How to Do a Great Radio Interview – And Be Invited Back Time and Time Again

When running broadcast media training, we tend to focus more on practicing TV interviews than radio interviews. You can argue with some justification that ‘if you can do a TV interview you can do a radio interview’. After all, with TV you have much more to worry about – what you look like, where you look, have I got any awkward mannerisms that will make me look foolish on the air?

Radio is easy isn’t it, you’ve just got to chat?

Not quite.

Here are some ways you might play a radio interview differently from its TV counterpart.

A first obvious difference is that if you have prepared properly for your interview, you will have a piece of paper with a few key bullet points you’re ready to get across – backed up where possible with some good examples, anecdotes or statistics. On TV you have to put this away before you go on the air – nobody wants to see you reading from a crib-sheet.

However on radio you can (and should) have this in front of you, as a handy reminder in case your mind goes blank, or you suddenly can’t remember that key figure. Glance down at it before you start, or while the interviewer is talking, in case there is something important you may have missed.

With both radio and TV you need to put energy in your voice so you sound lively not flat and dull – an extra 20% above your standard speaking voice is usually about right. On TV you have got to be careful that this energy does not translate into arms waving about and head bobbing – hugely distracting for the audience – but with radio you don’t have to worry about this. Bob around as much as you like if this helps you to make it lively – just be careful not to get too carried away and clonk the microphone.

On TV they tell you to smile so you don’t look miserable – surely that’s o