Conducting a Live Performance Session on KDHX

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Overview

Live Performances are an important part of the 88.1 KDHX identity. They can make for great radio and provide rich web content. They're also great exposure for the artists. KDHX airs over 150 in-studios per year; they're a big part of our programming. When done well, they're great. When done haphazardly, or without a focus on audience, they can fail.

Pre-Performance

Consider how the in-studio will benefit our listeners.

  • Does the band fit the format of your show?
  • Are listeners of your show already familiar with the artist?
  • Are more casual listeners familiar with the artist?
  • Would the listeners enjoy this performance?

An in-studio should be a beneficial experience for the listener first - don't request to host an in-studio just to help out a friend or because you like the band (but maybe never play the band's music on the show). The in-studios take a lot of volunteer time (yours and engineers) and resources (equipment, staff support).

Requesting the Session

  • Session requests and approved bookings are handed by the Media Department via request to instudios@kdhx.org.
  • Request should be no less than 2 weeks in advance. Special “last minute” opportunities aren't always worth the “last minute” effort - consider the resources necessary to do it well before requesting that we book a last minute session.
  • Your audience should already be familiar with the artist you're requesting through previous and/or recent KDHX airplay. Please do not attempt to "premiere" a new act here unless they are a supergroup of known artists.
  • We will book only one live performance per weekly show, and will avoid booking the same band more than once every 2 years. There may be special exceptions to these limits, but let’s keep live performances special.
  • If there must be two separate performers (ie., they're sharing a bill later that night), session length is still only 20 minutes max, and so number of songs will be limited.
  • We will ask the artist if they are OK with video and/or photography. Having a volunteer video crew or photographer available to shoot and do post-production work cannot be promised/assumed, but we will try to staff every session given advanced permission. We must have the artists approval before attempting to staff the session, so we will ask at the time of booking.
  • Remember: Live performance sessions are 15-20 minutes maximum.
    • Plan to keep the session tight and focused. We will communicate length and format to the band ahead of time.

After the Session is Booked

Prep for the interview.

  • Read the artist’s Wiki and website bio. Google for recent reviews of or interviews with the artist. Collect facts or leads before the interview. A little prep makes a big difference!
  • Write down questions. Avoid anything that will put the artist off, and fleeting questions like - "How's the tour going?" and "Is this your first time in St. Louis?" This typically doesn't yield long-lasting or particularly interesting responses.
  • Try to avoid the same questions the artist always gets - mention the known/standard reply to the standard question as a means of informing your listeners, but then dig deeper!
  • Bring 6-7 questions to the session, but don't feel like they are all necessary to ask. Go with the content you're getting by listening closely, and be ready for the follow-up.
  • Review these interview tips for more ideas: Live Performance Interview Tips.

The Live Performance

Pre-record the session if possible.

  • Conduct the session as if it were live, but a pre-recorded session will result in a better mix, and a smoother interview.

USE OUR FACILITY! Avoid live performances in the air room, and book it through the staff.

  • Sessions will sound better with an engineer in our performance studio, and thus will be preserved for KDHX.org and SoundCloud.com/kdhx.
  • Remind the artist about FCC language policy and the no price mention policy and no call to action. This is especially important if it’s a performer who may not have been on the radio before.
  • Show up ahead of time. Be at the studio no later than 15 minutes after load in time. Greet the band and the engineer and go over the length and format for the session.

Remember: No visitors in the performance studio during a session. Space is tight, so don't bring friends into the performance room. Only staff and volunteers (or staff-approved invitees) should be in the studio. If Prod 3 is available, we can potentially reserve it for guests to view the performance. Please coordinate any potential guests with the MEdia Department so we can make sure we have space available. And turn off your cellphones!

Set parameters before you start. Let the performer know that we will record no more than 3 songs, and do a brief interview either between songs, or after the music recording.
A typical session format is:

  1. Song
  2. Brief interview
  3. Song
  4. Brief interview
  5. Song
  • Its a good idea to introduce and reintroduce the band between songs.
  • Encourage song IDs and show details from the artists between songs.
  • Depending on the length of the songs or interview, you may be able to do two songs between interviews or 2 songs at the end.

Interviewing

Keep the interview concise and focused.

  • The goal is a 2-3 minute interview between songs. After two or three questions (at the most), with substantive answers, turn the performer back to a song: “I’d love to hear another song. What do you have next?”

Avoid yes or no questions.

  • Instead, ask open, thoughtful questions. Try phrases like: “Tell me about,” “Talk about,” “How do you see” to generate fuller responses.

Keep it fresh.

  • If the artist is having a CD release party or a show, feel free to mention it, but do not dwell on it. If it goes well, the interview will live on via the kdhx.org archives. You want the interview to be as timeless as possible. Avoid questions about how the tour is going, and the weather or other time specific topics.

Back announce and reset.

  • After a song finishes, back announce the artist and name of the song (if you know it) and a station ID: “That’s Chuck Prophet, performing ‘Summertime Thing,’ live at KDHX” or some variation thereof.

Keep the interview fun but in control. The live performance shouldn’t turn into a party in the studio or just become a promotional stunt for the artist. Think of your audience first!

For more see Live Performance Interview Tips

Microphones

If you are interviewing a band, make sure you have one, or at the most two spokespersons for the band. Each must have a microphone. If someone speaks off-mic, calmly mention that they can't be heard by our audience, and either re-state or ask a member to re-state the comment. If you must have band introductions, ask one member only to introduce the players.

Live on air mechanics.

If you are doing a live on air session, and you are the only host, try this process:

  1. Announce the band from within the air room and have them start off with a song.
  2. Quietly enter room after they’ve started and conduct the interview.
  3. At the end of the session, have the band finish with a song, then quietly slip out and return to the air room.
  4. Back announce and resume your show.

Make this process clear to the artist and discuss with the engineer before beginning the session.

Ask the artist to record a KDHX promo.

  • These are useful for your program throughout the year, but also for airing during pledge drive. Musician pledge pitches are very effective. The engineer can provide you with a script. Try to do this immediately after the session. Engineers are prepared to record these at this time, but don't always remember to ask.

Assure that we have acquired a release.

  • This is mandatory. The engineer should get this done, but the host should double check to make sure. Ask the artist(s) to print clearly the song titles and to sign the release.

After the Session

Share the live performance.

  • After the session is published on KDHX.org or Soundcloud, share the link on your Facebook or Twitter pages. People want to know about this content!
  • Ask the artist to donate and sign a CD, LP or poster to KDHX for our annual summer auction. (Give signed material to the engineer.)