Stepping OUT of the spotlight BY: Mike “DR. Frankenstand” Ryan

March 11, 2012 by Mike Ryan

Trivia question: What was the very first video to be aired on MTV when it debuted at 00:01 hours
on August, 1, 1981? Answer: “Video Killed the Radio Star” by The Buggles. It was also the first video to be played on MTV Classic in the UK and Ireland. I played that song on the radio in the ’80s, which was about the last time anyone asked me what radio station I worked for when I mentioned I was a DJ. The designation “DJ” has been so diluted of late, it makes one wonder why any DJ would consider themselves a “star.” One client actually called me “just a record player.”141-340

It’s our nature to be brag about ourselves, especially when a client shows an interest in us, but personally, I have to constantly remind myself who real “star” is. This becomes even more critical when interacting with newlyweds. And yet given the opportunity, I’ll be the first to admit I can quickly be off and running (at the mouth) in describing my DJ exploits. It’s a hard habit to break. My mantra has now become: The guest is always the STAR and the most important person. Period.

I’m not the star of the show even though the folks attending will know there’s a professional behind the mike [the guests are] the stars, I’m primarily there to hold the spotlight on them.
~ Ron Jones, Allegro Entertainment

Recently while helping a couple plan their wedding reception the husband-to-be confessed that they had spoken to another DJ after their first meeting with me. However, they choose me over the other guy because “All he did was talk about himself,” whereas I seemed sincerely interested in them. I felt for the unlucky DJ as I too, like impulse buying, have often slipped into bragging about myself. It’s so easy to do, but oh so deadly. Ours is an ego-driven business and any good DJ knows he’s the best DJ in the world I know I am. You are too, right?

Here’s a learning experience that made it clear to me who was the real star. I was once interviewed by a radio station general manager and after I bored him with my life story. He ended the conversation with a “less about you and more about me” moment. I took that to heart and at the next job interview I nailed it, beating out another DJ with a much better radio voice then mine. Unfortunately the other candidate was focused on his salary and not on the radio station.
Most sales people…talk too much.

Many times a salesperson will talk his client out of the sale by overloading him with information he did not require to make a buying decision
~ Dave Ramsey(financial advisor/author)

Often I am asked if I want to be locate my equipment center stage. I politely decline, stating that on the side of the stage is fine with me, adding that I am like any other vendor who are there to attend to the needs of the client and guests; to be heard from but

WHO’S REALLY THE STAR OF YOUR EVENT?

not necessarily seen. The last thing I want to do is steal the attention away from a client, especially a bride and groom. I think this is what separates a pro from the dreaded cheesy DJ.
I used to think the so-called “wedding story” presentation was an interesting concept, especially with a hefty price tag attached to it. And who wouldn’t want the opportunity to perform in the spotlight before a captive audience. I used to get so carried away at weddings that before each reception activity I would elaborately explain the traditions behind them. Then I saw myself on video and it changed my opinion of myself as a DJ “star.” While it’s a normal thing to be proud of your accomplishments, talent and equipment, the real pro should always ask “What can I do for my clients?” What can I do to make the wedding run smoothly or make the business award party more fun? What can I do to exceed customers’ expectations? What can I do to make the client the envy of all their friends?
Like most people with credentials, I like to add my accomplishments and titles after my name in correspondence with potential clients. However, I recently asked myself do my clients really care, or do they think I am a braggart? I have a friend who adds all kinds of accomplishments after his DJ name. With his permission I have included some of the titles he lists:
– Certified Professional Bridal Consultant
– International Public Speaker, Entertainer & Author

– Professional Master of Ceremonies

– Professional Wedding Entertainment Specialist
– Lighting Designer
– American Association of Wedding Officiants
– American Disc Jockey Assoc. XXXX Chapter, Founding President
– Assoc. of Bridal Consultants – Member
– XXXX Disc Jockey Association – Member
– National Association of Catering Executives

Admittedly, these accomplishments are quite impressive and he should be proud. However, I have to wonder if it isn’t intimidating to someone looking for a DJ. Might some potential clients assume that this DJ is too expensive?
We all have every right to be proud of our success, but as a client once told me all she wanted in a DJ was one who would “listen to me and do what I really want.”
By the way, Video Killed the Radio Star also became the millionth video to be aired on MTV February 27, 2000. The video was also the last video to be played on MTV Philippines before its shutdown on February 15, 2010 at 11:49 PM. MB

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Mike Ryan Mike Ryan (19 Posts)

Mike Ryan spins at the Corvette Diner in San Diego. He also invented the Air-Powered speaker stand the FRANKENSTAND. He is a 20-year veteran of radio, and served on ADJA and NACE boards.


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