Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #577: A Simple Guide to Giving the Weather

It’s a shame that so few music stations do a good job of giving the weather forecast. An air talent clonking through it like it’s the biggest chore in the world is a drag, but by far, the more irritating form is the person who has to give every single little detail. Let me help you with this…

UNLESS YOU’RE FACING SEVERE WEATHER, the forecast should be short and sweet. What’s the high today, the low tonight, maybe the high tomorrow, and tell me if it’s going to rain (or snow). That’s it.

No “Partly cloudy with a thirty percent chance of showers today, then turning to mostly cloudy tonight and a forty percent chance of more showers or thunderstorms. Tomorrow, again mostly cloudy with a fifty percent chance of showers. High today in the high seventies, then we’ll see an overnight low in the upper 60s. Tomorrow’s high will be around 80. Currently, it’s 79 in Saddlebag, in Turkey Beak City it’s 76, and here at the KRKL studios, it’s 77.”

In case you think I’m joking, what set off this review is that I did actually hear a 111-word forecast recently!

Let’s make it easy. …4 guidelines:

(1) Anything less than 50% is “a chance of rain.” Anything higher is “a good chance of rain.” I don’t care about the amount of cloudiness. (“Cloudy,” “some clouds,” or “clear” is definitive without being analytical.)

(2) “Currently” is an unnecessary word. Of course it’s “currently”. You wouldn’t say “and two days ago, it was 75.”

(3) Pick a number. It’s not “in the high seventies.” It’s “High 78” or “high near 78.” (Then if it doesn’t make it to that temperature, God changed it. But at least you knew what it was supposed to be. Same with the low. Not “low thirties.” Instead, use “low 32” or low near 32.”) This sounds more accurate, and lends credibility. (“About” or “around” just says “I don’t really know.”)

(4) No one cares what the temperature is at your studio (wherever that is), or at the airport. I’m not in your building, and if I’m at the airport, I’m leaving town, and I no longer care what the temperature is.

Hope this helps.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #569: Conquering the “One Speed” Thing

“Ear fatigue” can be caused by many different things. I want to refocus on one that I’m hearing way too much – the “one set speed” delivery. It doesn’t seem to matter if the song is “having a stroke” fast or “worm crawling” slow, the air talent is at one speed all the time. No variation. It’s boring. That person is a time filler, rather than a true personality.

(To be fair, this is often the result of a P. D. talking about “momentum”, which is a different thing, and isn’t dependent on speed.)

Anyway, in music formats, the cure to the “one speed” disease is really easy: Your delivery should match the Pace, or the Mood, of the song you’re talking over or coming out of. (Ideally, you’d do both.)

And for my Talk radio friends and clients – you should also watch falling into one set speed. Different subjects require different deliveries. They have a best pace or vibe, too.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #563: Talk About People’s Feelings

Years ago at a radio gathering in Nashville, a dear friend and outstanding morning show talent and I did a Content seminar.

My friend had himself drifted a bit himself, doing old creaky bits like “This Day in History” and “Stupid Criminal Stories”.

…until I started coaching him. In the seminar, we talked about dropping stuff like that, and being more real-life and specific to his area, when a person in the audience asked what was wrong with trying to get a little humor out of something like “This Day in History”.

I explained that it’s “empty calories” in diet-speak, because it doesn’t really tell us anything about you. And since it’s just factoids, there’s no connection between you and the listener doing stuff like that.

Then I said, “You need to be talking to the woman who’s in the grocery store and has a hundred dollars…but the bill just rang up as 120 dollars, so she’s having to take some things out of the shopping cart, and she’s embarrassed.”

Talk about what people FEEL. It cannot fail. You’ll be a star.
Yes, there are techniques involved, but I’ve seen this work for literally hundreds of people that I’ve coached.

What do you have to lose by throwing away stock bits that don’t mean anything to anyone now? Crack your chest open and let us see what’s in there.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #562: A Useful Key to Using Social Media Posts on the Air

It’s hard to understand why an air talent thinks that reading social media posts on the air can somehow be inherently interesting in itself.

Sure, some postings are good, cool, funny, sweet. And we can certainly use those. But we all know that most “normal” people – who aren’t trained in how to communicate or entertain – are pretty boring. Bless their hearts, they use too many words and include insignificant details. The first sentence we hear can make you not want to hear the second one.

However, I never point out an issue without giving you a solution. Here’s a simple cure that will make this work for you:

Just use the good part – the one “quote” worth repeating. It’ll just be a sentence or two. We don’t need to know their dogs’ names.

Then you continue – if you want to – with your words, not more of theirs.

Start today in disciplining yourself to quit reading too much of it. Just using the one relevant part as a springboard, with your supplying the rest, lets us know how YOU feel. (We bond when that happens.) And the bonus is that this process actually makes the person who posted it look smarter.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #559: Two Thoughts About Imaging

Your station’s Imaging is on 24/7/365. More, by FAR, than any individual air talent is on.

It sends out your message to the listener; how you want to be thought of. Or as everyone says today, “Your Brand.” (Ick. What a stupid label.)

So, let me help you with two related thoughts:

1. Tell the truth.
Enough with the empty bragging. “The best of today and yesterday” sounds like a butcher shop trying to get rid of some hamburger that looks kind of gray.

2. Tell me what makes you different.
We’ve heard all the “blah blah” about “your favorites” or “50-minute music hours” or “12 in a row”. What separates you from every other station? What’s the Benefit for my spending time with you? (“Traffic on the 8s” worked for KRLD in Dallas, and became a mainstay for many other stations after they saw how this worked.)

