Radio/Tv Interviews

This course will teach you how to successfully conduct Radio or TV News Interviews

Conducting a Successful Interview

Conducting Successful Interview Parts

  • Plan
  • Listen
  • Technical Concerns
  • Make the interviewee comfortable
  • Ask Questions that Deliver What You are After
  • Use SilenceMaintain Strong Eye Contact
  • Learn to Respond Inaudibly

  • Follow Up and Clarify

  • Maintain Control

  • Ask for More…Twice

  • Make Notes Afterward

Plan (Questions to Answer)

  • Why are you interviewing this person?
  • What are you after?
  •  What would make this a successful interview?
  •  How does/might this interview fit in w/others?


  • Don’t just ask, or think of the next question, listen to what they say
  •  Don’t stress over silence, as it can add drama and motivate the person to say more.
  •  Focusing on the person, this will get them to open up and say more.
  • Keep a list of notes about the person, as a back up in case you need to prompt him or her.
  • By listening you may pick up on their body language
  • By listening you can spontaneous as natural follow-up questions

Technical Concerns

  • When planning the interview you have more to be concerned about than asking questions.
  • You need to ensure good quality audio.
  •  You need to ensure good quality video.
  •  If recording you can retake and re-ask questions if necessary.

Make the interviewee comfortable

  •  If not on the scene, conduct an interview where the person will be comfortable (their home or office)
  •  Remove barriers and obstacles
  • Watch out for interruptions like telephone calls
  •  You may need to make conversation until they calm down

Ask Questions that Deliver What You are After


  • Don’t ask close-ended questions (that can be answered by one word answers)
  • Ask the person to explain or describe what happened or why they feel as they do
  • You can’t guarantee what a person will say, but planning can help you bring up the right subjects
  • Try to keep your questions short & to the point
  • Don’t talk over the person
  • Start with easy questions & end w/the harder/more controversial questions

Use Silence

  • In Radio/TV we are trained not to have dead air so were flexively speak 
  • their answer sounds incomplete…wait for more
  • If the person just smiles and will not say any more move on to anther question or ask the question in another way.

Maintain Strong Eye Contact

  • Don’t stare, connect
  • Show them you are interested & involved
  • It helps obscure distraction about the equipment
  • Minimize reading off a paper

Learn to Respond Inaudibly

  • Acknowledging what they say will keep them talking
  • Nodding in response to statements
  • Facial expressions
  • If you do say something, make it quiet, so not audible on the tape


Follow Up and Clarify

  • Listen for names and terms that aren’t or might not be clear to the audience & ask them after they stop to explain/clarify theterms
  •  If live, you may need to stop them to clarify
  •  Careful listening can help you spot natural follow-ups, but also problem words or statements that you can’t fix later

Maintain Control


  • Never hand or allow someone else to hold the microphone (You lose the chance to do follow-ups, manage the process, etc.)
  • Don’t allow them to manipulate or manage you
  • You are responsible for the technical quality
  • (i. e. Good audio, making sure the person is in the mic’s sweetspot, etc. )

Ask for More…Twice

  • At the end, ask if anything was missed or should be added
  • You may surface a significant related point
  • You may get a “telling” or emotional quote
  • After you turn off the equipment, and they relax, you can ask them again was there anything else that should have beensaid. If they say yes, turn you equipment back on, as they maynow speak more freely

Make Notes Afterward

  • Immediately after the interview make a note of any observations that might reveal something about the person,their attitude or demeanor.
  • Note changes in expression or body language based on certain questions or answers
  • Note key phrases or important points