Preparing for a TV or Radio interview
Before you agree to be interviewed for a radio or TV programme:
- Ask for the name of the programme and when it will be broadcast. is it a regional of national programme?
- Will the interview be live or pre-recorded? How long will the interview last?
- Can it be done remotely or will you have to travel to the studio?
- Ask who will be interviewing you, what they want to cover and what the editorial stance is.
- How will your interview fit into the structure of the programme? What is your role to be?
- Ask who else is being interviewed - will somebody be asked to give a different of opposing view?
- What questions will be asked? These may not have been decided in advance, but you have a right to know the question areas.
- Take some time to note down the main points that you want to make - three key points at most.
- Try to anticipate any potentially tricky questions and think how you will deal with these areas. If necessary, contact the NPA press team for advice.
- If you feel at all uncomfortable, do not be pressurised into taking part in an interview. However, don't let a little natural apprehension put you off - interviews can be rewarding and practice will give you greater confidence.
- If you are asked to comment on a potentially contentious issue, contact the NPA press team before committing yourself. We can give you the NPA 'line', or it may be appropriate to put forward another spokesperson to take part in the interview.
- If you have any concerns about committing yourself to the interview, contact the NPA for advice.
Radio interviews: some specifics
Radio interviews can take place in one of three situations:
Down-the-line: the interview is given over the phone or from a 'remote' studio in a different location from the presenter and any other interviewees. The interviewer will call you at a pre-arranged time.
In the studio: you will be asked to attend a studio where the interview will take place face-to-face with a journalist.
In your pharmacy: the interviewer will come to your pharmacy and record the interview there. This type of interview is often chosen if the journalist wants to include typical pharmacy background noise, such as cash tills, staff talking to customers, computers generating medicines labels etc, to add 'colour' and realism to the interview.
Radio interviews are often pre-recorded or they may be broadcast live. There a pros and cons to each.
With pre-recorded interviews, the journalist will edit your interview down to the required length. This has the advantage of removing any hesitations or stutters, but it does mean that the journalist has overall control of the content of the finished item.
Obviously a live interview is a little more nerve-wracking, but you are in total control of what is a broadcast. Some live interviews are followed by listener phone-ins - treat the listener with respect and don't be afraid to say you don't know if you don't. You can always suggest that they leave their number with the station and you will supply the answer after the programme.
Radio interview tips
- If you are to be interviewed in a studio, arrive in good time. This will give you the opportunity to meet the interviewer and any other guests, and to gather your thoughts.
- Try to relax. Take a few deep' breaths just before the interview starts.
- Think about your tone of voice - the ideal effect to aim for is to sound friendly and approachable yet authoritative. Practising at home, and recording and listening to yourself can be helpful.
- Remember that you have been invited on the programme to hear your views and experience as a pharmacist, not as a professional broadcaster - a few hesitations are normal.
- If you don't understand or don't hear a questions properly ask the interviewer to repeat it.
- Make your points early on - interviews usually pass very quickly and you can easily find that you are out of time when you still want to make an important point.
- Try to make your point memorable by giving examples. These will help to bring what you are saying to life.
- In pre-recorded interviews, do not assume the interview is over. The tape recorder may still be running and it is not unheard of for the off-the-cuff comments to be included as part of the interview.
- If you are being interviewed in the pharmacy, make sure you will not be disturbed during the interview.
If you have any questions about public relations and advertising, the NPA would be happy to help and advise. Ask the NPA.