We’re getting ready for fall sports for college and high school in America and a recent happening at Wrigley Field brings up several important notes for announcers and sports DJs when it comes to music, SCREEN EVERYTHING. Sorry to yell, it’s going to be repeated, SCREEN EVERYTHING. Recently the DJ at Wrigley Field chose a
We’re getting ready for fall sports for college and high school in America and a recent happening at Wrigley Field brings up several important notes for announcers and sports DJs when it comes to music, SCREEN EVERYTHING.
Sorry to yell, it’s going to be repeated, SCREEN EVERYTHING. Recently the DJ at Wrigley Field chose a song that was not only inappropriate for game play, but also extremely inappropriate for the situation. The DJ was subsequently relieved of their duties with the Cubs.
There are all types of situations in which people will try to give you music to play, and you must be steadfast in the rule that it must be approved. Over the years, there have been many mistakes made by interns at the sound computer or well meaning announcers who were trying to be nice and play what the kids wanted who wind up playing something that is completely inappropriate. Here are some rules to follow when someone gives you a song request to play.
- DO NOT play the song until you have a chance to hear it completely.
- DO NOT play the song unless it has been vetted by someone in charge AND they give their approval. Don’t go off of, “Well, I asked Mr. Smith and he said it was ok.”
- DO NOT accept a CD, thumb drive, etc. from someone you don’t know without approval.
- Ask for a list of songs ahead of time so you can preview the lyrics or obtain the music yourself.
- Set an appropriate time for submissions, allow yourself enough time to research the songs. Typically 48 hours should be enough.
- Help yourself and become familiar with recent popular music.
- Understand that students will ask for songs that even clean versions are unsuitable for public play. Make sure to read the lyrics along with listening to the music.
- “We play it in the locker room” or “My parents let me listen to this” is not an acceptable reason to play a song without previewing.
- “We have to play family-friendly music at all times because the music can be heard outside the stadium” is a proper response to someone asking for something that isn’t appropriate.
- Work with your administration to develop systems to have songs meet with a prior approval.
- NEVER put a song on your game computer that contains explicit lyrics. Avoid making obvious mistakes by not putting potentially offending songs on the computer or into your rotation.
- Radio edits still may not be clean enough to play for a family-friendly audience.
At NCAA tournaments, teams that are permitted to choose songs must provide a list of the songs and the lyrics used when submitting their music. Then the music is screened and presented to the DJ. The music is either loaded onto a computer, or the playback device is kept in a secure area until the team’s final game so as to not allow someone to make a last-minute change.
Institute a system:
Here is a sample system to use with your sports organization.
- Song choices must be submitted to the Game Producer no less than 48 hours prior to the song being played. You must include the artist, title and version/remix.
- Songs must not contain profanity, references to drug use, explicit lyrics, references to abuse or discrimination, political messages or contain obvious metaphors that reference any of the above or any other behavior deemed inappropriate by school administration.
- Radio edits may still not be acceptable, please look for “Clean” or “Squeaky Clean” edits.
- If certain parts of the song are to be played, please submit the start AND end time of the clip*.
- Instrumental versions may be approved, however may still be denied if references to any of the above are obvious by the song choice.
- If submitting a list of songs, please provide a copy of the song along with the lyrics.
- Music will not be accepted unless a copy can be made to put on our sound computer. Please do not submit phones, iPods, iPads or other playback devices. We cannot be held responsible for any such device.
Violation of any of the above rules will meet with disapproval of your selections. Repeated violations will lead to revocation of these privileges for the remainder of the season.
* These clips are generally used in baseball and softball for walk-up songs, however can be used for other sports to highlight athletes big plays such as volleyball, football or women’s basketball. Some schools permit or play songs based on the athlete and allow the athlete to choose. A volleyball player may ask for a clip to play after a kill, a running back after a carry, or women’s basketball player walking up to the foul line. This can also apply to goals in field hockey or soccer or any other sport in which a positive play immediately precedes a dead-ball period. These are not the only situations as this is an ever-evolving piece of game presentation.
We have developed a sign that can be laminated and placed on or inside your pressbox so that guests understand the rules of submitting music. You can download a copy here or visit the Documents section of SportsAnnouncing.com. These rules can also be placed in the locker rooms or other location in which athletes could see them.