A New Radio Trend You Should Know About

Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on May 27, 2013 – 6:44 pm

Mike Diegel, a principal at Primo Partners Public Affairs, recently wrote in with a question about two radio interviews he had conducted earlier this month.

Rather than conducting the interview by telephone—long the established norm—both interviewers asked Mike if he could use his iPhone to record the interview instead. Mike writes:

“He told me to start the Voice Memo app, which I did, and begin recording. He asked his questions and I, holding the phone about 6-8 inches away, answered. When we were done, I had about a five-minute recording that I could then use the Share feature to email to him. Pretty slick, I thought. I have a record of my interview and he has a file he can cut and paste from…Is this a common practice, or becoming one?”

Voice Memo App

To answer Mike’s question, I reached out to Ari Ashe, a reporter with Washington, D.C.’s top-rated WTOP-FM, one of the two stations that requested an iPhone interview. Ashe says it’s all about audio quality: 

“As more stations move from the AM dial to the FM dial, the quality of the audio that you present to your listeners becomes very important. No doubt, HD Radio also showed us that FM isn’t the end of the line on delivering high quality audio into your radio. So as radio news stations embrace the 21st century, it’s critical that they embrace 21st century technology to deliver the news.”  

Ashe is also a fan of Skype, and says that the difference between an interview recorded over the telephone and one recorded on an iPhone or via Skype will “sound like night and day.”

As for how common the practice is, WTOP isn’t alone. Ashe says that National Public Radio has been recording interviews this way for a few years, which suggests this practice is here to stay.

On Air Radio Studio Horizontal

As a media trainer, I have only one concern with this new approach: I’m nervous that spokespersons will forget to use their full power of delivery when speaking into their own smartphone. So remember: even though it may feel awkward, speak into your phone using the same level of energy and passion you would if you were sitting in the studio with the host.

For a few additional radio tips, check out my recent post, Eight Ways to Deliver a Better Phone Interview.

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Five Ways You Can Avoid Being A Terrible Radio Guest

Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on July 21, 2011 – 6:32 am

Yesterday, this blog looked at five things great radio guests do (click here if you missed it).

Today’s post will turn to the dark side, looking at five things terrible radio guests do. If you want to avoid being that guest who never gets called back for a second radio interview, this article’s for you.

This list comes courtesy of Ari Ashe, a reporter and producer for Washington, D.C.’s top-rated WTOP news radio. I hope you enjoy his list as much as I did. You’ll find a few ways to contact him at the end of this post.

WTOP's Ari Ashe

1. They’re Long-winded: WTOP once had a regular guest on from The Hill newspaper. Every interview went three minutes long and was exactly one question long. He went on-and-on, never stopping, never pausing, never letting our anchor get in a follow-up question. Our Assistant News Director talked to him. Nothing would change. We would talk to him again. Nothing would change. Eventually, we dropped him as a guest. We were no longer willing to put up with three minute answers that would have been five minutes had we not cut him off. If you’re looking to deliver a long-winded dry speech, become a policy wonk. You won’t succeed in the media with that strategy.

2. Their Answers Are Complex: I remember once taking a class in organic chemistry. It was the worst class I ever took. The teacher could not present the material in a way that easy to understand; it felt like he was speaking a foreign language. He could not explain the material in simple terms that connected to our everyday lives. Your job is to be a good teacher. If you’re like my organic chemistry teacher, you will not be successful in radio.

3. They Don’t Talk Like They Really Talk: People too often get into their own head about how they’re “supposed” to sound. Your own worst enemy is often times between your own two ears. Just be yourself! Also, who wants listen to someone who sounds uncomfortable, stiff and possibly even combative? Maybe combat makes for good cable TV, but it certainly doesn’t work on radio. Most radio listeners are driving. Who wants to hear people shouting at each other while driving? Similarly, who wants to hear someone that’s stiff and uptight? People can spot someone who’s uncomfortable and tense pretty easily. Your discomfort and tension will make them uncomfortable and tense, and they’ll change stations.

