Your organization has decided to do a radio media tour.  You’ve picked the ideal date, you’ve determined your target markets and ideal station formats, and pitching has begun.   And best of all, you’ve lined up a highly credible and knowledgeable spokesperson.  The problem is, your expert has very little experience with radio and time is running out for preparation.  You simply need to get organized and following these tried-and-true tips to make sure your spokesperson is radio-ready:

In advance of the radio media tour:

  1. Prepare five to six key bullet points and supporting materials. If you have statistics on local markets where interviews are scheduled, prepare and review them with your spokesperson.
  2. Complete a dress rehearsal. Practice as much as you can. Ask your spokesperson questions on the subject matter to practice how their answers will sound on-air. Encourage them to use gestures and body language as they would use as if they were speaking in front of an audience.
  3. Visualize how the story will play on the radio. This will help you prepare concise, quality answers for your spokesperson.
  4. Use words that create a picture in the listeners’ mind. Stay away from using a passive tone with your words.  Use active verb tenses to really engage the listener.
  5. Prepare sound bites. Answers should generally be about 30 seconds in length, which will give the reporter sound bites they are looking for. Less editing for the reporter means potentially more airplay of the interview. Make sure your spokesperson is comfortable with the soundbites.  They may wish to swap out some language for their own, which will serve to strengthen their responses.
  6. Remember that your interview may get edited.  Keep the context of the interviews in mind and keep your answers as simple and straightforward as possible.
  7. And possibly the most important tip is to recommend to your spokesperson that they do all they can to feel good and relaxed the day of the interviews. Getting a good night’s sleep, allowing plenty of time to fully wake up and eating a good, energizing breakfast will help tremendously.

During the Radio Media Tour:

  1. If time allows, do a quick warm up session with a mock interview, and suggest your spokesperson prepare their voice by humming.
  2. Recommend they have their bullet points and notes handy, as well as some blank paper to takes notes.
  3. Advise they put their phone on “do not disturb” so stations cannot hear other lines ringing or call waiting. Similarly, have them turn off their cell phone so the ringing cannot be heard on air. Instruct them to complete the interviews in the quietest place they can.
  4. Suggest they have water or hot tea with lemon handy. They can take sips between interviews to keep their mouth and throat from getting dry.
  5. Suggest they have the mouthpiece of their land line phone about two inches away from their mouth and that they talk directly into the phone and don’t use a speakerphone.
  6. When they are connected to each station, they should jot down the name of the reporter or host, so they can refer to him or her by name. This helps to personalize the interview and make it more conversational.
  7. Recommend they have a strong opening for the interview. It really helps to grab the attention of the reporter and the audience from the start.
  8. Remind them to use straightforward words and concepts and employ metaphors and analogies to illuminate concepts and make them easy to comprehend.
  9. Encourage them to put themselves in the shoes of the audience.  Speak about “us” instead of “you.”
  10. Advise they have a running list of the points made and try to address each of them. Many times, as an interview is winding down, reporters will ask you if there is anything else to add. This is the perfect opportunity to address issues that were not touched upon during the course of the interview.
  11. Suggest they prepare a memorable closing statement. This will really help drive the main points home and provide listeners with something to take away from the interview. Also, prepare your spokesperson with a call-to-action statement, either a website or phone number where the listeners can get more information and get involved.
  12. And last, but not least — encourage them to have a good time and thank them for their hard work.

A little bit of preparation will make a big difference on the radio.