Stage Fright: Was That A Lady At The Urinal?
October 29, 2013
Air personalities get to do all sorts of things related to their jobs -- emcee events, celebrity auctions, judge talent shows and beauty contests, participate in publicity stunts, and introduce acts to the stage. The last is my favorite and I love questions on the subject.
Jock: I feel awkward on stage and never know if I am doing it right when I bring an act on stage.
Coach: Have you asked others for advice?
Jock: Yes, and my PD said be brief and get the name of the act right. Some of the other jocks just told me to relax and keep things basic because the audience really does not care what I say as long as they get to see the act they paid to see. I want to know what you think.
Coach: Everything you have been told is all true, but I think you are trying to figure out how to make an impression with the crowd. Is that what you are trying to ask me?
Jock: Well, I would like to the audience to know who I am. I mean, nobody bringing on somebody is ever on stage long. I figure if folks get to know me it will help my ratings.
Coach: It's about maximizing the time you are in front of people without ticking anyone off and possibly being viewed as part of the event and not just some talking head with a mic. I learned over the years from watching other jocks and adding in a few tricks of my own and what I have come up with is: strive for the crowd to react to one thing I say and then get the act on stage as quickly as possible.
First let me tell you a couple of things never to do: Never ask questions like "Do you love our station?" or "Do you know about our new contest?" You might get negative responses or comments. Now, it is okay to make brief statements, "I am Joe Bones from WXXX where we are giving away one million dollars! Are you ready to party? Let me hear you! Come on, you can get louder than that, are you ready to party?" And as they are screaming, say the name of the act and what music label they are on and that's it.
Occasionally, you may have to make some stage announcements for the venue before going into your spiel to bring on the act or the manager of the act might have a set thing for you to say. Always try and read the mood of the audience and adjust accordingly; for example, if you are at a State Fair, a lot of folks may have never heard of your station.
Now let me tell you what I did to occasionally personalize the experience. It would depend on the size of the venue and if it was large, I would give the stage announcements, mention briefly the big station promotion and then with a serious tone in my voice, ask for everyone to rise for the Star Spangled Banner. Once everyone was on their feet I would laughingly thank them for helping me win a bet with the stagehands for getting them to all to stand. Then I would launch them into frenzy with, "It's Party Time, let's get loud for _______" and bring the act on stage.
My favorite small venue story happened at Vacaville State Prison in Northern California while I was working in the Bay Area. The PD had tricked me into emceeing the prison's annual show for the inmates. There were four or five acts. Like all shows, the stage lights were too bright and I could not really see the crowd very well. Every time I was on stage, I would say something concise and keep things moving, but would always make it a point to tell the ladies in the audience how gorgeous they looked. The inmates allowed to enjoy the show were not the hardened criminals or at least that was what I was told. The restrooms had guards; there were no dressing rooms and the acts that day came prepared to hit the stage. But back to the bathroom thing, I could not holdout any longer and had to go. So I cautiously went in and noticed one of the ladies from the audience was at a urinal, and it hit me, obviously I had not been complimenting women from the stage!
Jock: That's too crazy, thanks for the tips and I hope I never have a prison emcee gig.
Coach: No worries, with more experience you will get comfortable bringing on acts regardless of the size of the venue or circumstances. The important thing is to always know what you are going to do before you go out on stage.