How to Make Sure You Never Get on the Radio: Don’t Do This

Radio people are an odd lot. I could tell you that we are generally happy creative types who only want to entertain our audience. Believe that and I have some dot com investments I’d like to talk with you about.

What I will tell you is that we have an equal overabundance of ego and insecurity. Those two things should not live in the same head, yet they seem to thrive in ours. Oh, and we also tend to be a bit on the manic side. I tell you this as a way of letting you know that we as a group are fairly unbalanced. Harmless, but unbalanced.

In previous articles, I’ve explained why radio is a good idea when you are putting together your media marketing strategy, how local radio is the stepping stone to network TV appearances and what you should do before making that first inquiry into becoming a guest on a radio show. Today, I’m going to tell you what to do to guarantee you NEVER get an interview on my show!

Send Me A Generic Pitch: Please make sure to put ‘to whom it may concern’ or ‘Dear Sir/Madam’ in the salutation. There is nothing more annoying to any producer than receiving a generic pitch. I know that sounds ridiculously shallow but we are talking about producers. We are ridiculously shallow.

You are much better off taking the time to get to know the particular show you are trying to get on than to just send something blind. In the beginning it will be tedious, but as you perfect this craft you’ll be surprised at how easy it gets. So, if you never want to be on my show, just call me “Sir.”

Don’t Spell the Name of the Producer Right:  I know several producers who won’t give you the time of day if you can’t even get their name right on your pitch email. They are the gate keepers, irritate them.

Do Not Listen: If you were to listen to the show long enough to get a feel for the personalities, then plan your pitch to appeal to them that would be ridiculously insightful. If you personalize your pitch to one or more members of the program, you’d stand a much better chance of being a welcomed guest of the show. We don’t want that, do we?
Don’t Bother Getting to ‘Know the Show’: If you are unable to listen to the show because it is not in your market, DO NOT go to their website and look around. DO NOT read the bios of the hosts or get to know them. And don’t you dare dig up something you, your service or product would have in common with the show. We LOVE to make it about us (see “overabundance of ego” above) if you go personalizing it to one of us, we’ll be forced to not only have you in the studio, but we might enjoy it and ask you back.

Give Lousy Phone: Remember, when you are talking to a producer on the phone, you are auditioning for them as well. Producers want to hear that you are conversational, upbeat, capable and confident. They want to know that they can turn over their airwaves to you and it won’t be a disaster. To be scatterbrained, full of half answers and unfocused is to be one step closer to no step nearer my studios. Don’t forget to say ‘um’ a lot!

Disconnect: Make sure what you have to say or what you bring to the table has absolutely NO bearing whatsoever on what’s going on in the world and is of absolutely NO relatability or consequence to anyone other than yourself.

Think about THE most important topic of the day: personal finances and the economy. If you want to have a fun drinking game, watch the morning network TV shows and take a shot every time there’s a money or financial expert on the program, telling you how to make your financial world a nicer place to live. You’ll be hammered by 7:30! These experts were smart enough to understand the importance of their particular expertise being relevant to what’s happening in the world and in the news RIGHT NOW!

Don’t Improve. Don’t Even Ask: When I was a producer in Phoenix, I had a comedian on the air I was obligated to interview. The segment didn’t go as well as expected and when it was over and I was giving him the bum’s rush out the door, he had the nerve to ask me how he could have done better. We talked for about thirty minutes exchanging ideas on what both of us could do to improve the experience should the opportunity ever arise again. A year later, I took a chance and brought him back. He destroyed the room and has been one of my all time favorite guests who has been on my program at least two dozen times since.

Hate Dogs: If you don’t like dogs, I don’t like you.

If I make the mistake of allowing you on my show, do me a favor: Show up late, mumble. If you’re on the phone, make it a cell and call from the most echo-y room in your house, give me one word answers and be as dull as you possibly can. That should guarantee that you will NEVER be on the radio again.

Look, I hope you get the joke but can appreciate the message. Yes, there is a lot of ego being addressed here that’s because ego runs rampant in this world. Not just us media-types but you Sir/Madam CEO, executive, expert or author, are ego driven too. Why else would you be improving your skills to be a better media guest? It may not be your driving force, but the ego is there and needing to be fed. Just don’t let it destroy you.

Have fun and be Brilliant!



Skip Mahaffey in an award-winning broadcaster, Media Coach/Consultant and Author of Adventures With My Father: Childhood Recollections of Divorce, Dysfunction and the Summer of Love. Skip is available for consultation by calling 813-388-1035 or email:

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