Kill The Deejay
June 21, 2011
The oddest thing seems to be happening both on TV and in radio these days. The phony, insincere, pukey deejay delivery is rearing its ugly head.
That "Say something in your radio voice" delivery only worked for Ted Baxter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." And remember, he was a clown. An insincere-sounding buffoon. But at least we could SEE that it was supposed to be a joke.
However, in radio, it's death.
Here's the real deal about the big-voice pukey guy. If you really think this can work nowadays, just take a look at the New Wave. The very UNannouncer-ish "guy-next-door" Jeff Probst is the host of "Survivor," and smart, goofy Dennis Miller had his own show on HBO and did color on Monday Night Football. Things have changed, loosened up, and won't go back to the "old style." You owe it to your listener to take a hard listen to what you put on the air. An Old School delivery is aiming at your listeners' PARENTS, if you're targeting any demo younger than 45-64. Leap on into the 21st century, lose what we grew up with, and move ahead with a younger, more casual mindset. I coach any talent I hear relying on the old-style delivery to "kill the deejay," meaning that we want to ALWAYS guard against sounding like a human anachronism on the air.
And it isn't just in the delivery. It's the words we use, too. Phrases like "ladies and gentlemen," and old-fashioned notions like telling the listener you're going away with phrases like "We'll be right back" or "Right after this break" just signal to today's listener that it's time to hit the button and find someone who's here to talk to ME. I actually heard someone recently say, "We'll be right back. Stick around." What year is this, 1945? And if you're going away, why should I stay? Goodbye!
Here's something you might think of, if you're mired in sounding like a deejay. I had a talent, after using a "game show host" delivery to talk about a contest prize, say, "Well, I'm just doing that as a joke." I've got news for you. If I'm just hearing you for the first time, I don't KNOW that it's a joke. To me, a new listener, that delivery IS what you ARE.
KILL THE DEEJAY. Even though some are still breathing, they're Dead Men Walking to today's listener.
SAY IT LIKE YOU'D SAY IT TO ME IN THE HALLWAY. Don't let the microphone or the "business" you have to take care of change your voice and make you sound like an "announcer."