After hosting the popular Siena Alumni Connection radio show for 14 years, here’s my best advice:
1- Be Willing
Half the people invited to be on the show, did not agree to be on. Some are afraid of being on the radio, or think they are not interesting or feel they do not have the time. This is a missed opportunity. Think about it: turning down a half-hour exposure to thousands of people at no cost? About half my guests are doing their first radio show ever and they all manage to do quite well.
2- Send a Good Introduction
Do not make the host track you down for a bio sketch. The host has other things to do. Send a bio sketch a week ahead of time. Avoid sending a ton of information that the host has to sift through, most hosts won’t read through it anyway. Your bio should be a short, clear narrative about what makes you interesting. It should not be a long laundry list of everything you’ve ever done. Here’s my own intro as a guide. View here.
3- Do Not Ask for a List of Questions
The host’s job is to facilitate an interesting conversation, not ask a list of questions. It is a good idea to ask beforehand what the topics will be and prepare accordingly.
4- Suggest Things the Host Wouldn’t Know to Ask About
The most interesting things about you often do not appear on your resume or LinkedIn profile. I once posed that question to a former Siena coach and he told me he once passed out in the locker room prior to a game while at another college. Good thing his head coach had a question for him that required the head coach to return to the locker room. The locker room had a carbon monoxide leak and the coach would otherwise have been found dead shortly after. The coach has done a thousand media interviews, but only one had that story on it….ours.
5- Do Not Bring Pages of Notes
Your task is to be conversational, not be a data factory. Have a general idea of the points you want to make and discuss them in a natural way.
6- Give Short Answers
Long-winded answers are audience killers. Keep your responses short. The host will follow up if needed.
7- Be Passionate
Enthusiasm is contagious. Bring some with you. Speak from the heart and do not worry if you say “uh” too much.
8- Avoid Canceling at the Last Minute.
You’ve made a commitment, stick to it. Studio time has to be arranged for the interviews and scheduling is a big chore. Arranging for a last-minute replacement is very difficult.
9- Have Fun
Radio is fun. Enjoy the experience. Guests are often amazed at how quickly the show goes by.
Mark Grimm started in radio about 40 years ago. He can help you with your media skills and relations.