The Harbinger Group

Mastering the Art of Radio Interviews: Expert Tips for Being a Standout Radio Guest and Interviewee

In today’s digital age, where information is constantly at our fingertips, radio still holds its own as a powerful medium for reaching audiences far and wide. Whether you’re a seasoned professional or new to the game, mastering the art of radio interviews can significantly elevate your message and impact. But what exactly makes a great radio interview? 

“Can You Hear Me?” podcast co-hosts Eileen Rochford and Rob Johnson, alongside WBBM Newsradio Anchor Rob Hart, share the key ingredients for success on the airwaves. With over two decades of experience at prominent Midwest radio stations, Rob Hart offers a treasure trove of knowledge. This episode provides a roadmap to navigate the intricacies of radio interviews, empowering both guests and interviewees to succeed over the airwaves.

Let’s break down their combined knowledge into practical tips to elevate your next radio interview and maximize your impact as a thought leader in the spotlight.


1. Don’t Panic and Embrace the Opportunity to Share Your Expertise

When stepping into the realm of radio interviews, it’s natural to feel a wave of nerves. However, as Rob Hart, a seasoned radio anchor, suggests, viewing it as an opportunity to share your knowledge can help calm those jitters. Remember, you’re on the air to fill in the gaps and provide valuable insights to the audience. 

Rob Johnson emphasizes the importance of concise yet compelling communication. Treat it like a cocktail party or an elevator pitch – engage your audience with thought-provoking tidbits that prompt further discussion.

It is important to note that as an interviewee, you can guide the conversation through your responses, essentially leading the interviewer to ask interesting questions based on the previous points you have made. So, take a deep breath and speak from the knowledge that you have, and the conversation will unfold naturally. 


2. Tailor Your Approach to the Radio Format

The next thing to consider is that radio formats can vary significantly, from quick-paced news segments to longer talk shows. Understanding the format of the show you’ll be appearing on is crucial for success. In fast-paced environments, prioritize delivering key points succinctly. Structure your answers like a news story, leading with the most captivating information up front. Rob Hart explains that he handles fast-paced news environments by structuring his responses as he would a news story, where the most intriguing fact or insight that you want to convey is at the forefront of your statements. This will help you to organize your thoughts when preparing for the interview layout properly.  

Conversely, in longer formats, take advantage of the additional airtime to delve deeper into your subject matter. Tell stories, provide background context, and add color to your responses. Preparation is critical – as Eileen Rochorford noted, it’s important to familiarize yourself with the specific show’s format and tailor your approach accordingly. 


3. Embrace Preparation but Avoid Reading

Once you are familiar with the format of the show you will be featured on, you must prepare for your interview.  now your material inside and out, jot down key points for reference, and familiarize yourself with the show’s flow. However, resist the urge to read directly from your notes during the interview. Authenticity and spontaneity resonate far more with listeners than rehearsed scripts.


4. Channel Nervous Energy into Focus

Feeling nervous before a radio interview is entirely normal – it’s a sign that you care about delivering your message effectively. Instead of letting nerves overwhelm you, harness that energy to sharpen your focus. Rob Hart advises using anticipation and nervous energy to organize your thoughts and dive into the interview with confidence.

“Use that kind of anticipation, that nervous energy to focus your mind and on what you’re going to say. Because once you are two answers into the interview, you’re going to be relaxed, and you can talk all day at that point,” Hart explains.


5. Engage with the Interviewer and Audience

Remember, a radio interview is a conversation, not a monologue. Engage with the interviewer, respond to their cues, and be open to steering the conversation organically. Avoid falling into the trap of yes or no responses – instead, strive to provide thoughtful, expansive answers that captivate listeners.


6. Experience Builds Confidence

Hart landed his first radio job thanks to his broadcasting instructor. “Getting that initial experience opened doors,” he recalls. 

Hart notes experience builds confidence. “Every interview makes you stronger,” he says.


Rochford and Johnson close out the episode by reiterating preparation iss instrumental for interview success across formats. Do your homework, practice soundbites, and remember the microphone is your friend, not your enemy. With these fundamentals, authenticity and passion can shine through to engage listeners. Should you have any further questions on how to elevate your radio interview skills, we invite you to reach out – contact us today!

To gain deeper insights and practical tips directly from industry experts, we encourage you to listen to the full episode of “Can You Hear Me?” featuring Eileen Rochford, Rob Johnson, and Rob Hart.