Tips & Tricks for Microphones & Mixed Media

Gooood afternoon boyz and girlz. You’ve aligned yourself with one of the coolest new brands in North America by being part of the Bison Track “Herd”. Well done! So what’s next? How do you now capitalize on the popularity brought about by that shiny new suit of yours? Maybe I can help.

I’ve been around the amateur and pro paddocks for a few decades now, and I’ve been able to absorb a few tips that I’ll share with you to help enhance that new found popularity.

SFM – Search For Microphone:  A lot of people are afraid of the microphone. I get it. Its intimidating. What do you say? What if you say something funny? Well, people might laugh. Great! You got their attention. Now say something valuable. Thank your sponsors, your spouse, your crew, and the track workers. Guess what? Now you have a fan base.

-          I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to become comfortable talking on a microphone. Different opportunities may present themselves in your rise to the top of the sport. First, it will be the post-race interview at your local track, thanking mom and dad. Maybe a pit-road interview at the pro races during the fan pit-walk. Maybe a pre-arranged interview at a local dealership promotion with a local radio station. Then, if you’ve done everything right along the way, you’re on the podium and in the media center at the big show. You need to come across as comfortable, intelligent, confident, and ready for the opportunity.

o   “Failure to prepare is preparing to fail.”

-          To get comfortable doing something, like racing, you need repetition, right? You need to turn some laps. Same with talking on the mic. Search it out. Always make it a point to find the announcer, go talk with him/her, always give him/her some time. Even if the mic is not on, get comfortable talking to the local announcer about your sponsors, your mechanic, your equipment, and your goals.

-          Challenge yourself to always search out the mic and get YOUR sponsor’s name out there every single race, every single opportunity. It will make YOU more valuable to them.

KISS – Keep It Simple Stupid:  We’ve all heard that phrase. This would be a good strategy to keep in mind here. Always have a planned (canned) response to ANY interview, to use under ANY situation.         

o   Example: “Thanks to all the great fans and race staff. Thanks to my awesome crew and family. My bike (brand) and tires (brand) were perfect today. Hats off to my new sponsor (name) for stepping up to help. Congratulations to everyone else on the podium! WOW! What a race!”

-          Most announcers and interviewers just want to give YOU the opportunity to thank your team and talk about your sponsors, your competitors, and the race at hand. Nothing complicated. Nobody is going to ask you what the cam timing is, or what sprocket ratio you’re running. Keep It Simple, talk about the easy stuff. Let your emotions flow! Get the crowd pumped up. Have some fun.

o   Example: Race Announcer: “Wow Rob, it looked like you guys were having a blast out there, tell us about the race.”

o   Rob: “Yeah man! That was a ton of fun. I want to thank Kris for putting this great bike together. My wife and kids for always supporting me. Congrats to all of my competitors. Let’s do it again! Who wants some Jarritos & Tacos?”

“The Rainman” Kenny Abbott Interviewing Kris Lillegard at Blackhawk Farms

MTA – Media Training Academy: Almost every professional athlete, Supercross and MotoGP racers included, go through a very rigorous, and ongoing media training. They are trained on what to say, how to say it, how to divert hard questions.

-          Have you ever watched an NFL post-game press conference? Have you ever watched the post-race interviews at Supercross? These are trained, repetitious responses, practiced to help the athletes conduct a quality, valuable interview, while their adrenaline is still high, and they are trying to recover physically and emotionally from their event. They hold up their beverage of choice, put on the sponsor hats, name their team sponsors and tire company, and sometimes don’t even answer the question asked. If there even WAS a question.

-          The trick, or lesson here, is that they have a canned, pre-rehearsed response to ANY question asked, by anyone. This provides confidence and simplifies the interview process. It’s an “agenda” that the rider and his/her team have created to ensure that their sponsors get the most ROI (Return On Investment) value by that athlete being in front of a microphone and/or cameras. There’s no reason why YOU can’t have the same plan.

o   Question: What color is the sky today?

o   Response: My team is incredible. Our Jordan Suzuki was SO fast today. The Dunlop Tires are sticking great. The Bazzaz Performance electronics were perfect today. I’m ready for an ice-cold Gatorade…

IT – Interview Tricks:  Here are a few ways to get organized and always be on point.

-          Keep a business card-size cheat-sheet of sponsors and crew members in your racing suit (some have pockets for insurance card), or in your Crew Chief’s pocket. This allows you to ALWAYS name ALL of your important sponsors during an interview.

o   Also make sure that your PRIMARY sponsors are on your team shirts, so that you can look at your Crew Chief, or Wife/Girlfriend during interviews. You can also print them out and put the logos on the back of a timing-clip board to be held up during interviews.

-          Instead of shooting selfie photos or Tik-Tok videos this weekend, record yourself doing a post-race interview. Test yourself on how many sponsors you can name. Make sure you name them in order of importance and/or sponsor contribution level. This will help you conquer the fear of interviews, and make it more natural.

-          Have FUN with it. Its ok to be funny and kid around. Whatever it takes to become comfortable with the process. Remember, just like doing laps, repetition is the key.

Final Thoughts:  I get it. You’re not a people person. You don’t like talking in front of people. You’re bad with speeches and presentations. Ok. Maybe that’s valid. But take it from me, a skinny, shy introverted kid, who lacked confidence in everything, but soccer and motorcycle racing. If I can become a professional race announcer, host radio shows, and host LIVE podcasts... You can answer a few questions after your race. Like everything else, it just takes practice. Practice leads to confidence. Confidence leads to value for your team and sponsors.

Like Tosha, I’m always available to coach and answer questions. My goal is to help you succeed. Just reach out to me at:

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“The Rainman” Kenny Abbott, Globetrotter Media Group / CVN Cycle Vision Network

An experienced leader in operations, marketing, and business development strategy. Called on frequently to resolve complex challenges with skill sets that are intangible and may be non-traditional.

Ken currently lives in Aurora IL with his wife and two kids, and specializes in marketing and business strategy. However, he spent over 30 years of his adult life traveling in the motorsports industry, both domestic and international. Since 1985 he's been involved in practically every facet of the motorcycle industry, focusing on racing, product development, marketing, operations, customer service, advanced rider training, event management, as well as team and athlete management. An innovative agent in partnership negotiations to help premium brands connect with top-shelf personalities and best represent those brands, with creative partner or sponsor activation.

He has worked as a professional in several different industries, leaving a mark on each, winning various awards and dozens of regional and national championships, and considered an expert in his fields of expertise. Ken’s authentic personality and management style is easy to see, he practices what he preaches. He strives at all times to set higher standards for himself and those around him.

He has spent significant time working with the media, and able to use creativity to translate ideas and vision. With leadership, vision, creativity and experience working with major companies such as Brand Jordan, Nike, Gatorade, Hanes, Upper Deck, Boost Mobile, Honda, Suzuki, Dunlop, Craftsman Tools, Clear Channel, Live Nation, and other local customer-driven retail or service-driven enterprises, (in addition to working with several VIP athletes and celebrities)... he brings a unique perspective and value to any project.

Motorsports Announcer / Commentator @ CCS/ASRA & MotoAmerica
Motorsports Announcer / Commentator @ RydeTV
Radio Show & Podcast Host @ CVN-CycleVisionNetwork
Radio Show & Podcast Host @ Open Road Radio
PR - Media - Sponsorship Consultant @ Globetrotter Media Group

Advanced Riding Instructor @ Globetrotter Sports

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