The other day, I was having to teach someone how to talk over a song intro. This is a modern phenomenon, apparently, because most people on the radio today never heard the Drake Format or the “Q” Format that revolutionized radio in the late sixties and early seventies.
Before those, jocks just talked whenever and wherever they wanted to, so you heard a song end, the jock blather for a few seconds (or longer), and then start another song, talking up to the vocal.
Bill Drake changed that. Jocks fit the song intro, instead of starting early. Momentum increased exponentially. The Q stations (KCBQ in San Diego first, others later) took it another step further. But jocks tended to lose contact with the pace of the song, doing every break in a high-powered delivery.
Stations like KNUS in Dallas, Y95 in Miami and others took it beyond that, maintaining the momentum, but also introducing a sensitivity to the pace and “vibe” of the song and matching it with the delivery.
Enough with the history lesson. Jocks today grew up hearing a song end, the talent talking for much too long, then another song starting. Momentum ceased to exist under the guise of “respecting the music,” primarily an Album Rock approach.
Stop – Start – Stop – Start. The definition of NO true momentum.
So back to the recent session. I told the man/woman team “start the next song, THEN talk” every other song or every third song, with Imaging pieces (fully produced, no “dry voice” at the end that stopped the momentum in its tracks) between the other songs within a music ‘sweep.’
The female partner said, “What if the song only has about a six-second intro? What can we do except just give the name of the station and introduce the song?”
Here’s what you can do:
You can sound ENGAGED with the music, like YOU’RE listening to it, too. You can give an opinion about the song or the artist. You can promote something coming up. You can avoid sounding like a robot, trying to get this over with as soon as possible.
And you can learn the value of words, how to edit yourself, and that you can reveal an Emotion instead of just giving information.
Then you might not sound like just “a voice saying words.” And you’ll have flexibility, instead of just trying to jam something in. And most importantly, you’ll sound like you’re sharing the experience, in the moment, WITH me (the listener).
You know, like friends.
Tommy Kramer is a talent coach for Radio, TV, & Voice Acting, as well as a member of the Texas Radio Hall of Fame.