“Ladies And Gentlemen – Lend Me Your Ears”
One of the joys of working in country radio was you got to turn your hand at everything, copy writing, commercial production, sales , news reporting.
It could be a steep learning curve but it certainly prepared you for almost anything throughout your media career.
When you’re in TV or radio you receive lots of requests to host or MC or compere events. It can be a nice little earner and there are plenty of opportunities to do something for charity donating your fee back to the cause or simply not charging.
I have always been happy to do my bit for good causes as I believe most people in the media are.
However, if it’s a money making venture I like to take a slice of the action.
While to the outsider a Master of Ceremonies might look like a cosy gig there are many elements involved. In fact if the MC makes it look easy and the event goes off seamlessly then he/she is just doing their job.
I learned early on to make sure enough work had been put into the planning and preparation. Too often you’d turn up to an event to find a rundown (list of events to happen throughout the night) hadn’t been prepared. And the organisers, and I use that term loosely, would often suggest you just ‘wing it. ” Or they’d hand you a hastily compiled list of introductions and interviews on a paper napkin.
I’ll never forget one of the early functions I compered in Tasmania, a football night at a country local town hall.
One of the basic needs when MCing is a good sound system so you can be heard.
On arrival I asked about the PA system and was lead to a small room behind the stage. Sure enough there was a microphone on a stand, I turned it on the and did a sound check. Even from the back of the stage the sound was good, I’d have no problems being heard over the rowdy football crowd.
Then I went through the rundown which was basic but adequate. Right, everything checked out. Or so I thought.
The Club President thought it would be a good idea if he introduced me with the mike which I would then take from him and run out onto the stage making a grand entrance.
It all sounded pretty good. What could possibly go wrong?
“Ladies and Gentlemen welcome to the Cressy Football Club Ball”.
“A big round of applause for our host for the evening from 7LA and Channel 9 Graeme Goodings.”
With that I grabbed the mike and set off towards the stairs leading to the stage about 15 metres away. That’s when I discovered one of the basic rules of physics. A 10 metre microphone lead doesn’t stretch to 15 metres.
I pulled up 5 metres short and as the sporadic applause faded I did my opening welcome totally out of sight of the 250 confused footballers their wives, girlfriends, families and friends.
And so it was for the rest of the night. Despite a frantic search the ‘missing’ microphone extension lead could not be found.
Oh! I did try to work without the mike but these country folk were here to party not to listen.
A band turned up later in the night, they had microphones, and extension leads, but it didn’t really matter by then.
I’d sunk without trace.
The faceless MC. When you could hear him you couldn’t see him and when you could see him you couldn’t hear him.
I vowed I’d never go back, even if the begged me.
But they never did.