The do’s and don’t of radio
Our interview with BBC Producer Kevin Pashby, tells us all about the do’s and don’t when pitching your story to radio producers. Have a listen to our interview to see us pick the brains of a BBC radio producer and find out if they really read all the press releases that come through…
Do they end up reading ALL of the press releases that come through?
Yes they do! They see every single press release that comes through, however there is a heavy turnaround as there are hundreds every day. Radio producers DO read through them all as they need you just as much as you need them. At the BBC there are high levels of speech-based radio, so they need the stories to fill this time.
What would make them notice a press release?
Before you start writing the press release, get a blank piece of paper and write down the main points you want to get across to the journalist, and ensure that THAT is put across in the very first paragraph. If you haven’t sold your story straight away, they won’t read on. It needs to be presented in an easily understandable form where they can immediately see what your story is. No gimmicks or photographs are necessary, it’s purely the text they are interested in.
Do you always have to go in to the studio to have a radio interview?
Absolutely not, producers can now phone you to interview you as long as you have signal and good sound quality, it isn’t always necessary to go in to the studio, especially if you’re tight for time. There’s loads of different ways now to go about it, and it’s just a conversation (so don’t panic too much!). Talk from the heart and don’t worry about over-selling yourself.
How should you prepare for the interview?
Go back to your piece of paper with your main points and have that in front of you to make sure you’re always getting the correct point across and not going off track. As long as you have enough knowledge in the field you’re talking about you’ll have plenty to say. Don’t be afraid to ask the producer beforehand what types of questions you’ll be asked – this won’t be an exact list, but can be a rough guide.
Anything else you should or shouldn’t do?
If you’ve already been turned down for a particular story, then don’t turn in to a ‘pest’. Move on to another story and pitch that instead, don’t keep trying the same one if the producer isn’t interested. Don’t be afraid to phone up and speak to the producer properly. Make sure you find out the name of the producer prior to the phone call to convey you have done your research and are committed to getting your story on that station.
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