A New Radio Trend You Should Know About

Mike Diegel, a principal at Primo Partners Public Affairs, recently wrote in with a question about two radio interviews he had conducted earlier this month.

Rather than conducting the interview by telephone—long the established norm—both interviewers asked Mike if he could use his iPhone to record the interview instead. Mike writes:

“He told me to start the Voice Memo app, which I did, and begin recording. He asked his questions and I, holding the phone about 6-8 inches away, answered. When we were done, I had about a five-minute recording that I could then use the Share feature to email to him. Pretty slick, I thought. I have a record of my interview and he has a file he can cut and paste from…Is this a common practice, or becoming one?”

Voice Memo App

To answer Mike’s question, I reached out to Ari Ashe, a reporter with Washington, D.C.’s top-rated WTOP-FM, one of the two stations that requested an iPhone interview. Ashe says it’s all about audio quality:

“As more stations move from the AM dial to the FM dial, the quality of the audio that you present to your listeners becomes very important. No doubt, HD Radio also showed us that FM isn’t the end of the line on delivering high quality audio into your radio. So as radio news stations embrace the 21st century, it’s critical that they embrace 21st century technology to deliver the news.”

Ashe is also a fan of Skype, and says that the difference between an interview recorded over the telephone and one recorded on an iPhone or via Skype will “sound like night and day.”

As for how common the practice is, WTOP isn’t alone. Ashe says that National Public Radio has been recording interviews this way for a few years, which suggests this practice is here to stay.

On Air Radio Studio Horizontal

As a media trainer, I have only one concern with this new approach: I’m nervous that spokespersons will forget to use their full power of delivery when speaking into their own smartphone. So remember: even though it may feel awkward, speak into your phone using the same level of energy and passion you would if you were sitting in the studio with the host.

For a few additional radio tips, check out my recent post, Eight Ways to Deliver a Better Phone Interview.

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