If I consider every time your Imaging plays to be an unnecessary commercial for you, that’s not going to form the basis of a long-term relationship. Why you, instead of someone else? THAT should be your message.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #555: Finding the Core of a Topic

Okay, let’s go to work on why a topic (if we must use that word) clicks on the air, or just falls kind of flat.

Case in point, a husband-and-wife afternoon show I’ve coached for several years. They have lots of chemistry and a good sense of who the listener is, but like everyone, they need a little reminder now and then.

Our last session focused on thinking about subject matter in an artistic way; how to really bring something to life. Remember, the whole idea is to actually ENGAGE the Listener.

Here’s what I sent them in a session recap:

The other day, you got into a thing with this: So many times, we have inanimate objects that we decide to give them a name…”
Okay, that’s true, but why do I care? The reason is simple – that wording lacks a core Emotion.

But “We give names to the things we LOVE, like our cars…” is stronger, because it plugs into the emotional side of the brain, rather than just the intellectual side.

You’ll find that the starting place for prepping something is to find its Emotional “center”. It’ll frame the story, and shape the wording for you.

Yes, I know, I dwell on this a lot. But it’s the difference between a “blah” movie and a great movie that you wouldn’t mind seeing again.

And your show is really a movie without the camera.

More on that in the next tip.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #554: The First Class Curtain

If you fly a lot, you get perks, upgrades, free beverages, hot towels, and great seats. If you don’t (like me), you’re crammed into the “cattle car” seats with Jabba the Hut sitting next to you with his elbow in your ribs the entire flight. There’s that curtain between coach and First Class that says, “You’re not welcome here.”

The point being that often, a business concentrates so hard on pleasing the core customer that it treats the others like they’re not particularly wanted, except to buy a ticket.

Radio stations went through a phase of trying to attract everybody, then realized that concentrating on the core listener was better.

But many of them, especially in formats like Smooth Jazz, NewsTalk, and Contemporary Christian, largely ONLY appealed to the target listener. This is why Fox News, CNN, and MSNBC’s audiences are smaller than the audience for “Two and a Half Men” or “Everybody Loves Raymond” reruns.

Look, I totally believe in aiming for the middle of the bulls-eye when it comes to the target listener. But I also believe that you don’t want to give the impression that that’s the only person you want.

I’ve heard Smooth Jazz air talents dive so deep into the music – “so and so played saxophone on this song”-type stuff that they RULE OUT anyone else listening. And definitely many Contemporary Christian Music stations can fall into this trap. Sometimes the Imaging alone is what can chase people away.

So here’s the lesson: yes, aim at the target listener, but make it easy for someone just tuning in for the first time to feel just as welcome. This doesn’t mean widening the playlist or opening up Content to try and speak to everyone. It simply means that you want to be accessible. No curtain.

You’re welcome. No charge.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #553: The More Intimate, the Better

One of the things that keeps coming up in my coaching sessions is this imaginary concept that you want to spread a wide blanket over your Content, keeping it accessible to the masses. “Broad” Subject headings, not too personal, is the way a lot of stations sound. I can’t name any right this moment, because they’re too generic to remember.

Here’s what’s actually true: the more intimate your Content is, the more people you attract.

You’ll find that the things that upset you or bug you the most, just like the things that lift your heart the most, are the most universal. It’s when we get “one size fits all” in our thinking that we lose the most one-on-one connections.

There’s a reason that Apple lets you label your purchases. I just got new AirPods, in their little charging unit WITH MY NAME ON IT.

Just another reason why Apple is so successful. You never feel like you’re just a name and a credit card to them.

Your show should be YOUR show. People don’t respond as well to just “a” show.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #552: The 3 Technique

If you need a good example of how NOT to bring more people into the fold, Sports broadcasting is it.

The other day, I watched an NFL game, and the “color” commentator said, “They’ve got a linebacker there playing three-technique…”
Huh? What does that mean? The average viewer (or listener) has NO CLUE. Apparently, it means that some linebacker either has three legs, or just ordered three pizzas from Dominoes.

I’d bet that nobody knows what “three technique” means except defensive coordinators or died-in-the-wool superfans.

So, instead of being an idiot, try this: think of the listener as being AT LEAST as smart as you are, but NOT necessarily as informed as you are.

Make it easy for me. It’s either that, or you’re constantly talking over people’s heads. Guess which works better.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2024 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #549: Contests – ONE Step

Wow, there are a lot of Contests and Promotions going on these days. But many (most?) of them don’t seem to generate a ton of interest. The reason is simple: they’re too complicated.

“Stop by each of their 5 locations and register at each one.” Nope. Not gonna happen.

“Go to our website and sign up. Then listen for the Daily Clue all month long. When you hear your name called…etc.” No. I don’t have that kind of time.

“Tell us why you think you should win these tickets…” I don’t want to tell strangers my life story in order to win two tickets to a concert where all I’m going to hear is tuneless bellowing from the tone-deaf people around me.

“When you hear the duck quack, jump from the top of the tallest building in town. As you fall, look for the clown in the 12th floor window. Wave to him with your LEFT hand and give him our “secret sign”. Then, before you reach the bottom floor, flip your body over and try to land face down on the sidewalk in front of the building. If you have the most body parts left inside the chalk outline that we’ve drawn on the sidewalk, that puts you (or more likely your surviving family members) into a drawing for a free one-day pass to Disney World! (Plane fare not included.)

No…just no. ONE step is what works. “When you hear this sound (sound effect plays), be the 9th caller and you win!

Keep it simple, or just have the same 30 people win every prize you ever give away. Better yet, offer something that people DREAM about having (or doing). Then just let me take one step to win it. You’ll be amazed at the response you get.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (mobile)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2023 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.