How do I prepare spokespeople for an adversarial radio interview?
It is certainly safer to place a client on a non-confrontational radio talk show, but sometimes an adversarial radio interview is necessary to reach a large or specifically targeted audience.
“These interviews, where the interviewer poses provocative or challenging questions, can be intimidating,” says Richard Strauss, president of Strauss Radio Strategies. “But if guests are prepared, they can come out strong and effectively impact the listeners' perspective on the topic.”
To prepare, know the subject matter and anticipate challenging questions so that succinct responses are ready. And remember to stay above the fray and avoid personal attacks of the interviewer.
“Be prepared with facts to back up any opinions, and be sure to remain calm... and in control,” Strauss says. “Becoming emotionally volatile undermines credibility.”
What are some tips for crisis preparation?
“Too often, organizations simply react to the crisis and let events drive them. That's a recipe for disaster,” says John Fitzpatrick, EVP and senior partner at Stratacomm. “If a plan isn't in place before a crisis occurs, it's going to be too late to put one in place after.”
You must work closely with clients to anticipate potential worst-case scenarios; discuss proactive and reactive actions that can be taken to engage and project leadership, credibility, and trust; and practice possible crisis scenario drills, Fitzpatrick adds.
It's also important to think of your organization's key audiences and the sequencing of sharing information, starting with those immediately affected.
“Always hope for the best, but plan for the worst,” Fitzpatrick adds. “Remember that it is not just the company that may be affected.”
Should pitching be different for Hispanic radio?
Depending on format and location, a Spanish-language station might cover the same stories as English-language stations in the market. So it's important to remember that the Hispanic market is diverse, says Dean Thompson, media relations associate at News Generation.
“When pitching, you should provide information relevant to geographic region and the demographics that a station reaches, just as you would for the English-language station,” he says. “ANRs, PSAs, and interviews must be written and positioned for specific audiences.”
You don't want to send the same pitch to a South Florida station serving a mostly Cuban or South American audience, and a Southwest Texas radio station serving a largely Mexican population.
“Remember that most stations want stories that evoke emotion,” Thompson says. “So including a specific reason for pitching a Hispanic audience is important too.”