Thursday, March 25, 2010

My radio days: over before they began

Today I did my brief radio interview on the importance of colorectal screening as a preventative method for fighting cancer.

I came up with talking points.

I planned to be clever and poignant.

I was completely prepared.

Then the DJ started talking about the health care bill.

That's when I blew it.

I knew right then in a live broadcast was not the best time to admit that an employee of a political office has no idea what that bill entails, or that I purposely skip any and all news coverage of this oh-so-relevant topic.  That might reflect negatively on my boss. 

So I stuck with simple answers.

But I don't even think I got those right.

You see folks, radio is hard.  As a seasoned attention-hog who does not shy away from moments of glory, I can tell you standing up in front of a crowd and making a fool of yourself in frizzy hair and zebra print stockings is easy compared to this.  But I might exaggerate.

You've got all of these thoughts running through your head, like "what if I mess up?" or "what if I can't think of the right thing to say?" or "what if I pass out cold?"

And then, if you're lucky, through a connected speaker you get to hear everything that is said with a slight delay, causing you to pay more attention to the funny sounding echo than to what is actually being said.  So when your interviewer gets to the end of the sentence and you notice a slight inflection in his/her voice you realize you were just asked a question.  You then experience something we in the biz like to call stage fright.  You have no words.  Your mind is completely blank because you just realized you did not pay attention to a stinkin' thing that was said.

You look to see your interviewer raising his/her eyebrows, as to entice a word in the affirmative, and you gurgle out an eloquent, "mmmhmmm."

Then you make a point to pay attention, to ignore the echo.  The next question comes and you start to mumble:

"It's very important because (this is when you notice your echo) people...don't know...they have.......op---tion---s."

You start to wonder why you are slowing down.  Why are you slowing down?  And because, once again, you are thinking to yourself, you forget to keep talking.  Your interviewer looks blankly at you.  You have no idea why.  Stage fright.  You go back to early patterns of listening to echoes and watching for raised eyebrows.  Eventually your interviewer realizes people are probably starting to change the channel and he/she goes back to playing music.

You are relieved.

You go back to eating your hot dog after you stop shaking.

This is all hypothetical, of course.  I just wanted to let you know what could happen should you agree to an on-air interview.  In no way did I take any of this from personal experience.  My interview was, um, awesome.  Could not  have been....better.

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