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 #478: Part OF the Music, or Just Waiting for the Song to End?

Here’s a question for you: Do you come across as PART OF the music, or like you’re just waiting for the song to end, so you can talk? You’re either going to a part of it, or not.

I’ve talked about this before, but you should want to match the mood, the “vibe” of the song, or match the pace of the song – or both – so you’re a PART of the listening experience.

Too many stations are running Imaging way too much of the time, and the air talent doesn’t get to talk often enough. We need to hear these people so we can bond with them. Just your tone of voice, or a little remark over the song, can say a lot.

I’m not bonding with your Imaging guy.

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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 #477: Does Your Positioning Phrase Matter?

It depends on what it is, but only rarely have I heard a Positioning phrase or slogan that actually matters, especially if it’s just touting things like “12 in a row” or “50-minute music hours,” or the nebulous “More music.” (More music than what? My refrigerator?)

Anybody who wants to do so can make those claims, and somebody will, I guess, but why settle for that?

Here’s what you really are: What the listeners think you are when they listen to you.

So consider taking off a lot (or all) of the “sloganeering” and SHOW me why I should listen. It starts with THIS time you open the mic.

Note: there are stations whose Imaging actually means something. But I wouldn’t say they’re in the majority.

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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 #476: THE 2 Content Guidelines

All great air talents know this. But the road from good to great is a little muddy sometimes. So here’s an easy “sifting” tip — the only two real Content guidelines:

1. Hopefully, what you’re talking about is something that the listener cares about.

2. But it should at LEAST be something that the listener has an interest in. Has. Already.

Here are some questions to ask yourself:
If it’s not in one of those categories, why are you doing it?
Why put yourself in the “trained seal” arena with your Content? If you’re just “performing” prep sheet stuff, you’re not as good as you could be by focusing your Content selection process.

It’s very hard to get someone’s attention if it’s just something you find interesting, or even worse, if it sounds like you’re trying to force me to have an interest in it. When I don’t care, I don’t care. And while silly is sometimes fun, it can also just be silly. (It’s about context. It still begins with one of the two categories.)

Look around you. What about where you are and what you see do you have in common with the listener? Talk about that. Add your personality. Simple.

Great shows aren’t cookie cutters. They’re INDIVIDUAL.

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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 #475: If We’re Having Fun…

One of the most incomplete thoughts ever said to air talent is “If we’re having fun, the listener’s having fun.”

Ridiculous. If the LISTENER’S having fun, the listener’s having fun. You can be having a party in the control room, but if it doesn’t resonate with the listener, it doesn’t matter.

I ask this all the time: “Who’s our target listener?”
What I usually get is a white-page report being regurgitated to me, usually a demo bracket, some assumptions treated as fact, and not one example of how to pull that person in. It’s hardly ever about one clearly targeted listener.

If you assume that all listeners want is “fun” you can have a decent, but shallow pool. To become THE show in your format, in your city, or on your network, is a different thing altogether. Learn all you can about who – specifically – you’re talking to, and you’ll be fine. (“What about the rest of the family?” Win one person over first.)

How do you learn? Go MEET that person. The one who shows up at your event is a P-1. She has friends, too. They became friends because of what they have in common, and what they care about most. Having fun is one of those things, but certainly not the only one.

Just off the top of my head, I’d add these thoughts:
Be smart. Be kind. Be observational. And be aware of taking up the listener’s 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 Coaching Tip #474: Never Be Afraid To Learn More

The other night, casually watching a New York Yankees broadcast with the most excellent Michael Kay and former great pitcher David Cone, something really struck me that Cone said. He was talking about a Yankees pitcher who had not had a good beginning last season, and made the decision to dramatically dive into the metrics that are available now – arm angle, spin rate, pitchers’ and batters’ “planes” that they pitch or swing on, etc. He totally revitalized his career when he learned about what more spin means, rather than just speed.

Think about that. These guys make millions of dollars, he’s done it one way his whole life, and all of a sudden, this guy makes a dramatic change.

The resistance to change is the greatest danger to radio. Great stations are always looking for more and better ways to connect with listeners, but a lot of air talents seem like they’re always reticent to change much, if at all.

However, just because it got you where you are doesn’t mean you’re going to stay there. Even at the Major League Baseball level, you can be on a bus back to pitch for the Bogalusa Smoothies in a heartbeat.

Listen to smart people who are looking forward all the time. Ask the PD to help you get better, or recommend they hire a coach for a few sessions a month. But always be looking for what will give an edge over the tree stump at the competing station doing the same show as yesterday and the day before that.

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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 #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.