on_airThis is the second in a three-part series on the advantages and disadvantages of print, broadcast and online publicity. Part III will be featured next and focus on online publicity.

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Earlier this week, I listed the pros and cons of publicity in newspapers, magazines and other print media.

Today, let’s look at publicity via broadcast media, a very different opportunity.


  • You can do radio interviews at home, in your pajamas. That’s what Alex Carroll does frequently, even when he gets booked on big radio shows in the Top 20 markets.
  • Radio and TV are instantaneous. If news breaks, and you have something compelling to offer, chances are good you can call the station, offer your expertise and be on the radio or TV within minutes.
  • It’s much easier to share recordings of TV and radio interviews. I’m not a lawyer and this is not legal advice. But I seldom hear about TV or radio stations that hassle you for including, at your website, a segment in which you’re interviewed. I also haven’t heard about broadcast outlets requiring hefty fees similar to the fees for reprint rights that big newspapers and magazines require.
  • TV and radio frequently welcome back guests they like. If a talk show host loved your interview, don’t be surprised if the program invites you again.
  • Radio stations sometimes offer live remotes. These can help your publicity campaign if you’re sponsoring a major event or opening a big business in a small community.
  • If you’re passionate about your topic, you’ll be a hit. But that same passion might not come through in a printed story because the reporter has complete control.


  • If a news item about you is inaccurate, you’ll almost never convince the broadcast outlet to correct the record. The exception is when the error is so severe that it borders on slander. With print media, you can write a letter to the editor or an opinion column correcting the record. TV and radio offer no similar opportunity.
  • On TV, you must look and sound your best. That means crafting and practicing your sound bites, wearing clothing appropriate to the interview, and paying close attention to your hair and make-up.
  • Because TV and radio love those three-second sound bites, you might be quoted out of context. This has happened to me.
  • Radio interviews require very short answers. You must learn to talk in “chunks.” If the host wants more information, she’ll ask a follow-up question.
  • If you have a voice that sounds quiet, meek or mousy, you might not be invited on the air. How do radio hosts know how you sound? They call you and do a “pre-interview.” They don’t refer to it as a “pre-interview.” They simply call and start talking to you. If they like what they hear, you’re in. If not, sorry.
  • Doing in-studio TV interviews is very difficult because of all the commotion on the set. The lights produce annoying glare. The cameras move back and forth. Somebody is holding up cue cards. The words are whizzing by on the teleprompter. And you need to be looking at the host, not at the camera.

I recommend two excellent books that go into more detail on how to deal with the media:

Kudos to Clarence Jones, a former award-winning investigative reporter who worked in TV and newspapers, for constantly updating Winning with the News Media, now in its 8th edition. This is the book I wish I had written.

The Media Training Bible by media trainer Brad Phillips, published a few months ago, concentrates on the media interview. It will prepare you for today’s media culture “in which a tweet can become newsworthy and a news interview can become tweet-worthy.”

If you’ve been interviewed on radio or TV, what do you think are the advantages or disadvantages? Add to my list in the Comments below.