About tommykramer

Tommy Kramer has spent over 35 years in radio as an on-air talent, Programmer, and Talent Coach, and has worked with over 300 stations in all formats, specializing in coaching morning team shows, but also working with entire staffs. In addition, he works with many premium voice actors that you hear every day on Imaging, Radio and TV commercials, and Hollywood Movie Trailers. Tommy was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame in 2003. Call Tommy @ 214-632-3090 (iPhone), or email coachtommykramer@gmail.com

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #370 – It’s Not Really a Conversation

There’s what you want it to sound like; then there’s what it actually is.

“We just have a conversation with the listener.” Well…not exactly.

It’s NOT really a Conversation. Music radio is at its best is when it’s concise and at least momentarily memorable – or at the VERY least, when it doesn’t waste our time.

This thought helps; it’s NOT a conversation. It’s just an Observation with an Emotion tucked in.
Thinking this way won’t leave you frustrated if you don’t get phone or social media response. Your job is to offer things up that are incisive or entertaining. Getting a reply isn’t the real goal.

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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 #369 – A Goal Without a Plan

Football player and coach Herm Edwards said, “A goal without a plan is nothing but a dream.”

You want to get better. We all do. But how? If you don’t have a plan, you may luck into something, but probably not. And even then, you’ll be tested. Something will come up, like a hurricane, or the Coronavirus, or the Black Lives Matter movement, and you’d better have some process in place that’ll work for you. As we’ve seen, people often blurt something out that backfires on them.

Herm Edwards can tell you the answer: Coaching.
If you can’t afford coaching, ask your PD to do regular aircheck sessions with you.
If that isn’t feasible, get together with a friend – or multiple friends – and listen to great radio. Or even better, do group aircheck listening sessions in a “safe room” environment where everyone’s thoughts are considered. (Great staffs are often the result of this.)

But don’t just assume that experience alone will transform you into a top-level Talent. Like football, like golf, like playing a musical instrument, it takes work. But ours is a creative profession, so the “work” can actually be FUN.

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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 #368 -Mean It

When you open that mic, the most important thing to do is what seems like the easiest one: MEAN IT.

But this is actually very difficult to do without some training. If you sound even the slightest bit insincere, or like you’re just serving up information with no real emotional investment in it…well, that’s why everyone’s impression of an air talent is that kind of pukey, surface-level-but-no-deeper “announcer guy” (or vapid nitwit).

ESPECIALLY if you’ve been blessed with an exceptional voice, remember that Emotions top “a great voice” every time. If you sound like you actually MEAN what you’re saying, your listener will feel it. If you don’t, in baseball terminology you “just fouled one off your own foot.” A lack of credibility is never anyone’s first choice.

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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 #367 – Promos: Stop Telling Me what to Think or Feel

Not long ago, I saw a TV ad for a European car, and the voiceover began with “The thrill you’ll feel when you sit down behind the wheel…”
No. I’ve driven one of those cars, and because it sits about 4 inches off the ground, I didn’t feel the “thrill,” I felt like I was getting a colorectal exam at sixty miles an hour.

This ‘telling people what they think or feel’ (or what their reaction should be) is really annoying. Al Ries and Jack Trout call it “Marketing your aspirations.”

It’s rampant in radio, too. Just this week, I heard a morning show promo that said “Great stories, and lots of laughs” (or some other bragging drivel). Not true. I heard them, and their stories were “pat” and predictable, and the farthest thing from “laughs” I could imagine. They just recycled stories from the internet, and plugged their Facebook page.

Instead of constantly telling your listeners what you WANT them to think or feel about your show or your station, just promote the Benefits of listening to you. The best show promo just plays me a clip of the show, then tags it with who you are and when you’re on.

Let the listeners decide for themselves. Let go of the hype. No one believes it.

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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 #366 – A Tip from Paul Newman

This is a “Next Level” tip.

A lot of what I coach comes from the acting world, not specifically from radio. Last week’s tip was a thought from Marlon Brando, and then I was reminded of this great piece of advice from an appearance the great Paul Newman made on an episode of “Inside the Actors’ Studio”:

“You can’t have a dramatic pause if you always pause. You can’t get someone’s attention by being loud if you’re always loud.”

When you “stretch” yourself and get different “reads” you start pre-selecting in real time. You have CHOICES, and avoid just “doing what you always do”.

Remember: Consistency is great, but Predictability is death.

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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 #365 – A Tip from Marlon Brando

Widely considered to be the best actor ever, Marlon Brando once said a key was “Never let them catch you acting.”

There are a ton of air talents who obviously haven’t ever considered this.

Never let ‘em catch you “listening to your voice” as you speak.
Never let ‘em catch you TRYING to be funny.
Never let ‘em catch you feigning an emotion.
Never let ‘em catch the mood you were in when you were arguing with your partner a few minutes ago off-mic.
Never let ‘em catch you sounding insincere when you’re talking about something serious.

Great actors make the roles they play look effortless, the same way that Michael Jordan made it look like he could jump up and just STAY up until he felt like coming down. You never see all the insanely hard work it took to make it seem that way. We already have the phrase “Be like Mike.” I’d think “Be like Brando” too.

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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 #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.