Be the best on radio

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When Deb Ferns, author of “Babes with Bullets,” released her book in early 2006, she wasn’t prepared for the numerous requests for radio interviews she received. With more than 500 radio interviews, plus hosting of her own local talk radio show for several years, Ferns gives helpful hints on how to be an effective radio guest.
To make digestion of these hints even easier, she divided them up in short learning lessons noted as Radio 101 to Radio 109.

-When contacted by a radio host, you want to firm up which day and date, what time you will be on their show (in their time zone) and how long the host anticipates your interview will be.

-Make sure to get what landline you will call in on or what landline they will call you on. No cell phone radio interviews if at all possible.
-Follow up with an email to the show host, thanking them for the invite, reconfirming time, date/day and subject matter.
-To prepare for your radio interview, check the show’s website. Listen to a few archives from previous shows if they are available, to get a handle on the style of the radio host or hosts you will be dealing with.
-Write a cheat sheet to keep in front of you during the interview, including the first name of all hosts in bold type, along with the name of the radio show. It’s embarrassing to forget the name of a host, or worse yet, call them by the wrong name, when they will be most likely conveying to their listening audience that you are new best friends.
-Have a list of prepared “sound bites” that integrate your message with the format of the radio show where you are a guest. A sound bite is a very short statement related to your story or your experience; basically whatever the theme
line is for the radio interview.
-A sound bite has to come across the radio as authentic, credible and must be delivered with passion or excitement. Remember; radio is not television! The passion or excitement in your voice is a huge selling point since no one can see your body language or facial expressions.
-It always helps if you can back up your sound bite with a dramatic statistic, or possibly a notable quote. Always share where you found your information in case the listening audience wants to do their own homework.
-Know in advance what your host’s “hot buttons” are — both good and bad. Hot buttons equal energy, and both the interviewer and the interviewee need to portray energy through the radio waves. Hot buttons are also a perfect way to introduce the sound bites you’ve prepared.
Stay tuned next month for advice on how to on get rid of nerves and sound confident during an interview. ♦
—Deb Ferns, of Tucson, Ariz., is co-founder of the women’s action shooting camps, Babes with Bullets, held across the country since 2004. She also writes a column, “Outside My Comfort Zone,” and is the executive producer of the Babes with Bullets webisodes hosted at Contact her at

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