PR Tips | Nailing Your Interview on Talk Radio
Speaking on a news or talk radio program can be a great way to spread your message to a large, reasonably captive audience.
Your quote for a newspaper article may run only a sentence or two. Television can require travel — not to mention hours in the make-up chair — just for a 10-second segment that may end up on the cutting-room floor.
A radio interview, on the other hand, can run anywhere from five minutes to an hour or more. You can fit a whole lot more than 800 words in that chunk of time. And there’s no risk of your segment being edited out.
But contrary to popular belief, long-winded bloviators are not welcome on the air. It’s important to be short, clear, and to the point.
Talking points are an interviewee’s friend. It can be tough to think on your feet during a live interview, so having prepared material at the ready can save you from an awkward pause — or “umm”-ing, “ahh”-ing, and “like”-ing your way through your spot.
Here are some other tips for shining on the radio.
– Approach the interview as if it’s a friendly conversation. Address the host by name, and thank him or her for having you on. Know the market for the show, and make reference to it. “It’s great to be with you, Sean, and with all WXYZ’s listeners in Detroit.” Those little touches can go a long way to ingratiating yourself with the host — and may lead to an invite back.
– Make your talking points snappy. Sure, it’s true that there are 522,144 postal workers in the United States. But it’s more fun to say that you could line them all up end to end and they’d stretch from DC to Akron and back.
– Don’t be afraid to steer the conversation in the direction you’d like to go. You can’t control the questions that a host asks — but you can control your answers. “That’s a great question, Mr. Host. But before I get to that, I’d like to mention [INSERT YOUR TALKING POINT HERE] . . .”
– Have fun! The best radio guests are those who have some personality, who engage with the host and with the audience, and who have interesting things to say.
Follow these simple rules, and you just might become a regular on the radio.