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brian mcfayden

From the second you meet Brian, you realize his dry, sarcastic sense of humor, boyish good looks, and southern boy charm make him the perfect MTV VJ. Choosing what not to include within this feature was just too hard. Perhaps, it's because he's used to interviews, although usually on the other end of 'em, or maybe he's just that news worthy.

When it all began...

"I went to a broadcasting school for nine months in Minneapolis and graduated. In 1996, with the $700 I had saved from working at the Outback [Steakhouse], I packed my bags and started sending out audition tapes for radio. I became an on-air, afternoon guy at KROCK, this alternative/rock station. Our show did fantastic and NY heard about us. That's how we got the call. The marketing director at KROCK was like listen, This guy wants you to call him back at MTV. So, I called him back and he was like, We'd like you to come down and audition for a show. I thought it was a friend of mine playing a practical joke on me."

The audition...

So, I went in and wound up breaking into song during it. Don't ask me why. I was singing country or something my mom used to sing to me when I was a kid. When I left I was going, There's no way MTV's gonna hire me now. I went back to the radio station and, the next day, I got the call. Congratulations, Brian. Welcome aboard. You're on MTV."

The big switch...

"I had auditioned for a game show, actually, but they took me off of it and told me I would be perfect for MTV News. I was like, MTV News? Kurt Loder? John Norris? Chris Connelly? Serena Altschul? I had a big crush on her when I was in high school."

The second audition...

"They put you in a studio with about 25 people you don't know around you. There's one person sitting in a chair asking you questions about yourself. You have to look directly into the camera without looking to the side or at them -- like you're actually doing a news report. Then, you had to write your own news story to see if you could actually read or write. I think I passed."

The initial hardships...

"At first it was hard. I remember getting homesick when I first moved to NY. Living in the largest city in the world, it can also be the loneliest city. Maybe it was a bit of a culture shock because out here they're a little bit tougher. You get hit with reality."

The MTV crew...

"They were probably wondering, What is this new news guy doing here? Kurt Loder is like God here. Sometimes I don't want to go talk to him because I just want to keep that 'I've been watching you for years and I don't want to know you because you're this pop icon I grew up watching.' You meet the people you grew up idolizing."

The  nerves...

"I get nervous before every interview. Fred Durst and I are friends, but I get nervous even when I go to interview him. I think it's because you want to make sure you get the right questions out there. My first time ever [on TRL] I thought I was gonna die. 'N Sync was in the studio. What a way to get broken in! There were about 15,000 screaming fans outside and every time you got close to the window you felt like you were at a football game. I just remember how I had the microphone clenched to my chest the entire time. I wasn't used to holding a microphone because when we do news there's a mic over ya. I didn't want to let go because I knew everybody would notice my hand shaking terribly. Carson looks at me and goes, Try not to suck. He's a good friend of mine... he was just trying to be funny with me."

The tricks of the trade...

"Don't think of the people you're talking to as being someone better than you. Always make sure you keep that person on your level. That way it's just like having a regular conversation. Also, drink lots of water. You know how when you get nervous your mouth gets really dry? My mouth gets really really dry. So before I go on, I probably have about 3 or 4 waters. Sometimes you drink too much water and you have to go to the bathroom. I've done that before and had to hold it until I was finished {pause} ...but that was probably a little too much information. "

The workday...

"We have a meeting every morning at 10 AM and after that meeting, we're building scripts. We have about 5 or 6 writers working on them. They should be done around 3:30, but sometimes you don't get that lucky. As soon as they're finished, you review these scripts and re-write them into your own words. You have to be down in the studio by 4:30."

The responsibilities...

"To show up on time and smile. {laughs} There's the reporting side... going out to events. That's what's great about my job. You get to go to shows and see your favorite bands, as well as bands you're not really familiar with. You get to meet these guys and see what they actually go through every single day. Also, [you're responsible for] being able to write your own news."

The disadvantages...

"Everybody likes to be recognized. Sometimes a plus. Sometimes it's a negative. When you're out and about 5 or 6 teenage girls won't leave the table while you're having dinner, I guess that's a disadvantage. Or I'll go to see heavy metal acts who MTV doesn't cover and the fans are like, Oohh, MTV sux! You suck! They start chanting your name. You feel like you're the least popular kid in school. It's great. {laughs} Honestly, I wouldn't say there are too many disadvantages. It's a dream for just about anybody. If they tell you no, then they're lying. There's such an opportunity to move on from here. What a great platform."

The advice to aspiring journalists...

"A lot people go to college for broadcasting and mass communications. You're constantly being told that the statistics are so against you... of course they are otherwise everybody would be an actor or journalist! I was broke. I remember eating crackers. I lost about 20 pounds and I was skinny already... it's just how much are you willing to give. I remember an embarrassing moment I had when I first started. The New Years party was basically my first introduction to MTV. I was on for maybe two weeks before. Kathy Griffin was one of the first people to recognize me. She walks by and goes, You're that new news guy. I go, Yeah. She smiles at me, taps me on my shoulder, and goes, Stick to modeling kid, and walks away. I was like, Aww, man. I got dissed by Kathy Griffin. Just keep your head on straight and don't get discouraged. "

The goals...

"Great advice from my grandfather... he always said, Brian, set goals for yourself. Make the longest goal for 5 years. That way you can go back and evaluate. Honestly, I do this. I write these goals down on a sheet of paper. You don't have to make 10 goals. Just make 2 or 3 goals. Then 6 months or a year later, you'll go back and go, Wow I actually did that. A lot of times your goals change. My lifetime goal is to find that special girl out there, fall in love, have a family, and to be able to give back to my family because they're been so supportive with unconditional love."

The future...

"Milking cows. I don't know. I would love to do film or write some sort of comedy. When I was a little kid, I always had to be the center of attention. I love to entertain. Ten years from now, a dream job would be Monday night football. I grew up in Nebraska and always wanted to play for Nebraska. I would sit in my bedroom with a Nurf football listening to these DJ's Kent Pevelka and Gary Saddlemeyer. They were the voice of Nebraska football. I would listen to these guys play by play and thought it would be the coolest job in the world."

Most Memorable: Limp Bizkit

"I did a story about how Fred Durst dissed Scott Stapp from Creed on stage at the Dysfunctional Family Picnic. Well, it just so happens that Fred Durst showed up on TRL unexpected. I read the news right in front of him. So that was probably the weirdest. He was great about it."

Most Nervous For: Jennifer Lopez

"At the Class of 99 - 2000 photo shoot, everyone couldn't take their eyes off Jennifer Lopez because she was in this beautiful green dress. She was looking hotter than a new set of steak knives. So, [the producers] were like, Brian, we want you to go talk to her. I'm going, You're kidding me? You mean Selena? I could barely speak."

Most Anticipated Interview: Robin Williams & Billy Crystal

"Watching these two trying to one up each other is the best. You watch two funny comedians going at it with each other. It would be great because you wouldn't get a word out. Just let him take over. Or get a room full of comedians like Jim Carrey, Howie Mandel, Eddie Murphy, and Martin Lawrence and, knowing that you have a half hour of tape, just let them beat the crap out of each other with words. It would be nuts."

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