Should You Participate in Talk Radio?

by admin on May 1, 2017 · 0 comments

Subtitles

Do you want to influence the story? Then you need to talk to reporters.

It can be in the organization’s best interest to participate in talk radio. In these cases, I try not to contribute by telephone. Instead, I do my best to be in the studio.

I go there with an agenda; it’s usually something that will be interesting and allow me to have some control. I offer something unknown. I produce new research. This is a strategy you should consider for every interview.

Participation can, and often does discontinue or lessen attacks on your agency.

I try to agree with the host wherever possible and compliment him or her on the worthiness of the questions being asked.

Success With the Media

I wrote, “Success With the Media, Everything You Need to Survive Reporters and Your Organization” (available at Barnes and Noble and Amazon at https://amzn.com/151948965X) because I believe that organizations need to look inward to get better media results.

I use contents from the book for this article.

Some believe that we should not talk to reporters. I maintain that not talking leaves you without influence; you are committing yourself to a negative story. The trick is to know how to talk to the media.

This is the sixteenth in a series of articles on, “The Art of the Interview.” This is the third in a series on dealing with “Media Hell.”

Author

Leonard A. Sipes, Jr.

Thirty-five years of supervising award-winning media relations, radio and television; over fifty national and regional awards. Post-Master’s Certificate of Advanced Study, Johns Hopkins University.

Article

Talk Radio

I love talk radio. It does not matter whether it’s conservative or liberal in nature; it’s a blast. Where else can anyone with an opinion get instant access to thousands of people? I have been a guest on many talk shows. In most cases, I have been treated well by the hosts and the callers. I like the format.

However, we need to recognize several things about talk shows. First, they are there to entertain. This is an entertainment medium in the same way stations playing music are entertainment mediums.

Although a host has never mistreated me, I recognize that being there is like crawling into the lion’s cage. I’m on their turf, and they expect me to understand the format and be entertaining as well as informative. That means I will do things that I would not ordinarily do, like giving an opinion. I will make it very clear that the opinion is mine, and not that of my organization. But if the host asks me for an opinion, I will give it as long as it pertains to my area of expertise. My observations will be general and acceptable to all. I will not, however, discuss anything outside the responsibilities of my organization. I will not speak for other organizations. I do not talk politics.

Talk radio hosts can be sharks. They can be arrogant and unreasonable. Why are they this way? The answer is simple; it makes them more entertaining. I’m not suggesting that their liberal or conservative views are insincere. But the more outrageous they are, the more people listen. The more people listen, the greater number of advertisers they acquire, and the more money they make for their stations.

Listeners take talk radio very seriously. They embrace the format as an outlet for their own political views. Listeners do not see it as entertainment. They view talk radio as an important “news” source. Thus, if your agency is in the news (especially during difficult times), it will probably be discussed on talk radio. Your choice is whether or not to participate. Most spokespeople choose not to because they believe that the host will attack their organization.

However, it can be in the organization’s best interest to participate. In these cases, I try not to contribute by telephone. Instead, I do my best to be in the studio. Sometimes, I will arrive unannounced and take them by surprise. Talk show hosts like the “gustiness” of your unannounced arrival. Participation can, and often does discontinue or lessen attacks on your agency.

Being in the studio is everything. A face-to-face encounter almost always guarantees civility from both the host and callers. Yep, they were blasting you and your organization. But upon your arrival, that almost always changes. I put together a sheet of important facts that deals with the issue at hand.

I go there with an agenda; it’s usually something that will be interesting and allow me to have some control. I offer something unknown. I produce new research. I have walked into an interview and offered a monologue of facts and figures, speaking almost nonstop for ten minutes. This is a strategy you should consider for every interview.

I will role-play the interview with another or myself. I will have a sheet of paper to jot notes. I will flatter the host and the callers. Using the caller’s name several times creates a feeling of familiarity. I also give out the direct line to reach me at work (no one ever calls).

I expect wild and crazy questions, and I will try to identify with the themes of the callers. I also try to agree with the host wherever possible and compliment him or her on the worthiness of the questions being asked. I will be pleasant at all times and will even poke fun at myself. I will try to be the opposite of what callers expect me to be (a stuffy bureaucrat).

What I just described is basic public relations. I present myself as a knowledgeable, friendly, down-to-earth person who is eager to serve the public. Being in a radio station is like being in someone’s home, and I accord them the same respect. Yes, talk radio hosts can be difficult, and so can opinionated dinner guests. I treat them both the same, and I have the same degree of success with both. It should be no different with you.

Here, too, nervousness appears. I do my deep breathing exercises. Sometimes I struggle with the first minute or two. If this happens to you, don’t panic; this is normal. As long as you are prepared and pleasant, you will do fine.

More on Media Hell

Additional tips and strategies for dealing with media hell will be offered in future articles. Use “SUBSCRIBE TO GET UPDATES ON NEW ARTICLES” on this website.

Success With the Media

For more information on good organizational and media relations, see “Success With The Media: Everything You Need To Survive Reporters and Your Organization,” available from Barnes and Noble and Amazon at https://amzn.com/151948965X.  Your reviews are appreciated.

See my website at http://leonardsipes.com.

Contact me at [email protected].

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