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 #426: A Quick Phone Call Guide

Three simple rules for great phone calls in music radio:

1. Have a clear ending in mind. ‘Real’ people can be entertaining…but not all that often. 😄

2. Let the caller finish his sentence before you jump in. If two people are both talking at the same time, it’s hard to make out what either one of them says. You’re going to edit the call anyway, so be patient. That makes for good audio. (If you’re taking live calls, that’s like rolling a grenade into the room.)

3. Remember that to the listener, it’s a conversation. But to us, it’s a sound bite. Do a nice, compact setup (or reset), hit the call, take the “out”.

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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 #425: The Condensed Version

My friend and associate John Frost says I’m the only one he knows who can talk for an hour about editing, so I’ll try to keep this short: Keep things short.

Condense. The fewer words you can use, the easier it is to follow. You don’t have to feel restricted, but as you put a break together, throw out words that aren’t really necessary. That makes what you leave in stand out more.

Think about it; very few long quotes ever get cited by anyone. It’s usually the short, most direct one that gets remembered and repeated.

Note for Talk Radio: this does apply. It’s amazing how short, impactful sentences get the best response. Longer, wordier diatribes tend to get more placid response…or the same person who called yesterday with the same type of comment he’s making today. Three short sentences get better reaction than one sentence three times as long.

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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 #424: Two Questions to Ask Yourself

I don’t like asking questions, but here are two that you should ask yourself, whether you’re an air talent, Programmer, or GM:

1. What do you have that I can’t get everywhere else?
In the current era of “cookie cutter” formats, this is crucial. If all you are is a corporate playlist and people reading liners and crap from the internet, the answer to that question is “nothing.”

2. What do you have that I can’t get ANYWHERE else?
And remember, it has to be relevant. Just being “different” isn’t enough.

The answers to these two questions will decide your future. There are too many entertainment alternatives available today for you to expect people to waste their time listening to boring radio. Do SOMETHING…rather than do nothing.

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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 $422: Inside Out, Outside In

There are basically two styles – Inside out, or Outside in.

“Inside out” shows are first fueled by the people in the Control Room thinking “What interests us will interest the Listener.” Maybe, but these shows are often asleep at the wheel in terms of welcoming in new listeners.

“Outside in” shows are a bit more interactive in terms of listener participation (getting more phone calls, social media response, etc.), but you’d better make sure that you engage people emotionally. As a listener, a “topic” that doesn’t touch my life is a waste of my time.

Either philosophy can work, but either type can fail, too. The key? Content choices, of course. It might help you to remember that merely “interesting” is never the same as Compelling.

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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 #421: Proximity, and what it Means for you

It’s probably only natural to not want to be coached. But the air talents I’ve encountered who feel that way (at first) are usually the ones who just don’t see past trying to be funny, or think that “trending” in social media is a goal. (It’s not. Connecting with the Listener is.) And those things will come as a byproduct of your skills improving.

I’ve always seen coaching – at least the way I do it – as being like an acting coach working with actors, and most of the things I teach come from an acting or writing background, in addition to decades of radio experience. We start with the radio stuff – how to do the “basics” (giving the station’s name, artist info, time, etc.), then, when that’s really solid and varied, it’s all about the Art.

So here’s a lesson: Proximity is the decider of delivery.

Think about it. Where you “see” the listener being determines how you say something. If you see me just a couple of feet away from you in my car, that’s one thing. If you picture me as 10 feet away in an office full of noise, that’s different. Or maybe you picture me driving in traffic with my head on a swivel, trying not to get killed by some clod with his ear buds in, yakking on the phone while he eats a breakfast burrito. (You may need to talk louder.)

If you don’t know, make it up. Give yourself a proximity “setting” that fits what you’re going to talk about. All of a sudden, you’re not just another ‘voice saying words’ in the background. You’re talking to me. Every great talent – and every great station – has this ingredient.

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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 #420: Keep on Sharing

What you bring to the table besides your voice and the ability to read things off a computer screen is what decides whether people actually listen to you or not. Here’s a tip taken from a recent coaching session recap:

Keep on sharing. What you have in common with the listener is what brings her/him a step closer. Always bringing the listener closer makes the station a star, and each Personality a star.

The rest of the time, it’s just about being a good ambassador for the station, and being a good voice actor.

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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 #419: Start with the Name, then Add

Better voice acting is always part of the quest, and that starts with how you say the station’s name.

On my stations, we put it first (the first thing out of your mouth) for a reason, like the Jif label on the outside of the jar. So it’s important that you have an “I like peanut butter” sound. With that thought in mind, then all you have to do in MusicRadio is simply match the tempo and emotional ‘vibe’ of the song, and you’ll be right in the pocket….a part of – and logical extension of – the music, instead of interrupting it to sell something. From there, you just continue with whatever the Content is. But you’re already more “ear friendly” from this one technique.

Note: I believe in the name of the station first in all formats. Not every market has PPM. If you’re a diary market, it’s important to get CREDIT for what you do. So plant that seed.

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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 #418: Composition!

With the emphasis put on storytelling nowadays, a lot of air talent is left in the dark, with no real coaching on HOW to become better at it. COMPOSITION is the missing skill a lot of the time. So here are three guidelines that I coach:

1. As you prep the break (or podcast), pay attention to what needs to be left OUT. Most C-level stories have too many “scenes”, too many names, or too many plot points that really aren’t necessary. Weed them out.

2. Endings are the second-most pressing need for improved storytelling. Avoid trying to “tie a neat bow around it” at the end. “Aesop’s Fable” endings are fine for children, but can sound sappy or redundant to most people. You’ll stand out more by NOT doing this. The same goes for the “self-help book” type of ending. Ick. Knock off the moralizing, please. And the ending should always be something that WASN’T said earlier in the break. Surprise me.

3. The first place where something unexpected is said is probably going to be the best ‘exit’. Taking the First Exit is surprising in itself, because most people drive right past it.

Hope this helps you.

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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.