Five Ways You Can Avoid Being A Terrible Radio Guest

Yesterday, this blog looked at five things great radio guests do (click here if you missed it).

Today’s post will turn to the dark side, looking at five things terrible radio guests do. If you want to avoid being that guest who never gets called back for a second radio interview, this article’s for you.

This list comes courtesy of Ari Ashe, a reporter and producer for Washington, D.C.’s top-rated WTOP news radio. I hope you enjoy his list as much as I did. You’ll find a few ways to contact him at the end of this post.

WTOP’s Ari Ashe

1. They’re Long-winded: WTOP once had a regular guest on from The Hill newspaper. Every interview went three minutes long and was exactly one question long. He went on-and-on, never stopping, never pausing, never letting our anchor get in a follow-up question. Our Assistant News Director talked to him. Nothing would change. We would talk to him again. Nothing would change. Eventually, we dropped him as a guest. We were no longer willing to put up with three minute answers that would have been five minutes had we not cut him off. If you’re looking to deliver a long-winded dry speech, become a policy wonk. You won’t succeed in the media with that strategy.

2. Their Answers Are Complex: I remember once taking a class in organic chemistry. It was the worst class I ever took. The teacher could not present the material in a way that easy to understand; it felt like he was speaking a foreign language. He could not explain the material in simple terms that connected to our everyday lives. Your job is to be a good teacher. If you’re like my organic chemistry teacher, you will not be successful in radio.

3. They Don’t Talk Like They Really Talk: People too often get into their own head about how they’re “supposed” to sound. Your own worst enemy is often times between your own two ears. Just be yourself! Also, who wants listen to someone who sounds uncomfortable, stiff and possibly even combative? Maybe combat makes for good cable TV, but it certainly doesn’t work on radio. Most radio listeners are driving. Who wants to hear people shouting at each other while driving? Similarly, who wants to hear someone that’s stiff and uptight? People can spot someone who’s uncomfortable and tense pretty easily. Your discomfort and tension will make them uncomfortable and tense, and they’ll change stations.

4. They’re Boring: Who wants to listen to someone who is putting them to sleep? Nobody! And when most of our listeners are driving, that’s potentially dangerous. To use the teacher example, how much will your students learn if you bore them to death with a long, dry lecture? Not much. To win on radio, you must be memorable.

5. They’re Inflexible: In this ever-changing world, the people who are set in their ways and unwilling to try new things will become obsolete. Technology will constantly evolve. It will constantly allow the media to bring more news from more sources in better ways. The better you embrace the fast-paced world and go with the winds, rather than against them, the more valuable and successful you will be. Get on Twitter, get on Facebook, get on Google +, get on Foursquare, get on Skype!

Ari Ashe blogs here, tweets here, and can be found on Facebook here. You can listen live to WTOP here.

Related: Five Ways You Can Become a Great Radio Guest

Related: Seven Ways To Rock Your Next Radio Interview