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Six “Ps” to nailing a radio interview

The six “Ps” of nailing a radio interview

Radio is often said to be the most intimate medium of all media, as someone who worked in the industry for over 20 years, it’s no surprise to me. Radio is a companion, an educator and an entertainer. The latest research shows that 88% of Australians listen to the radio at least once a week and with almost 800 commercial, ABC and community stations it’s a fertile ground for experts across Australia.

So given the popularity and strength of radio, how do you nail a radio interview when you’re called upon to share your knowledge or opinion?

Here’s six “Ps” that can help you nail your next radio interview.

  1. Practice

It goes without saying that in order to become proficient in any skill takes practice. Becoming a skilled radio performer doesn’t happen overnight and while some experts are naturally very good radio talent, most need to work at it. If you’ve never been interviewed before, have a friend or colleague conduct a dummy interview with you on some relevant topics. Accept every interview request that comes your way, even if it’s a small ABC regional or community station. Every interview you do, will make you a better guest and more comfortable with the format. If you’re really concerned about how you might present, get media training.

  1. Preparation

There’s some very simple things you can do to prepare for a radio interview. These include making sure you’re fully across the topic you’ve been invited to talk about. Don’t wing it. Do you need statistics or further information to make your case or to have readily on hand, should you be asked a curly question? Consider the audience you’re speaking to and research the station and presenter/s. Ensure you’re in phone range, in a quiet spot and available at the appointed time.

  1. Promotion

These days, promoting your appearances on the radio or in other forms of the media is strongly advised and encouraged. Radio stations are huge social media users and will love it when you share your upcoming interview and tag the station into your post or tweet.

  1. Personality

Being known or being described as “good talent” is the greatest compliment you can receive from a radio person. This means you’re lively, engaging and knowledgeable and much more likely to be asked back. If the topic is a light-hearted one, inject some fun and humour. Conversely if the topic is serious make sure you adopt the appropriate tone and bring some gravitas to the discussion.

  1. Performance

A radio interview is like any public speaking appearance – it’s a performance, and you should treat it as such. Adjust your energy levels to those of the interviewer – if you’re speaking to an FM breakfast show, you’ll often need to raise your energy levels to 10. On Radio National a more measured and considered approach will be required. Listeners don’t want boring radio guests and given you are representing your personal or company brand you never want to be thought of as boring – you want to be at your best and be memorable.

  1. Post-performance

There’s plenty of things you can do after a radio interview that increase your chances of improving your performance and of being asked back again. First, review your performance – how could you have improved or prepared better? Drop the producer and presenter a quick email to thank them for having you and offer yourself for future interviews. Share the audio through you social channels and ask for comment. Archive the audio on your website and build a library of material.

By John Solvander, Director of Media Engagement, Media Stable.

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