Ten Tips for a Satisfying Radio Interview

The Water Cooler is pleased to host guest blogger Cynthia Ruchti. Welcome Cynthia!



The success of a radio interview is as easy to calculate as the number of baby guppies born in the night. Did listeners rush to their local bookstore to purchase or order the book? Were there more than two people listening? Please, God?

Since God is the only one with answers to those questions about numbers and impact, we adjust our expectations toward satisfying radio interviews.

Is there anything we can do to ensure listeners, interviewers, and the author will end a radio interview satisfied with the process and what was communicated?


Oh, you’d like a more detailed answer than that? See midway through the bullet points below.

  • Muzzle the dog. Dogs come equipped with radar-like sensitivity for the most inconvenient time to bark or whine-during a live radio interview. Find an enjoyable place for the dog to hang out or a relatively sound-proofed spot for you to conduct your interview.
  • Choose coffee or tea over an iced beverage. Ice cubes clink. Condensation makes a drinking glass slippery. The plastic on bottled waters squeaks and pops at inopportune times. Even if you’re drinking water, opt for a mug with a large, easy-to grip handle.
  • Disable call waiting on your phone. Any blips or burps, even the technology kind, will temporarily disrupt the interview, which is as serious as interrupting a reader’s immersive experience in your book.
  • Keep a careful record of the contact information, date, time (allowing for different time zones), and details like the radio host’s name, number, and whether you or the program producer calls.
  • Compile your notes, reminders, talking points, bonus topics, and Scriptural connections in one easy-access spot. I use a large foam core board for each book currently considered for interviews. Right now I have an interview board for As Waters Gone By and one for Tattered and Mended: The Art of Healing the Wounded Soul. This week I’ll create a board for An Endless Christmas. There I’ll post potential interview questions/answers, quotes from the book, additional bits of research, two or three statements relating to the book’s theme(s) to which I can turn if the discussion derails, etc. The boards slip behind a chair in my office when not in use.
  • Create sample questions that can’t be answered with a simple (and boring for radio interaction) yes or no.
  • Keep a small notebook nearby to jot connecting point thoughts (and use a pen you don’t have to click or uncap during the interview). Call the host/hostess by name sometime during the interview or refer to a profound, heartwarming, or intriguing statement the host made.
  • Fifteen minutes before the interview starts, make one last trip to the bathroom.
  • Stay others-centered. What interchanges will make the interviewer feel great about having you as a guest? What points of interest will make the audience glad they tuned in?
  • Spend time in God’s Word and in prayer prior to the interview. You’ll enter the interview calmer, refreshed, vitalized, and well-prepared.

What’s your favorite interview tip?

This post originally ran on the ACFW blog and is used here with permission.

Cynthia Ruchti tells stories hemmed in hope through her award-winning novels, novellas, devotions, nonfiction, and through speaking events for women. She draws from 33 years writing and producing a 15 minute scripted radio broadcast called The Heartbeat of the Home. She and her plot-tweaking husband live in the heart of Wisconsin. You can connect with her at cynthiaruchti.com or hemmedinhope.com.

Preparing for a Radio or Podcast Interview, Pt. 2

Darren and Anita Engaging Life and Leadership
Host Darren Dake recording Engaging Life and Leadership Podcast

You may not think this pertains to you, but if you are an author, or aspiring author, there is something you need to face. One day, if you are fortunate, you will sit on the other side of a mic or telephone, answering questions from a show host. And you want to shine as brightly as possible, so your message connects with more people in the listening audience.

In Part One, I talked to you about preparing before the interview. This time, I want to share how I prepare during a radio or podcast episode.

I’ve gotten experienced in the process, and learned several things along the way. I’m going to tell you what happens behind-the-scenes that helps me do a better job. I hope this encourages and strengthens your confidence when it’s your turn.

  • Here’s the weird one, but I bank on it. I make an interview tonic of raw, organic apple cider vinegar, raw local honey, a touch of garlic, and mix it into a glass of Appletini or Cherry Pomegranate Crystal Light. (No, I don’t add alcohol, and I don’t suggest it, no matter how tempting, LOL.) About five minutes before we air, I take two or three good swigs. It reduces phlegm, sore throat, a gravelly voice, and strengthens my tone when I speak. On commercial breaks, I’ll sip a little more.

    First Hired Anita Brooks
    Spread Your Message with an Effective Interview
  • I have a fresh glass or bottle of water at the ready. Keep anything you drink away from the microphone or telephone receiver — don’t want to gulp On Air. Word of caution: continue paying attention to what’s being said or you might miss a question you need to answer. (Also I don’t drink too much before the interview. If Mother Nature calls during the segment, it can get mighty uncomfortable.)
  • I place my briefing book in hand’s reach. (See last month’s post on what a briefing book is.)
  • I have a copy of my published book on hand. During commercial breaks, I’ve had two hosts ask me to read a sentence or two directly from my own book.
  • Take slow, deep breaths to reduce blood pressure and calm my nerves during breaks.
  • Listen twice as much as I speak, making sure I don’t cut the host off, or interrupt his/her flow. Remember, most people tune in because they like the host, or the program format. The percentage of audience members who listen due to the topic is small.
  • Strive to be myself, while intentional about infusing a warm and welcoming tone to my voice. I imagine talking to a dear and trusted friend, even when the host is trying to stir a little controversy. I had this happen, and because I stayed calm and steady under pressure, allowing God’s spirit to lead my response, it transformed the entire interview. By the end, the host was profusely inviting me back, and called my book fabulous three times. (I counted.)Engaging Your Writing or Speaking Audience
  • When asked a challenging question, I’ve found it’s okay to say, “I’m not sure, I need to research or pray about it,” or even to pause for a couple of seconds while crafting my answer. Adds a bit of dramatic effect anyway.
  • I follow the PIER method for engaging audiences when I write and speak. It ensures I maintain focus, interest, and credibility, while providing them with take-away.

Now, you’re ready for your interview. It’s your turn to shine — be brave, and go spread that message! This is what God called you for.

Do you have any funny interview stories? Lessons learned? 

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