Interviews are important in radio. They introduce new voices, different perspectives and a human touch to your station. But no interview is given unlimited air time. You need to keep your listeners’ needs in mind, and keep the interview tight and interesting, without losing the intended call to action.
Here are a few tips to help with a tight interview.
1: Be prepared – plan your questions, intro and outro on paper beforehand.
2: Choose an angle – your guest could probably talk confidently about several topics. However, you can’t discuss everything. Choose which ‘angle’ or sub-topic you are going to talk about. This may be dictated by the time available. So, if you have a touring pop star for five minutes, don’t talk about their life story. You may need to focus on the tour, their latest album or their thoughts about your country.
3: Place your most important questions at the beginning – then, if you run out of time, at least you can be sure you got to discuss the most important stuff.
4: Keep moving on – if you are getting bored with an answer, probably your listener is too. If your guest is in the studio, you can hold up your hand to signal it is time for the next question (explain this before hand). If the guest is on the phone, let them know the interview duration, and explain that you may have to cut short their answers to keep the interview moving.
5: Finish succinctly – have a prepared outro, and use it. It might be something like: “Mr Smith, thank you for your time. I’ve been talking to John Smith author of the book Time is Money.”
For more interviewing tips and ideas, check out our video series Interviewing for Radio.