Gail Sideman Publicity


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When media interviews media: a host’s name matters

You’ve cultivated an audience and your comments generate attention from media outlets in addition to the one that employs you. Maybe another market wants to hear your opinion about the beat you cover. Congratulations – you, Mr. or Ms. Media, are in demand!

You may think that because you’re a member of the media that you have the interview thing nailed, right?

Hold up. Have you heard any of your peers do media interviews lately? Some are as dry as sandpaper. Others, when they appear on a show or are quoted, answer in holier-than-thou tones. More often, they make anticipated rapport between members of the media sound impersonal. As an announcer, writer or radio host that’s an invited guest, that’s the last impression you want to make.

There are simple ways to participate in a broadcast interview or extended conversation with a print or blog reporter that will make others further embrace your expertise. That, after all, makes you a more valuable commodity.

Having listened to a few dreadful interviews, here are ways media can improve their time with peers on-air. While these apply to any media-to-media interview, my emphasis is on sports media because that’s where much of my publicity and related media work is done.

Learn your hosts’ name and use it

You are invited to be a guest for a radio or television segment because a reporter or producer thinks that you provide valuable information and respects your thoughts. Respect him by speaking to him by name during the interview, especially when it’s a radio or podcast segment. Audiences sense when there’s little rapport between someone that asks questions and the person that answers them. You can make your brief encounter more personal by simply addressing your host by name, such as “Absolutely, Gary, that was the right call.”

When someone calls you or contacts your publicist to secure your interview, ask with whom you’ll talk on air. Keep those name or names in front of you and use them two or three times during the conversation. At the end of the interview, thank the host by name.

Extra credit: Google the host or log onto the media outlet’s website and read his or her bio. You might be able to include a relatable nugget that you learned about the person during the interview, which demonstrates that you’ve taken time to do your homework and you care about the time spent with him or her. Most importantly, you will “warm” that host’s audience because it feels like they’re listening to friends chat about a game like they would in their living rooms.

Be kind

You, of all people, know that interviewers aren’t created equal. Some may ask questions at which you ask yourself, “huhhh?” Simply answer succinctly and respectfully and move on. If the host says something that’s inaccurate, kindly correct him, share your source if required, and move forward.

Extra credit: You’re a member of the media and you’ve been trained to smoothly transition a conversation. If you feel like the interviewer is asking remedial questions, again, be kind and inch the conversation toward stats and facts that relate to your main topic. Maybe even ask the interviewer a question. He’ll be flattered that you want to know his opinion. (Just don’t take over his role and the show!)

Sound like you want to be there

You’ve covered events that have not necessarily been primetime-worthy contests, but you make it sound as entertaining and informative as you can. Do the same when you’re the guest on a radio show that may be less-than the quality you anticipated. Let your personality shine. Again, it demonstrates respect for the host’s time and her audience.

Do you want to know how you can make media hosts love you? Let’s talk!


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