Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Radio Interviews

by Elizabeth S. Craig, @elizabethscraig

file000734677522Yesterday morning, I had a great phone interview with writer and radio show host Sharon Vander Meer on KFUN in New Mexico, where I was a call-in guest. Basically, with a call-in spot on a radio show, you’re given a set time to call and a special number to phone in on. Or, sometimes, the station calls you.

I seem to have this sort of Radio Interview Curse. Apparently, I must have at least one of my children in the house when I’m on the radio. :) It’s either summer vacation, a snow day where school is canceled, or else….like yesterday…I’ve got a child home, sick.

Here’s a tip for parents who do interviews while the kids are home: explain everything. Explain that a radio interview means that you will be on the phone (that was a source of some confusion in years past), that they only need to interrupt you if it’s a true emergency (and clarify what a true emergency is), and explain that if the dog starts unexpectedly barking, to put her out in the backyard. Trust me. It’s better to be over-prepared. Put a sticky note on your closed door to remind them you’re on the radio/on the phone…they’ll forget.

I’ve also done an in-person radio interview. In some ways, the in-person radio interview was easier. On the phone, I’m always listening hard for any clues that I need to shush up and move on to the next subject. When you’re face to face with your radio interviewer, you get visual clues to wrap up a particular train of thought. (Hurry up motions).

A few tips for doing radio:

  • Use your land line and don’t use your speaker phone or a headset.
  • Turn call-waiting off
  • Know the station’s call letters and use them in the interview.
  • Make sure you know the demographic for the station.
  • Have water nearby.
  • Jot down your interviewer’s name and use it. Silence your cell phone.
  • Make notes for yourself—even with your website info in case you suddenly draw a complete blank under pressure.
  • Be prepared to sum up your book in a couple of sentences.
  • Know how long the interview will last so your answers won’t be too long or too short.
  • Sharon was kind enough to send me some questions in advance, which really does make life easier. The interview went really well…and there were no interruptions from my daughter, who’s happily now on the mend.

    Have you done radio or podcast interviews? Have any other tips?