Mark Grimm


Be a Great Radio Guest: A Host’s Tips

Grimm_FrKevinA radio (or podcast) appearance can really help your business or cause. Here’s a few suggestions to make the most of it.

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.

Unraveling Media Mystery: Advice from a TV Anchor

For many, the media is a mysterious world. Where do stories come from? How do I get covered? How have changing times affected the news biz?

In truth, media folks are similar to everybody else. Their jobs are threatened by intense competition that didn’t exist two decades ago. They are stretched thin by harsh economic realities. People seeking news coverage should offer the media the one thing they want most….HELP!

Gone are the days when a reporter could spend a whole day doing a single story and file a single report on the 6 pm news. Reporters and videographers are expected to produce far more reports with often smaller staffs. One-person bands (the reporter is the videographer, too) are increasingly more common. There isn’t the time or staff “to do it like they used to.”

That’s where you come in.

Every media outlet has to “feed the beast” every day — required to produce content to fill all the newscasts, newspapers, and web pages that compose what we now call traditional media. The beast’s appetite is unrelenting. Journalists don’t have time to research stories the way they’d like. When you contact them, be sure to have an answer for this persistent question: “What’s in it for them?”

You have expertise in something. Share it. If you provide it in a clear, compelling way and you’re available at the drop of a hat, you can be a help. If you can generate story ideas about things people care about, the media will take notice. If you are the source of an opposing viewpoint that is thoughtful and passionate, you’ll get more exposure. Think visually. What would make your story more visually compelling? Find out more about their deadlines, their process, their challenges, and follow the people closely who cover the subjects you know best. Don’t expect to get noticed by media, if you don’t notice them.

Grab the low-lying fruit. New hires, new clients, speaking events, business anniversaries, these all are fodder for business pages. Submit them. Write letters to the editor, call talk shows. A tiny fraction of the public takes part in those forums. Why aren’t you?

While it’s true, in the 21st century, we will get most of our news from each other, traditional media will still play an important role. Will you be a part of it?

The writer is a former TV news anchor/reporter and a current adjunct media professor who runs a speaking coaching and media relations firm. Don’t hesitate to contact Mark for help: