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.
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.
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.
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.