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Here are some of the questions asked:
How can I engage people that do not want to call-in to interact with us on air?
- You can use other methods that do not require them to call in during the broadcast because sometimes listeners are discouraged to call-in on air as the line tends to be busy most of the time
(a) Voice polls - with voice polls, listeners can get a chance to participate and give feedback on the radio program anytime
- You can have a number for participation and once a while announce it on the radio
- Listeners can then call and participate anytime
- Voice poll can allow them to record their opinions
- Broadcasters can access the recording later on and include it on the radio program
(b) Call outs - You can call out to listeners who represent the group whose voices you want to be heard, for example: women’s groups
- Sometimes certain group of listeners are not confident enough to call, it is good to use radio to make them feel at ease. I am talking about the use of promos and jingles. Also having a special phone line for WOMEN to encourage them to participate can come in handy. (Kassim Sheghembe, ICT Team leader, Tanzania, Farm Radio International)
You could give them an option to record their comments or questions rather than going ‘live’ using an answering machine or mobile phone voice mail service. (David Mowbray, Senior Consultant, Strategic Opportunities, Communications, Training and Standards, Farm Radio International)
You can do what we call streeters…so record people in their own environment and use that to heighten a conversation or story. You could create a poll – to get feedback on current farming practices or how to handle current problems. (Jill Dempsey/Metro Morning/CBC Radio Toronto)
- Invite people to call in to an answering machine with comments and/or questions.
- Ask people to write in with comments/questions.
- Hold “town hall” type meetings and record them.
- Encourage reporters, regular contributors and guests to ask people who can’t make it to meetings or the station some questions, such as: what are your greatest concerns about your working life? Your family’s welfare? Government assistance/impositions? Farming specific questions as well, of course.
None of these are worth doing if they are not well used. That is: anyone who contributes comments and/or questions should be acknowledged on air, and, if possible, their comments broadcast, their concerns addressed by experts or officials, and their situations/stories updated regularly. No one will respond, at least more than once, if their voices are not heard. (Douglas Rushton, veteran print and broadcast journalist)
What are techniques of persuading microphone shy contributors to be interviewed!?
Thanks for the Question, actually most guests are microphone shy when it is their first time on radio or being recorded. To start with if you are going to record a person in the community first prepare him/her before you “scare” them with a recorder or microphone. Create a rapport between you and your guest first, get out the recorder from its case and place it on the table, tell your guest that you want to use this gadget to record your interview/talk before you start recording. This will help the guest be comfortable. If on air guests are microphone shy, before the program starts, take your guest through what you are going to be talking about. Some stations have production studios. You can walk the guest to the production studio and show them what the studio look like and let the guest know that the on air studio is similar and there is nothing to worry about. Once in the on air studio make sure they are comfortably seated. If they are to use headphones make sure you set the headphones and request them to put them or if possible you can help them put the headphones on. Ask your guest if they are seated comfortably and are okay with the headsets on. Then begin the show lightly, creating a rapport and everything will be normal. (Pascal Mweruka, Radio and Training Officer, Uganda, Farm Radio International)
This is a tough one and in fact entire training modules can be devoted to it. A lot is situation dependent and location dependant. Live vs recorded, studio vs location, remote phone vs in person. People are shy for a lot of reasons. Here are some of them:
- They are afraid of making mistakes or that they will be asked a question to which they don’t know the answer. They may look at the interview as being like an examination.
- They are afraid their friends will think they are trying to stand out as better than them
- They are afraid of you, the interviewer, thinking you might have a secret agenda.
- Your technology – recorder and microphone – may intimidate them.
- They might honestly believe they have nothing relevant to say....
- They might think you (the interviewer) have nothing in common with them and they will have difficulty relating to you.
FRI has produced a training module called “The Etiquette of the Interview” 102-09 How to create an effective call-in program.docx (75.7 KB)
that illustrates some techniques for helping to overcome guest fears. (David Mowbray, Senior Consultant, Strategic Opportunities, Communications, Training and Standards, Farm Radio International)
Another technique to help reduce the intimidation factor, is to very slowly and casually introduce the microphone more from the side, rather than straight toward the guest's face. I have also found a reason (excuse) to need the guest to actually hold the recorder and/or mic, while I fumble for something in my kit bag. That way, they see the gear as just what it is...gear...and it becomes less of an unknown. It also gives them some ownership of the process. (Richard Perry, Media and Communications Officer Coady International Institute)
You need to create a safe place for the subject. It helps to let them know it is just the two of you having a conversation. I always tell them to look at me-nothing else matters. We are just having a conversation and that helps a lot. (Jill Dempsey/Metro Morning/CBC Radio Toronto)
Don't push right up to a person in a confrontational way. Yes, let them hold the device (mic or recorder with built-in mic) before the interview, but do not let them hold the device during the interview because they will forget and move it away from the right distance from their mouth. (Doug Ward, Chair, Farm Radio International)
Invest some time into introducing a potential interviewee to the microphone. Show it to them, show them how you hold it, explain how it works, what it does, why you need to use it (instead of taking notes). Let them hold it. Do a mock interview. Don’t start an interview until the interviewee is comfortable with the process. (Douglas Rushton, veteran print and broadcast journalist)