Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #338 – It’s Not the Control Room Show

At industry functions or during market visits, I’m often asked “Where do you start?” Especially by young air talents.

Here’s the answer: It’s not the Control Room Show. It’s the CAR show. That’s where the listener is. Picture his or her environment, then place yourself IN it.

Little tiny things can destroy that feeling. Here are just three examples…

Saying “out there” (like “out there in Plano”) or any “there”-type references, like “up in x” or “down in x.” This just tells the Listener that he or she is somewhere ELSE, and you’re in a little room, miles and miles away.

Talking “plural”. This takes away from you and me, in the car. Examples: “For all the listeners,” “if any of you,” “some of you…” etc. Talk to ME. ONE person.

Generic Content. I don’t CARE what happened to someone in Wyoming unless I live in Wyoming. As the great Lee Abrams points out, no station seems to be claiming the city, like “Chicago’s…(name of the station)” anymore.
I can’t understand why anyone would give up the local connection voluntarily. Be from HERE, and be PROUD of that.

And be right here with me, in my car…or not. Your choice.
(Choose wisely.)

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #332 – Everyone Has a Story, But…

The saying is that “Everyone has a story.”

That may be true, but the problem is that most people aren’t very good at TELLING it.
That’s why you have to EDIT them.

It’s Beginning > Middle > End.
What it should NOT be (but we hear way too often) is “Meandering” beginning > Middle that’s too long > Ending that’s predictable, or something being repeated that was said earlier in the story.

TAKE OUT what’s nonessential. When you eliminate unnecessary details and nebulous “side roads”, and you don’t try too hard to either make it “meaningful” or to somehow get to some punch line that just comes across as silly or insincere, you’ve left more room for Emotions. And that – the Emotional Core at the center of a story – is what impacts the listener.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #310 – Why You Want To Talk To ONE Person

Every time I hear an air talent talk to a “plurality” with words like “folks,” “ladies,” “all of you” (or “some of you”), etc. I want to call them up and do a coaching session right NOW on why this is ineffective.

Maybe you can best understand it through Bob Dylan’s acceptance speech when he received the 2016 Nobel Prize for Literature. In part, he said “As a performer, I’ve played for 50,000 people and I’ve played for 50 people, and I can tell you that it is harder to play for 50 people. 50,000 people have a singular persona; not so with 50. (With fifty) they can perceive things more clearly. Your honesty and how it relates to the depth of your talent is tried.” He added, “The fact that the Nobel committee is so small is not lost on me.”

The smaller the target, the more clear the perception, the more you can reveal. “Hello, Cleveland” doesn’t address anyone in particular.

When I worked at a female-targeted station, I just talked to my wife. When I worked a male-targeted station, I talked to my cousin Ricky, who was like a brother to me.

Put a picture of someone who personifies your target listener in the Control Room where you can’t miss it – like taping it to a chair in front of you.

Now….reveal.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2019 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #282 – Your Show’s Dual Purpose

Your show, no matter what format you’re in, has a dual purpose:

First, to talk to the person who just tuned in; and second, to talk to the person who’s been listening to you for a few minutes. Their needs are different.

If I hear two breaks in a row on the same subject (like a reset to get into a phone call), I don’t want to hear redundancy or repetitive wording, because that’s boring.

And if I only hear ONE break, you can’t just abruptly continue something you did in the previous break, because I DIDN’T hear that one.

So it’s all about the reset – specifically about the language you use. You can’t just use the same “intro” you used the first time, or the listener who heard the previous break will just think you’re on autopilot. And you should word it so NO prior knowledge is required for someone who just joined your show to understand what you’re talking about.

It’s an art, and one of the main things I work on with people I coach. You’d be surprised how many people don’t even hear themselves blathering out the exact same setup in a follow-up break – or even worse, they DO hear it, but just take the easiest, most mindless road possible. That’s a good way 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
© 2018 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #258 – The Power of ONE Word

One word can change everything. If you’re going to be a truly good Talent, you have to actually think about the words that are coming out of your mouth. I work with people all the time on this.

For example, I heard this the other day:
“I want to hear from you RIGHT NOW. Can you think of a song that’s got something about automobiles in it?”

No. And even if I could, why should I call you? What’s in it for me?

You can’t treat listeners like employees. They’re not here to do your bidding. You’re here to do theirs, actually.

There’s a palpable difference between “Stop by Safeway and get your coupon” (which sounds like an order) and “Stop by Safeway to get your coupon” (which is you explaining an opportunity).

I can hear the feedback now – “boy, that’s really nitpicking.” Yep. You’re right. And that “nit” is the PPM device, showing that I just got tired of being ordered around, and switched to another station with a more inviting tone.

Here’s another, easier to understand example, from my former morning show partner in Dallas, Rick “The Beamer” Robertson, a true wordsmith. Recently, I moved back from Hawaii to my hometown, Shreveport, Louisiana. Rick didn’t know we had moved back, and sent me this text, after hearing about the volcanic activity close to where I used to live:

“I saw there was an erection in your neighborhood. Are you safe?”

Then he sent, “…an eruption.”

