Getting to grips with broadcast interviews

The ‘age of the Internet’ notwithstanding, local radio has never been so popular and offers an ideal medium for organisations to reach out to, and connect with, audiences numbering in the hundreds of thousands.

But what does it take to secure your place in front of the microphone, and how can you best handle this valuable opportunity once you’re there?

Here follow some top tips on making the most of broadcast:

1. Sell it in a sentence

Radio journalists and producers work to extremely tight deadlines and, like their listeners, they need to understand your story ‘pitch’ quickly. Try saying or writing it in a sentence, and then ask yourself – would I be interested enough to want to hear more?

2. Think ‘sound’

Radio is of course all about audio – so apply this to your story offer. Not only should you be knowledgeable about your subject, but you may have access to other interesting interviewees, or help convey the atmosphere of a setting with background machinery humming or crowds chattering.

3. Be Newsworthy!

The more of an audience your subject is likely to impact, the higher it’s newsworthiness. Whichever station you’re dealing with, radio is a mass communication vehicle. Think about how what you know, do, or have achieved matters to those listening, and highlight these key points in discussion.

4. Time is short

Lengthy radio features and interviews do occur, but it’s more likely that you’ll have mere minutes or seconds to have your say. Always listen carefully and answer questions asked, but be alive to the message you want to communicate and look for the first opportunity to get it in there.

5. Media are VIPs

After deciding to accept an offer to talk on radio, understand that you are being given an invaluable chance to access a large audience for free. At the same time, media priorities often change. Your story might get ‘bumped’ owing to something more important, or timings may be altered. Remain polite and accommodating regardless and you may get invited back.

6. Making contact

Before you get in touch with a broadcaster, make sure you’re familiar with the station and its programmes. If you want to talk about something new connected to gardening, or have an opinion about the latest business legislation, it’s likely you’ll be targeting different show segments. Ensure you’ve prepared your story beforehand and are available for interview(!). Try phoning first, and have further details ready to email on request.

More Fire PR’s Mark Ferguson recently appeared on BBC Radio Northampton’s Sunday newspaper review with presenter John Griff. You can listen to those clips here:

Image courtesy of nuttakit at