Thanx for the heads-up John.
Prepare. Prepare. Prepare.
You can’t ask the presenter to send you the list of questions (and you’d be surprised at the amount of people who try…) but you can prepare yourself for the basics. I’ll get back to this in a mo.
Some technical bits.
Wear the headphones and make sure they’re adjusted to a comfortable level so you can clearly hear the host and clearly hear your own voice.
Find out how long the insert is going to be. If you’re in for a 5 minute chat, that’s an entirely different ballgame to preparing for a 30 minute interview.
Keep eye-contact with the presenter so you can tell when he wants you to wrap up an answer. If you get a chance to listen to the show ahead of time, or even just the bit before you go on, you’ll get an idea of the ‘pace’ of the presenter. If you can get into sync, it’ll make for a better interview.
Make clear and concise notes so you can check details. If you want to mention the german silent movie Variete when you’re asked about the history of Unihoki, ok ok just for today…unicycle hockey, make sure you make a note of it else you might forget the name of the movie at the most inopportune moment and sound like an idiot.
Also make a note of the presenter’s name and write that on your notes. For bands going in for interviews I normally recommend wearing name badges. It sounds frightfully naff but it can and does happen that a presenter forgets a name and nothing makes you sound like a nobody quite as much as a radio presenter forgetting your name in the middle of an interview. Since you’ll be on your own (?) it probably isn’t that much of an issue.
But it can’t hurt.
Accept that a microphone is not a sound conveying device, it’s a gateway to another strange little world where the most arrogant of idiots become, and sound like, whimpering idiots and the most soft-spoken people come over as very personable and approachable.
You will feel slightly nervous, that’s natural. Just chill and have a chat.
You’re only ever talking to one person at a time. Please [personal bugbear warning] do not use phrases like ‘you people’, ‘all the people out there’ or ‘listeners’.
If you want me to explain why, shout.
But relax. It’s not an exam, it’s an opportunity to chat about something you know as much about as most and something you really enjoy doing.
Make sure you have a smile on your face while you’re talking. Practise forcing yourself to smile. You sound much friendlier when you do. This is important in radio. Take a pocket mirror so you can make sure you’re smiling all the time. (I’m serious.)
Onto some of the question you might be asked.
You’re likely to get a general attitude (at first) along the lines of ‘Why play hockey on a unicycle?’, ‘Are you crazy?’ or ‘Are you out of your mind?!?’
This won’t be meant in an insulting way, just take a step back and realise that to non-unicyclists, playing hockey on a uni is an extremely weird thing to do.
Handle it with grace, smiles and ‘because we can’ or ‘because it’s a lot of fun’.
Then work in some of the technical stuff. The fact that there are international rules will help people realise that alltho it’s decidedly odd, it is a legitimate sport.
Once you’ve crossed that little hurdle, the rest will be a cakewalk.
Expect ‘bread-and-butter’ questions like
How did it start?
Where did it start?
When did it start?
Who started it?
(Yeah, it’s pretty much the 5Ws)
Where do you play?
Play with all these questions in your head and start figuring out some answers so you have some idea of what you’ll want to say.
Most importantly, relax and have fun.
I’m looking forward to some of the other radio people on the fora to chime in here as well.