Talk Back Radio - Tips To Be A Star On-Air!

Thomas Murrell
 


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Talkback radio offers a fantastic opportunity to access thousands of people instantly and relay your or your company’s messages. An interview opportunity is highly sought after in today’s business and to learn ways of working effectively with the media invaluable to any business.

In the media business radio producers and presenters talk about ‘good and bad talent’.

'Good talent’ gets invited back again and again for radio interviews and often a regular talkback spot, but ‘bad talent’ gets consigned, literally, to the ‘never to be used again’ file.

Being available for talkback radio and being ‘good talent’ can help build your personal profile and business. It can also position you as an ‘expert’ and provide tens of thousands of dollars worth of free publicity.

Radio is the medium of imagination and talkback radio takes advantage of the immediacy and interactive nature of radio.

Talkback radio has boomed in recent years with everything from what home entertainment system to buy to ‘Ask the Minister’ sessions with political leaders.

In my 12 years with the ABC, one of the most fun, innovative and well-received topics was talkback radio on ‘chainsaw maintenance'!

So what makes good talkback talent and how can you become a talkback radio star?

Here are my Top 10 Tips.

1. TARGET STATIONS THAT HAVE TALKBACK IN THEIR FORMAT.

It is pointless chasing after FM or music based stations. Most talkback stations are on the AM band and in Australia, the ABC with its largely talk-based format is an obvious target. Stations like the ABC will also have developed formats and may be able to offer a date in the future to schedule you in for an interview or mould their program topic to include your area of expertise.

2. FIND OUT WHAT TOPICS AND SUBJECTS ARE CURRENT, NEWSWORTHY & TOPICAL.

Scan the media for ‘Hot News Topics’ that may fit your area of expertise. Remember the goal of talkback radio is firstly to help the station produce interesting and engaging radio for the listener and provide solutions to listeners’ problems. It is not to blatantly promote your service or product. This is an especially sensitive area for the ABC where they have strict editorial guidelines preventing them from mentioning commercial products or services.

3. FIND OUT WHO THE PRODUCER IS FOR RELEVANT TALKBACK PROGRAMS.

A great resource is ‘Margaret Gee's Media Guide’. This is updated every 6-months and is available in the business reference section of most State Libraries. Be involved with your target station, listen to the programs and gain an understanding of the presenters and their interests and their audience.

4. CONTACT THE RELEVANT PRODUCER.

Offer not only story ideas to add value to their programming but also offer to take talkback. Make sure you have prepared what you are going to say when you contact them and call when they have time to talk. Calling during a program or leading up to their on air deadline is not a good idea. Work out when the best time to call is. Often the receptionist at the station can provide this detail prior to contacting the producer. A good resource full of tips and scripts for contacting the media is our book ‘Media Fundamentals: 8M's Essential Media Kit’. Order your copy now http://www.8mmedia.com/Media%20Fundamentals.htm

5. OFFER TO GO INTO THE STUDIO.

Make yourself as accessible and easy to work with as possible. Remember the media are very busy and talkback shows are driven by public opinion. The easier you can make their job the better. Being in the studio adds enormous quality to the sound of the program as well as giving you more credibility and authority.

Often stations use satellite links so you can still sound live and local even if you are in a studio thousands of miles away. Going into the studio also helps build rapport and relationships with the producer and presenter, especially if you actually meet them face to face.

6. ASK FOR DIRECTION ON THE TYPE OF AUDIENCE THEY BROADCAST TO AND ANY LIKELY QUESTIONS.

This will help provide a better understanding of the audience you are trying to reach so you can tailor your message. Don’t ever assume. Radio stations have very targeted demographics so access their research and incorporate into your message.

7. PREPARE NOTES FOR EASY REFERENCE.

The anonymity of radio allows you to look at prepared notes. Use keywords instead of reading out prepared sentences. Often a few key words or phrases written on a piece of paper keeps your focus rather then allowing yourself to be side tracked by other topics.

8. ALWAYS WRITE DOWN THE FIRST NAME OF THE CALLER.

When on air always write down the first name of each talkback caller and use this in your answer. This helps build rapport and empathy with both the caller and the audience. Keep answers short and to the point. Importantly, be yourself when on air.

9. TAKE A TAPE OR MINIDISK TO RECORD YOUR SEGMENT.

Always ask permission to record your talkback session. This can be an invaluable tool to use to improve your performance, transcribe your ideas and answers for use in articles or to duplicate and give away as a free resource to build credibility.

10. EVALUATE, REVIEW AND THANK.

After the session and when appropriate debrief and ask for feedback from the presenter or producer. Listen to the tape yourself and look for ways to improve for next time. Always thank the media for the opportunity and offer to come on again.

Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries. You can subscribe by visiting http://www.8mmedia.com Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. Visit Tom's blog at http://www.8mmedia.blogspot.com

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