No, it wasn’t a typo. He just understands the power of ONE WORD, and made me and my wife laugh out loud.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2018 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #225 – How to Zoom in on the Difference between Openness and Transparency

We hear a lot these days about being “transparent” on the air, and I get what the spirit of that is. But being totally transparent can be too close to the bone.

I always use the term “being open.”

Being open is different, and better. If you’re unsure where the line is between openness and transparency, just remember this: Nobody goes to a party to watch a guy fight with his wife. You’re in the Entertainment business. Some things SHOULDN’T be revealed.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #223 – Varying your Resets

The other day, for about the gazillionth time, I heard a jock who had a phone call thing going use the exact same story he had told to start the whole thing off as he went into a call.

In our session the next day, I told him, “I don’t get why you’d do this. We just heard that story a few minutes ago.”

His thinking was that if someone just tuned in, they needed a reset to understand the call about it.

I agree – but you should use a DIFFERENT “entry” every time you revisit a subject or play a phone call in response to it.

This is why I preach “camera angles” to everyone I coach. You have to be able to see things from different perspectives to keep a subject fresh.
Otherwise, it’s just “That again?” Click.

The secret to Time Spent Listening isn’t some left-brain “clock” exercise, and it’s certainly not in constantly teasing every single thing you’re going to do. It’s about being WORTH THE LISTENER’S TIME whenever you open the mic. Not being redundant is a good first step. 😄

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #221 – Another Seinfeld Content Tip

Cruising around You Tube yesterday, I saw an interview with Jerry Seinfeld by Norm MacDonald.

Norm brought up a hypothetical scene: Two people go to a bowling alley and….what happens next?

If you’ve seen Seinfeld much at all, you know about his ‘internal radar’ as to what makes something funny – or not. So he interrupted MacDonald at that point and said “Why are they in the bowling alley?”
He went on to dismiss the “future plot development” idea that (and I’m paraphrasing here) “if you’re doing the scene because that’s where he meets this person who becomes a significant figure in his life, that’s not gonna work.” The answer to ‘why are they there?’ has to be funny IN ITSELF, not just as a tool for some future plot development.

This is a really important thing that goes directly to Purpose, and not just leading the listener down some garden path.

Coincidentally, I had a session yesterday with a female talent who brought up the factoid that “we all spend ten minutes a day looking for stuff that we’ve misplaced,” and then went on to tell a story about her husband being so used to her losing her phone that he instantly replied “Babe, it’s right here” when she mentioned that she didn’t know where she had left it.

But see, that doesn’t answer the fundamental question that Seinfeld alludes to – why are we there, in that scenario? WHY are you talking about it?
For radio purposes, something has to be entertaining in itself, right off the bat, in order to further the show in a non-random way and to make your Content relevant.

This is why just launching into a story about yourself isn’t necessarily a slam-dunk when it comes to scoring score points with the listener. If you’re working hard at trying to be “transparent” and to “tell stories” (things we hear all the time, but usually get no instructions as to exactly HOW to do that), remember that if the only reason you bring something up is to “fill the page” with something, or to talk about yourself, that’s not enough. Dig deeper. There’s another FOUNDATIONAL level – the one that guided Seinfeld’s career – that needs to be considered.

If this seems too nebulous, too obvious, or too introspective…well, sorry. But radio is in a dangerous place right now where “items” and “stories” that don’t resonate with the listener have replaced actual sharing and bonding. You can’t just do “bits”. I can get those off You Tube.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2017 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #173 – Happy Generic Fluff

It’s so different on the other end of the radio.

Recently, a morning show I just starting working with did a break on “Words to not use with kids.” Obviously, it was some article they plucked off the internet, and it sounded like it. They thought it was “interesting”, but to me it was just the easiest road to take, pumping something into the show that was actually just “filler” stuff to take up space between the banner ads on some website.

What I told them:
This isn’t a break that we “make better”. It’s a break that we don’t do.

“Happy generic fluff” is NOT meaningful Content, especially when it just sounds like a self-help or “motivational” book. Be better than that. You’re here to share your thoughts and feelings on things that matter most to the listener TODAY. Not “The 16 Most Important Foods to Avoid” which is usually subtitled something like “Number 9 will amaze you!” (It never does. And I’m going to keep eating hot sauce until it flows out of my ears, no matter what it does to my stomach lining.)

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Tip #163 – Fun Grows out of Relevance

The future of radio – no matter how it’s delivered – is going to be about Personalities. Air Talent that seems like your best, most entertaining friend; that person that always finds just the right word to describe something that we’re both going through or thinking about.

But radio isn’t the Chuckle Shack. We’re not standup comedians, and shouldn’t really want to seem like that, anyway. You just want to be that one person that always gets invited to the party because you’ll be interesting and amusing, and make the person who’s hosting the party look good for inviting you.

Here’s the way it works:

Job One is to only talk about things that are relevant and top-of-mind to the listener. Once you’re zeroed in on “narrow focusing” your Content to that degree, Fun grows out of that.

But there’s a difference between being perceived as fun versus seeming like someone “trying to be funny”.
I think that the very core of “trying to be funny” is when you take something that ISN’T relevant and attempt to make it entertaining.

You have to CHOOSE. One way leads to tremendous, never-ending growth. The other leads to actually having to WORK for a living. Ewww.

Work joyfully on getting better. If you hit a wall, get a coach.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2016 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.