Tommy Kramer Coaching Tip #360 – The Better Idea

The Better Idea. That’s what always wins. Apple. Streaming. Social media.

As an air talent, limiting yourself to just trying to match the other guy, or just trying to do a decent job…well, that’s setting the bar too low.

What you should want to do is get better, get clearer on what you want to do, and get more proficient at doing it. Here are three easy steps toward getting better in just one month:

Step 1 – be able to tell someone, in detail, what your listener’s life is today. The more you know about the listener, the more relevant you can be. Relevance is ALWAYS the better idea.

Step 2 – do what the format allows, but make sure that you come across as a person, not just a voice. This is multi-layered, because we’re also voice actors, to a degree. Start with trying to sound ON the air just like you sound OFF the air.

Step 3 – Reject the typical or the easiest thing to do. Keep adding stuff all the time. Burn material like jet fuel. Try something this week that you’ve never done before.

That should jump start things. ⏱

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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 #359 – Your Station and…Relevance

You can’t MAKE yourself seem more relevant. You have to just BE relevant.

No ‘slogan’ (like “Favorites of the Eighties, Nineties, and Today”) will do this.

And it’s not confined to radio. A TV station where I live uses “On Your Side” as their slogan. I wasn’t aware that I took any particular side, but after watching their hapless evening news team, I don’t WANT them on my side.

Kleenex. That name probably has relevance to you. Lysol = hugely relevant, especially as COVID-19 proved.

At some point, your NAME has to STAND for Relevance.

So remember that what happens when the mic opens – usually in the first 10 seconds or so – is what either keeps the listener here, or chases that listener away. Say something relevant.

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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 #358 – The More You Learn…

Watching one of the 700 “home renovation” shows my wife loves recently, I was caught up in what a worker said.

This is a guy who runs one of those machines that excavates earth at an alarmingly fast rate. But he was interested in learning other things, too. So, even though he’s just starting out in a landscaping career, he apparently has an eye for the future as he said, “The more you learn, the more you’re worth.”

It’s the same in radio. The deeper your knowledge, the wider your skill set. And surprisingly, you also get better at executing any one particular task.

These are “next step” areas:
• Getting better at sounding natural.
• Getting better at putting just the right emphasis on the words to paint a visual picture in the mind of the listener.
• Getting better at transferring a real Emotion in whatever it is you’re talking about.
• Getting better timing.
• Getting a better and deeper understanding of the listener.

The minute you stop learning, you start slipping. We’re lucky to make a living moving air around. We OWE our profession a willingness to learn more about it.

(That’s why this website exists.)

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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 #356 – Your “B” Side

You want to be KNOWN for something. Some quality – humor, relatable “just like I am” presence, unique vocabulary – SOMETHING that makes you different from everyone else.

But you don’t ONLY want to be known for one thing.

In the days of vinyl 45 rpm singles, the “A” side was why you bought it – at first. But as the Beatles proved, the “B” side was often just as good. It’s that way in everything. Harrison Ford was Han Solo, but he was also “The Fugitive”. Lebron James is a great basketball player, but what he’s given back to his hometown is what defines him as a human being.

To LAST, there has to be depth. (This is something that people in the public eye need to pay attention to. Today’s “trending” is tomorrow’s “Is he still alive?”)

Develop your main thing to the fullest. Then add another thing.

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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 #355 – Finding the Right Volume

This may seem academic, but I’m hearing a lot of that “bull-horn” delivery lately.

Finding the right volume isn’t usually something you just “get”. It takes exploring different mic techniques, and learning as much as you can about your vocal “instrument”. Being able to “caress” something, vocally, is important. We’re voice actors, not just “personalities”.

Voice trackers, in particular, often sound totally out of touch with the music, because they don’t think about volume and intonation. Or, as the great voice coach Marice Tobias calls it, “noticing” a word, rather than the typical instruction to “inflect” or “sell” it.

Let me try to quantify this for you:
The Standard is what I refer to as “normal plus ten percent.” You work in either direction from that “setting”. The extra ‘ten percent’ is simply to guarantee that you can be heard in the car, in traffic.

Louder than that – if it’s just a big boom-y “deejay” delivery – will make you sound robotic, unmindful of the “texture” that whatever you’re saying needs. Softer is okay if you move closer to the mic to project a bit better, but if you get TOO soft, you may not be heard at all. And THAT would be a real shame.

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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 #353 – No Talk, No Magic

In this era of voice trackers in one or more dayparts, multiple responsibilities that take time, etc. it’s not unusual for me to see stations where the morning team may have never even met, say, the evening air talent.

Although this might not seem to be an area for a talent coach to work on, it really is. I think it’s essential for all the people on the air staff to know each other, communicate with each other, and share with each other.

When you know something about the talent in another daypart, ways to mention/promote them become easy, and the station sounds less compartmentalized. It adds a human touch, and helps create the magic “Stationality”.

Sharing your thoughts and ideas with the other air talent leads to “new blood” in your own thinking process, too.

In my experience, the staffs who know each other well perform better. It’s also alarming to me how many staffs these days hardly ever have conversations with each other ABOUT the station.

Predictably, the people who don’t talk about their radio stations always work at crappy ones. Discussion shows Passion.

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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 #352 – Being Natural Isn’t Enough

One of the main things I deal with as a coach is getting air talent to sound more natural. Especially to younger demos, sounding “like a disc jockey” isn’t what they want to hear. But that’s not all there is to it.

There are lessons everywhere, so here’s one with a visual aid. It’s a You Tube clip of Carole King and James Taylor doing her song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow”…

Two “old pros” pretty much knocking it out of the park, with what I think may be the best song ever written about teenage girl angst and hopes. King and Taylor seem totally relaxed and the performance feels very natural, but it’s also EXPERTLY nuanced.

People work hard to attain that level in both of those areas. So remember, it’s not enough to just be natural; there also has to be attention to Performance.

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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 #351 – The Scarecrow or The Tin Man

The Wizard of Oz is a magical film. Ostensibly a children’s movie, it’s filled with little “morality plays” about good versus evil, the use of power, family, friendship, and the choices we all make.

To me, it boils down to The Scarecrow or the Tin Man. One wants to be smart; the other wants a heart: Brains versus Emotions.

When you think about it, the Scarecrow stands out in our minds because of what we felt about him BEFORE he got brains. The Tin Woodsman cried (which rusted him up, and made him creaky), and as children watching it, we all cried. The lesson: There’s certainly nothing wrong with Smart, but Heart matters more.

Remember this the next time you open the mic. If you’ve left your heart out of the equation, you’ve missed the boat. If I listen for an hour, and don’t learn something about how you FEEL, that was a wasted hour.

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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.