Alumni interview with Sebastian Wendl, presenter with Radio Gong 97.1 and stadium announcer at 1. FCN
Stadium announcer on the weekend, radio host during the week
During the week, he is behind the microphone at Radio Gong from Funkhaus Nürnberg and at the weekend he fires up the fans of 1. FCN as the stadium announcer: FAU alumnus Sebastian Wendl. He studied Political Science and German Language and Literature in Erlangen between 2009 and 2013, and has been actively involved in radio and media circles for almost 10 years now. In our interview he explains what role FAU has played in his career to date.
You have had an impressive career so far as a presenter and stadium announcer. To what extent did your degree in German Language and Literature and Political Science at FAU help you with your career?
It was especially the seminars in linguistics that helped me. There we learned about forming sounds and the origins of words and dialects. This was of relevance to the speech training during my training to become a presenter. In both my professions, speaking and presenting to an audience play a central role. Various presentations and several of the seminars I attended helped me to work at and polish my self-presentation skills. As I “only” studied Political Science during my second semester, I had enough time to do an internship at max neo. Looking back now, that was my first step into the world of radio and media.
Are you still in touch with any of your former fellow students? What do these connections mean to you?
A few of my fellow students have become good friends and we are still in touch today.
During your time at university, you tried your hand at radio broadcasting at max neo and after graduating you worked in the same area at ENERGY Nürnberg and BR, and since 2013 you have been working as a presenter at Radio Gong 97.1. What advice would you give current students who are aiming at a similar career?
Initiative. Show lots and lots of initiative. That might not sound terribly helpful, but the world of media is extensive and there is no “one size fits all” solution. My tip is therefore: look for an internship, offer to volunteer and get a foot in the proverbial door. And if you are lucky enough to be in the right place at the right time, then nothing more can really go wrong.
I think that people tend to be more motivated when we feel that our work is worthwhile and we enjoy what we do.
Since 2018, you have supported the non-commercial radio platform “Mach Dein Radio” from the Bavarian regulatory authority for new media known as Bayerische Landeszentrale für neue Medien (BLM) as a coach for school radio groups. What tips do you give participants other than the material you teach them?
I try to pass on my enthusiasm for the fastest moving medium in the world. In principle, I can press on my microphone button at any time, and can immediately reach out to thousands of people across the globe thanks to internet streaming. This speed is one of the things that most fascinates me about radio.
Since 2019, you have also been responsible for firing up fans of 1. FCN at their home games as a stadium announcer. How do you motivate yourself and others to perform at their very best?
I think that people tend to be more motivated when we feel that our work is worthwhile and we enjoy what we do. I try to assign my team members those areas that really interest them and where they excel. It doesn’t always work, of course, but usually we manage fairly well. And if something doesn’t work out so well, feedback is always very valuable.
Fans probably think that your job as a stadium announcer is very laid back and spontaneous. Would I be right in presuming that you have fixed routines and plans? What is a typical day in the life of a stadium announcer like on the day of a match? How do you prepare?
Preparation for a home match starts on Wednesday. The decision-makers responsible for match day meet for a security briefing. The agenda covers issues such as how many fans are expected to attend, arrangements for the fringe program, which staff are on duty etc. After the meeting, the other stadium announcer and I (there are always two of us) , receive a schedule from the club. It details what is on when in the preliminary program and which interview partners we have. We then write our notes based on that.
What happens on match day itself? What happens next?
Match day itself starts two hours before kick-off with a final meeting in the stadium. We then get wired up and the program starts one hour before kick-off. Before the match, in the half-time break and after the final whistle, we are inside, and during the match itself we sit in our box at the south curve. Our producer also sits there and keeps an eye on everything, making sure that we, the sound and the images all match up properly.
How do you best like to relax after a hard day at work?
My wife and I have had a Pembroke Welsh corgi for just over a year now. It’s hard to imagine anything more relaxing than walking through the forest with a dog.
Can you tell us your favorite place at FAU and or in Erlangen?
The “Teehaus” in Erlangen is the ideal place to sit out in the courtyard and get away from it all for a little while, especially in summer.
Thank you for the interview!
(Interview: Sebastian Schroth, October 2022)
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