Mastering the airwaves – Radio interviews

There are a vast number of local radio stations around the country that have the potential to provide businesses with a great resource of untapped publicity and coverage. The latest figures from JNLR (March 2012) show that 85pc of Irish adults listen to the radio every day, with 58pc of them tuning into local or regional radio stations. In many areas of the country, particularly the south and west, local radio reaches more than 40pc of the local population every day.

The majority of local radio stations regularly have current affairs and news programmes or talk shows where topical issues are discussed. These shows can be the perfect opportunity for a business owner to provide advice or commentary on the issues being covered.

Follow these tips to get you and your business heard on the airwaves:

Stay Up to Date Keeping on top of all the latest news is vital if you want to pitch stories to the media. If there is a story in your industry that the mainstream media are over looking, bring it to their attention and offer your services as an expert

Research To be a reliable radio contributor, you must gain a reputation as always being up to date on the latest issues. This involves a lot of research on the topic you wish to discuss, covering all areas and all possible questions your interviewer may have. Nothing can damage your credibility more than being caught off guard on an issue you should be an expert on.

Prepare Before you are due to go on the air, keep some notes in front of you. These can include the name of the radio station, the name of the programme and host, bullet points on the topics you wish to discuss and highlighted words that will help you to get back on track if you lose your train of thought during the interview. You could also include a sentence to say if you are unsure on any question.

Honesty Everyone can draw a blank when put on the spot, but it is important not to panic if it happens to you. Being honest when you are unsure is better than pretending to know and being caught out. If you are well researched on your topic and relaxed, this shouldn’t happen, but don’t be afraid to admit when you are unsure on an issue.

Friendly Try not to treat it like an interview. See it as a conversation and build some rapport with the radio host, helping to keep listeners entertained while, at the same time, making a relationship with the host. If you are speaking on a call-in show and may need to talk to listeners, make sure to be friendly and courteous and answer their questions as best you can. Avoid any industry jargon or technical terms that may alienate some and keep it simple and to the point.

Speaking Take your time. Pace yourself with what you have to say, speak slowly, clearly and enunciate your words. If you are well spoken, people will take notice and will listen to what you have to say.

Timing Time is everything in the world of radio. If you are writing down answers or notes before a radio interview, remember that three words are equal to one second on the airwaves. If you want what you say to possibly be made into a ‘soundbite’ for news reports, then it cannot be more than fifteen seconds long.

Relax At the end of the day you are just speaking to someone on the phone about an issue you are passionate about. Once you have prepared, researched and practiced beforehand, the only thing left to do is relax and take your time. Finally, don’t forget to keep your breathing under control and have a glass of water close to hand.

Founded in 1943, the Institute of Certified Public Accountants in Ireland (CPA) is one of the main Irish accountancy bodies, with in excess of 5,000 members and students. The CPA designation is the most commonly used designation worldwide for professional accountants and the Institute’s qualification enjoys wide international recognition. Its membership operates in public practice, industry, financial services and the public sector and CPAs work in 40 countries around the world.  For further information visit



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