Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #427 – I Can Read Facebook Without You

No doubt about it, Content is the biggest challenge for any air talent. RELEVANCE to the listener is the key. Not settling for something that your listener only has a passing interest in is a huge step in making your show different from all the others.

I can read Facebook without you.
I can see “filler stories” on any website without you.
I can get stories about other people, in other places, that bear no resemblance to where and how I live my life…without you.

True Content is simple, really. If I can see myself in whatever ‘scene’ or situation you talk about, it’s good. If I can’t, you’re just talking to someone else – or maybe just talking to no one.

There are only two lanes:
1. Things that are relevant to how I live.
2. Things I might NEED to know, but haven’t heard about them yet.

As Roy Williams (“the Wizard of Ads”) said, “Nobody wants to see your home movies unless they’re IN them.”

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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 #408: The Opposite

Sometimes, something 180 degrees away is what works best. You can’t do it all the time, but it’s one of the first things that I consider. Here are three examples.

1. The opposite of what anyone would think: Homer Simpson, “If Jesus had a gun, he’d be alive today.” (I thought I’d fall off the couch when I heard that.)

2. Wally, on Contemporary Christian Music network WAY-FM: instead of automatically playing an artist’s songs when he’d have that artist on as a guest, he’d do “Win it to Spin it,” meaning that the artist had to do some challenge in less time than Wally did it in order to get his/her song played. One I remember was when he had a singer form a pyramid of Spam “cakes” – without using his HANDS! (The guy had to stack them up into a pyramid with his MOUTH. Ewww! Hilarious on the air, and as a You Tube video.)

3. Once when I was on the air, my boss wanted me to do an all-request hour every Friday night. After doing it the “plain vanilla” way a couple of times, I went in exactly the opposite direction, saying “This is an all-request hour, but I’M doing all the requesting.” Totally unexpected, I had more people call in when they COULDN’T make a request than when they could. (A couple of weeks later, when I got a novelty album with 20 different versions of the song “Louie Louie”, I started the hour with “You can request any song you want…as long as it’s ‘Louie Louie’.” Believe me, there’s nothing funnier than hearing an “anthem” song done in Mariachi band style, or as a waltz…or hearing the same song requested for an entire hour.)

Try the Opposite once in a while. It opens up brand new roads.

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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 #383 – Nothing is Worse than Being Ignored

One of the main things to keep in mind for any air talent is something that strikes to our very core as human beings: nothing is worse than being ignored.

If you’re on the air, but nothing you do or say really “grabs” the listener, it’s a waste of time.

Here’s a litmus test: What stood out today about your show? (Or any day’s show, for that matter?) You should be able to think “Oh yeah, yesterday was when we did this…”

If you can’t recall something memorable from your show, neither can the listener. We all know about stations who’ve been in a market for years, but with no real success. Let’s not be one of them.

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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 #357 – SPECIAL EDITION: Coronavirus Guidelines

We’re in uncharted waters right now, because the Coronavirus is the #1 subject locally, nationally, and globally…

So let’s look at it both Strategically and from a Coaching perspective.

Strategy

These are the core ingredients in what we should want to air right now:
Acts of kindness
Stories of hope
Examples of self-sacrifice…

In short, be the “glass half full” station. If that seems corny to you, grow up. Negativity and Fear are everywhere. If you feed them, they get worse.

Coaching Tips

The Coronavirus isn’t the subject of every single break (you still want to be entertaining, too), but the virus IS the “backdrop” of everything.

If a large portion of the Content is people sharing about what the virus means in their lives, then remember that it’s not just their sweet stories, but also their concerns, and what that means in terms of being a good wife/husband/neighbor.

Something along the lines of “Yes, we’re going to play lots of songs and keep you up on the weather and traffic, etc. but let’s talk, if you want…”

Keep these things in mind:
Whenever there’s a “theme” (like taking calls about a certain thing), two ingredients are essential…

[1] A different emotion each time. If calls are all the same emotion, but just different details, that’s gonna get old quickly.

