Did you get a chance to see the newest “Star Wars” film this weekend, “Rise Of Skywalker?”
It was expected to rake in at least $170 million in its debut over the weekend, featured on thousands of screens and on hundreds of iMax theaters.
But the franchise is also enjoying an incredible run in rec rooms, dens, man caves, and on mobile devices, thanks to the spin-off series, “The Mandalorian.”
If you've signed up for Disney+ subscriber (and how many will give/receive a subscription as a gift this coming week?), you've no doubt run across “The Mandalorian.”
It's a wonderful time to be a “Star Wars” geek. And that's why Mike Stern took over my keyboard to write today's blog post. It has everything – action, drama, emotion, and yes, radio. – FJ
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Earlier this month, JacoBLOG walked on the nerd side when Fred wrote about the great radio-related meme featuring the two stars of the Disney+ hit series “The Mandalorian” arguing over what to listen to on the radio.
As the biggest nerd on the Jacobs Media staff, I want to go a step further and tell you why the eponymous character on the show – the Mandalorian himself – would make a great air talent. I was inspired by a Gizmodo article written by James Whitbrook. He argues that part of what makes the show so compelling is that The Mandalorian (sometimes referred to as Mando) is far from perfect.
Before I make my case for why Mando would make a great morning guy, a little bit of background for anyone not watching the show or (gasp) not familiar with “Star Wars” culture. Generally speaking, Mandalorians are characterized as, “a warrior people who often work as mercenaries and bounty hunters.” They are known for their distinctive helmets, which they never remove in front of other people, unique armor and lethal weaponry.
The first notable appearance of anyone wearing Mandalorian gear was in “The Empire Strikes Back,” when the bounty hunter, Boba Fett, outsmarts Han Solo and delivers him and Princess Leia to Darth Vader. Boba Fett is just one example and not technically a true Mandalorian. In the broader world of “Star Wars,” Mandalorians are considered to be very dangerous.
Whitbrook’s article argues that while Mando is a supercommando, he is flawed. He has barely managed to shoot himself out of several situations, he’s sometimes overly headstrong, and is clearly bad at dealing with people. (Sound like anyone on your airstaff?)
With that in mind, here are five reasons I think Mando would make an outstanding air talent:
1. He’s larger than life: When Mando walks into a room, people stop and take notice. Beyond the intimidating helmet and armor, he carries himself in a way that makes us pay attention. In fact. there have been multiple scenes where entire bars full of patrons have stopped their conversations when Mando struts in. Great hosts have that sort of gravitas around them. They know how to project a compelling, often somewhat exaggerated version of themselves that causes people to hang on their every word.
2. He’s not perfect: As already mentioned, despite his outward appearance and notable swagger, Mando struggles with many things and occasionally fails. The best air personalities are able to maintain that balance of appearing larger than life, but also sharing their missteps and challenges with the audience. That self-deprecation and vulnerability lead listeners to become even more engaged with the show and its characters.
3. He cares about the community: Mando’s armor is not complete, and in the early episodes of the series, we see him getting new pieces forged. Each time he insists on leaving some additional armor for young members of the tribe, many of whom are orphans that are adopted into the order just as he was. This comes back to benefit Mando in one episode when a number of other Mandalorians save him from certain doom. Having passion for a cause that benefits the local community – that pays it forward – goes a long way toward bonding listeners to a host.
4. He shares the spotlight: It's hard to believe I've written this much without mentioning the wildly popular Baby Yoda. There are many scenes where Mando’s adorable co-host either upstages him, or in one case, outright saves his life. You could easily argue that despite Mando’s name being on the title of the show, it’s Baby Yoda who is the star. Mando doesn’t complain or get angry due to a bruised ego. Great hosts who know how to make the most out of their cast understand that success comes from getting the most compelling content possible from everyone – no matter how annoyingly adorable and cute they might be
5. He’s persistent: No matter what setbacks he faces, Mando never hangs his head or gives up hope. He looks for ways to solve problems and keeps a cool head when things look like they are about to go south. Successful hosts find ways to deal with myriad challenges. They use their resources to help solve problems and find ways to make great content out of even the most challenging circumstances.
Now, some of you may be thinking I missed a key point that connects Mando with on-air hosts – he has a face for radio. But of course, we don't know that because the audience never truly sees him.
And then there's this, a key characteristic of the Mandalorian as a radio host:
He’s so direct and to the point. His breaks would be so PPM friendly.
Three years with the company taught him a great deal about successful radio programming and helped him launch a career that included overseeing stations in Chicago, Detroit, Denver, Las Vegas, Milwaukee and Dayton. He primarily worked in Alternative and Active Rock, though he was also involved with Heritage and Classic Rock stations as well as Hot AC and the 80’s format.
After leaving his position as Vice President of Programming for Emmis Chicago, Mike began writing about the industry taking positions as News/Talk/Sports Editor for Radio & Records and Editor of Billboard’s Top 40 Update. During that same period, he also began consulting Arbitron’s Programming Services Team and helped launch their twice-weekly column Not Your Average Quarter Hour, which focuses on providing insights for programmers and helping them maximize the value they get from their ratings data.
Finding that he missed working with talent he also launched his own coaching business, Talent Mechanic, where he worked closely with hosts from across a wide range of formats and market sizes, as well as a large number of podcasters hosting shows about a wide range of topics. While looking for new ways to help hosts bring out their true personalities, Mike has taken classes in and performed both stand-up and Improv comedy where he discovered the differences between the two disciplines and how each applies to being on the air.
Latest posts by Mike Stern (see all)
- Mando In The Morning! - December 23, 2019
- Radio's Most Innovative:The Elvis TV Casting Project - July 24, 2019
- The Art of Kondo-ing…Tidying Up Your Radio Station - February 6, 2019