What Makes a Guest Great? Tips from Talk Show Pros

January 2004
by Roberta Gale

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If you’re interested in promoting a book on radio or TV shows, you’ve probably watched or listened to hundreds, if not thousands, of interviews over the course of your life. But how many of those interviews truly stand out? If you’re lucky, perhaps a handful. If you’re very lucky, perhaps a larger handful. The point is, a great interview doesn’t happen often, and it rarely happens by accident.

In an attempt to help attain that interview nirvana a bit more often, I asked top talent and producers to share their thoughts on guests they considered the cream of the crop. My interviewees covered a broad spectrum, from hot talk to conservative talk to women’s talk to sports talk to talk-intensive music morning shows. Obviously, the individual hosts and producers as well as the target demographics of the programs and stations determine some of the answers. But, as you will see, some basic qualities of a great guest transcend format and individual differences.

My questions were:

·
What are the qualities of a great guest?

·
Could you give specific examples of guests you thought were great,

whether or not they are well known?

·
If you could give one tip to a guest who was going to appear on your

show, what would it be?

ٱ A great guest has energy and an interesting topic, is conv’s ltional, and says either very intelligent or very stupid thi…IBPA Members – Click here to view the full article (login required).

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