For starters, guests should be entertaining and/or informative.
By "Talk Radio Advocate" Francine Silverman
Above, hosts want their guests to be entertaining
When I wrote my book, Talk Radio Wants You, I asked
hosts to describe their version of the Guest from Hell.
Some answers were straightforward:
*yes or no answers;
*monotonous, humorless inarticulate;
*rude, speaks above the host;
*freezes or mumbles or goes on and on;
*self-important, monosyllabic, boring.
The amusing responses were:
*one who drones on and puts me in a coma
before I have a chance to ask my next
*someone who tells you how to build a clock
when all you wanted was the time.
My answer would be:
*the guest who doesn't show up.
In the Foreword of my book, Book Marketing from
A to Z, Cynthia Brian wrote: "As a producer,
writer, and host of TV and radio programs, I
know first hand how tough it is to get airtime.
As an acting and media coach for over two
decades, I've had the privilege of working
with authors, experts and other professionals
to teach them how to give "good show." Let me
tell you, it's always about 'the show," never
about your book...Authors are in the book business.
They need to learn how to think like a producer,
provide a hook and entertain the audience in
sound bytes, all the while incorporating the
ideas from their book to garner sales and
more interviews for themselves. This is a
big order to fill for the untrained."
Cynthia is host of Be the Star You Are on
I asked other hosts to define their ideal guest.
"My favorite guest is spontaneous, yet lets me take the lead," says
Sastia Cote, host of Alternatively Speaking on WXOJ, Northampton,
Mass. "Allows the conversation
to flow, and the questions to come naturally. Is happy with what
he/she is doing in life. Doesn't have to be in Alternative Healing.
I also get guests who have invented things, or drastically changed
their lives, although most of my guests have some experience with
Alternative Health or Healing. I always want our conversations to
sound like we're just talking together at the kithchen table.
To me, those make for the best listening. Informative, yet fun."
Bianca Tyler, co-host with Phillip of Let's Talk on WGCH, Greenwich,
Conn., says, "Phillip and I appreciate
when a guest who is an author sends a copy of their book so we
can use it during our interview.
We really appreciate when they phone in at the right time a few
minutes before the show.
We love when they don't follow up questions with just a yes or no
but but teach the audience during their valuable airtime about
And we appreciate when they realize we are wrapping up and know
how to finish their time on air with us by listening to our ques.
We also appreciate guests who don't mind when we go on a tangent
because we enjoy real conversations and we know our audience does,
"Guests need to know what message they want to get across,"
says Jim Beach, host of School for Startups on Liberty
"They should have a point in mind, a thesis to share.
They should wait for the host to promote or praise their
book or work. Then say thanks and comment. But, as a guest,
do not be the one to promote! That's the hosts job."
"I appreciate your asking the question as to what is important
to me as a talk show host," says Donna Seebo, host of the
Donna Seebo Show on the Donna Seebo Network.
1. "Using a landline not a cell phone for the interview.
I have had all too many interviews when the guest gets dropped
by the phone signal, starts gurgling because of electrical
interference, and other sound distortions that disrupt the
smoothness of the interview. Portable home phones are digital
not a landline. They have the same challenges as cell phones
because they are a cell phone. If that is your only option be
sure you are not near a computer, microwave oven, or any other
kind of electrical equipment. They interfere with the digital
2. When you are doing an interview…stay still. Don’t walk
about as the signal changes with the phone frequency.
Multi-tasking should be kept to a minimum. Stay focused on the
3. Turn off the message notification signal on phone when
doing interview. It blocks out whatever conversation is being
expressed by the guest leaving a sound void.
4. Being on-time for the call and giving a back-up number
in case there is a problem.
5. Speaking clearly and answering questions when they are
asked by host. Depending on amount of time for the interview,
rambling on doesn’t accomplish what you, as an author, need to
6. I take time to read the material sent to me. Be sure
you review the material as I will be directing my questions
according to what you have written. Don’t be the guest that
asks what page are you referring to…it doesn’t make a good
impression on the audience.
7. Getting a nice thank you note is always appreciated.
If you are wise you will include the reasons you enjoyed the
interview. Hosts will post those comments that emphasize the
quality of interview giving you more exposure via their website,
or social media.
8. Watch the clock. A good host will let you know how much
time you have and their proposed format. When broadcasting time
is money and other plans may be on the host's show agenda. Be
respectful of that.
9. If you desire to have a copy of the interview be
supportive of the host who has interviewed you and showcase them,
their station, and programming via your social media outlets. It
is so beneficial to all parties.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to share my thoughts
regarding your question as to what is frustrating to talk show
hosts. I love to showcase people and like to make sure I
represent them in the best way possible."
Francine Silverman is an author, publicist, radio host and
compiler of 16 ebooks of talk radio shows