Personal Appearances 101: Before You Go

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(By Jeff McHugh, Stephanie Winans, Stan Main, John Silliman Dodge) On-air personalities have a calendar full of appearances, promotions, and events in the summer months. Promotions and events are opportunities for you to make new fans and to solidify relationships with old fans and clients.

Caution
Pick your shots carefully when it comes to doing anything outside of the radio station. Get in front of large groups of potential P1s or events that get you on TV. Otherwise, spend your valuable time on Instagram and Facebook. Running yourself ragged with numerous small appearances takes up valuable time living life for content and for prepping your show.

Before social media, being on the streets often meant ratings success. Compare your market population with the minuscule number of Nielsen respondents in play and you will see that it might take 100 street hits to make an impact.

Preparation Checklist
When you do appear at promotions and events, you ARE the radio station and your show brand. It is up to you to put on a great show and fulfill expectations.

What is this? A programming promotion, a live concert, a client event?
Why are we doing this? What is the purpose/goal of this promotion? Is there a client to schmooze?
When is it? The date, and exact start and end times. Include required arrival time if different from the event start time.
Where is it? The exact address for GPS.
Who goes from the station (talent, promotion, programming, sales, engineering, interns)? And who is the primary contact on site? Who is the backup? Get names and numbers.

• Success is much greater if the station’s presence and the talent look like stars. Are there banners with the station/talent name? Is there entertainment support for the talent (a place for fans of the show, props to square off the area where the event is to take place)?

• Remember to take the giveaway guitar, take the big banner, etc. Is there a PA system for the event? (Even in scenarios where no PA is needed, most talent will feel more comfortable with a microphone in hand. The public expects to see microphones too.)

• Plan your social media strategy for the event. Will you create a separate Twitter hashtag for the event? Will you stream through Facebook Live or take video to post on YouTube? Create a Facebook event from the station or morning show page, inviting listeners to attend.

• Get everyone involved to meet before the appearance begins, minutes before or a day or two before, but it needs to happen.

What to wear. Go one notch above what your clients and listeners will be wearing at the event. Better to be overdressed than to reinforce the slacker radio deejay stereotype of faded station t-shirt and flip-flops.

What to take with you. You need a central location for all the stuff that you normally take to remotes or on-site events. Let’s call it a “Go Box.” Before you head out, open the Go Box and make sure it contains the following stuff:

• Duct tape (you can’t be at events without it)

• T-shirts, buttons, flyers, whatever free station goods you usually distribute or special goods you need for this event.

• Business cards

• A fully charged cell phone to record audio and video.

• Extra pens, a Sharpie, and a notebook or legal pad.

• Beverages and food needed for the event.

• Any required sponsor products or materials.

• Gas, the correct address for GPS, a credit card, and cash.

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Jeff McHugh
Jeff McHugh is known for developing remarkable talent for both morning and afternoon drive. He brings an uncommon mix of positivity, creativity, and strategy to the shows that he coaches. He is a member of the team at the Randy Lane Company.

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