the art of the interview

Staff Writer

96five is one of the smallest FM stations in Brisbane, yet punches above its weight when it comes to obtaining guests on the Breakfast Show.

In the past fortnight, they have chatted with Scott Cam, Michaela Banas, Damien Leith played live, and they will be taking Jack Vidgen to play a school concert for the station.

Program Director Liam Renton gives his personal interviewing tips:

Liam Renton:

I always start with a small, but honest compliment, especially if I know of the talent. This usually works with celebrities. The fact that I may have seen their movie or read their book or enjoy their TV show, be real and honest, don’t just make it up.

This early banter aims to get a connection with the talent.

I’m always upfront and honest before starting the chat; I thank them at the start for this interview and tell them we really appreciate it. I then always say that this interview will be recorded and played back shortly and that if we make any mistakes we will cut them out and make us all sound great.  Just before we record, I'll say lets press record and start.

I tend not to research my interviews. This can be a dangerous method, but for me, I treat all interviews like I’m meeting the talent for the first time, which I usually am. An interview is just a conversation, don’t get hung up on clever questions, what would you say to anybody you’re meeting for the first time.

When press releases tell you to go left, I always go right. I rarely talk about the subject the talent is there to pedal. You may be their 17th interview that day so you can imagine how bored they must be being asked the same question over and over again.

Ask talent about themselves, it’s the one thing they know most about. Imagine if you were being interviewed and all you were asked was about being on the radio. It’s like that for TV Stars, that’s what they do, not who they are. Do they have kids, follow a sporting team or have a passion, know it, ask about it and exploit it. That’s were you get the GOLD.

Always thank them again for their time, and tell them when it will air.

ALWAYS ALWAYS ALWAYS, send the Publicist and Network’s copies of the interviews. They will love you for it, it makes their job a whole lot easier and it guarantees you more talent from their stable in the future

Always keep a copy of your celebrity interviews. You never know when you may need to recycle them, use them again or something big happens in their lives making it worth replaying. Especially if they pass away and you’ve had them on your show before.


Liam Renton is Program Director and Breakfast Announcer at 96Five in Brisbane, he formerly was a Breakfast Announcer in Albury/Wodonga with DMG Regional Radio.

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