Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #390: “Slug lines” on Promos

Often, promos get waylaid by trying too hard to say too much. In particular, “slug lines” (tags) on the end try WAY too hard.

“He’s a little bit goofy. She’s a little bit ditzy…”
“Making you laugh every day…”
“They’re here to lift you up…”

Blah, blah, blah.

You don’t need these. Here’s the template…

1. A quick intro: “Jack and Belinda…”
2. A sound bite from the show.
3. Then a tag: “Jack and Belinda, Mornings on 93.9 KBGL…”

Cut out the adjectives and superlatives. Let the clip do the work.

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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 #389: Selling versus Telling

There’s a huge difference between “selling” and “telling”.

“Selling” something isn’t nearly as effective as simply Telling me about it; sharing. There’s a built-in resistance to someone pounding a message home.

Disc jockeys are told to “sell” liners, copy points, etc. But you don’t “sell” your friends on something. You just share what you know or believe. (If you do “sell” all the time, believe me, your friends are tired of it and you need to stop.) This is why disc jockeys aren’t doing movie trailers and national ads.

In working with many voice actors that you hear every day on national spots, I’ve often stressed just talking to the listener/viewer. A great example from the past is voiceover master Mason Adams, famous for “With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good.”

Just talk to me. It works.

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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 #388: Degree of Fit

When a break is too wordy, you have to rush. And that’ll usually mean you’re going faster than the song, which the listener may not consciously think about, but the ear notices.

Being concise cures this. Only do what fits, conversationally.

Follow this rule: if what you want to say won’t fit over an intro, SAY LESS. Being concise is an art. When it comes to Content, the person who doesn’t waste the listener’s time wins.

Talk radio hosts: you might want to think about being more concise, too. Beating a subject to death doesn’t work as well as a more concise, better organized statement. Past a certain point, you’re in danger of just coming across as a loud, droning noise.

Remember…
The most recorded song in our lifetime is “Yesterday” by the Beatles. It’s only two minutes long.

The most quoted speech in history by an American President is the Gettysburg Address. It’s also the shortest.

The most powerful piece of scripture in the Bible is only two words long.

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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 #387: Re-imagining Interviews

You’re playing a recorded interview (and in Music Radio, ALL interviews not done live in the studio should be recorded whenever possible). Something happens that takes the guest and you by surprise. But the guest’s agenda (what they want to promote) hasn’t been taken care of yet, or you’re not ready to pull the trigger right then.

Ho hum. So we hear a little too much, and the one truly spontaneous moment gets “lost in the blah-blah”.

Here’s an alternative to just mindlessly playing what you recorded:
Think of the audio as just ‘sound bites’ (and break them into pieces accordingly), so you can interject a thought or a comment, then play more audio if needed. Way too often, I hear bland interviews treated as being sacrosanct, which keeps them from sounding like an organic “visit” with the artist.

Remember:
1. Not everything needs to be included in the audio. You can add stuff live.
2. And not everything that IS in the audio needs to be played.

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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 #386: To Tease or Not to Tease – and Why

Every once in a while, the subject of doing teases comes around again. Such was the case recently with one group of stations I work with. So here are the teasing do’s and don’ts…

DO tease:
A chance for me (the listener) to win something.
A feature of the show; a benchmark.
A guest coming on.
Information about a station event or a specific website/You Tube/social media feature.
A new song by a Major (core) artist.

Do NOT tease:
…just something you’re going to talk about. We don’t do this in real life. If my friend John Frost and I were having lunch, I wouldn’t say, “John, I saw something really wrong with your car…and I’ll tell you about it right after I eat this burger.” It’s unnatural.

I do believe in teasing, but not just teasing chit-chat or “fluff” stories. “How a lady in Tucson overcame her agoraphobia to find her dog…in ten minutes” is worthless. No one cares. On the listener’s list of things that matter most to her today, where would that rank? 117th?

Some observations:

If you tease everything (or tease too much, or tease the wrong things) it takes away any element of surprise. This is a liability. The listener doesn’t WANT to think that the whole show is planned out, and nothing spontaneous ever happens.

Having used — and not used — teases periodically over decades in all formats, there’s no real evidence that proves that teases work, except for teasing big contests or ticket giveaways. In some radio circles, it’s assumed that teases always work, but that’s like assuming that the brownish-gray meat in the back of the refrigerator shelf is still fresh.

I would leave it at this: If it’s WORTH teasing (to the Listener), absolutely do tease it. But not everything is worth teasing.

