Smile For the Camera

Media Matters: Radio, Tee-Vee and YouTube

Getting the Interview
Go to . They have a section for radio stations and it lists almost every station in the US, listed first by states, then you can even narrow it down by format of the station (i.e. talk radio, different types of music, news, entertainment, etc.). Once you find a station that appeals to you, go to their website and look at the different programs they offer so you know the name of the program and the host. Then call the station, asking for the program director. Tell them who you are, the name of your book, and why you think it would appeal to their listening audience. Make sure you refer to the program where you think it would fit and the name of the host. This does make a big difference; they are usually impressed if someone has done their homework because so many people don’t bother to take a few minutes extra to appear smart. I have done this with hundreds of radio stations, and I very seldom get met with a “No.” I love doing radio interviews. You don’t even have to get dressed up! – Janet Elaine Smith

Radio Shows
I host two Internet radio programs. One is in Spanish, and we discuss anything and everything. The other one is Marketing for Fun and Profit. You can hear some of the back programs here, by clicking on the “Podcast” link and scrolling down to my program. I’ve been told by several “newbies” that they were awfully glad they did my program before somebody important asked them! If you are interested, email me here and put “Radio” in the subject line …

I love doing radio interviews. If you are shy. let me introduce you to the wonderful world of radio on my Monday night program on Internet Radio Voices. It won’t be like something formal; you’ll be with a friend. For other radio stations, you can find a pretty complete listing at They also have TV and newspaper listings. It doesn’t matter if you are a marketing genius or if you are “stuck” in trying to get sales and we can hash that out and hopefully get you started on the right path. We run the gamut on the show. As for my tip. Here’s my best one. Make sure you go potty right before you call in for the program. I’m serious. You’d be surprised how many people don’t! – Janet Elaine Smith

Radio and TV Interviews
My background is in either AFRTS (the military b’cast network) or in Public Radio, both of which are on the considerably more genteel side of the spectrum, where browbeating the guest is pretty much considered a dreadful faux pas. My advice first is to know something about who you are going to be interviewed by, going in. If they are inclined to be a sympathetic interviewers, all to the good. If they have a reputation for deliberately putting interviewees on the spot to jazz up the audience… well, at least you will not be surprised.

If it is to be a formal interview, ask to see the questions beforehand. Tell them that you can at least think about formulating some kind of response. The interviewer is probably cudgeling his/her brains trying to come up with something to ask you, anyway. If they will not do this, come up with a list of questions that you would ask of yourself about your book. At least think about what you might be asked and have some intelligent responses in mind! They might not have read your book anyway, so work out a graceful way to tell them about it – for example:

1. What is your book about?
2. How did you come to be so interested in that period/event/person
3. How did you come up with your characters? Do you put real people your books?
4. How do you tell the story: do you already have a plot worked out, or do you just sit down and wing it!
5. Et cetera, et cetera. Remember, this is what you know, and you love doing it; you can talk about this to friends, to this group, and you can be charming and amusing: just do some prep-work, and think about questions and responses beforehand.

If it would help, write these and other questions down on flash-cards, and have someone rehearse with you by asking the questions of you. Even tape yourself, so you can work on eliminating annoying verbal tics like “ummm” and “ah”, and so you can see which answers worked best. Practice might also desensitize you somewhat, so you might be more relaxed in the actual interview. (But not too relaxed!)

Notes on TV Interviews. This will probably be far more intimidating to a novice, what with the lights, and the cameras and all. There’s no way I can come up with a way to make it less so. The camera will add pounds – sorry about that. Do not wear bright glittery jewelry, or noisy jewelry, like bracelets that clash together; you’d not believe how much noise they can make, and the mic will pick it up. Do not wear clothing with narrow pin-stripes; it can look quite strange on-camera, or something with a very busy pattern. Plain and saturated colors, neutrals, and nothing with a severe contrast, like black and white. (think rather dark grey, and off-white)

You will have to remember to sit up very straight: posture counts, and if you are the sort who fidgets nervously, don’t. Smile pleasantly at the camera; if it is a multi-camera set-up, the one which is “live” at any particular moment will have a red light on top.

Radio Interviews: Radio studios are much less intimidating equipmentwise, and it doesn’t matter what you wear, or if you sit up straight. I would, though – sit up straight. Your voice will sound better. And if the thought of radio interviews still gives you fits, it might be possible to do a telephone interview; you can arrange to call from your home, and your telephone line can be patched in to the studio.

This is a very unintimidating way to do an interview; after all, we talk on the phone all the time, right? In my radio news days, I preferred to do telephone interviews because the people I talked to were much more relaxed and more forthcoming. Quite often they would quite forget that they were being recorded! Telephone interviews – good way to become acclimated to interviews, generally.

Remember, the interviewer would like to have a sparkling interview, with which to amuse his/her audience… not have to pull out answers from a person who is terrified rigid. Unless, of course, they are some kind of obnoxious sadist… which gets back to my first point, in a neatly circular fashion.– Celia Hayes

I used Roxio Easy Media Creator 9 for this. It was fun exploring the features, and I’m sure there are many I haven’t tapped or used to their potential. You can also do one with Windows Movie Maker.
– David Blixt


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