Tips for radio interviews.

What’s your advice to someone doing a radio interview for the very first time?

I’d say just go in prepared with some really good stories and be yourself.  For example if you are a first time author who’s come in to talk about your new book have some anecdotes ready about why you decided to write the book, your inspiration and how it all came about.  If you know the announcer hasn’t read the book then take the bull by the horns and tell us about the book.  Have your messages and your stories ready.  Otherwise you can find yourself coming out of the interview thinking oh god I only got to mention the book once and didn’t talk about anything relevant.  Take the bull by the horns and tell your story.

Advice for getting your key message across without it sounding like a big sales pitch?      

Well don’t make it sound like a big sales pitch and don’t take yourself too seriously.  Honestly some people just take it way too seriously.  You need to be able to get your message across and have a bit of fun with it.  I mean that’s the trouble with a lot of people who get interviewed – that no matter what they are asked they stay on message – it’s like the politicians who come on with their  boring slogans and catch phrases.  “We’re moving forward” or “it’s time for change”.  It’s a huge turn off.

What makes someone you are interviewing really good talent?

It’s pretty simple but the best interviews are with people who are comfortable just telling their story and being themselves and I think the audience really appreciates that.  If we’re all having fun and it’s a great chat then it’s far more likely that the listeners are also enjoying it.  And if the listeners are enjoying themselves then they’re more likely to remember you and your product or whatever it is you’re trying to sell.

Is there an advantage to actually going into studio?

Yes absolutely although I know that’s not always possible.  Sometimes it’s just not practical.  The guest might be interstate or overseas and have to do the interview over the phone but I like to have eye contact with the people I’m interviewing…. not just because that obviously helps build rap ore but also because there’s nothing worse in radio than talking over the top of guests but unfortunately when it’s a phone interview and your guest can’t see you sometimes there’s no way around that.  They can’t see you gesticulating that you want to move on or interrupt them so sometimes you just have to cut in. But I much prefer it when a guest can come in.

What are interview no no’s?  Are there habits or things interviewees do that really tick you off?

I’d say when a guest mentions their product over and over again.  That’s a major turn off.  I think announcers also get really annoyed when a guest talks about other media outlets or appearing on other programs.  For example I might ask a question and the guest might answer by saying “oh I was asked that on the ABC earlier this morning or Larry from the Morning Show asked me that same question. “  Hard to believe people would do that but they do.   Also journalists don’t like it if they try to ask a question in a different way and the guest refers to her earlier answer by saying “like I said before”.  That’s really annoying and a no no.

Jonathan Coleman has worked in both TV and Radio for over 30 years in Australia and the UK.  Jono started his career on Triple J and Triple M and went on to perform the Jono and Dano Show which was broadcast to a national audience both on radio and television.   You can catch Jono every weekend on Weekend Sunrise as the program’s movie reviewer and he continues to work with Ian (Dano) Rogerson on radio.  For more information or to ask Jono a question go to


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