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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 #385 – Demo (Aircheck) Guidelines

Something I get asked about a lot is how you make a great demo aircheck. Knowing how the people doing the hiring tend to listen to these, here are the best tips I can give you:

1. Put your best thing FIRST. Don’t make me wait to get to it. Hit me with something great right off the bat.

2. Show what you do well, then show another thing you do well. An “A” side, and a “B” side. If you don’t have both, you lack depth.

3. Three to five minutes is probably enough. Even shorter can work. I once got hired by a PD in Chicago after he only listened to ONE break on my aircheck. If you’ve got that spark, it’ll show. If they need to hear more, they’ll ask.

The good news is that we now have more ways than ever to share or display air work — we just send mp3’s, or post the audio on a personal website or Sound Cloud. A friend of mine recently posted his stuff on You Tube.

Hope this helps.

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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 #384 – Choose ONE

In a recent session, I went over a break the air talent had done with a nice message: how just saying “hi” to someone who’s been emotionally damaged or mistreated may be ‘revolutionary’ to that person.

But he loaded it down with too many examples before settling on that one gesture. There’s a tendency for us to be like lawyers, “stacking up evidence” to fortify our point. But you’re not paid by the example; you’re paid by the CONNECTION.

So whenever you could give a “laundry list” of examples, just choose one to draw a smaller, more precise target for the Emotion to center on.

A closer “sphere of vision” will bring out the more personal, visual, and emotional elements in your Content and its delivery.

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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 #383 – Nothing is Worse than Being Ignored

One of the main things to keep in mind for any air talent is something that strikes to our very core as human beings: nothing is worse than being ignored.

If you’re on the air, but nothing you do or say really “grabs” the listener, it’s a waste of time.

Here’s a litmus test: What stood out today about your show? (Or any day’s show, for that matter?) You should be able to think “Oh yeah, yesterday was when we did this…”

If you can’t recall something memorable from your show, neither can the listener. We all know about stations who’ve been in a market for years, but with no real success. Let’s not be one of 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 #382 – Memories and Shared Experiences

When you do something on the air that makes the listener think “Me too,” you hit the jackpot. Memories and shared experiences aren’t just about what happened and when it happened. They’re about the Emotions that people feel when they go (or went) through them.

This is why “interesting” isn’t the same as “relevant”.

When you tap into Emotions, you gain DEPTH.

Most of the subpar shows are just about things, data, facts, and “fluff” srories. These are almost always boring. But when an emotion is called up, people “lean in” with their ears.

Emotions are the goal of everything that we do.

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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 #381 – What you CAN do that TV CAN’T do

One of the main arguments against radio today is that “people would rather watch TV.” Or stare at a computer, tablet, or cell phone screen. For our purposes, let’s just use TV as an example.

I watch an NBA game, and BETWEEN TWO FREE THROWS (!) they run a commercial. (The game itself, of course, is shrunk down so that my 70-inch screen might just as well be the 24-inch screen I had in 1988.) This is SO invasive. Announcers in every sport talk right up to the moment a pass or pitch is thrown. And baseball has been so ruined by TV directors that you see a pitcher, then – in the middle of his windup – they change cameras to show the batter, then another switch is flipped and you see a player field the ball. They could all be from separate games, and you wouldn’t even know it. And NFL games? Don’t even start. TV directors are so intent on “filling the screen” that you can see the pores of a quarterback’s face. I want to see more of the field (or court) so I can see where each player IS, and what they’re doing.

Here’s where radio is still magic: we’re not bound by what the Director decides to show. We can create “word pictures” that those screaming, big-voiced announcers don’t seem able to do, and we don’t have to listen to some broken-down ex-player describe things in such minute detail and in terminology that we don’t understand. We can do whatever we want to make something visceral and emotional.

But only IF:

*You’re not just some idiot reading crap off a computer screen with no emotional investment in what you’re saying.
*Or you’re not just endlessly intro’ing artists and song titles. (BORING.)
*Or what you’re talking about is timely, and connects with the listener’s life.

You have everything you need to succeed and be a true Personality, someone who seems like a good friend…someone I (as a listener) want to hear give your “take” on a subject.

I get asked a lot about what one thing I’d say to someone who hasn’t “gotten it” yet, and the answer is always the same: WAKE UP and say something worth hearing. Don’t let TV and Facebook be more valuable than radio, because there’s no way they can be as entertaining and as personal as you.

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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.