DRESSING UP FOR RADIO
One of the many reasons I love what I do is that I can wear jeans, a t-shirt, and sneakers to work.
Radio is theatre of the mind. Radio takes place inside your head and wraps around your imagination. It's not visual media. It doesn't matter what we wear because nobody sees us and we don't see them. Occasionally a client will stop by to say hello. They don't care what I'm wearing. They're far more interested in my skill promoting and endorsing their products or business than they are about how I dress behind the microphone.
Some radio companies require their male on air personalities to wear khaki Dockers, oxfords, and long sleeve dress shirts. Add all that up and there’s a ninety nine percent chance I have on a pair of jeans right now that cost more than the shoes, the dress shirts, and the Dockers put together. I have no butt so I have to buy jeans that fit well. These jeans tend to be pricier, but they fit me better than Levi's which slide off my ass by the end of the day.
Why do some of these radio companies require on-air personalities to dress up when no one sees them anyway? If I had to wear a shirt and a tie behind the microphone I'd suffocate, stifling my thoughts and my ideas. I can't imagine after all these years on the air what it would be like to wear khakis, dress shoes, and a Brooks Brothers shirt to do my show.
If I accompany one of our sales associates to a meeting with a client, I make sure I dress in my best Dean Jeans from Lucky Brand, colored Polo socks, Robert Barakett shirt and Cole Hahn shoes. Anything more than that would not only put me out of my element, but make me feel like a phony as well.
Most people don't know this but before I got into radio I did print work for Calvin Klein, Cardin, as well as host of other upscale men's clothing designers. I modeled suits that had been tailored to fit me which I got to keep after the photo session ended. I had jackets, slacks, shirts, suits, ties, and Italian leather shoes that I wore to interviews with art directors and photographers. The jobs paid well and though I stood around a lot waiting for the lighting guy to get the mood just right, it was an enjoyable gig. I was also the spokesman for Hot Wheels, a national spot that aired throughout the country. When the spot aired in cities such as New York or Los Angeles on Saturday morning cartoon shows, the residuals were enormous. The strangest commercial I was in was a General Motors spot that was produced for Saudi Arabia. I played the part of the American liaison between the Saudi's and General Motors. Other actors were dressed in Middle Eastern garb. Long robes and head dresses. They drove the car while I pointed out its features.
Dressing up to broadcast on the radio is absurd. Fortunately the company I work for understands this and is more concerned with performance and content than it is with what I wear to get the job done. The audience is invisible. I don't see them and they don't see me. Together, we not only make beautiful music, but build relationships as well, no matter how either one of us is dressed.