Eastern Panhandle of WV

Local Leader Interview: Michael Thoma of M&T Event Entertainment

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M & T Event Entertainment is a Ranson-based DJ service that provides breathtaking, exciting, meaningful and fun experiences for special occasions throughout the 4-state area.

More than just a DJ, Michael Thoma has a genuine desire to make your next event a UNIQUE AND MEMORABLE celebration that you’ll treasure for a lifetime!

Can you tell me what your business is?

Michael Thoma: I am a DJ and Emcee located in Ranson, West Virginia that performs at celebrations of all kinds. I offer lighting to enhance the room or dance floor and a fun photo booth for folks to take some silly pictures and have fun. My company takes having fun very seriously.

How long have you been in business?

Michael Thoma: 2018 marks my 5th year in business, but my wife and I have been entertaining long before that.

Why are you in business? 

Michael Thoma: I wanted to make a positive impact in the world and I found that being a DJ was the best way for me. I get to be a part of a celebration and create wonderful memories. Weddings are what I specialize in and I use my position to create laughter, a few tears, joy, and wonder. It is so fulfilling to see a smile on everyone’s face.

How did you get started?

Michael Thoma: I was a regular patron at a very popular karaoke bar. I went every week to sing. As my reputation grew, I was asked if I would cover the gig while the regular DJ was off doing weddings. One thing led to another and I was asked to host a wedding. I was hooked. I will always have a soft spot for karaoke, but weddings are my true calling.

Are weddings the only thing that you do? 

Michael Thoma: Not at all. I am comfortable hosting any sort of celebration. Birthday, anniversary, Sweet 16, Quinceanera or corporate and school events. I just find that weddings are on a different level. This is the most expensive party that this couple will ever throw and emotions run very high. It is a once in a lifetime event that has been dreamed about for a long time. I want to make sure that it is celebrated to the fullest potential.

How many hours do you work in a day?

Michael Thoma: I cannot answer this by hours in a day. When preparing for a party, hours range about 40-50. That is meetings, phone calls, emails, production, music programming, planning and then, the actual day. It takes an hour to load my vehicle, and then time for travel. I arrive at least 2 hours beforehand to set-up and do sound checks. Then I work the party and tear down, travel back and unload. A typical 5-hour wedding is actually a 12-13 hour day.

In the meantime, I am always learning how to better my performance and deliver a better experience. I follow-up on leads and schedule meetings or phone calls. It really depends on the time of year and what season I’m in.

What inspired your business ideal?

Michael Thoma: There is an interesting TED talk by Simon Sinek titled, “Start with why”. In this talk, Simon explains the what, how and why people sell products or perform services. He states that everyone knows what they do, some know how they do it, but very few know why they do it.

I looked at my business and this is what I saw…My purpose is to celebrate each event individually, just the same as every person is an individual. How I do it is by getting to know you on a personal level by asking questions that teach me about you. What I do is use this information and work with you to explore ways to create a unique experience for you, your family and friends. Your guests will take away the best possible memories that they will remember for a long time.

What have been some of your failures and what did you learn from them?

Michael Thoma: Great question. I fully believe that failing is okay if you learn from it. I have made plenty of mistakes. One of my first weddings, I grossly underestimated the size of the room. I was quite far away from the ceremony, so my microphones were not strong enough to keep a constant connection. My speakers were also not powerful enough to push the room, so they clipped all night. Lastly, I took song requests the night before and a lot of them were duplicates. It was a bi-lingual wedding and I did not speak Spanish. I play a couple songs twice.

What did I learn? I need to be closer to the ceremony to make sure that my microphones keep a constant, clear connection. I learned that I need to measure the room to see exactly how much equipment I need to bring. I also learned that I need time to research music and it cannot be done the night before an event.

What book has inspired you?

Michael Thoma: I read a lot of books, so many have inspired me and for different reasons. Here are two of my favorites. “Selling the Invisible” by Harry Beckwith is amazing. It talks about selling something that cannot be held or seen. The emotional connection made between you and the buyer. It is an entertaining perspective on the sales process.

The next one is “The go-giver” by Bob Burg and John David Mann. The quote that inspired me most was “Your true worth is determined by how much more you give in value than you take in payment.”

What people have you been inspired by?

Michael Thoma: There are many leaders in the DJ community all over the country that inspire me. Peter Merry, Ron Ruth, Mitch Taylor, Mike Walter, Sean”Big Daddy” McKee, Bill Hermann, and Randy Bartlett to name a few.

Are you a Local Leader of the Eastern Panhandle? We want to share your story with the community! Contact us so we can interview you and put your business on the map.

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