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Deal with media interviews

Thanks to Mike Cashman for this sage advice.

Here is what has worked for me, to help to speak on the radio. It applies just as well to TV interviews unless they are live, when additional skills are needed.

  1. MESSAGE: Be clear about the main points you want to make. Ensure it is relevant to the theme of the programme. Make good notes. Be sure of any facts you want to use. But keep it simple.
  2. GET IN: Dial the number at first opportunity. If necessary keep dialling. I have always got through but sometimes needed to persist
  3. RESEARCHER:  You may speak  to a researcher  first.  They will want to know what your main point is and who you are (i.e. what is your position that gives you a view on this subject).
  4. PRODUCER: You may be called back by the producer, and then may have to explain your point again. If this happens you are likely but not definite to be on air. 
  5. PROGRAMME: Keep listening to the programme. You may be able to link your point to things others have said. 
  6. PRESENTER: Go with the flow of the presenter if that’s of interest. I may have been the first person on BBC radio to call for Cummings’ sacking on May 23rd because I went with the “Any Answers” producer’s question. But make sure you make your main point if that’s your purpose.
  7. OTHER CALLERS: If you’re on air with other callers, you need to be reasonable about listening, but don’t be bashful about making sure you have a fair share of the air time too. I recommend dealing with others’ points quickly and moving on to your substantive point; don’t spend all your time on the defensive.
  8. CLOSE: Your “slot” may be short or long but will probably end when the presenter decides; don’t be afraid to try for a “last word” , e.g. “The key thing I just wanted to say is….” 
  9. AFTERWARDS: You can share a link on social media to your part on the programme. Consider transcribing your part of the programme  – for example will do this for a small fee.  As with letters, you can refer to your ‘spot’  e.g. if writing to your MP – this shows then that your views were considered to be significant and expressed well, and also tells them that the message has been heard by many people. So challenge your MP, or indeed equip them with it if you are blessed with an MP who will uphold your cause.

Mike Cashman, Viewdelta Author:

“I Don’t Beg Pardon, I’m Talking Bollocks From the Rose Garden”.

“Brexit’s a Musical Trick”.

“Brexit’s a Trick not a Treat”.

Example media interviews can be found at mainstream media.