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Fueling the On Air Performance

By Ed Shane


I worked with an air talent who did a solid morning show for three hours then consistently sounded distracted during his 8:00 AM hour.


My first thought was that the office staff was arriving and stopping by the control room to say hello.  No.  That wasn’t it. 


Not enough coffee?  No.  He didn’t drink coffee.  He preferred an energy drink before the show. 


There’s the culprit!  About 3½ hours in, the effects of the taurine, amino acids, carbs, caffeine, B vitamins, and a variety of other ingredients designed to “give you wings” (using a Red Bull phrase) were wearing off quickly and making it difficult for the talent to focus.


Our body chemistry just doesn’t remain the same during four and five hours stretches.  The changes are exacerbated by coffee, sugary soft drinks, and – especially – by energy drinks. 


Red Bull, Rockstar, Monster, 5 Hour Energy and the like are supposed to improve concentration and alertness. 


They do, for a while.  Then, BOOM!  The energy and focus drops away. 


I recommended substituting fruit juice for energy and water for hydration. 


Thanks to having worked with an air talent who was diabetic and controlled it by diet, not by insulin, I learned how to keep sugar levels constant by nibbling on fruit: banana, jicama (a Mexican yam), grapes, and berries (in season). 


Nutritionist Wendy Jo Peterson works with sports teams and touring musicians on keeping food in balance.  She saw similarities between athletes and performers and helps both groups understand the role nutrition takes in fueling their performance. 


Wendy Jo has been a presenter at the last three seminars our sister company does for Texas musicians and bands.  She recommends Larabar energy bars.  I’ll add Probar “Fruition” and Clif Bars to your energy bar list.  Granola bars are good, too, like Nature Valley, Bear Naked or belVita.  Clif Bars also has a granola line. 


Before you buy granola bars, read the label.  There are lots of brands in this category and lots of variation in calorie count and nutritional value.   


The key point is not to allow your body chemistry to let you down at a crucial point in your game – whether it’s on a playing field, on stage, in a presentation, or on the air.          





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