Spend the right amount of time preparing for your radio show, and you'll elevate its quality. In today's guide, you’ll learn:
- How to use storytelling to create better radio & podcast shows;
- Ways to find interesting things to say during links;
- Phone-in and interview show preparation tips;
- The right way to ask questions;
- Importance of promoting shows beforehand;
We have tips for show guests too! Are you preparing for a big interview? Learn:
- What to do before the interview;
- Tips to use during the interview.
You'll love the detailed tips in today's guide!
Let's dive straight in:
Preparation is the key to success
"Before anything else, preparation is the key to success."Alexander Graham Bell
Even if you have been doing it for many years, you can’t just skip preparing for your show.
Preparation makes everything better. It’s the difference between an amateur and a professional.
You get to weed out the bad parts, refine the good parts, and produce the best for your audience.
Here are the risks of not preparing. You:
- Lose focus on the audience;
- Ramble and drone on;
- Lack confidence;
- Don't know what comes next;
- Have disorganized shows;
- Don't come out as funny because you don't remember any jokes;
- Experience long pauses as you collect your thoughts;
- Make excuses or apologies, "Oh, sorry, I didn’t mean to say that"
Yeah, you know all those issues!
Part 1: How to Prepare for a Radio or Podcast Show (for hosts & producers)
Creating a perfect radio or podcast show is no easy feat. Without the right radio show preparation, your shows may come off as low-quality & low-budget. Listeners will notice and give you bad reviews or stop listening to your content.
So, the key to growing your audience is to produce quality shows. Prepare well, and you'll end up with a great product. Here are tips to help prepare for your radio or podcast shows.
Tip 1: Use the power of storytelling
The story structure is a powerful way to share experiences, facts, or stories. Film and theatre have long exploited this technique, but it can also be applied to radio and podcast shows.
How does it work?
Act 1: Exposition
The first part serves as an introduction. Spend the first minutes providing background information or establishing the settings.
Hosts typically explain what the show is about, introduce the guest, or elaborate on the significance of a particular issue.
For instance: "Welcome to today's show. We're joined in studio by the President of Freedom & Order, a man so controversial even the newspapers don't write about him: Mr. John Hawkins..."
Act 2: Rising action
Audiences at this part know what's happening, who's getting interviewed, and the issues on the table...
Next, just introduce conflict.
Expert interviewers like Oprah, prep the guest with a series of softball questions before the big, hard, or emotional questions.
True crime dramas may, for instance, detail how the murder took place, leaving the audience with questions of who did it.
Conflicts are intriguing and add interest. And audiences latch on as the tension rises.
Act 3: The Climax
Your show reaches a crucial moment, its highest point of drama.
All the hard questions have been asked! For a heartfelt interview, perhaps a few tears have been shed.
If it's a fun show, this is the epitome of the excitement.
Songs also have a build-up before they reach the crescendo!
The audience will be heavily invested, and the climax may remain etched in their mind for a long time. From the climax, things can only calm down.
Act 4: Failing action
Following an intense point of climax in your radio show or podcast, the next phase entails cooling things down.
Tensions begin to ease. You may resolve certain issues that were being confronted.
Act 5: Resolution
At this point, all the mysteries, questions, and solutions have been addressed.
The audience has a sense of completion. They might feel like a heavy burden has been lifted off their chest.
The show may have teachable moments, and ideally, people should take away lessons from your show.
With this process, you can create powerful radio shows that have a real impact on your listeners.
Tip 2: How to find interesting things to say in-between songs
While the first tip focused on people producing podcasts, radio shows, or interviews, this tip is aimed at radio music presenters.
The biggest challenge they have is creating interesting segments in-between songs (links). Compelling talk rarely comes naturally. Fortunately, here are tips to use:
a. Stay informed - You can't share what you don't know. So, track what's trending on Twitter. Read news stories. Watch TV shows your audience may be watching on NetFlix.
b. Write down your best ideas - Thankfully, you don't need to lug a notebook and pen around. Just note down ideas on your note-taking app.
c. Bits should arouse emotion - What's the easiest way to bore your listeners? Say something inconsequential. Your links should spur the listener's emotions. You can make them laugh, wonder, doubt, curious, and more.
d. Share the information that affects their lives - A quick and easy tip is to tell them something about their health. "Did you know that one cup of coffee per day can increase your lifespan?"
e. Talk about hot issues - People are drawn to controversial topics.
Tip 3. Preparing for call-in shows
User-generated content will improve your podcast or radio show and make it more interesting.
If people are calling in randomly using an assigned phone number, use these tips to screen them:
- Determine the rules of the phone-in; How much time does each caller receive?
- Asking the caller to introduce themselves (this is a sought of pre-interview).
- How do they sound? Energized or bored?
