Have you been asked by a radio station for an interview? Find out here how you can prepare for it.
Questions for the media before the interview
- Who is conducting the interview?
- What is the interview about? Ask for a narrowing of the topic.
- When should the interview take place?
- How and where should the interview take place, for example on the phone, on location, in the editorial office?
- How long should the interview last?
- What kind of contribution is to be made?
- Sound is crucial: Avoid distracting background noise or reverberation effects as well as background noise, for example the clicking of a pen, and turn off your cell phone. Do not walk during the interview and do not use hands-free devices or loudspeakers. If using a headset, make sure to keep your head still and take off earrings and scarves (these could cause rustling noises).
- Tape a note to the door so you won't be disturbed.
- Take a sip of water before the interview; it will make it easier to speak.
- Smile when you speak, your voice will sound friendlier.
- Keep your answers short. Answers should not be longer than 20 seconds.
- Use as few technical and foreign words as possible. Imagine you are explaining the issue to your neighbor.
- Speak slowly; taking pauses is perfectly fine.
- If the interview is being recorded, you can start over if you get confused or lose your train of thought when answering.
- If you don't know an answer, you can say so honestly.
- Don't be surprised if the other person mutes themselves while you are talking. This keeps the recording clear and free of extraneous noise.
Types of content
The following contribution forms could arise:
- Recorded interview: The interview is recorded, often only individual quotes from you are used.
- Studio interview: The interview takes place in the radio studio. It is either recorded and used later or broadcast live.
- Live broadcast: It is reported live.
- Commentary/statement: Sometimes radio journalists ask for comments or short statements on controversial or political topics. In this case, a classification from the expert is requested in a few sentences. Be careful if it is not about your direct field of expertise or science policy issues!
- Background interviews: These serve as a research method for the media; quotations are often not used here. Clarify before the interview what form of background interview it is! The following terms are used by the media for this purpose:
- "Unter Drei" - The conversation is confidential, spoken "off the record"
- "Unter Zwei" - Quotes are used without mentioning names
- "Unter Eins" - The conversation is not confidential, quotes are used