4. They’re Boring: Who wants to listen to someone who is putting them to sleep? Nobody! And when most of our listeners are driving, that’s potentially dangerous. To use the teacher example, how much will your students learn if you bore them to death with a long, dry lecture? Not much. To win on radio, you must be memorable.

5. They’re Inflexible: In this ever-changing world, the people who are set in their ways and unwilling to try new things will become obsolete. Technology will constantly evolve. It will constantly allow the media to bring more news from more sources in better ways. The better you embrace the fast-paced world and go with the winds, rather than against them, the more valuable and successful you will be. Get on Twitter, get on Facebook, get on Google +, get on Foursquare, get on Skype!

Ari Ashe blogs here, tweets here, and can be found on Facebook here. You can listen live to WTOP here.

Related: Five Ways You Can Become a Great Radio Guest

Related: Seven Ways To Rock Your Next Radio Interview


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Five Ways You Can Become A Great Radio Guest

Written by Brad Phillips @MrMediaTraining on July 20, 2011 – 6:34 am

Washington, D.C.’s WTOP is the top-ranked radio station in the nation’s capital.

I’ve been fortunate to appear on WTOP a few times over the past month to discuss Anthony Weiner (audio here) and the News of the World scandal (audio here). In the process, I’ve gotten to know WTOP reporter and producer Ari Ashe.

I asked Ari to come up with a list of five things great radio guests do – and five things lousy radio guests do. Today’s post will focus on the five things radio guests do well; tomorrow’s will focus on the things they do poorly. I hope you enjoy his lists as much as I did.

WTOP's Ari Ashe

1. They’re Calming: Most people have stress. They’re listening to the radio with a shouting child, bumper-to-bumper traffic, and a pile of bills waiting at home. We’re fighting to get their attention. There’s no better way to lose it fast than to become alarmists. People are looking to us, and you, for information and solutions. People don’t want doom and gloom, they want to hear how to make good decisions and how to solve their problems. Guests who can provide good information with a calming voice will connect with listeners.

2. They’re Energetic: Think about your experience at school. What made one teacher good and another bad? What type of a lecture will you remember better: a dry recitation of the textbook or an interactive lecture with illustrations and interaction? Clearly the latter. A good interview is no different. You’re trying to teach the listeners. Perhaps you’re teaching them how to make a wise choice. Perhaps you’re teaching them how a news event is relevant to their lives. Listeners will remember what you have to say when you deliver it with energy. Listen to yourself when you talk to your spouse or friends. How much energy is in your voice? Speak that way on-air.

3. They Give Short But Full Answers: How do speak to your spouse or friends? Listen to yourself. I can’t imagine there are too many people that speak in long five minute answers to their spouses or friends. It’s informal. Answers are usually about 30-40 seconds. Maybe, maybe, you go a minute at most! Radio is no different. No one wants to hear a speech. People want to hear an informal, interactive forum with back-and-forth conversation. Treat an interview as such.

4. They Express Complex Information Simply: Most experts say the way to retain information is to develop some personal connection to it. If you want to be a good radio guest, you must always remember the most important question: How is this topic relevant to the listeners? If you can teach your students (the listeners) in a simple way, in a way that connects to their personal lives, you’ve won. The listeners will retain the information and use it for practical purposes. Remember “KISS,” the old pneumonic device? Keep it Simple, Stupid.

5. They’re Friendly: When you feel comfortable, you set a positive tone. When an interview and interviewee can go back and forth informally, that chemistry makes the interview better.

Ari Ashe blogs here, tweets here, and can be found on Facebook here. You can listen live to WTOP here

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Related: Part Two: Five Ways To Avoid Being a Terrible Radio Guest

Related: Seven Ways to Rock Your Next Radio Interview

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  • About Mr. Media Training

    The Mr. Media Training Blog offers daily tips to help readers become better media spokespersons and public speakers. It also examines how well (or poorly) public figures are communicating through the media.

    Brad Phillips is the Founder and Managing Editor of the Mr. Media Training Blog. He is the president of Phillips Media Relations, a media and presentation training firm with offices in NYC and DC.

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