Tips for getting on TV and Radio Talk Shows!

You need to think about your pitch to the radio or TV talk show. What do you have to say that’s new, interesting, unique and different? What’s your angle or story idea? Do you have a unique product? Are you an expert in a

Once you given some thought to about your pitch, prepare a one page backgrounder on yourself. This fact sheet is very important if you are just venturing into the talk show arena. Include a professional head shot picture and highlight all of your previous speaking engagements, published articles, books etc. You need to build credibility since you are an unknown entity to the radio or TV talk show producer.

Now that your backgrounder or fact sheet is complete, research the various talk shows where you would like to appear. No sense wasting your time or the producer’s time if your topic idea is not appropriate for the genre of the talk show. When doing your research, find out what types of topics the show is looking for. Often, the talk show’s website or the radio station website are good starting places.

Check out how the radio or TV talk show likes to receive topic ideas. Do they prefer phone calls, emails or is there an application form available? Try to determine whom you contact and what the best method for contact is.

Step 2- Practice

Often overlooked, it is always a good idea to practice your pitch and show your fact sheet to some respected colleagues before you try it out on the TV or radio producers. Ask your practice partner to throw out some tough and challenging questions so that you get practice rebutting any negative responses. The practice pitch will give you a chance to make any changes, streamline your narrative and to think about how you will answer the producer’s questions.

Step 3 – Make Contact

Now that you’ve figured out what you want to say and where you want to say it, it’s time to make contact.

There are a few methods of making contact. The first is to fax or email your backgrounder and then follow up with the radio or TV talk show producer a couple of days later. The second idea is to call the radio or TV talk show producer and sell them on your idea right away. A lively phone conversation will demonstrate that you are able to be engaging and interesting. If you get voice mail, persevere! Mention your idea on the voice mail, send your backgrounder and then follow up with a phone call again. A third, albeit more passive way to get on radio and TV talk shows is to register with one of the many online databanks or publications, which are directories of people available for radio and TV interviews. These sites and publications are designed for media professionals who need to quickly and easily find guests for various topics.

When you are pitching your ideas, strongly capitalize on your experience. If you have limited to no talk show experience, the producer may be scared off by that. Play up any and all experience you have. For instance, focusing on the broad range of presentations you’ve made to various audiences will show that you’re adept at speaking. Even better is to have some references lined up who will provide testimonial to the producer that you were an informative, intelligent and engaging speaker.

Another idea is to link your idea with an event or issue in the news, if possible. If you can inject a ‘little’ controversy into a topic (say you represent the opposing side of an issue) you have a better chance of being signed on.

Here’s a quick and easy tip, remember to boost the producers ego by mentioning something from a previous show topic or guest, producers love to know that people are watching.

Be excited! You have to believe in your idea, topic or whatever it is you have to say. The more enthused you are – the more likely you will get the radio and TV talk show producers to buy into inviting you to make an appearance on their show.

Step 4 – You’re Booked!

O.k. you’ve gotten the call you were waiting for. You are booked on your favorite TV or radio talk show! It helps the producers and talk show host if you supply a list of relevant questions. Pick 10 or so questions that you would like to be asked. There is no guarantee that they will use them, but producers and hosts are notoriously busy people and anything you can do to make their job a little easier will be appreciated.

Once you’ve finished your radio or TV talk show appearance, be sure to update you backgrounder. Surprisingly, the more talk shows you do, the more you build your credibility as an ‘expert’. As soon as you have a few appearances under your belt, you will likely find it easier to make that initial contact with the TV or radio talk show producer.

It cannot be stressed enough when you’re looking for ways to get on TV or radio talk shows, perseverance and determination are the keys. You cannot give up. It will be difficult to make contact and eventually get booked, but the reward in free publicity is MORE than worth it! Good luck!

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