Reach people by radio

Radio interviews, public service announcements and phone in debates are effective ways of reaching a very large audience at little or no cost.  It is worth learning the skills.

Getting started

Speaking on radio does require a little courage to start, but gets easier with time.  Begin with an easy sympathetic interviewer on a subject you know a lot about.  Later on, you can move to a more hostile interviewer.  Listen carefully to other people on radio and try to copy what they do well.

Brief your host beforehand

  • Give your interview host summary background information on the topic you will be talking on.
  • Give them suggestions on the type of questions they can ask you.
  • Arrive early to chat to your host.
  • Help your host find other experts they can phone to add to the discussion.

Studio technical knowledge

  • Keep your mouth about a fist away from the microphone.
  • Lights in the studio indicate when you are ‘live’ on air.  While music is being played, you can chat informally, but watch the lights carefully.
  • Bring your notes and background information into the studio – since no-one can see you.  Refer to your notes, but don’t read them – because that would make you sound boring.
  • Often, shorter radio interviews are done by telephone.  The sound quality is poorer, but it can save the time of travelling to and from the studio.

Interviewing technique

  • Keep eye contact with your interviewer and smile, because it affects the warmth of your voice.
  • If your interviewer asks a question that is off the topic you want to talk about, then give them a very short comment and link it to the topic you do want to talk about.

Public service radio adverts

  • Compile a short advert to promote your cause of 30 seconds to 2 minutes.  The shorter and better it is, the more often they will play it.
  • Find someone good with sound to add background music or effects before or after your words.
  • Perfect your script and get others to check to ensure no confusion.

Phoning in to debates

  • Most people are afraid to phone in to radio discussions, so those who do have a lot of influence.
  • Write down one or two points that have not yet been made by previous callers.

News interviews

  • Decide what you will say to the press beforehand.  Ensure you can say it all in under a minute.  If you make it longer, your words may be cut to say something you didn’t mean.