Radio for Writers

Speakers at the recent Mystery Writers of America Florida Chapter meeting were radio hosts Christine DiMattei and Erik Remmel, who spoke on “Radio for Writers.”

Disclaimer: This article is based on my notes. Any errors are my interpretation alone.

Christine is a broadcast news reporter/anchor at WLRN, a National Public Radio station. Erik is the Founder and President of Life Improvement Media Group, a marketing and media company. He broke ground in Podcasting and Internet Radio. In the four years since launching, LIMG has built a loyal audience with millions of unique listeners per year. Moderator was Miriam Auerbach.

Radio Writers

Christine claims her type of broadcast radio “is not going anywhere.” Eric does Internet-based radio. He says his shows are uplifting and positive with a focus on health-related topics. He can obtain demographics and notes seniors these days are more technically proficient while children are ten years ahead in terms of tech knowledge than earlier eras. Unlike broadcast radio, you don’t have to watch your language on the Internet as FCC rules don’t apply. There’s less structure but also less cost for Internet radio. Podcasts are popular. You can put them up for free on iTunes and this will attract customer reviews. A good podcast runs for a half hour to one hour average. A livecast is streaming radio. Use keywords during Podcasts. Blog Talk is free by Google.

Christine looks for sense of place stories. “What is your story?” It’s not about your book, but about who you are as a person and as an author. What are you passionate about? How do you stand out from the crowd?

“Be brazen” to contact a show via email. Give them a bold phrase out of your book. Catch their interest up front. Email and then call to follow up. Tweet, call, email. “Persistence pays.” In the subject line of your email, put Interview Request or Mystery Writer Requesting Interview. Use formal last names in your introductory letter.

Once you have an engagement, send the interviewer your print promotional materials. You must have a Web presence. Both speakers emphasized the need for a website and for authors to be active on social media.

Tips on Appearances

Do not ask for a list of questions from your interviewer ahead of time. However, do send a bio to your host.

Figure out a way to break the ice with the interviewer when you arrive.

Do not pitch your book when answering questions.

Prepare an excerpt to read. You can ask your readers to select one. They might choose something totally different that you would as the author. An excerpt should be one or two paragraphs as you have very limited time on air. Make it a dramatic scene and be expressive.

Prepare four to eight talking points about your book.

Know your Internet URLs by heart.

Do not wear jangly jewelry to the interview.

If calling in the interview, use a landline if possible or try Skype.

In a commercial break, you can suggest topics that come to mind during your interview.

Finally, Christine reminds us that “Your interviewer is your partner” and is there to help you shine.


So have you done live radio or blog interviews? What tips do you have to offer?

NOTE: Today is the Last Day for early registration at SleuthFest 2015. See post below.

Radio Interview Live!

Tuesday, August 27, 6:30pm

It’s thirty minutes before I call in to a live radio interview. My heart is racing, and I’m clearing my throat every ten seconds. Afraid my throat will dry out, I’m sucking on a lozenge. On my desk is a mug of hot water with a dash of lemon juice. I read somewhere that this helps soothe speakers. What if I lose my voice or have to clear my throat on air?

woman headset

I’m not too worried about running out of things to say. Fortunately, I received some of the questions ahead of time, and so I’ve scribbled down notes. Also handy on my desk are my book brochures so I don’t forget what my books are about if asked. I’ll need to remember to mention my website and maybe plug our local writing organizations.

If I survive without coughing, choking, losing my voice, or sounding like a fool, I’ll deserve a big glass of wine.

Only twenty minutes to go. Clearing my throat again. Damn sniffles. It’s allergies and nerves combined, more the latter. I don’t get tense before a live speaking engagement. That doesn’t seem to bother me, but recordings? Yep.

Have to take a bathroom break before calling in. It’ll be an hour before the next chance comes along. Don’t forget to apply some lip gloss, too.

Another five minutes gone. What if my voice comes out as a squeak?

Ten minutes to go. It’ll be fun. I have a lot of information to share. Yeah, right. Keep telling yourself this. It’ll be like having a personal conversation and giving writing advice. I do that all of the time. Only now, people will be listening. Maybe nobody, or maybe hundreds. Gulp.

Signing off here now. It’s almost showtime. Calm is descending over me. It’ll be fun. I have knowledge and experience to share. I repeat my mantra.


Whew, it’s over. Fortunately, the host was a great interviewer. She had one rapid-fire question after another for me to answer. Once I started talking, my writing brain took over and it was hard to curb my tongue. I could have rambled on for quite some time. From the few friends who listened, it appears the interview came across very well. Now that I know what to expect, I may even look forward to doing it again. It was fun, and I had a lot of information to share.

The host said there may be an online link to the recording eventually. If there is, I’ll post it on my sites.

So what do you say? Should I learn how to do a podcast next?