I’ve been going on the radio as a guest on the BBC London 94.9 Late Show for nearly two years now. The opportunity came up when my friend, journalist Bibi Lynch, introduced me to the then-host Jo Good. Each weeknight, from 11-12pm (yep, way past my bedtime), she hosted an hour-long section on her show called ‘Chewing the Fat’ where a few guests would gab about the issues of the day – everything from serious news items to daft topics (coffee addiction! Crazy TV shows you’re addicted to!) that might have occurred to you over the course of the day.
Going on for the first time in August 2011, I was a bundle of nerves all day. But Jo and Bibi put me at my ease and I had a fantastic time, responding to Jo’s questions, and Bibi’s overtures to join the conversation. As the other guests chatted away confidently, I ‘waited my turn’, behaving as politely as I could, and much like I would in my familiar capacity interviewing people as a journalist, speaking little and often but generally, letting the interviewees talk on.
But listening back to my first-ever radio appearance online the next day, one huge point struck me (apart from how differently my voice sounded to how I thought it did…). I’d barely said a word. By waiting to join the conversation, even though I felt as though I’d contributed a lot, listening to the experience showed me instead that I’d hardly featured.
It was a fascinating lesson in that, how in different mediums, you need to employ different versions of yourself, and adapt to the media you’re dealing with. In a single-focus medium like radio, where only what you say is communicated, pushing your voice forward is key. It would be entirely different if it was a television interview, where my non-verbal signals would be seen as well.
Over the next few shows, my confidence grew and I began interrupting other guests more, talking in longer bursts and generally behaving in a way that wouldn’t be normal outside a radio studio. But when I listened to my appearance these times, it sounded natural and crucially, I got my voice heard.
I’m still a regular guest on BBC London 94.9 and last week appeared on the Late Show again, now presented by Simon Lederman. You can hear me talking about Nine Media Training’s launch in the clip above. And don’t forget, we can advise your company about all aspects of media communications – just get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org