You’ve finally got the gig – this is your time to talk to all those famous people, musicians, actors, writers and visual artists that you admire. You are Producer and Presenter – what could go wrong? Quite a lot actually, but here are some simple rules to guide you.
You may be starting a brand new program, or you may be taking over from another presenter. In either case you need to let people know.
- Prepare a media release introducing yourself, modestly but with enough detail to show you have something to offer.
- Outline your program’s format.
- Provide your contact details.
Send this information out to:
- Independent publicists.
- Those attached to main arts organisations.
- Amateur theatre companies.
- Any organisation that promotes the Arts.
In a short time your network will be alive and humming.
Keep your self up to date and informed.
Check entertainment pages in the newspapers and all the excellent entertainment blogs,
explore what is on offer in Trybooking and Eventfinda
Hunt down publicity leaflets and posters.
While it is always easier to have a publicist arrange the interview, do not be afraid of the direct approach. What creative artist is going to turn down free publicity?
- COMPATIBILITY IS THE KEY
Match your guests to your listeners. At 5mbs, which is a Fine Music station the emphasis is on classical music, jazz, and world music. I choose my guests accordingly. To add a little spice sometimes I invite guests who may not fit the mould but who are lively and entertaining. Nor do they have to be musicians. Actors, writers, visual artists and producers have stories to tell. Look for the interesting artists. It’s your program.
Some of my most interesting guests have not been household names. Young musicians and song writers like Joshua Belperio sit comfortably with Keith Crellin OAM, Musical Director of the Adelaide Youth Orchestra.
Nicholas Braithwaite, Conductor Laureate of the Adelaide Symphony Orchestra, has a wealth of stories from his long career as does Michelle Ryan who directs Restless Dance Theatre, the writer Stephen Orr, the members of the Benaud Trio and Julian Ferraretto, jazz violinist.
- KNOWLEDGE IS POWER.
You have an impressive line of guests for your program. Fascinating, accomplished people. All you have to do is turn on the microphone, introduce them and ask a question. Leave the rest to them. WRONG.
Prepare. Research. Explore the internet – websites, reviews, other recorded interviews, details of the music chosen for an event or cd, the play to be performed. Read the book before you interview the author. Primed with knowledge, plan your questions.
- Keep your questions simple and clear.
- Ask about the guests’ experiences and expertise, challenges they have faced or why they have chosen a particular piece of music for their next concert.
- Avoid such questions as: Do you think that Beethoven was a genius, or do you think that he is over rated, or maybe just lucky to be in the right place at the right time?
You’ve lost your listener, and probably yourself and your guest at the same time.
Have your questions prepared but be ready to follow up on something that may come up during the interview. Use your questions as a guide rather than a blueprint. An interview should be a conversation which can be open to new directions.
If your guest refers to something you don’t understand, seek clarification. Chances are your listener won’t understand either.
Handy hint: Always write down the name of your guest where you can see it. Just in case you have a blank moment.
It’s hard to keep your mind on everything as you panel, check levels, cue music and prepare your next question, but the most important thing is to keep eye contact as much as possible with your guest and listen to what he or she is saying.
You can learn a great deal by listening to other radio interviews.There are number of excellent ones on current radio and television. Learn from the bad ones as well – what does not work.
- THE INTERVIEW
Take time before you begin to ensure your guest (let’s call her Maria) is comfortable and relaxed. Maria may be quite at home, this being her third interview for the morning, or she may have come into the studio looking as if she is being led to the guillotine. Have a glass of water ready. Check her voice levels. Be sure that you are correctly pronouncing her name, (Sycolhovosky can be tricky) and then outline for Maria what you would like her to talk about.
Treat you guest with respect – do not be over familiar even if you have admired her for years, and look on her as your best friend. Nor should you be be too deferential. You deserve respect as well.
Identify your guest at the beginning of the interview and during the interview. Some people may have tuned in after your introduction and be wondering who it is.
Avoid verbal cliches, such as starting very question with ‘now’ or ‘so’, or responding to every comment with ‘Yees’ or ‘I can imagine’.
At the end always thank your guest and if you have been discussing a coming event be sure to give full details including venue, date and where tickets can be purchased.
And make sure you both enjoyed the experience!
Emily Sutherland presents Kaleidoscope on 5mbs