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So, you’re going to be on the radio…

For many people the thought of a radio interview can send shudders down the spine. Ensuring you’re well-prepared will help to soothe any nerves and result in a performance that will mean you’ll be asked back again and again.

Here’s ten key points for communicators to keep in mind when they’re asked to share their expertise on the wireless.

  1. Be on time. If the producer says they’ll call you at five-past-eight or asks you to be at the studio by seven-thirty, they mean it. Make sure you’re not on the phone when they’re calling or turn up late to the studio. If you’re late, or unavailable at the appointed time, it’s unlikely you’ll be asked back again.
  2. Use social media to promote your appearance. Your followers will appreciate it and the radio station will love it – makes sure you #tag them!
  3. Use a land-line for phone interviews if possible. Sounds old-school but there’s nothing worse than a dodgy mobile signal or a drop-out in the middle of a radio interview. And never use speaker phone – it’s annoying for the presenters and listeners.
  4. Don’t ramble. Most breakfast shows will need three to four minutes of your time. Be clear and concise with your answers and views. Current affair shows might allow you to be more discursive.
  5. Don’t make stuff up! If you don’t know the answer to a question or it’s outside your sphere of experience, say so and steer the conversation back to where you’re more comfortable. Make sure you clarify the topic with the producer before the interview if you’re unsure.
  6. Show some personality. Producers and presenters are looking for good talent – guests that are colourless, humourless or overly cautious won’t rate too highly with them. Show some humour, have an opinion and be at your most engaging.
  7. Be prepared. If you’ve been asked to comment on a news story, make sure you read it ahead of time. If you need statistics or figures, have them in front of you.
  8. Use first names. Address the host/s by their first name – this will stroke their egos and put them at ease.
  9. Seek feedback. Call or email the producer after the show. Ask how you went and be prepared to take constructive criticism on the chin.
  10. Relax and enjoy the process. Be comfortable in the knowledge that you’re an expert in your field and you’ve been specially sought to share your wisdom.

John Solvander is the Director of Media Engagement at Media Stable and a 20 year veteran radio Program Director.

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