Interview: Marc Bernier

Marc Bernier's eponymous radio show airs in two markets: Daytona Beach, FL and the city of Bristol on the Tennessee-Virginia border.

Marc Bernier's eponymous radio show airs in two markets: Daytona Beach, FL and the city of Bristol on the Tennessee-Virginia border.

His no-nonsense approach has landed him on Talkers Magazine's list of the 100 most important talk-show hosts for eight straight years. His guests have included vice presidents, secretaries of state, senators, journalists, actors, authors, and sports greats.

PRWeek: How do you select the guests you interview?

Marc Bernier: We basically go with public policy, the news of the day. We try to go to the center as much as possible. We try to interview an equal number of Democrats and Republicans. Our show is basically 50% national, 50% local/regional. If there is a dominant local issue that day, however, we go with that; there's no set pattern.

For example, we'll start today with Ken Mehlman, Republican national chairman. Monday we are going to talk with James Carville. He's coming to town, so we're going to talk to him about where the future of the Democratic party is.

PRWeek: Are there issues that you're looking to cover?

Bernier: We like to cover issues that mean something to people's lives. We [also] talk to a lot of authors. As a matter of fact, we're setting up a separate program to air a series of specials called BookMarc. We're going to break out some of the interviews we do with authors just to run on that program.

PRWeek: Do you have any favorite interviews?

Bernier: In politics, the interviews with Vice President Dick Cheney have been the most fruitful. I think he's a straight-up guy, intelligent, tough. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld is another one that comes to mind immediately. We did talk to Hillary Rodham Clinton when she was the first lady. That was a short interview that had to do primarily with healthcare. In entertainment, it's been some years, but I think one of the most rewarding interviews we did was with George Burns and Steve Allen.

PRWeek: How do you work with PR people?

Bernier: We tell folks that we really do want to talk with [the] main people. Very seldom will we talk with subordinates, unless it's someone within the White House or an extraordinary circumstance. They generally send us a brief suggestion; if we want them, we pick them up. And if we can get them in quickly enough, we can do the interview.

I have a studio in my home, so I do my Tennessee and Virginia show from home between 10am and noon EST. And I can also record an additional playback from this location and put them on either show if they can't meet our live hit between 10am and noon or 3pm and 7pm.

PRWeek: What won't you cover?

Bernier: The area that we don't do a lot on is relationships, unless it has to do with issues like divorce, child abuse, things like that. Romance stuff we don't do. We try to politely tell folks when they call us that we don't do that stuff, though we still get calls from those folks.

We'd like for PR people, if they're going to approach us - unless it's an emergency and it's very fast - to stay out of the time we're on the air and not call us when we're on the air.

Name: Marc Bernier

Publication: The Marc Bernier Show

Title: Nationally syndicated radio host

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