If You Fail To Prepare, Prepare To Fail

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June 7, 2015 by johnnyseifertradio

“There were two options; commit suicide or become transgender!”


This week I carried out my most challenging interview to date. The interview in question was with ex-boxer Kellie Maloney, a celebrity transgender who used to be known as Frank Maloney. This meant that before the interview took place that I had a deep understanding of the transgender community and the LGBT community as a whole.Furthermore, The interview took place in the same week that Caitlyn Jenner (The Kadashaian’s father Bruce) revealed his new transgender body on the front cover of Vanity Fair Magazine in America gaining him 1 Million followers in four hours as well as the interview going online the day before Kellie had her own documentary on Channel 5.




It was important that in the interview I considered the following factors:

  • Research
  • Setting
  • Emotive Language



Research is KEY when conducting any sort of interview. It is important that once in the interview room with your faders up that you do not start reading a list of questions as it prevents you from listening to the answer as in your head you are waiting to jump in with the next question. Furthermore, this could lead you to talking over your guest as you prevent them from taking you on a tangent journey which may expose you to that rich raw award winning audio you and I crave. Instead, I wanted the interview to be a conversation as if I was talking to a friend over a hot chocolate in Starbucks about their problem. To do this, I gave myself three hours to prepare for the interview. In my hand I was equipped with a Mac computer, three pieces of paper with spider diagrams for the three parts of the interview and David Lloyd’s bible ‘How To Make Great Radio’ book. I first wanted to learn what life was like for a transgender and what the process was.




To do this, I did my research as if I was going to become transgender. Putting myself in Kellie or any transgenders shoes would help make me think how they think and allow me to explore different aspects of their lifestyle. Secondly, I researched Kellie and her background. I looked at various articles online from her days as Frank as well as now as Kellie. Thirdly, I explored Caitlyn Jenner to look at the bigger picture of the Transgender and LGBT community to understand how transgenders are being viewed worldwide after Caitlyn’s influence. Once this was done, I made spider diagrams as I did during revision for exams back in my school days to mind-map the different processes to cover the main interview, Caitlyn Jenner and a preview for Kellie’s documentary.From there when I made sure I had all the different tangents to take Kellie on I made a sheet with bullet points on. The bullet points enabled me to have a reference of direction in the interview if needed. Therefore, when it would come to the interview, I would know my line of questions off by heart, know more or less what the responses would be and would be able to have full eye contact at all time:


Photo 07-06-2015 18 36 59


Photo 07-06-2015 18 37 01



The setting is really important when conducing any interview, even more so when it is on a sensitive issue. For example, I remember making a school boy error a couple of years ago when I did a phone interview on adoption and the emotion was never conveyed. Using the idea that the sound and recording quality is perfect on all devices there are various options that could have been used. Firstly, I could have used my mobile phone to record on a trusted app of which I recommend ‘Record Pro’ that links straight to Dropbox. Secondly, I could have used a Myrantz with two microphones and recorded in a neutral setting on a sofa or across the table.Finally, I could have recorded in the AudioBoom studio which has two two seats facing the computer. I decided that as I could turn the microphones in the studio to face both of us looking at each other the safest place to be was in a private booth. This allowed the chance for the rapport to be built and the chance of Kellie to cry if she needed with no spectators. As we faced each other it meant there could be lots of eye contact and I could use facial expressions to show sympathy as well as having the option to quickly look at my bullet points without it seeming noticeable and rude.


Emotive Language


Using David’s book as mentioned above, I tried to use personified words to make Kellie and the audience know that I am on the journey with them not for them. I wanted to ask the questions that the audience were thinking. At times this meant pushing Kellie into that skating on thin ice line. For example, one prod I gave was “You got married to your second wife Tracy in Nevada in 1997 knowing you were a transgender and you say that you were committed to her, yet you were lying to her and you were actually gay or a lesbian but not in a heterosexual relationship”…. Because this interview was pre-recorded it meant if Kellie did not like the question I could edit it out afterwards but instead I got a new line of questioning from her response of her thinking this would help overcome her feeling transgender which opened new avenues to explore. Furthermore, David said that in a study words such as ‘miracle’ and ‘sensational’ are used as adjectives that are listened to. I made sure I used words such as this to help compliment Kellie and allow her to trust me which allowed for those hard questions to be used.


Photo 03-06-2015 14 22 42


I would like to think the interview was successful which has already been demonstrated with over 3,500 hits since going online. The rich audio came and as I was prepared for the interview I knew exactly in my head how it would sound and be edited to create an impact. The impact was so successful that the Huffington Post then did an article using some of the audio that I had captured. You can listen to the interview which is part of my series ‘This Is My Boom’, looking at social issues as well as Kellie’s thoughts on Caitlyn Jenner below:


Kellie talking about Caitlyn Jenner: https://audioboom.com/boos/3247319-kellie-maloney-on-caitlyn-jenner-s-vanity-fair-photo


I want to know what you advice is to prepare for a great interview….

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