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How to Prepare for a Radio (or Podcast) Interview

October 23, 2013

Thanks to podcasting, online video, blogs, satellite radio, other “new” media outlets, there are more opportunities for you to talk about what you’re doing than ever before. The downside is the quick pace of modern media has shortened preparation time for DJs, hosts, and journalists.

Let’s say you’ve written a book and been scheduled to do an interview on a local radio show. What now? How can you make sure your interview is a success?

The Secret to a Great Radio Interview

When being interviewed, your main focus should be to make sure your message gets communicated effectively. This requires two people at a minimum — you and the host.

The job of the host is to help you communicate your message well and make you sound like you know what you’re talking about, because this is what keeps his audience engaged. Something often overlooked though is, as a guest, it’s equally important for you to make the host sound good.

If you make a host sound intelligent, he’ll bring you back and do what he can to help spread your message during the show, including letting you plug your book (or other product) at the end of the interview.

And here is how to do it…

3 Steps to Prepare for a Radio Interview

1. Do your research on the show.

This should be obvious, but it’s always a good idea to actually listen to the show you’re going to be interviewed on before you show up. Thanks to online streaming, this is easier than ever. TuneIn is a great app that will allow you to listen to almost any radio station in the world.

What to pay attention to:

  • the name of the host — don’t screw this up!
  • the location of the station
  • the type of music the station plays
  • the sponsors (this will tell you a lot about the audience)
It’s worth noting that a lot of popular radio shows and podcasts use similar questions when interviewing people. You should be prepared to talk about the following topics each time you do an interview:
  • your background
  • how you got started in your business
  • your book (or other project) and how it was developed
  • specific advice for listeners
  • where to get in touch with you (keep this simple — give only one web address)

2. A list of “sample questions” to ask.

Yeah, I know that’s not your job to come up with questions for an interview, but make it your job and you’ll have a much better interview experience. You’ll make the host’s job easier and, in return, be asked questions you want to be asked, questions you know the answer to, and questions with answers that will help you further your career.

Not all hosts are created equal and, if you’re used to listening to great interviewers on national networks, you’ll likely be surprised how bad some “local radio” (the kind of stations who will book you at first) is. If you don’t help some of these guys out, you might just end up with a “boxers or briefs” interview, full of stupid questions, which will annoy you, won’t get people listening the info they care about, and bascially be a huge waste of your time.

3. A list of “talking points” (or facts) about you.

You have a certain way you want to introduced, so let the host know. You have certain topics, events, products, and achievements you want to talk about, so him know that as well.

Here is an example of a “bullet sheet” I got from Warner Brothers recording artist and hit songwriter Jason Reeves before an interview he did with me…


The result was an interview where I introduced him how he wanted and covered much of what was on this sheet. He sounded great, because he knew the topics I asked about and I sounded more knowledgeable about his career than I actually was.

If you want to listen for yourself…

Follow the three tips above and you’ll have similarly great results with your interviews.

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