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15 tips for your first radio interview

15 tips for your first radio interview

WOW! You’ve landed your first radio interview – congratulations!

But if you’ve never appeared on the radio before it can be a daunting experience. After all you’re entering the homes of lives of thousands of people – a real privilege and a fantastic opportunity to get the message out about your product, your service, your client or your blog.

So how do you prepare for your first radio interview to make sure that you get your points across?

As the face of the Noom healthy-habits mobile app I was invited to speak on a local radio station and the experience taught me a lot about being on air. I’m happy to share what I’ve learned! I was gifted a long interview (you can listen to it on my media coverage page) but whether you’ve got 15 minutes or 5 minutes there’s a lot you can do to make sure that you give a great performance.

So here’s my top tips for your first radio interview…

Before the interview

#1 Make a plan! With my fetish love for all things ‘organisation’ you knew there’d be a list at the top of the list right? This is THE post important tip I have. Make a plan for the interview with a list of all the points you want to get across and then highlight a key word in each point so that you can scan your list quickly in the interview and find a relevant point to make.

#2 Send them your bio – help the interviewer out by sending them a short bio that they can use as part of a trail for their show and to introduce you before the interview. Read it out loud to make sure it’s not too wordy. Keep it succinct. If the interviewer DOESN’T use it to introduce you and just says “Thanks for being here.” then you’ve got your first 15-20 seconds summary right there in front of you.

#3 Write a closing list. At the end of the interview, if you’re lucky, the interviewer will ask what you’re top 3 tips are about the subject you’re talking about. Prepare for this by writing that list in advance, keeping the answers short and to the point. Now, write ONE MORE tip that you think you’ll need, that way if the interviewer asks “and is there anything else you’d like to say?” you’ve got that killer last point to make.

#4 Do your research – the internet is a wonderful tool for researching so find out as much as you can about your interviewer and the station so that you don’t make any faux pas like pronouncing their name wrong.

#5 Practice, but not too much – it’s a good idea to practice speaking through your points as though someone is interviewing you. Speak slowly and clearly. In an interview, especially your first, it’s natural to speak too quickly so try to slow your speech down a bit more than normal. It might sound strange to you but it will come across better on air.

On air

During the interview

#6 Get comfortable – for the interview itself go to a quiet room and make sure everyone knows you can’t be disturbed. I arranged my interview for when the kids were in bed so there weren’t any “Muuuuuummmm!” moments on air! Turn off your phone and if you’re sitting in the kitchen make sure your dishwasher and radio aren’t on.

#7 SMILE when you’re speaking – it will brighten your voice! If you’re feeling nervous stand-up while you’re talking.

#8 Use the interviewer’s name – you’ll know the interviewer’s name from your research so you can use it sparingly through the interview. To the listeners’ ears you will sound more experienced than you are.

#9 Have a glass of water next to you in case you get dry while you’re talking.

#10 Keep going – if you stumble on a word keep going. Dead air time is the worst thing for an interviewer and most listeners probably won’t even notice your slip-up.

#11 Don’t use jargon – if you’re speaking about a technical subject don’t use jargon or abbreviations. Sounds obvious but it’s easy to use terminology that’s familiar to you without thinking about it.

#12 Keep to your plan – unless you’re really experienced in being interviewed stick to your points and try not to go off-topic. If you’re not sure how to answer the question ask them to repeat it to buy yourself some time to skim through your hightlighted points and direct your answer to one of them. Don’t oversell – the audience isn’t interested in sales speak – but, importantly, don’t pretend to know about something if you don’t!

After the interview

#13 Learn from your experience. A lot of local radio stations are online so you can record your interview and play it back afterwards. Try not to be too critical of yourself – I HATE hearing myself speak! – but look instead at what went really well and what you could improve on. Did you speak too fast or too slow? Did you hesitate or use a few too many ummms or errrs? Make a mental note for next time.

#14 Ask for a testimonial – if the interview went well ask the interviewer if they would be kind enough to send you an MP3 of the interview that you can put on your website and a few words about your performance you can use as a testimonial.

#15 After your interview it’s nice to send an email thanking the interviewer and a handwritten note is even better. Include your contact details and say you’d be happy to comment on any subjects or news stories relevant to the nature of your business/blog. You never know, you might invite you back!

Good luck!

Have you been interviewed on the radio? I’d love to know what YOUR top tip would be – let me know in the comments below.

Linking up with The List at You Baby Me Mummy and Brilliant Blog Posts at Honest Mum



  1. Oooh some great tips and so many lists!!! I have done one radio interview this year – they called me and I had about an hour to prep, during which time I was also looking around a house….needless to say I couldn’t do half of what you said here. But, I’ll remember for next time especially the on the job stuff, like smile – you could definitely hear the nerves in my voice!!

    Thanks for linking up to #TheList, lovely xx (I co-host with Aby in case you’re wondering why I’m thanking you! haha!)

  2. Thanks so much Kate – it was quite nerve wracking but I knew my subject well and I’d researched a lot so I THINK it actually went ok… as a journalist I’d love to know what you thought of the actual interview! Did you listen to it?

  3. Great advice – as a journalist I’m usually the one doing the interview, always think I would find it quite nerve-wracking being on the otherside! #TheList

  4. Thanks so much Katie. And you’re right, being relaxed and natural is very important… even if you don’t feel it! x

  5. Wonderful tips Michelle and congratulations on your first interview.

    I’ve never done a radio interview (in fact I think it’s the only media I’ve never been on – must change that next year!) but these are all brilliant tips which will be helpful for everyone. As I always say to all of my PR clients the most important thing whenever you’re doing any interview is to be as warm, relaxed and natural as possible. People respond to friendly, personable human beings so I guess on radio the key is to be yourself and enjoy it! Great post darling! X

  6. You’re time will come Mirka I just know it! Let me know what you thought of the clip… *holds breath*

  7. These are some very good tips Michelle. I have never been on a radio, and not sure if I ever will, but will keep these in mind. Now of to listen to your clip 😉

  8. Thank you Vicki – means a lot coming from a pro like you! x

  9. Fabulous tips sweetie, I used to be the Film Critic on BBC Radio Leeds but gave it up when I got to 5 months pregnant with Alexander as the press film screenings were getting too much being late evenings often! You are so right, do your research, memorise a few key points, but be yourself, as natural as possible. I always prefer going into the studio rather than a phone interview as a great presenter will always put you at ease. Wonderful tips lady x

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