To "hit the post" or "hitting the post" is an expression deejays use to describe the art of talking up to the point when the lyrics begin without "stepping" on the beginning of the vocals. It also refers to talking up to an accentuation in the instrumental beginning of a song (the ramp) as in when a large beat kicks in or an instrument creates a predominant punctuation.
Every professional DJ employs this technique and if done properly your listeners will like what they hear. They may not know what has changed with your links but the will notice that you sound very professional.
Timing is the secret to hitting the post. For this exercise imagine you have received the following request during your show.
“Could you please play Dancing Queen from Abba for all the staff in St, Joseph’s ward and thank them for looking after me so well over the last few days. I’m going home today I am feeling much better now.
Joe blogs. “
To talk up to the vocals the first piece of information I need is the length of into (start to Vocals) of the track. The easiest way to do this is to play the track and time it from the time you press the start button to the start of the vocals on the track. The version of Abba’s Dancing Queen I am going to play has 20 seconds of intro music before the vocals start,
Now if I intend to start talking when I press the play button and finish just before the Vocals start I know that I have to speak for twenty seconds.
The next step is to figure out what I can say in my 20 seconds and prepare my link. A rough rule of thumb dictates that most people speak at a speed of 3 words per second.
Basic math’s will tell you that if you speak at 3 words per second for 20 seconds you will say 60 words in that time. Therefore you now know that your link needs to be approximately 60 words long to “hit the post” assuming you are playing Dancing Queen from the beginning and want to start speaking right from the start.
All that’s left is to prepare your 60 words link start the track and open the microphone and start talking.
Here’s my prepared link for the request above. Try it and see how you get on.
“Coming up shortly the only palindromic hit recorded by a palindromic artist.
First here’s a very special request for all the staff in Saint Peter’s Ward from Joe Bloggs.
He tells me he’s feeling much better now and is delighted to be going home today .
Joe has asked me to thank everyone in St. Peters ward for looking after him. “
A couple of thing’s to think of with this technique.
· Make sure that you lower the volume of the intro using the fader when speaking so that you can be heard properly. Just bring the fader back to full volume when you have delivered your link.
· The 3 second rule is a rough guide but it will get you close enough to the vocal to be able to able to hear the build up to the vocals and with a bit of practice you will soon be hitting those vocal every time. Timing is the key.
· Don’t do it every link it will get boring. Save it for a couple of times a show.
· Prepare a script for yourself and deliver it while timing yourself to get a more accurate indication of the speed you speak at and adjust the method to suit.
· If you want to sound really cool and talk over 5 seconds of the end of the previous track and the start of the new track just add 15 words to you link 3 words per minute X 5 seconds and start talking five seconds before you hit the play button for the new track.
* A palindrome is a word that spells the same backwards as it does forwards. The palindromic hit by the palindromic artist is SOS by ABBA, What can I say? I Like ABBA.