Saturday, January 25, 2014
What kind of Radio Host are You?
by Frankie Picasso
As an author and radio host, I feel privileged to be able to sit on both sides of the microphone. Do I prefer one over the other? Possibly but both can be exhilarating experiences if they are done right.
The role of radio host is no different from being a host/hostess in one’s home. Both situations require us to be hospitable and make sure our guests have everything they need to be comfortable and relaxed. To ensure that there are no awkward silences or embarrassing moments for them, we are prepared to make conversation by filling in any gaps in conversation by asking them about their families, work, stories of our own, world news and of course if all else fails, ‘the weather’! Our job as a hostess is to make the guest feel at home and really glad that they came to visit with us. It is exactly the same thing when a Guest visits our Show. They are coming into our workspace so the Host rules apply. I say SHOULD as there is a growing trend emerging amongst some Radio Hosts, where the GUEST is not only asked to do all the work but also to pay for the privilege. Are you kidding me?
If you host a VANITY Show, then admit that’s what it is. If you have decided to pay someone a Crap load of money in order to host a show (when you can do it for practically free) then that is a decision you made. Your guests shouldn’t have to pay you for it. They are what MAKE your show. Without them, you are a one voice wonder, unless that is the actual premise of your show which is very cool!
I have to admit that I have turned down interviews because of the amount of work a host wants me to do just to be on their show. What do I mean exactly? Over and over again, I am asked to send a list of 10 questions, write my own intro, send a bio with the exact number of words they want, get advertising or pay them and basically hand them in interview in a basket on my time and my dime! All for a 10 minute interview with someone who hasn’t even been on air a year. HELLO!!! What is wrong with this picture?
Well, I suppose I should ask you what you consider a Radio Hosts job to be? In my lexicon they are a journalist and as such, should be finding, researching, and writing and deciding what goes into their show, what will make it interesting and investigate facts about their guest in order to delight them, acknowledge them and support them. Heck I even expect you to read their books! (Please don’t give me the bull crap you don’t have time). When you actually put this kind of work into your show, you will be amazed by your guest’s reactions. Their respect for you goes WAY UP. They promote the interview more and the quality of your show and your work begins to shine.
It’s important that you ask meaningful questions that result in interesting if not passionate dialogue between you, your guests and even more importantly- Your listeners! If you are fortunate enough to have a call in show, it’s still important to remember that not everyone listens in live, so your Job is to ask questions that a listener might want to ask themselves. How can you do that if ALL you know about your guest is the 10 questions you asked from them?
As a guest, I find being asked the SAME 10 questions about my book and work VERY boring. Believe me after the 10th interview I am sent too, I probably won’t even be sharing YOUR SHOW nor the interview with listeners or followers. Why you ask? Why should I? My audience has already heard the answers to these questions ad nauseam. They crave something new and different and so do I.
If you wish to be a better journalist (and that is what being a radio host is) then I suggest you stop taking the easy road and start putting some real effort into your shows. They will certainly get better from both a content and listenership viewpoint and so will your skills.
My guests really appreciated knowing that I had their backs during an interview and were always VERY pleasantly surprised that I could quote from their books.
We already discussed the role of a host is to make sure our guest is comfortable and supported. Remember for the most part, your guests/authors are not entertainers, but YOU ARE. If you had actually read the book or material that made you want these folks as guests, then you would be able to remind them of material or scenes from their books to prompt them when they get stuck.
Being a Radio Host is a really Fun Role to have and being a Guest on the Radio is really cool too, because it denotes that you have something important to say.
Frankie Picasso is the former host of Mission Unstoppable Radio, Midlife Mojo Radio, Love Wranglers Radio Show, Babe & the Bachelor, Conversation with my Shoes and is currently launching her new show Crazy Good Radio with Co-host Cindy Nolte on January 29th on Blog Talk Radio.