How to Land a Radio Interview

photo by M.Keefe-Flickr
photo by M.Keefe-Flickr

When I was eighteen I couldn’t order pizza because I hated saying my name. So a half hour interview on a radio show was a big deal. Fortunately, Steve Stearns, the host of Outside Health and Fitness, was an easy guy to talk to. He made the conversation fun…and that’s the key. Listen in at:

But how did that great interview come about? Here’s a few hints to land your own radio spot:

Identify Benefits you can Provide Listeners

Notice in my interview that we didn’t push selling my novel. First, listeners must trust you and WANT to buy your book. Find common ground with them. What is interesting about you? Hobbies, experiences, profession, expertise. Make a list of “benefits” you bring: wisdom you can impart, bits of knowledge, inspiration, conversation pieces. Mine included: retired entreprenuer, quilter,

photo by Panafoot
photo by Panafoot

Midwesterner and Florida snowbird, self-taught publisher, author and song writer, backpacker, ex-tax collector, outdoor skills trainer and  surviver of a medical emergency who then hiked across the Grand Canyon, etc.

Research Radio Shows

Google “talk show” stations in your area and become familiar with their topics, audiences, and types of stories. Also visit to view their lists of radio and podcast shows across the country who are seeking guests. Scan their archives for show descriptions that fit one or more of your listed benefits. I chose Outside Health and Fitness because my interests include outdoor activities, eating healthy, and staying fit….and that happens to be a big part of my novel’s plot.

Spin your Story  

There are thousands of authors selling books. Nobody wants to hear that (except maybe your local friends and neighbors). To a larger audience, it’s not news. Hosts look for interesting people with a newsy story that will either educate or entertain their listeners. Review past podcasts and tailor your story to fit the host’s interests.

E-mail a personal query

Contact the host or booker  of the show. Grab their attention with a teaser headline, a great hook, or a startling bit of a story you can share with the audience. Help the host see how he can turn your experiences into an interesting conversation.  Be congenial, be flexible, be real.

Since Steve Stearn’s audience is health and fitness conscious, I opened my pitch to him by saying that an infection put me at death’s doorstep and I couldn’t walk across the room. Forced to take better care of my health, I vowed to get back to nature and learn how to backpack into the wilderness. Oh, and by the way, my mystery adventure novel was inspired on one of those trips to the Grand Canyon.

Make it News

Think in terms of stories, not selling a product. Tie your points of interest/benefits to current events, holidays, or whatever is hot in the news.  The Super Bowl, gun safety, hurricanes …whatever you might have researched while writing your books.

Spread the Word

Once the show hosts schedules your interview, help grow the show’s audience by telling all your social contacts to tune in. Hype his other guests, too, and leave Likes and comments on their interviews. Send reminders to your contacts before, during, and after your interview airs. Post the show link on all your social networks.  Your name will likewise be spread by the host and his other guests. Build your network.

Thank the Host

Send a note thanking the host for the interview and tell him that you’ve posted links on Facebook, your blog, Twitter, etc. Let him know you are now part of his team. He’ll think of you again for a future interview.

My one interview produced a noticeable bump in book sales. Now that I know how fun and easy an interview can be, I’ll make it a regular part of my publicity. Next, I’m scheduled on a cable TV show, News and Views with Lydia Ponscak on June 3rd.  To grow, do the very thing that scares you.


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