“Hi, is this Brad? Good. You’re on the air in three seconds.”
I’ve done hundreds of radio interviews throughout my career. They seem simple. After all, you just pick up the phone and have a conversation with an experienced talk-show host.
They’re actually nothing like normal phone conversations (unless the friends with whom you chat take listener phone calls and toss to a commercial break every 10 minutes or so).
Based on my own experiences over the past 10 years, here are seven things you should know before your next radio interview.
1. Radio interviews can begin abruptly
Most of the radio stations I’ve worked with have arranged to call me rather than having me call into the studio (it can work either way, but many producers prefer to control the timing by calling the interviewee themselves).
Some producers call a few minutes before the interview begins, allowing you to listen for few minutes and get a feel for the program’s tone. Other producers wait for the last possible second, meaning you’re on the air within seconds of picking up the phone. When you pick up the phone, be ready to go live on a second’s notice—or on no notice at all.
2. Help your host