Local Guests: 7 Ways to Maximize a Community Interview

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Local guests are a great way for your show stand out from voice-tracked, satellite-delivered national radio shows. One segment of local guests many shows shy away from is community organizations. Why? Well, obviously, the topics just don’t seem entertaining, fun or interesting.

But the content and connections made from a simple five minute appearance will be beneficial to your show and radio station for weeks and months to come.

Here are seven ways to maximize the value of community guests.

Create a Sign-Up Form

This doesn’t have to be a public form (though having a “Want to be a guest on our show?” link could result in some guest ideas you hadn’t considered). The objectives of the form are:

1) Gather lots of contact info. You’re not just getting one-time guest information, you’re building database of contacts of local movers and shakers.

2) Get lots of details. While the idea of talking about a 5K charity run doesn’t sound exciting, a particular element of the 5K could be what drives the entertainment value of the conversation.

3) Verify their interest. Being on your show is a big deal, a bigvaluabledeal. Truly interested groups will be happy to take the extra steps necessary to request a slot on your show.

At a minimum the form should get info on the organization, unique elements of the event, a website link, the names of two people who will be visiting the show (more on this later) and contact info.

Two Guests Are Better Than One

Strongly encourage two members of the organization to be on the show. If one of the two is more outgoing, you can focus more of the conversation on them.

Prep the PSAs

A few days prior to their arrival at the studio ask your guests to send details for two recorded PSAs. One PSA will promote their event — this can be added into your radio group’s PSA rotator immediately. The other PSA is an ‘evergreen’ which can air in the future. You want these to arrive in your email days in advance so that they can be polished and ready to be recorded. Once the studio interview is over, show your guests to the production studio and introduce them to production director.

Treat Them Like Rock Stars

The people behind your local community organizations are overworked and underpaid, so greet them with hot coffee, fresh pastries or bagels, and a few stations freebies. But more importantly, these community leaders should be welcomed by the station owner or general manager. Community leaders arecommunity connectorsand it simply makes good public relations and business sense.

Get a Selfie

Have a logo’d backdrop, banner or sign you can pose in front of. And don’t just share the photo the morning of your guest’s visit — recycle it the day before or morning of their event, along with a link to their website. Share the photo with your guests and ask them point blank to “share this on social media”.

Record to Share

After the show you’re going to upload the audio to your blog and share it on social media. You also want to share the audio with your Public Affairs Director and News Director. Much of the full interview could be used on a weekend public affairs program. Parts of the audio can be used to add some punch local newscasts.

Record to Recycle

Use the best one or two soundbites from the interview the week of the event. This is a great way to re-emphasize how local your show is.