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Mark Jones

Interview with Mark Jones

In this interview with A-Speakers, Mark Jones shares his unique experiences as a radio announcer and host. He also emphasizes the important elements of event preparation. Read on below.

What is the most amazing experience you have had as a host or MC?

I was the MC for a record-breaking Michael Jackson concert. It was the ‘largest solo concert in history’ and I had to entertain over 125,000 music fans (for over 5 hours!) but I wasn’t allowed to play any records prior to Michael’s show. In the end I had over 100,000 people dancing the Conga in several huge lines throughout the massive field. It was held at Liverpool’s iconic Aintree Racecourse (home of the Grand National) the event organisers said they had never seen anything like it! To be fair, neither had I… I met Michael Jackson again a couple of years later and he said he’d enjoyed watching the crowd dance! A thoroughly nice man and much-missed.

I’ve never been one to overly celebrate (or even acknowledge!) my birthdays, and I was caught out last year at the Holiday Inn in Stratford-upon-Avon (birthplace of the inventor of ‘live appearances’, William Shakespeare) when Rod Woodward (a superb after-dinner speaker / comedian from Wales) surprised me when he came back on after I had back-announced him and encouraged the 600-strong crowd to sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to me! I could have died on the spot…

 

What types of valuable experiences and insight have you gained from all those years as a radio announcer?

I always had the philosophy that I had to be two steps ahead of the audience (especially on phone-ins) because they were always trying to be one step ahead of me! It was at Radio City in Liverpool, where the ‘locals’ are renowned for their humour and quick thinking. I sharpened me up… an excellent grounding for future live events, I found…

I have to say that I think a lot of spontaneity has gone from Radio these days, as has the concept of proper ‘local’ radio. There are many radio station (worldwide) where the presenters are only allowed to read from ‘approved’ cue cards, and not adlib. Where’s the warmth and spontaneity in that? Most smaller stations are owned by national conglomerates and are networked, therefore losing the original essence of true ‘local’ radio. I’ll get off my soapbox now… (I must admit I do feel cleansed and purged after saying that!)

 

What type of event would you be perfect for?

I’ve hosted virtually every type of event; from small, local golf club dinners, black-tie charity fundraisers in America, large sporting dinners at places like Manchester United, Gleneagles, Wentworth, even Wembley Arena! … plus innumerable award ceremonies from Kuala Lumpur in Malaysia to Macao, China and throughout Europe and in America too. I’ve MC’d large music festivals and fronted the live side of the Masters Football Sky Sports TV shows and done ESPN live TV reporting too. I have to be honest and say I can host virtually any type of event, but award ceremonies are my favourite type of event, and sports events too, as I get to meet my sporting heroes.

 

How do you work with clients when preparing for an event?

I usually talk to them prior to any event to go over the logistics of how their running order will actually work in practice, and I always try and re-write their scripts into a more ‘presentational’ format… with some warmth and humour!

 

What types of obstacles have you had to tackle to get to where you are today?

The only obstacles I can immediately think of are usually put in my way by last-minute change of airline schedules …or even last-minute cancellations. I don’t think they’re put in my way deliberately… however, I has happened once too often (I don’t believe in ‘coincidences’) at Frankfurt Airport and at O’Hare in Chicago. Hmmm…

I’m very lucky really, I thoroughly enjoy what I do, and I do it professionally too! Can it get any better? I’ve seen some exotic locations (and some not-so exotic) around the world; these are those far-flung places that one wouldn’t normally have the opportunity to visit as part of a holiday package. Where to next… ?

 

See Mark Jones’ profile here!