Are you someone who turns down broadcast media interview opportunities because you don’t think you can do them?

Or there’s that fear of the unknown – you don’t know what to expect?

You may be an expert in your field, and someone asks you to come on radio and give advice. Why turn them down?

Broadcast media interviews, whether local or national, are great ways to get your business or event noticed, and in the majority of cases, I would recommend you take up the offer. Local radio in particular has high audience share in their region, and are always looking for local voices, on local topics and events.

So let’s deal a bit with the fear of the unknown by telling you what to expect, once you’ve decided to say Yes to the media interview. Read an earlier blog I wrote about how to prepare.

 1. Ask questions of the person who’s asked you to do the interview in advance

When someone asks you to do a media interview, I would recommend you ask them the following in advance:

  • What are you going to ask me?
  • What time do you need me on radio and for how long?
  • Will I come into studio, or will it be on the phone?
  • Will there be anyone else talking about this on the same programme?
  • Will you be taking live calls?

People don’t often realize you can ask these questions before you go on a radio programme. Usually the call comes from a researcher or producer, and they are willing to help you get prepared so you won’t “dry up” on air.

2. Suggest giving them more details of the event/subject you are promoting and send by email.

With the exception of the larger RTE Radio One programmes, most stations or programmes do not have many researchers or producers available to prepare a brief for the presenter. In many cases, the presenter is working off a few lines from the local news service, something they saw on social media, or even something they heard when they were out and about. In other words, they are not informed and know far less about the subject than you do. This is why I always recommend sending either a prepared press release, information about yourself and your website, or a few paragraphs of facts and figures, etc., to the presenter or programme in advance.  If you have some points you wish to cover, do send them as well.

3. Psych yourself up!

I know many of you who have never done a media interview before are thinking – “Oh I can’t do this”- but I do highly recommend you psych yourself up in advance. It’s the “fake it til you make it” philosophy. Tell yourself (which is true…) – I am the expert here, and I know far more about this subject than the presenter who is asking the questions. That helps give you confidence, and sit up straight and be that confident person in your head. Along with good preparation,  this will really make a difference.

4. Always have a glass or bottle of water near at hand.

This is essential – our mouth dries up when we are nervous. Having that water nearby and ready to drink does give you support, and makes it easier for you to deal with the nerves. Being nervous gives you adrenaline, which helps you concentrate, and that’s no harm. Deep breaths and drinking some water helps you deal with the nerves. And – lay off the strong coffee beforehand too; it can make you more nervous than you need to be.

5. Control the interview.

Tip no. 1 is about the questions you can ask in advance, to help you know what to expect. You can also negotiate what you will and won’t agree to. For example, I would never recommend you go live on air and take live calls from the listeners; it’s not possible to predict what questions you are going to be asked and you can’t prepare for that. So firmly state that in advance – I would love to come on your programme to talk about X (your area of expertise), but I can only do so if I have the questions in advance, and I don’t think it’s a good idea to take live calls.

6. Find a good quiet place to do the interview.

About nine out of every 10 interviews on radio are done down the line i.e. over the phone or via a dedicated App. You can’t see the person who is talking to you, and it takes quite a bit of concentration to ensure you can manage the interview successfully and listen carefully.

So you need to have a quiet distraction-free environment for this. No phone calls to interrupt you, nobody walking into the room at the same time, and very importantly, the radio station that you are on is turned off if you have been listening to it beforehand. Ensure you have told people around you that you are doing this interview, so they don’t interrupt or distract you.


Good luck!

Aileen O’Meara is a Communications Consultant, who offers bespoke in-person and online media interview preparation. Contact us at [email protected] for details.  

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