October 30, 2014 by johnnyseifertradio
Picture the scene, you are working for a hospital, student, community, local radio station with the format is very much in your hands. Whilst you have your strict music playlist you have time to create any features you want to around it and you decide to set up a radio interview to give your radio show some exposure. This also helps to boost your radio ego and feel like you are friends with a star as they help boost your Twitter followers and the RT’s and Favourites roll in. So, now in this story you have contacted the agent and set up a time for the radio interview and it is time to do your research. The research usually consists of first going on Wikipedia then past interviews that the guest has done to understand their background as well as the product they may be promoting. When I was on Scratch Radio, my student radio station, I always found it easier to interview TV stars over musicians. Because I was doing the interview, I always used ‘celebrities’ that were appearing in TV programmes that I watched so that I knew the show inside out already. Secondly, it was always harder to contact musicians as you had to go through a billion managers and the fact the audience was so small they usually dismissed doing an interview for you. The interview questions are written and it is now time to call the celebrity in your radio studio live or pre-recorded or meet the celebrity in person but then what happens?
There are two things that happen when you have greeted/spoken to the celebrity and you are ready to start the interview. Wrongly, I have noticed that an interviewer will dive straight in with the interview even with no time constraints and they start with question number one. However, you should try and build a rapport with the celebrity. By building a rapport it breaks down that Q-A,Q-A format and gives a bit of flavour to the interview. For example, when I interviewed Chloe Goodman from MTV’s Ex on The Beach, I asked her what she had done the previous night off air that made her hung-over (as seen on her Twitter) and she mentioned going to Brick Lane in East London. Brick Lane is famous for its bagels, a Jewish favourite and that broke down the initial barrier. In addition, when I interviewed Dappy from N-Dubz it was just after he left Celebrity Big Brother and so I massaged his ego first by complimenting his time in the house and made him feel good about himself.
Once you have hooked the celebrity in it time to hit record, bring the faders up and start your presenter cue. You begin with question one which obviously you know the answer to but please still actually listen and respond to the answer. My pet hate is that a presenter will go through their questions and not listen to the answers. If it helps give an anecdote as how the context of the question affected you, it is your show after all.
I believe there are three great questions that you can ask and I try and put them into any interview that I do.
- Would you say you are happy with the sacrifices made for the outcome?
- What do you think you would tell your ten year old self now if you could look back.
- How was your confidence/did you have any insecurities from an experience.
The reason that I do this is that it firstly makes the interview unique as the interviewee may have never had been asked this question before. Secondly, I ask it so that you get a better understanding of the celebrities background and it therefore allows you as the interviewer to learn something new which you would not have been able to research previously. I think it is really important as a listener and as an interviewer to walk away knowing a new fact about the celebrity that you did not previously know. Now the three minute edited interview is done and you go into a song to keep in with the stations music policy remit and then you come back to the interview but what do you do now?
When I first started doing radio interviews I followed Stephen Nolan and Chris Moyle’s format of doing a thirty minute interview with songs in the middle to change the theme of questions. However, I learnt to have fun. Radio is fun and it is at your exposure to play around whilst learning your craft. I then decided to always have a game with the celebrity. Either I would base it on one of my normal game formats or I would create one around the celebrity’s background. For example, when I interviewed Jordan Davies, The Magaluf Weekender (ITV2) the show was all about drinking and therefore, I wanted to test his cocktail knowledge. By doing a feature like this, it gives the audience some listener participation and again makes the celebrity talk about something different from all the other interviews they have done. Just imagine answering the same five questions fifty times…it is boring!
Lastly, the interview that has been pre-recorded is now edited and it is time to choose the bed. Either you use one of your radio shows beds if you can get hold of it or if it is a music artist you use one of their songs. What I hate is when you hear one of the artists old songs when you are promoting their new song. Take the new song, use 5-10 seconds of the instrumental then you can play the song out in full after or end the interview with the climax of the chorus then a fade.
Therefore, in summary, you have helped the celebrity advertise their product/show whilst learning something new and enhancing your interviewer skills to make yourself stand out in demos and alike in the future. Finally, you have most importantly had fun!