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How to shine in local radio interviews

Red vintage radioIf you’ve got something to talk about — a new product, an event or an area of expertise — then it’s well worth approaching your local radio stations to see if they would like you to come in and do an interview. But how do you prepare and what makes a good on-air performance? Dee Blick has ten top tips to help you tackle a live radio interview successfully

I was thrilled when the producer and the news scout of a local radio station that had interviewed me previously askec me to go back and share on a new project that I am involved in. 

I personally find live radio more daunting than filming for television. At least with television, if you make a mistake or fluff your lines it is simply a matter of a retake or two if it's not live. With live radio, there is no rewind button.  

You have to get it right first time. 

So, I wanted to share with you what it was that I believe led to me being invited back. When you get the opportunity to promote your business on live radio, you've hopefully got a starting point with these tips.

I believe that success boils down to three things: preparation, passion and understanding the audience of listeners.

  1. Preparation means going on the radio website, understanding the profile of listeners that will be tuning in at the time of your interview and discussing with the presenter how long you have for your interview. Will it be interspersed with music or adverts? What kind of content are they looking for from you? You have to make sure that you are both working on common ground and that the content will be relevant and appealing to listeners.
  2. Don’t take a script with you to your interview. This will turn off the presenter and the listeners. Instead, compile a sheet of bullet points and make each one stand out, either by highlighting with different colours or circling key points. I have found these indispensable. It is easy to get carried away in an interview and then realise afterwards that you barely included your key points. Listeners cannot see that you are referencing a crib sheet and the presenter will not mind.
  3. Dress to impress! I tend to get booted and suited for business radio interviews and I always take my business cards. It's good to leave a lasting positive impression with the producer and presenter, especially if you want an invite back.
  4. Arrive early so that you can get a car parking space if one has not been allocated for you. I get there about an hour earlier than needed; I sit in a nearby cafe and run through my crib notes. I also do lots of positive self-talk which means that the people nearby think I am losing my marbles!
  5. Book in with the radio station itself about half an hour beforehand unless you have been given different instructions by the team. Either you will be lucky and you will meet other presenters and some of the team or it will be a matter of sitting in reception and calming the butterflies!
  6. Run through your expectations of the interview with the presenter before you go on air. I tend to chat through with the presenter the questions they want to ask me and we agree the content that I would ideally like to communicate. Make sure that the presenter has got your name and your business name correct. Ask them for a copy of the interview.
  7. When you go on air, really focus on speaking clearly and enthusiastically. I make a conscious effort not to umm and err and I am as enthusiastic and passionate as I would be if I were doing a presentation face-to-face. There is time to think through what you're going to say and by not rushing you sound professional and you don't fall into the trap of saying something that is inappropriate. 
  8. It's important that while you are talking and responding to questions you maintain good eye contact with the presenter because you don't have the luxury of asking him or her live on air whether you have said enough or you need to shut up! Non-verbal communication is vital here!
  9. If you are allowed to give your contact details, do so very clearly at the end and repeat them for good effect.
  10. Thank the presenter when you are off air, pat yourself on the back and ask for a copy of the interview. The fun really begins on the way home when you replay your interview. If you're like me, you will be smiling and groaning in equal measure. There's always room for improvement… 

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