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 $455: How to Get Into Something

How you get into a subject is the first great skill. When you can get to the point easily and concisely, you have a better chance to get the listener to join you.

For years, people have been taught the “headline” mentality, which is a decent thing to keep in mind, but that can also work against sounding conversational.

Keep these thoughts in mind…

1. You have about twenty seconds to “tether” the subject to the listener. Don’t rush, but don’t waste words, either.

2. Start with the Subject first, or start with the Listener first, instead of starting with yourself. Your show is about us, not just about you.

3. You want the listener to be able “see” himself/herself in whatever situation you’re describing.

Refine this one skill and you’ll have a lot fewer ‘swings and misses’ with your Content.

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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 $452: Any idiot…

The great Larry Ryan in Shreveport, Louisiana, was my first true radio mentor. In our first aircheck session, he stopped the tape and said, “Any idiot can sit there and intro songs…”

That empowered me to DO something on the air. (Larry would keep saying it until you did.)

To update this: Any idiot can read a social media post. I can read Facebook or look at Instagram, etc. without you. What else have you got? What’s something personal you can share with me that we have in common? Use YOUR life…OUR lives.

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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 #447: The Touchstone Factor

A touchstone is something that serves as a conduit between two people. It connects them. I touch this end, you touch that end.

Content on the air is exactly the same – or it fails. If something you talk about is something I can identify with, or see myself doing, that “touchstone” is a winner.

So ask yourself this question: Why would you talk about something that’s only about you?

If I’m not in the picture (as a listener), you’re not going to be very successful.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #444: Everything is Local, or It’s Not

Sometimes, in an effort to seem “bigger,” we lose focus.

Here’s a question for you: If I hear your station for the first time, does it sound and feel local, or not? (And I’m not talking about street names. I mean things that we share with the listener, things that the listener can picture himself or herself going through, too.)

If you don’t feel local – personal – then you’re generic. (Think generic food, as opposed to “brand name” food. “Corn chips” don’t translate the same as “Fritos.”)

Local = emotional engagement.

Generic = who cares?

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #423: What Makes You Matter

So in a nutshell, here’s the biggest thing about Content:

You will not matter to anyone unless you talk about something that matters to that person.

I know – this sounds so simple, so the question is, “Why do so many stations fill the air with things that don’t matter to the listener?”

My theory is that they just don’t know yet what the whole purpose of radio is. Or they’re ego-driven, which is the wrong road. Let’s be clear – nobody cares about what you want, or what the board of directors’ goals are. They care only about what you do that entertains them, or informs them about something they might need to know, but maybe they haven’t heard yet.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #406: A Lesson from Alex Trebek

Watching ‘Jeopardy’ these days is strange for the millions of people of all ages who grew up watching Alex Trebek emcee the show. First, Ken Jennings, the greatest contestant of all time, hosted. Then the Producer of the show, Mike Richards, came in with his “Don Draper” looks and professionalism. Then Katie Couric, enthusiastic, but…

While we know a little about Jennings and a lot about Couric (but in another setting), we knew a lot more about Alex. He loved travel, his pride in Canada was cute, and just the WAY he conducted the show spoke volumes about his respect for what could have been just another Game Show.

Think about that. Why was it different with Alex? Why didn’t the guest hosts capture us like Trebek did?

Because, over time, we learned about Alex, from his appearance to his demeanor, and through the pancreatic cancer diagnosis and treatment that told us all about his dedication to his job. The way he kept the show moving, but knew when to slow it down and elicit stories from the contestants, tease them, applaud them.

Now think about your audience, and their relationship with you. IS there one? Are you doing anything worth their time? Do you know when to keep it moving? Is there anything happening that shares a little about you and your attitude toward doing your job, and how does that compare to an Alex Trebek?

He’ll be remembered by many as the guy who was so universal that he was parodied for YEARS on Saturday Night Live – a show that prides itself on being about THIS week. Would your listenership even notice it if you left?

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #405: Meet the Listener Where He/She Lives

The whole key to Content is one simple thought – “tethering” the Subject to the Listener. You have to meet her or him where they live.

Just recently, I watched an old “Andy Griffith Show” rerun about a Mayberry High School reunion. It touched everything I felt about my own reunion, how it reawakens old feelings, puts things in perspective, etc. (Andy saw his High School girlfriend, wondered why they drifted apart, then realized why when they got into an argument over staying in Mayberry as a “big fish is a small pond” instead of her moving to Chicago to compete in a larger arena.)

Over the years of watching what are now classic sitcoms, two names keep coming up: Everett Greenbaum and Jim Fritzell. Name any big show in that era – Andy Griffith, M*A*S*H, Mary Tyler Moore show, etc. – and they wrote episodes for it.
They had the knack of writing something very particular to each character, but framed by what the viewer had in common with them.

That’s your challenge, too. If you need help, get some coaching. This is an Art, not just a technique.

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Tommy Kramer
Talent Coach
214-632-3090 (iPhone)
e-mail: coachtommykramer@gmail.com
Member, Texas Radio Hall of Fame
© 2021 by Tommy Kramer. All rights reserved.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #391: The Significance of Bubblegum

Connecting with the listener – as soon as possible in any given break – is Job One. I’ve spent hundreds of hours doing sessions about this one thing with air talent in every English-speaking format, and the best example is the simplest one:

I like bubblegum. You like bubblegum, too. Let’s be friends.

That’s the way we form relationships as kids. We start with what we have in common. The problem with so much of radio today, where some faceless voice selects an article or a subject from the internet or social media, then adds a lame punch line to it, is that it lacks that fundamental “bubblegum” ingredient.

This is why “News of the Weird”, “Trivia”, “Stupid Criminal Stories”, “This Day in History”, and contests that are too complicated and don’t sound like I can win the prize anyway are massive “Fails” today.

Reject all those. START with what you and the listener have in common. If you don’t really know who the station is targeting, ask your PD today. If you need help learning how to do this, well, there’s always coaching…

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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 #389: Selling versus Telling

There’s a huge difference between “selling” and “telling”.

“Selling” something isn’t nearly as effective as simply Telling me about it; sharing. There’s a built-in resistance to someone pounding a message home.

Disc jockeys are told to “sell” liners, copy points, etc. But you don’t “sell” your friends on something. You just share what you know or believe. (If you do “sell” all the time, believe me, your friends are tired of it and you need to stop.) This is why disc jockeys aren’t doing movie trailers and national ads.

In working with many voice actors that you hear every day on national spots, I’ve often stressed just talking to the listener/viewer. A great example from the past is voiceover master Mason Adams, famous for “With a name like Smuckers, it has to be good.”

Just talk to me. It works.

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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.