I have (as of 10 December 2016) been interviewed 3 times (twice on Croydon Radio, and once on Blog Talk Radio. In addition one of my poems, “My Old Clock I wind” has been read on Vancouver Co-op Radio.)
Having appeared several times on various stations, I thought it might be helpful to write an article about my experiences in the hope that it will help others to become featured.
Finding a station/show that is right for you
There are a large and diverse range of radio stations out there, playing everything from the latest pop music through to discussions on Greek philosophy.
As an author/poet, it is extremely unlikely that a station specialising in the broadcasting of pop music will have an interest in interviewing/featuring you (unless of course your writing focuses on pop music and, even then it will be something of a long shot)!
Search for radio stations/programmes which feature the kind of content you are producing. So, for example, if (as I do) you live in the vicinity of Croydon you can search for “local radio, Croydon”. This search will bring up Croydon Radio and if one looks around their site it becomes clear they have featured local writers, consequently they are well worth contacting. The same holds true for stations in your locality.
One can, of course look further afield. For instance typing in the search term “radio poets” will bring up stations hosting content by versifiers.
Having found a potential host for your content, check whether they have rules as regards contacting them, follow said rules and make contact.
What should a request to be interviewed/featured contain?
Firstly, one should always read any guidance that may be available prior to making contact. For example some stations ask for a brief biography together with a sample of your writing. Provide what is asked for and include key contact information (email address at the very least and if you feel comfortable doing so a phone number also).
Some stations/programmes will contact you to ask whether there are any particular questions you would like to have put to you (Croydon Radio did this and I sent them through several in advance of my interviews).
It is, in any case, a good idea to ask in advance of the interview the kind of questions that are likely to come up.
In my experience, key questions are likely to be
“Why did you start writing?”
“When did you start writing?”
“Tell me a little about your book?”
If you read a sample of your writing, be prepared for the interviewer to ask you probing questions about it, particularly if it deals with a sensitive and/or controversial issue. You may wish to think in advance how you will answer penetrating questions of this nature.
The setting (studio or phone/Skype)?
My first interview took place in the Croydon Radio studio and I found it worked well being in the same space as the interviewer.
However my subsequent interview with Croydon Radio took place over the phone, as did my chat with Annette of Blog Talk Radio.
I was equally comfortable conversing over the telephone from the comfort of my sitting room as I had been talking in the studio of Croydon Radio.
However there is, of course always the possibility that the technology will fail (Skype can be temperamental and telephone connections can go down particularly over long distances).
However in today’s interconnected world, the telephone and/or Skype is, in many instances the only practical option and in the vast majority of cases the technology functions as it should.
In conclusion, focus your search for relevant radio stations/programmes rather than adopting a scatter gun approach. There is no point in contacting a station specialising in 80’s pop music with a request to interview you about your book of nature poems, however well written and beautifully illustrated your work may be.
Read any guidance stations may have on their website prior to making contact and prepare for that interview!
Finally I wish you the very best of luck!