Bad radio is bad radio, right? Even if it’s live and local. #NABradioshow

NPR’s TERRY GROSS made an appearance at this year’s NAB Radio Show.  She reversed her normal role of interviewer and became the interviewee.  Below are some quick notes from the interview session hosted by Fred Jacobs.

NPR’s Fresh Air hosted by Terry Gross is an award-winning radio show that really prides itself on getting the story behind the story. 

WHICH HALF OBSERVATION: ALL radio on-air personalities and producers could learn a thing or ten from Terry’s technique and how she produces her show.  Her shows are always compelling, interesting and insightful.  Radio is usually missing all of these things.

All the interviews are pre-taped and PRODUCED so they are interesting.  A lot of local radio personalities get caught up on the whole live & local thing.  Terry’s point is that she would rather the interview be compelling and interesting rather than live.  I completely agree.  A live interview can be great.  But, more often than not it’s a LOT better once it’s been edited and all the boring stuff, pauses, umms and ahhs have been edited out.

Terry’s Magic Formula: Lively, dramatic, truth.  Don’t worry about what you look like.  Worry about the product.  Whether it is live or not is NOT IMPORTANT.  Create a GREAT PRODUCT first.

Ingredients for a GREAT interview:

  • Review past interviews and go deeper
  • Respect your guest
  • Do your research
  • Talk TO them, not AT them
  • Don’t ask “generic” questions
  • Don’t trivialize their lives or careers

Fresh Air Staff:

  • Exec Producer
  • 3 Assoc Producers
  • Several Contributors
  • Weekend Producer
  • 2 Assoc Weekend Producers
  • Assistant

WHICH HALF OBSERVATIONS: I would love it if the rest of radio would take a page out of Terry’s interviewing playbook and use these tips to create better, more entertaining on-air content.  I think the entire radio industry would benefit.


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