Radio Interview 101: Controversy


When attempting to get interviews in any media, especially radio,
it’s important to be able to mold your information into something
that stations are most likely to want. Too many guests make the
mistake of thinking that because a topic like weightloss or
childcare or mortgages is important to them (and all their friends
and family,) that it will also be important to the listeners of a
particular radio station. This is not the case.

You may have wondered why everything you hear on TV and
radio seems to always be blown out of proportion. Well, if you
haven’t heard, controversy attracts listeners. Radio stations are
not in the information business, which means that they don’t care
if they air anything that informs their listeners. They don’t get paid
for that. Radio instead wants just one thing… more listeners.
That’s how they get paid. They already have their current
listeners… so giving your information to those current listeners is
not going to bring the station any new listeners. Controversy,
however, has been proven to attract new listeners, by way of
word-of-mouth, newspaper and magazine reviews, etc. So, your
job must be to mold your current information into something which
radio will feel is controversial to their current listeners.

How do you do this, especially with dry subjects? Well, it is a bit
of an art. But the basic way is to write down all the
conversations you’ve had in the past that resulted in your getting
into an argument about your subject. If those conversations
were enough to madden those you normal would speak nicely
with, they should be good enough to madden some listeners.

Now, you might be thinking that “acting” like something is a
controversy would not fit your personality or presentation style.
True, it may not, at least the way that you are currently thinking.
You may be evisioning a radio host getting into a shouting match
with a listener, but it does not have to be this way. Your
approach could just be, “Did you know that such-and-such does
not really work that way at all???” And then you go on to
present the real, shocking facts. This may seem a bit simple, but
if you lace your interviews with many, many of these, you’ll
eventually be thought of as an interview guest with a ton of twists
(with or without callers shouting)… and that’s exactly what
stations want.

Any topic can be made controversial… and many times it’s done
by involving people-stories, whereby the people become
characters in a shocking little play with a twist. Try it on a few
friends who are not in your business. Then try it on some
unsuspecting folks in a chatroom (again, one that is not involved
in your business.) A final test might be to test it during a live
speaking engagement.

Bryan Farrish Radio Promotion is an independent radio interview promotion company. 310-998-8305