only recorded when the mic was on would be taken out and listened to on my drive home. At some of the stations I was part of, we’d listen to airchecks as a group, with everyone free to point out whatever they heard, good or bad.

Here’s why you should listen to yourself AT LEAST once a week:

1. You’ll pick up habits, then work on changing them so you erase “crutches” from your vocabulary.
2. You can check your timing, making sure you’re coming in at the EXACT right place – not too soon, not too late. (Every song has that perfect “last LOGICAL place to come in or start the next song.)
3. You can hear for yourself whether you sound like you actually enjoy being on the air. I’ve heard way too many music jocks that sound bored most of the time.
You can get a feel for your voice acting skills. (NOT sounding like a typical disc jockey is essential.)

And finally, you’ll have an edge over any competitor who DOESN’T listen to himself. When you’re sharp and the other guy isn’t, he’s a dead man walking, but he doesn’t realize it. If I’m searching for an air talent and hear someone who’s really making an effort to sound good every break, that’s the person I’m going to hire.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #467: Heart versus Humor

Some people, like I did early in my career, spend too much time trying to be funny, or trying to be thought of as funny.

But thanks to the great Lee Abrams, I was able to get out of that ditch. Lee straightforwardly told me that when I tried to tell jokes, they fell a little flat. But if I was just myself, funny things happened. He said “Don’t try to say funny things. Your strength is saying things funny.”

It totally changed my career, and I was able to tell Lee that years later. So…

Be genuine, instead of trying to be funny. Go for the Heart, and sharing an honest observation or feeling, instead of a punch line.

The odd thing is if you have the Heart, the humor comes anyway, naturally. But if you just try for Humor, it leaves the Heart out.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #466: Be Like a Great Song

When you’re really focused – clear on what you want to do – you have a chance to be great. When you’re not quite sure, or just “winging it” this break, your odds diminish.

The best programmers make it where you know the objective, which should be first, to keep the listener with you. (When someone tunes out, that’s a misfire.) And then, hopefully, make the listener want to come back tomorrow for more.

Like a great song. You want to hear it again.

You lose your ego, and you gain confidence, when you do the right things right.

So don’t even think about your voice, forget trying to “sell” things, and just share. What you and I have in common today is the real subject matter. The rest is maintenance and branding. (But do those well, too.)

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #465: “Topics” are just Springboards

Topics are just springboards to reveal emotions. (Please read that sentence again.)

These thoughts will help you:

1. If you’re just talking about a subject, but I’m not in that picture, it won’t work well.

2. If it is about the Subject and about me (the listener) but not about YOU, too, you’re still missing an ingredient.

3. And anything that doesn’t have a clear emotion at the center of it is just fodder.

This is why all great Content comes from what’s around you that you and your listener have in common or can identify with, and feel something about. Otherwise, it’s just a “topic” – which I consider to be basically the same as drain cleaner.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #464: The Best at Your Level

Best in your class. Best in your school. Best in the city. At every level you attain, you should want to be the best at that level.

And then you want to find another level.

This is how growth happens. The minute you get satisfied and think you have nothing else to learn, you’ll STOP learning. And then you’ll become a dinosaur.

Radio is part science, part Art. Part talent, part planning, part performance. The desire to learn more is what fuels every great career. If you need help, talk with friends, listen to each other’s work, and share thoughts. Get a coach. Study acting, movies, great books.

FEED the part of you that wants to be the best at your level.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2022 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.