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 #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.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #463: What you WILL have to do versus NOW

Don’t get so obsessed with what you know you’re going to have to do later. Stay in this moment. Do what you have to do NOW first. Clear your mind to do a good job with it.

More breaks are ruined (or made lackluster) by a lack of clarity than almost anything else.

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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 $462: Execution

The execution of something is far more important than the thinking of it. When the time comes (when the mic opens), you have to be able to Stand and Deliver.

All the great ideas you’ll ever have won’t matter if you can’t put ’em across to the listener. Even something as simple as saying the name of the station needs to be sincere, slightly different every time, and polished.

That’s why the biggest gap is between Good and Great.

And that’s why I coach. I love helping people get to Great.

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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 #461: A Lesson from Kenny Wayne Shepherd

A few weeks ago, I went to Dallas and sat in on guitar at the House of Blues for a couple of songs with my dear friend Kenny Wayne Shepherd.

Kenny is an amazing blues guitarist. I’ve known him since he was five years old, and first started showing him some things about guitar when he was seven.

Kenny talked about that experience as he introduced me, and said “He even showed me the principles, like the real foundation of what’s important about playing.”

Not just “licks” or running scales. Not WHAT to do so much as WHY you do it.
The same as radio. You go from ‘just another voice quacking’ to someone the listener bonds with because of WHY you do what you do. People FEEL more than they hear.

And as Kenny Wayne Shepherd shows his audience every night he plays, expertise is fine (and he’s brilliant), but the emotion behind it is what counts.

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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 #460: Stats, Polls and Surveys — Poisonous References

“A recent survey says…”
“A new poll shows…”
“According to the latest statistics…”

Those references put us to sleep more times than not. The words themselves are boring. Numbers and percentages even more so.

So here’s what works better (because it’ll will sound more conversational):

“They say…”
“I saw a thing that said…”

And with numbers, trying painting a picture. Instead of “25 percent of people say they read a book when they actually didn’t…” try something more visual and personal, like “Think of your four best friends. One of them lies to you about reading a book.”

Two lessons in this tip:
1. Polls are just measurements of when they’re taken, but to quote Natasha Bedingfield, “the future is unwritten.”
2. Numbers are just numbers. But PEOPLE aren’t numbers. If you want to connect with people, don’t just throw numbers at them.

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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 #459: How Many Times in a Year…

So think about this…

How many times in a year did you just do the info, but nothing else. “98.1 The Rock with AC/DC.”

Ho hum. Okay, I’ll give you an escape route. Here are two, no – three, no – make that four questions to ask yourself:

1. Did the tone of your voice differ from the last time you just gave the name of the station and intro’d a song?
2. Did you match the tempo of the song?
3. Was there anything in your voice that let the listener know that you like the song?
4. Do you even think about things like this?

If you don’t care enough to make some effort to SAY something, or at least be a human being speaking to me, not just an announcer, why not hit yourself on the head with a rubber hammer every ten minutes? At least that would be doing SOMETHING. Probably pretty entertaining. Certainly better than giving it the least effort you can.

My point is that great air talents make their fans look forward to the next time they talk. And they don’t waste opportunities to connect on some 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.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip $458: Making Great Show Promos

In the last tip, I addressed what seems like a lack of Production skills in radio today. If you really want to make an immediate impact, let’s start with show Promos (particularly Morning Shows, but any show you want to promote).

The Kramer Rules:

Let go of promoting what will happen on tomorrow’s show, unless there’s a special guest or big “event” happening. What works best is a quick intro (“Charlie and The Beamer…”), followed by a good audio clip FROM the show, then a tag that tells me their name again and when they’re on, ending with the name of the station. Stay away from trying to define the show for me. (“She’s the smart one. He’s goofy, but lovable.” Ick. And please no “the perfect way to start your morning” crap.)

We should dive a little deeper into this “plugging tomorrow’s show” thing, too. I don’t WANT to feel like the whole show for tomorrow is planned already. I want some sense of a show being live, working without a net. Why…something might actually SURPRISE us!

The clip you use in the promo should be well-edited, but not SOUND like it’s edited. And it should have some appropriate “staging music” under it, not just be “dry voice”. It’s a promo, but it’s not being compared to what else is heard on radio. In the listener’s mind, it’s being compared to Hollywood movie trailers. So step it up.

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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 #457: Why Production Skills Matter

One area we haven’t discussed in a long time is Production Skills.

What we used to refer to as “board op” mistakes happen now simply because the computer ‘runs the board’ most of the time, and it lacks feel.

WE have to instill that ‘feel’ element.

In a nutshell, you want the next element to fire not too quickly, not too loose. There’s a “last logical place” in every song – even ones that fade or hold a chord out for several seconds – so put the tone in the right place, instead of chopping it off just a hair too soon, or crashing the next song over that hanging last chord. (And when you open the mic, don’t talk over a “cold” ending. When you do that, people want to strangle you. I want to hear that last word; then you talk.)

Production skills give you the ability to put something special together – editing a music bed, or making a montage of song clips or audio clips if you’ve got a guest coming on, for example.

Show promos sparkle when they’re perfectly edited. But if they’re sloppy or indulgent, they can bore people to death. (More on this in a future tip.)

And the “watchdog” mentality created by getting good at Production “works backwards” in that you start hearing “only the good parts” AS you talk to a caller. Then BOOM…a “decent” call becomes a GREAT call. Or your ears perk up when something happens on the show that you know would make a good promo with just a little editing.

If you’re intimidated by the Production world, just dive in. These digital Production tools are easy to use. And this is a marketable skill. When you’re good at it, everyone who isn’t stands out – in the wrong way.

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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.