You have already sent your press release to the radio station, and they have contacted you to do a radio interview with one of their hosts.
Immediately, write down the call letters and location of the station, time of the interview, and names of the host and producer of the show. Get it into your schedule. Be early for the event. Announcers won’t air you if you are late.
If you haven’t already, create a short, interesting bio for yourself as well as a few suggested interview questions since the host probably won’t have time to do more than read the blurb. Make sure the host has them and a copy of your book before your interview.
Prior to the Radio Interview
1. Make notes on what you want to stress.
Determine your message. People find it interesting to hear the “story behind the story,” so tell them WHY you wrote the book. If anything interesting happened while writing, that anecdote will connect with listeners. Just don’t tell them something you don’t want the world to know for that info has an indefinite shelf life.
2. Practice answering your suggested questions.
Rehearse your main points so that you are comfortable talking about them. Speak your ideas freely, without memorization.
The Radio Interview
3. Be ready to immediately start the interview when the station calls.
Sometimes the host will call early and put you on hold—this is a good time to listen to the tone of the host. Other times (and this is more common), the host will call and you are instantly on air. Just be ready for whatever happens.
4. After the host introduces you, he will start asking questions.
Give short, informative answers 30 seconds or less—a powerful “soundbite” will serve you well during the radio interview. Speak with enthusiasm and a smile. It’s a conversation, so relax.
Dead air is not appreciated on radio, so talk. Brad Phillips, media expert, recommends even gesturing or walking around (have a headset on if you do), and “match or slightly exceed the host’s energy level to avoid sounding flat.”
5. Because of the nature of radio, listeners will be tuning in or tuning out throughout your interview.
Being aware of this, you need to reiterate your message in some manner at the beginning, middle, and end of interview. Don’t forget to mention the full title of your book at least 3 times during the interview, if possible.
6. Giving the host a few copies of your books for his listeners helps to extend your effectiveness as an interviewee.
The host will usually continue to talk about you and your book well after the radio interview airs.
7. Take the high road if the host or a call-in attacks you.
Be respectful, be firm, and keep your cool. (Also make notes so that you will only go back there knowing the lay of the land. Hostile territory.)
8. Have a “closing” statement, a summary, ready.
Your host will probably want to make a smooth transition at the end, so prepare something short and sweet, but filled with your message.
9. When the host hangs up, just stay on the line for a little while.
Often, the host will have business to do and then will come back on the line to talk with you. They don’t always do this, but if they do, you don’t want to miss an opportunity.
After the Radio Interview
10. If possible, ask for a copy of the interview.
As backup, try to record your own copy. Review it to see what you did well and what you could improve upon.
11. Send a thank you note to the host and producer.
I know, this is old-fashioned, but EVERYONE likes to be appreciated. Obviously, you were helping the host and station with your interview, but it was also boosting your marketing efforts. Courtesy is always welcome.
Covering the Basics for a Radio Interview
These 11 tips cover some basics for a phone radio interview. If you are going to be interviewed in the station face-to-face, be early and ready to talk with the host.
When at the desk, talk into the microphone (be about 6 inches away from the mike—or whatever your host recommends), but look at the host. You are talking to him. That eye contact will make the interview much easier for you.
When doing a radio interview, whether on phone or in studio, have fun with it. Be confident and enthusiastic.
You have a great product in your book that you want the world to know about. A radio interview can sell some books and even make you famous.