Radio interviews with bands are good for both the station and your Christian band. The station creates excitement through live interviews and, hopefully, gains more fans as the band publicizes the event. The band gains more exposure (which should translate into more fans) and credibility as a professional in the music ministry (which can be used to get more shows). So, promoting a radio interview should be a joint effort between the band and the radio station. If you just show up at the station for the interview you might be wasting your time and gas money. But, if you are willing to do a little work, radio interviews can pay off big for your band!
How to Get Interviews
• Make a one-sheet. Click Here to find out what a one-sheet is and how to create one for your band.
• Begin a media file… Make a list of radio stations that play your style of music or will be interested in the event you are playing. Ideally these stations should have an indie show (if you are promoting your music) and/or a local audience (if you are promoting an event). Don’t forget the local college stations. Keep in mind that many stations conduct feature interviews over the telephone, which allows you to do the interview while you are on the road. Include contact information of station directors and show hosts on your list. Save this list to use for future events and publicity.
Look up radio stations using one of these directories:
• Create a letter template for radio station directors and show hosts. This letter should be a standard business letter. List your contact information. Include your e-mail, cell and direct mail information. Be sure to include the bands website URL. The more options you give others to reach you, the better your chances of being contacted. Address the letters to the station directors and show hosts by first and last name (make sure you have the correct spelling). It is more personal and shows the station that you are targeting the right listener audience.
• Customize your cover letter template to the station manager or show host for the particular station or show you want to appear on. Use this cover letter for both snail and electronic letters. Submit your one-sheet with the cover letter. If e-mailing, use the cover letter as either the body of your e-mail or as an attachment with a quick note as the body. Send the one-sheet and any other information as attachments.
• When you are asking for an interview to promote a local event, send relevant information such as event posters, a public service announcement and a press release with the cover letter and one-sheet. I personally, no longer send CD’s with this letter. It seems to be a waste of money because they usually get lost. Links to your music should be on the one-sheet. If an interview is set up I offer to mail CD’s ahead of time and bring them to the interview as well. Many people still send CD’s; it is a judgment call – up to you and your budget.
• To promote the bands latest release, send a CD with a physical snail letter or MP3 links in an e-mail with the cover letter and one-sheet. If after two weeks you do not hear from a radio station, follow up with a telephone call.
Set Up the Interview with the Station
The band will probably not get an radio interview from every letter you send out. But, eventually a station will call to set up a time for an interview. Make sure you receive specific instructions for the time you should arrive, location of the studio, as well as the actual time of the radio interview. If it is a phone interview specify who will call whom at what time. Ask how long the interview will be and how many of your songs the station will play.
Most bands end the phone call to set up the interview at this point…
But you can do better:
• Make the most of the interview by asking if your band can donate items to give away while you are on the air as well as for contests after you leave. This gets your bands name on the air much more often and over a longer period of time than just the radio interview.
• Find out how the station would like to be promoted on your bands website. Of course you can announce the station and time of the interview, but look for other ways to maximize exposure. Will you be able to stream the interview from your site live or after the show? Will you be allowed to take photographs or video of the show host and the band, which can be posted later, after the radio interview?
• Ask to have a link to your bands website put on the stations website. Specifically state that they are free to use any images or content from your site to promote the radio interview and give them instructions for access to the bands EPK.
• Find out if you can do some kind of goofy contest or surprise on the air. If so, discuss possible ideas. These surprises give the show hosts something to talk about before the band arrives, so your band name gets mentioned more often and, hopefully, the audience for the interview is larger. A memorable radio interview should translate into more fans for the band.
During the Interview: Basic Tips
• Do not use a headset or cell phone if you are doing a telephone interview. They distort the sound and often have background noise. Use a land line, even if you have to borrow one.
• Never forget that you are On the Air. The studio is so quiet and casual; you can easily forget that there are thousands of people listening to you.
• Make sure that you have your talking points written down in front of you. Talk with your interviewer before the radio interview and go over some of the questions they will be asking you.
• Do not leave any dead air time. Laugh, tell a funny band story, or ask the host to repeat the question. That will give you time to think if you don’t know what to say.
• Avoid saying “ahs” and “ums.” On the radio it makes you sound unsure and uneducated.
• Be yourself. Remember that you are “the band” – interesting musicians with a message. You are not there to be judged; you are there to give the audience the gift of your ministry.
• It is the host’s job is to make you look good. Trust that they will, but go out of your way to make the host and the station look good as well. Be sure to encourage their listeners to continue listening to the show.
• Watch the clock during the interview. Just as when you are on stage, time flies. If you haven’t gotten your most important point when you have two minutes to wrap up, make sure you get it in.
After the Interview
• The radio show host will probably be on the air after your interview is completed. So, do not hang around and try to engage them in more conversation. Thank them for the opportunity to be on the show. If you have not done so already, give them a free CD (pre-autographed is nice) and any other freebies you have for them. Make sure the station also has a CD. Leave the prizes you gave away on the air and those you promised for future contests with the station secretary.
• If you took photographs or video in the studio, post them to your pages and websites right away. Be sure to send a link to the studio – they might add your photos to their website or posts.
• Within one week, send a hand-written thank-you note to the host and producer after the show. This is not a business letter; so ideally, every member of the band should sign this note rather than the band manager.
• Lastly, add the interview to your press kit and one-sheet.
Up next week: Marketing Your Bands Radio Interview. We’ll talk about extra marketing you can do to really get the most out of every radio interview. This will help you broaden your fan base and strengthen your reputation as an interesting band.
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