[2] Keep ‘em short. A call isn’t a conversation, it’s a sound bite. The SUM of the sound bites is the conversation.

It’ll be a challenge for some air talents to steer away from “It’s gonna be all right” platitudes and “Hallmark card” affirmations, but do your best. Remember that something as simple as your tone of voice can calm people and connect with them.

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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 #354 – You Can’t MAKE Something Matter

Content, Content, wherefore art thou?
Minutia, “filler” items, stupid lists like “12 things you can do with chili peppers,” reading vapid social media postings that a lot of people’s own relatives don’t care about. Why are we settling for this?

I probably get asked about Content and Show Prep more than anything else. It’s impossible to tell you what will be good Content tomorrow, but I do know the principle that makes it easier – and FAST:

You can’t MAKE something matter. It either does, or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, blathering on about it or making stupid jokes to try and “dress it up” won’t work.

So how do you know what matters? KNOW YOUR LISTENER. Not some cold, hard, station profile; but who he or she is, what they look like, where they came from, what their lives are like. The more you can put yourself in the listener’s shoes, the easier it is to serve subjects up like Bobby Flay fixing breakfast.

Hold your feet to the fire on NOT doing ANYTHING that doesn’t matter. It’s magic.

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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 #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 #323 — Kick Out “Kicker” Stories

The main challenge in bringing great Content to the table each day is that it takes a little work – something that it seems like the vast majority of air talents now see as more of a nuisance than anything else.

So what we get a lot of the time is the “kicker” story – one of those supposedly “amusing” stories like the “stupid criminal of the day” tripe, or innocuous, space-filling items like one I saw the day of this writing, “What your crush on Keanu Reeves actually means, according to science.”

This is the lamest form of show prep. Here’s why:

1. No one really cares.

2. Anybody who DID care already saw it. (You’re not the only one with internet service, you know.)

3. There’s nothing personally revealing in it. You’re just reading something, then maybe throwing in a comment. Any idiot can do that.

If you really want to improve your show’s Content, start right now by refusing to do ANYTHING that doesn’t matter to – or isn’t relatable to – your listener. Those “kicker” stories are just things to take up space on the page between the ads anyway. You won’t miss them, and your listener CERTAINLY won’t miss them.

When what you talk about actually matters to the listener, you have a real chance to build a solid career. “Radio personality” is a different definition than just “disc jockey”.

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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 #318 – Where You NEVER Want to Go

In essence, the air talent’s job is to take us somewhere…a journey, from beginning to end. One break at a time, one hour at a time, one day at a time.

As you do, either you leave a mental “imprint” on the listener, or you just go by unnoticed, a mosquito making a noise in the background.

While there have been tons of books written about this, one thought, originally from the great acting coach Stella Adler, and used to perfection by my friend Valerie Geller in the Talk radio world, sums it all up: Never be boring.

Stella Adler put it this way:
“You can’t be boring. Life is boring. The weather is boring. Actors must not be boring.”

There’s an easy way to avoid being boring. Simply ask yourself this: “What do I have to offer that won’t be ‘typical’?” Because THAT is what will set you apart from almost everyone else across the dial.

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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 #309 – Jump Into The Pool

The other day, during a session, we were talking about what to do for Mother’s Day. I mentioned having my mother do my show one Mother’s Day years ago, and the talent I was working with said, “I could bring my daughter on with me…which she would hate.”

I replied, “And that – her being resistant to it – would be something EVERY listener could identify with.”

Continuing, I suggested that she act out – complete with sound effects – her dragging her daughter into the room. Like…with a chain, scraping across the floor. Dripping with reluctance.

So here’s the lesson: Don’t be afraid to make things theatrical. The more you create that “theater of the mind” thing, where the listener can PICTURE it, the better.

Unlike real life, JUMP INTO THE POOL.
DON’T look to see if there’s any water in it first.
Because all people are going to remember is that you jumped.

Note: My friend Ron Chapman, legendary Dallas morning man, once jumped out of an airplane on the air. THAT was GREAT radio.

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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.