More on Interviewing: Is It live?

One more tidbit for you about doing media interviews, this time something truly vital that a person being interviewed needs to know.  The media outlet will eventually provide this info, but sometimes I think they get so used to how they do their show that that sort of forget to pass along this detail immediately (which is when I think they should be telling you…)

And that’s the answer to the question above:

Is it live?

You all know the difference.

Picture a traditional TV news broadcast when there’s a breaking story in your community, say, a fire at the local school. Or another tragedy involving gun violence and senseless death. Someone official will eventually be at a podium providing an update and taking questions, and you may have seen the word LIVE in the corner of your screen, even as someone on voiceover also will be telling you it’s live coverage.  Or, conversely, when they replay that update, they will explain it was recorded previously.

This is an important element in news coverage, and it spills over to a certain extent to the interviews authors do on Christian media.

In my experience, most of the time the author interviews I obtain for my clients are recorded, or technically, pre-recorded, a term that only sounds redundant.

If you are being interviewed on a Tuesday for a weekly radio show that airs every Friday, you can be pretty sure that your interview will be recorded. But otherwise, you need to make sure you have that information.

Although it’s less common, there are still many live interviews, especially on a daily radio program.

And you need to know.

There’s an extra frisson of excitement when it’s live. The hosts feel it, and so will you. It’s riskier as the time needs to be spot on, plus there’s no way to go back and edit a mistake or a sneeze.

But that also adds more interest for the audience, and that’s a bonus for you too.

Once in a while you may get the thrill of doing a live interview in a TV studio and that has many exciting elements.

However, most of the time your live interviews are going to be audio only for radio, and the producer of the show will call you about five minutes before your interview starts. They want to be sure they have you on the line when it’s time, and also be sure you feel comfortable and energized for your radio spot. This also gives them a chance to make sure your dog isn’t barking in the background.

A couple of things to keep in mind when it’s a live interview.

First, of course you don’t ever want to be late for a media interview, but if an interview is live, you simply cannot miss the interview or be late. The program is counting on you to fill those minutes of time when they will be on the air.

Second, I referred to this above, but when an interview is live, you need to get comfortable with the reality that nothing can get fixed later with editing. This might be terrifying to you, but you’ll do a lot better than you think you will. It does suggest that you think ahead to how you might frame some answers to questions you anticipate.

And that brings us back around to last week’s missive.

Last Friday we discussed a question authors sometimes ask me about an upcoming interview, wondering if the interviewer will be using the questions in the press kit (if you missed that, it’s on the blog here.)

But knowing whether an upcoming interview is live or recorded in my opinion is simply the most important thing you need to know about an interview after you learn the time and date.

So, if you aren’t sure, be sure to ask.

Originally sent as an email to the Buoyancy community on October 6, 2023.
Joni Sullivan Baker
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