Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #556: Your Show is a Movie

In the last tip, I said “Your show really is a movie without the camera.”

After you get past learning “the basics”, then develop a real Personality on the air, you’ll hopefully reach a stage in your career where the ego disappears and you actually just get in a zone where it’s almost impossible to have a bad show.

But I believe it requires getting outside of radio, mentally, and seeing each “Content” break you do as a little movie (without the camera).

What do I, as a listener, FEEL when you talk about something?
Great movies operate on an emotional plane. Example: ‘Star Wars’ wasn’t really about special effects. It was a space western, focused on good and evil. And two of the best decisions that George Lucas made were (1) picking Alec Guinness to play Obi-wan Kenobi, and (2) getting James Earl Jones to do the voice of Darth Vader. Because they’re great actors, and just their voices alone define what their characters are all about, and where the plot line is.

Think about this as you put something on the air. For instance, as you edit a phone call (or take one live), where’s that place that you’d get out, if this were a movie? I hear so many calls where the air talent just won’t take that first “exit”, and apparently can’t keep from summarizing or editorializing or playing psychologist. (Which poisons what we just heard.)

Really think about how you frame Content. First, select a camera angle and identify what emotion is at the core. Think about how to ENGAGE the listener. Shape the vocabulary. Decide if you want to use some music under it. (Hint: it should “cradle” what’s being said). Have a definite ending in mind.

When your show is like a little movie we watch every day, you won’t have to worry about your ratings.

If you haven’t gotten to this level yet, get a coach. (I actually know of one you could use. )

– – – – – – –
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.

– – – – – – –
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.

– – – – – – –
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.

– – – – – – –
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.

– – – – – – –
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 # 551: The Cure for How Radio Changes You

As your career advances, radio changes you. Early in your career, you might think that everything needs to be stressed. So it’s easy to talk about something in a way that makes it seem like you’re battering me with things. A little too much “hype”.

The cure for this is so simple: just put emphasis on ONE word in each sentence, instead of trying to hype every single copy point.

Just relax. We’re entering an era when nobody wants to be SHOUTED AT anymore. Plus, I’m in my car, not taking notes. Too many points delivered too emphatically just makes for sensory overload.

Simplify the message; relax the delivery.

You can still be excited or have “energy” (whatever that elusive concept is), but only in the way that you would in a real-life conversation you’d have with a good friend. Everything else is just too “over the top”.

– – – – – – –
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.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #550: Open the Door a Little Bit Wider

The best way to build a larger and more loyal audience is to open the door a little bit wider each day. The message is a simple one: “Come on in. Here’s what you and I have in common.”

There are certain techniques I coach in order to avoid people thinking all you do is talk about yourself, but the bottom line Is you want to do this every day. If I don’t learn something today about you that I can relate to, there’s really no connection. Anyone can just select something to talk about, then add a punch line. But that’s not necessarily revealing.

And to REVEAL…is to Connect.

– – – – – – –
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.

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.

– – – – – – –
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.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #548: Why “More Music” Doesn’t Really Work Anymore

“More Music” used to be a big thing. Talk – of any kind – was pretty much the enemy. (One station in Dallas promoted “No Disc Jockeys”.) And a lot of stations had the goal of playing as many songs as possible in every single hour.

That approach just won’t work very well anymore. Here’s why:
I can get the music you play on any number of platforms – SiriusXM, Spotify, Pandora, Amazon Music, iTunes, You Tube, etc. etc. etc. And I can hear all those songs WITHOUT YOU.

People hunger to be entertained. They hunger to connect with air talents who talk about our lives, what we each go through every day, what amuses us, what makes us sad, even.

Music can’t win by itself. CONTENT wins. Make me laugh, make me cry, make me feel like we have something in common.
And on top of that, play songs that I like a lot. Simple.

– – – – – – –
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.

Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #547: The Attention Span of a Hummingbird

Radio isn’t the same as 20 years ago – or even 10 years ago. It can’t be. There are so many other entertainment options, from wasting hours reading nameless, faceless people’s comments on social media to a gazillion channels on TV, You Tube, etc.

Radio listeners today have the attention span of a hummingbird. A couple of minutes (or less) and “click” – off they go.

This is why, as an air talent, you need to do something compelling or entertaining NOW. If there’s nothing going on for a few minutes, the listener is gone. The average “listen” is now less than 20 minutes, and people want to be engaged – or you’re dead in the water.

If you’re a PD, you’d better be encouraging everyone to be a full-blown Personality. This doesn’t necessarily mean trying to be funny. CONNECTING with the listener is what works. What do you and I have in common? Talk about that.

– – – – – – –
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.