Secrets of A Successful Radio Interview

The radio may seem the least glamorous form of media. It doesn’t have the colors of television, nor the glitz of the new-age internet, yet it has millions of listeners every day. It has a vast audience, and despite being audio, it is still the media people are used to listen to, in their cars and on their cell phones. The highest-paid entertainers worldwide are radio performers, so do not underestimate radio as an effective medium, as every medium has its strength and weaknesses. The intimacy and conversational features of radio make it popular among people. People who have a habit of listening to the radio listen to it a lot and form bonds with the host. If you are on a show as a guest, you have an opportunity to connect to that huge audience and communicate messages.

So, don’t ever turn down an opportunity to do a radio talk show, as you can get up to an hour of interview time and connect with the audience by sharing everything you want to say to them straightforwardly and comprehensively. It is a way to connect to millions of people and share your voice and ideas with them. Here are some tips for communicating effectively during a radio interview.

Goal and message of a radio talk

The first thing you have to do while going for an interview on radio, whether for a one-hour talk show 5-minute news live, is to make yourself clear about what to convey and say. If you want to advertise any product like a book, DVD etc., keep that in mind.

After focusing on your goal, define your message. You must be able to say your message in almost 30 seconds in 3 simple points. It does not mean that it is the only thing you will say in the whole interview, but you must be clear about the main idea you are discussing.

Package your talk with sound bites

If any radio channel is interviewing you and it is being aired later, your interview will be edited, and they can put their desired parts in the story. Here prepare your soundbites or quotes, so they act as an ideal piece to select from your conversation and get included in the interview. For example, a host may interview you for half an hour, but you may get one or two 15-20 seconds sound bites in that radio broadcast. You need to plan them and make the host select your desired parts as the sound bites. Package your messages with things that make your ideas more quotable so that the reporter wants to pull a bite out of them and put it into the story. There are specific speech patterns that get the attention of the reporter and the editor when they are extracting soundbites from an interview. For example, any sentence starting with absolutely, always, must, and never there is greater chance reporters will quote you. Any time you attack anybody, the reporters will report you. Emotions are also quoted in sound bites. So, remember it is not enough to repeat your message in a straightforward, logical way you have to package your messages with sound bites. The beauty of live radio is that host will not edit out sound bites. But be careful with the words coming out of your mouth as it remains on the record.

Elements of a good radio guest/ expert

Every radio show is a little bit different. The host of radios show have a wide range of personalities and styles. Some hosts are incredibly bullying and obnoxious, while others are highly intellectual, polite, and refined. You have to come up with your style. Don’t worry about the whole style but be in your style. Have the insight you care about and the knowledge you want to convey. Have the passion for your ideas, and you can do fine whether it is AM, FM, conservative, or liberal radio show. The successful guests in radio interviews, who are invited again and again for interviews, are those who have real insight, bring a passion to their subject and are not afraid to say things others may not like, but they think right. The more you can cultivate these habits inside yourself, the better radio guest you can be.

How to speak on radio phones

As far as the mechanics of a radio talk show are concerned, the average corded line still has a superior audio quality than the cell phones. When you have a choice, try to do your interview on a corded line.

The audio quality will be better, and you will sound better as well. The producer and the audience will be happier. Audio quality makes a big difference. Never use a speakerphone for talk radio interviews. This may be the worst possible option. There are good-quality headsets available for online communication. You can use one with a mike coming right in front of your mouth with a corded phone for the best results. By using the headsets, you can walk, stand, and express your gestures more freely, making you sound even better. The second option is using a landline and, in the end, the cell phone. Follow this order to get the best results.

Studio versus phone interviews

If you have an opportunity to be on a news talk program quite often, the person who books you for the interview will ask if you would rather do the interview on the phone or in the studio. You might think it will be more convenient for you to pick up the phone and do it from home. But don’t be too fast to make this decision. You will always be better if you go to the studio. For starters, it is better to go to the studio as the audio quality will be much better.

  • You can get all the communication from the host, from their body language as you can see the person, their eyes, and understand the nonverbal queues. So, the communication is going to be much better.
  • You are likely to get more airtime.
  • You can make a stronger impression and a personal connection with the host and the show’s producer.

The real power of radio is not one’s appearance. No one’s radio appearance makes anybody rich and famous in fact; it is the repetition of appearance. All successful radio hosts started their journeys from an excellent guest to a regular guest and then the host. This is the typical way to move up the media food chain.


Do not underestimate the power of radio communication. Millions of people listen to the radio daily. Write a clear message you want to deliver with your radio interview. Consciously add sound bites in your interview where there are chances the editor may select them to convey your message concisely. Be prepared for every type and style of the host. Prefer to select the option of going to the studio for an interview whenever convenient as it has several advantages over interviewing via phone.

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