Saturday, September 26, 2009

Meaty Questions

As a newsmaker or guest on a talk show, you want to have a list of questions for the reporter or host. You can reframe these as "talking points" if you like.

I recommend that you have a list and title it, "10 Suggested Questions." You don't want the reporter to think that you're doing anything other than suggesting a line of questioning. Some interviewers are so slammed, they will go straight down the list, asking each one in order. Others won't even look at your list. Some may pick and choose questions from the list.

When you come up with this list, put good questions on it. By that, I mean meaty questions or ones of substance. If you only put lightweight questions on the list, you lose credibility as a newsmaker. For instance, a non-meaty question would be, "Where can people buy your book?" or "Why did you write the book?" You are likely to be asked those questions anyway, so make your ten questions count.

Friday, September 4, 2009


When you are scheduled to be on a talk show, most producers will send you some sort of confirmation. It may be a simple email with the time or date. It could be a fax that you have to sign and send back. At our show, we send an attachment and ask guests to read and follow the instructions. We include FAQ's. Even so, many people don't read this sheet. I can tell because they don't send the required information, or they ask questions answered in the document.

To give you an idea of what talk shows like to get, here's a modified version of what we send confirmed guests.

Congratulations! You are confirmed as a guest!

To ensure that you get the publicity you want on our website and to make sure our hosts can be prepared, please send the following at least TWO WORKING DAYS before your interview:

1. Your landline and backup numbers
2. Your headshot –preferably in a jpeg (also send book cover, DVD cover, etc)
3. Your bio
4. Your website

Due to our early morning shift, if we have not received the phone numbers 48 hours in advance, we will begin looking for a replacement for your time slot.

Note: Please do NOT send us to a website for these items—many times our corporate Internet will not allow us to access certain sites, then you miss out on having your photos on our website or on our TV broadcast.

If you’re scheduled during the TV simulcast (7-9 am eastern), and your interview is by phone, please send relevant photos and/or video to enhance your segment. Our pipeline is small, so send no more than three jpegs at a time. Mail the video so that it arrives three days in advance. Or give us a link to download video.

If you are scheduled as an in-studio guest, please arrive 30 minutes ahead of time for makeup. You will have access to tea, coffee, water and light snacks. Also, we only need your cell number (see #1 above).

ATTIRE: In-studio guests look best wearing blues or earth tones. Please avoid wearing white as a main color.
AUTHORS, ARTISTS, etc: Please send TWO copies of each book, DVD or CD. Our hosts prepare for each guest. Please send these as soon as the interview is scheduled.

Here are answers to FAQ’s (and a few more Do’s and Don’ts):

1. We are live, not taped. We take calls from listeners and viewers.

2. We broadcast to Canada, via Sirius, all three hours. When you use inclusive language such as “North America” or “U.S. and Canada,” our listeners appreciate it.

3. “Simulcast” means that for two hours we are airing both on TV and radio, like Mike & Mike on ESPN.

4. QUESTIONS—we do not come up with questions ahead of time. However, if you want to send suggested questions or talking points ahead of time, we consider it helpful.

5. Audio podcasts of the interview generally will be up on our website the afternoon after the interview. We do not post video of every show.

6. Our program reaches:
· 8.6 million subscribers to Sirius
· 30 million households on FamilyNet Television
· 10,000 subscribers to

7. Many people want to know how they can be a repeat guest. The easy answer is, “Do a great job the first time!” Offer lots of content and energy and you will make a good impression. We promise to give the name of your book and your website IF you’ve given it to us in advance, so we don’t like it when you repeatedly say your book title or website. In fact, doing that is almost a guarantee you won’t get asked back.

8. If you are a guest by phone, we prefer to call you. We much, much prefer to call you. We have been burned by many guests who promised to call and then slept through the interview. We will call a few minutes before your air time.

9. If you are a frequent Skype user and are scheduled to conduct a phone interview, we may want to consider using Skype. Let us know if you are interested.

THANKS! We look forward to you being on our show!