- What comment do they want to add? Is it unique to warrant air-time?
- How old is the caller and what's their background? Does it make them qualified to offer a unique perspective?
- Choose callers that will add to your show and make it better.
- Remind them not to swear. Your station may need phone delay equipment particularly if you're not allowed to broadcast curse words.
Exciting callers take a contradicting position and disagree with the host, which introduces conflict and drama, making the show more intriguing.
Tip 4. Preparing for interviews
Are you hosting a guest for an interview? Good research helps refine your interview questions and approach, so...
- Listen or watch their past interviews
- Review their social media posts.
- Visit their personal website
- Read published articles or blogs post.
- Check out any achievements or awards to their name
For a virtual or call-in interview, conduct a test run hours or a day before the interview.
Tip 5. Live recording vs. pre-recorded calls
It's not always a requirement to have live-phone calls. You can have pre-recorded calls and edit them for briefness and entertainment value.
Tip 6. Preparing interview questions vs. not preparing
Here is the deal...
You don't need to prepare a list of questions to ask your guest. Why? Asking straight questions may come across as confrontational.
What can you do instead?
Well, have general topics you want the guest to elaborate on. For instance, ask them to tell you more about a specific topic or just have a conversation. For instance, you can say:
- "You stated in an interview you gave last week that you were thinking of quitting the movie before the first week. Tell us more about that.."
- "Hey, good to see you again. You’ve just won an Emmy, that must feel great..."
Interviews need to feel natural and not uptight, particularly on radio shows and podcasts. If it’s called-for to prepare a list of questions beforehand, start with a long list of 20 or so questions. Check off ¾ of your questions until you end up with the top 5.
Tip 7. Promote shows before the release
Long before you publish a podcast or broadcast your radio show, build up the hype:
- Include promos in your normal broadcasts
- Make announcements on social media or distribute banners
- Publish in-studio photos with your guest
- Write a blog post about your show, and this will also allow people to find it later
- Release show teasers on social media.
Tip 8. During an interview
- Minimize any distractions because they are unprofessional: All phones should be on silent mode;
- Remember to close the office door;
- For recorded sessions, avoid background noise; This cuts down on editing time;
- Don't show up underprepared;
- Make guests feel welcomed and comfortable;
- Don't make it an interrogation - have a conversation;
- Provide drinks e.g., a glass of water;
- Confirm that the guest is coming before the interview day.
- Before the interview, have a casual conversation;
- Thank the guest for their time;
- Listen first, don't assume you know what they are saying;
- Above all, cut down on interruptions; the world has its fair share of hosts who interrupt guests rudely.
PART 2: Preparing for podcast & radio interviews as the guest
Have you just receive an invitation to appear in a podcast or radio show?
Don't let the anxiety derail you.
At least, you're not going on TV where everyone will see your every move.
Prepare to crush the interview with these tips:
1. Listen to the show beforehand
Which insights do you get by listening to prior episodes? Well, you'll learn:
- The guests that have been interviewed before;
- Type of questions asked by the host;
- How to differentiate yourself and leave a lasting impression;
- Radio show format or type;
- Target audience;
- Tone used by the host; casual or formal;
- If the host takes live calls from listeners.
2. Research more about the host
If the radio host is any good, they will conduct thorough research of your person. You can carry out your own research and gain an extra edge.
Learning about the host's background, interests or affiliations allows you to connect with them faster. For instance, you might find out that you attended the same college.
3. Prepare to answer: "Tell us more about yourself"
Before the show starts, you'll need to introduce yourself, unless you're a celebrity of sorts.
The first question may entail telling people more about you. So, don't start with the umms!
Prepare well by writing a short bio to give listeners a proper introduction. Radio hosts may also request bios. So, write a clear but not wordy fact sheet about yourself, your company, or products.
4. Have a plan
Everyone likes a person with a plan. Ideally, have something to talk about. Even better, request a list of possible questions and topics.
You may even suggest questions that may add more value to the show.
Organize your talking points in point form. If it's a casual interview, there is no need for notebooks.
The aim is to make the interviewer's life a little bit easier. Once everyone learns what a great guest you are, they will send you invites.
Practise makes perfect. So, improve on certain areas:
- Clarity of ideas - Aim to speak clearly and have a single line of thought.
- The pace of delivery - Speaking well is vital, but so is adhering to time.
- Content - Structure your ideas and points.
Don't over-prep! Rehearsing too much may cause you to memorize perfect lines and jokes. In the end, you sound unnatural.
6. Things to do during the interview
Show confidence even when you're fearful;
Trust that you have what it takes;
Follow the host's lead;
Don't worry about the mistakes. The host will edit them out later;
Stick to what you know; if you don't know, you don't;
Lying is not advisable;
Stay humble and natural;
Don't try too hard to impress.