In Studio & On Stage ... Relax
October 6, 2015
Trying to coordinate your on-air personality with the one for personal appearances is a learned behavior. Many a personality longs for the first time, live on-the-air butterflies, dry mouth, anxiety, energy levels, vocal pitch and flop-sweat. Does any of this sound familiar?
Once you begin getting comfortable, one day your PD then tells you he wants you to do stage announcements and or emcee a concert. Wait a minute, this means people can see you and you can't escape. All eyes will be on you with the mic. It is an awesome power which can also be very humbling.
The first thing to realize is that they are there to see the act and you are an accessory or obstacle depending on the mood of the crowd. When you step on stage to say whatever the venue has told you to, it's a moment even more heart pounding than your first on-air experience. It's the luck of the draw; maybe it's thousands of people or a couple hundred.
Nowhere To Hide
These gatherings are organized frenzies that differ from the calming surroundings of an on-air studio with the PD listening somewhere and the hotline is by your side; instant access for feedback.
Where Is My Support?
Usually at a concert, the PD and other personalities are in conversation and motion dealing with people. It is rarely like a sideline or dugout of teammates cheering you on. Nope, you will get some instruction and before you know it and it's your turn to get on stage for a few announcements and bring out the next act.
Matter Of Time
After I learned from watching, talking and doing a number of onstage appearances over a period of time, I got a little cocky and started to experiment with ways to get a crowd reaction.
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 that I could get a standing ovation. I would quickly bring the act on stage while the audience was either laughing or groaning.
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 see the crowd very well. Every time onstage, 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 hold out 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 all afternoon.
- Make sure you know how to pronounce the name of the act or acts you're introducing
- If there are stage announcement to be made, take them with you to read from onstage. If the venue just verbalizes some things to announce, jot them down to read from.
- Whether the crowd reacts or doesn't, keep whatever you do short and get the act onstage.
- Try and get the audience to clap and cheer for the act coming up; during the cheering, bring on the act.
- Don't squint from the bright lights while onstage and try and find one place to look at in the crowd to give the appearance of looking the audience in the eye.
- Don't shout into the mic, the speakers will carry your voice.
- Ask a stage hand which mic to go to when you get out onstage.
- Smile and have a good time.
- Watch others and learn from those who do it well.
- Most important, remember the more you do it, the easier it will get.