What Makes a Good Interview on "Fresh Air"

Last Updated Oct 25, 2008 12:49 PM EDT

Fresh Air on NPR is probably the most desirable radio talk show placement, particularly for an author. You get lots of time, and host Terry Gross will engage you at a level that will really let people get to know you and your point of view.

Naturally, therefore, the competition to get on the show is brutal. After all, it's on only five days a week, and oftentimes, they don't even use new interviews, preferring instead to replay an old interview because the person has died, or written a new book or is starring in a new movie. Like I said, it's a really tough hit to get, making it all the more valuable.

So you can probably use all the advice you can get, right?

So give a round of thanks to Debbie Stier at The 26th Story, who scored an interview with Fresh Air producer Amy Salit. It's a short interview so you can head over to their blog to read it, but here are a few gems:

What makes a great interview?

[On] radio... you can feel if the person is speaking spontaneously. If they are, you can hear them thinking through their ideas. Their passion and enthusiasm comes through. They need to be talking to Terry instead of giving a lecture. I also like to hear something new, either to help explain a situation in society, or to reveal something new about a celebrity guest.

  • Jon Greer

    Jon Greer has been analyzing media and PR for more than 25 years. He's been a journalist and a PR executive, and has been a featured speaker for many years at the Bulldog Reporter Media Relations Summit, and served as Bulldog's Editorial Director for their PR University series of weekly how-to audio conferences.

    Jon provides PR services including media relations and freelance writing to clients including start-ups, law firms, corporations, investment banks and venture capital firms. In addition, Jon provides spokesperson training. Learn more about Jon's training programs at The Media Bridge.