Whether it be listeners turning in to radio online or switching on the stereo to listen live, radio is a proven influential tool that reaches a wide audience. Radio remains a powerful medium, with 82% of Australians tuning in weekly to AM/FM/DAB+ radio over-the-air, online or via catch-up podcasts each week in 2020.
World Radio Day, held on 13th February, aims to celebrate radio as a platform that reflects diversity, unites communities, and facilitates important political and societal discussions.
The theme for this year’s World Radio Day is split into three categories: evolution, innovation and connection.
Evolution: The world changes, radio evolved.
Innovation: The world changes, radio adapts and innovate.
Connection: The world changes, radio connects.
Our Communications Director, Clare Christensen, is familiar with the fast-paced world of radio, working as a reporter and program producer for Australia’s leading talk back station 2GB.
Here are some of her top tips and tricks for how to succeed if you are doing a radio interview.
If you are contacted by a radio station, the first thing you need to find out is if the interview is for news or programs. If it’s news, you’ll only be asked three or so questions and you must provide answers in short, 5-15 seconds “grabs”. If your interview is for a program, that’s when you’re chatting to a host, and you can take your time, use their name and provide extra detail.
As with any other interview, research to find out more about the radio station and if you’ll be appearing on a program, look into the types of stories the program covers and the opinions of the presenter to prepare yourself for questions you might be asked.
You’ll also need to find out if you are expected to be in studio for the interview or whether you can do it over the phone. If it’s over the phone, ensure you have as quiet a location as possible, and the clearest phone line you can manage. Landlines often have better audio quality than a mobile phone so opt for that if possible. If you’re using your mobile, make sure it isn’t on speaker. These days, some hosts will ask to FaceTime, so check the preferred method of the producer/presenter you are dealing with and be sure to be tech-ready when the call comes in.
Finally, make sure you have some flexibility with timing either side of your allocated interview time. Radio programs can run late or come to you early, largely depending on the impact of callers to the program. Make sure you’re available so you don’t miss out on an opportunity.
Make sure you have prepared clear, concise messages to communicate throughout your interview. Those listening to the radio may tune into your interview at the beginning, middle or end, so it’s important to repeat your messages throughout. Try and find different ways to articulate your key messages so you don’t sound too repetitive. Remember, in radio, people can’t see you so feel free to have your notes in front of you and you can cross off key points as you mention them to help you stay on track.
If you are doing a radio interview to promote something, maybe a company update or a product launch, it’s up to you to mention that information. Don’t depend on the announcer to make a plug for your brand – instead, try to include this in your answers. However, don’t oversell your brand as this will cause listeners to tune out – you’re there to provide entertainment not a promotion. A good tip is to make sure you are talking TO your audience not AT them. Making your key messages sound sincere will engage your audience.
Although radio is an audio platform, using visual gestures as you speak will help you communicate your messages more effectively. If you are interviewing for a positive story, smile and use hand gestures – your energy will translate into your voice.
Know your audience. If you are giving a radio interview, you are speaking to everyday people, so you need to use terminology and language that everyone will understand.