Conducting a radio interview can be a fantastic way to create interesting content for your radio station! Not only is it a great opportunity to discuss topics you’re passionate about, but it can also be an effective way of sharing expertise with your listeners. There are many things to think about when it comes to preparing a radio interview.
1. Find a guest for your radio interview
2. Do your research
3. Prepare questions for your radio interview
4. Provide a warm environment
6. Announce your radio interview on social networks
7. Things to avoid
Listen to a summary of the article here:
Find a guest for your radio interview
The first step to preparing a great radio interview is finding a guest, yet it can be difficult to know where to start. If your radio station or radio show has a specific theme, this can help you narrow down your search from the beginning. However, if you run a generalist radio station, or want to discuss a topic that is different than the regular theme of your radio, you can quickly feel overwhelmed. Our first piece of advice when it comes to finding the right person is to ask yourself questions such as:
- What does my audience want to know?
- Who can give them the answers they’re looking for?
- What can this guest bring to my show?
Once you have answered these questions, you can begin to brainstorm. Start as large as you like, you’ll be able to go back and narrow down your choices afterward. Always keep in mind that any guest you invite should enrich your radio show and bring insight into a chosen subject.
Take a look at the experts in the field that you’d like to discuss during the interview. Twitter is a great tool for searching by topic via the hashtag system! Simply type the keyword into the search bar and you’ll find a number of people related to the subject. You can contact them directly via the platform with a short message where you present yourself, your radio station, and an interview proposition.
Top Tip: When you find an interesting candidate for your radio interview on Twitter, be sure to take a look at the people that they follow too! The chances are you’ll find other experts linked to that field that you can reach out to as well.
You can also network in real life by going to events and meeting new people! This gives you the possibility to discuss certain subjects and see if it sparks a particular interest in someone. Meeting people behind a screen is fine, but meeting in real life is a great way to find out more about the person’s personality. Face-to-face encounters can be more authentic, and you’ll also get to see if your personalities match and if that person is a confident speaker, etc…
Do your research
Even though most of the content of your interview will come from your guest, it’s super important for you to do your research on the selected topic. You should automatically know more about the subject than your listeners do, that way you can introduce it properly and ask the right questions. It will make for a more interesting conversation, as you can ask more developed questions instead of beginner ones. It’s also important for you to show your guest that you have taken an interest in the topic, and don’t expect them to do all the talking. The more you about about the subject, the easier it will be for you to have a natural conversation during your radio interview! It will also make you feel more confident, as you won’t have to rely on your notes as much and you’ll even be able to improvise and bounce off of your guest more easily.
When doing your research, don’t limit yourself to just the conversation topic… You should also research your guest! Check to see if they have done any other interviews before and watch or read them beforehand. Firstly, this will give you an opportunity to see the style and tone of the person you are interviewing. Secondly, you’ll also be able to avoid asking the exact same questions that they have already answered 100 times. Try and find an original angle for your interview and make it as interesting for the guest as for your listeners.
Prepare questions for your radio interview
We’ve said it time and time again: preparation is key! Have a brainstorming session and write down any questions that come to mind when you think of your subject and your guest. These questions will then be a kind of template for your interview, in other words, it will guide you if you feel as if you’ve lost the thread.
Keep in mind that you cannot predict how a guest will answer a question, so you will need to be ready to adapt. Sometimes they may give an answer that is much shorter or longer than you expected and you may need to adjust the timing of the rest of the radio interview. Similarly, your guest may end up not properly answering your question at all! It’s up to you to decide whether you simply move on, or try and circle back in order to get a more precise answer.
Try coming up with 2 or 3 follow-up questions for each question you write down. This will help you bounce back off an answer. You may not get a chance to ask all the questions you have written down, but it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared!
Provide a warm environment
The more welcome your guest feels, the more comfortable they will be during the interview. Try and make them feel as if they are talking to a friend, this will make the conversation seem more natural and relaxed. There are many ways you can make your guest feel at home:
- Make sure they have something to drink
- Check if they have any questions before starting
- Ask if they want to see the questions you have prepared
- Take the time to chat before the interview begins
- Thank them for taking the time to join you for this interview
If your guest has a positive experience on your radio show, they will be more likely to help you promote it and talk about it on their social networks for example. There’s also a high chance that they will talk about their experience with their friends, family, and community (whether it’s positive or negative!) If they have only good things to share about you and your radio, it opens the possibility for you to interview other people that are linked to your guest and their field of expertise. Having a good image can really help the notoriety and popularity of your radio station.
It seems obvious, but you’ll need to activate your listening skills! Show your guest and your listeners that you’re engaged in the interview and are not simply there to read questions from a piece of paper. It can sometimes be difficult to remain concentrated on each and every word, try and think of the interview as more of a conversation. Remain present and be ready to bounce off the last comment made by your guest.
Many questions may pop into your head whilst your guest is speaking, however, avoid interrupting them! Not only can it disrupt your guest, but your listeners will find it difficult to understand what’s happening if more than one person is speaking.
Top Tip: Whilst your guest is speaking, take a moment to drink some water as your voice can quickly become dehydrated when talking for long periods of time!
Announce your radio interview on social networks
We all know that social networks are a powerful tool when it comes to spreading the news and gaining visibility. Make sure you let your listeners know beforehand that an upcoming interview is on its way so that they are sure to tune in.
You can use this opportunity to get creative! For example, you could do a little teasing by giving clues about your guest and asking your followers to guess who it might be.
Things to avoid
Now that we’ve given you some tips on how to prepare a great radio interview, here are a few things you should definitely avoid doing!
- Asking Yes or No questions: the aim is to have a conversation! You should ask “open questions” that require at least a full sentence to answer.
- Asking more than one question at a time: this can be confusing for your guest and your listeners. Don’t rush the interview and remember that the quality of your questions is much more important than the quantity.
- Relying too much on your notes: you risk sounding unnatural if you read too much from a piece of paper. Plus, if the interview strays from your notes you may find yourself being completely stuck as you have left no room for improvisation.
- Keeping your mouth (or breath) near your microphone when your guest is speaking: try and remember to move your head away from the microphone slightly when your guest is answering a question so that we don’t hear your breath or any annoying mouth sounds!
- Going off-topic: again, this can cause confusion for everyone involved. Plus, it may make your guest uncomfortable to talk about a topic that they are perhaps not very familiar with, or weren’t expecting to discuss.
How do you prepare your radio interviews? Let us know in the comments below!