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questions for radio interviews

A Loyal Reader Asks:

“Is there a book that you would recommend that is loaded with great ‘radio interview questions’? Questions that are out of the box and unexpected, when interviewing artists, for example?”

I don’t know of any such book.

I’d strongly recommend that you ask the questions you’d like to hear answered.

Here’s the test:

If you wouldn’t take $5 out of your own pocket and pay to hear the answer to the question you’re about to ask, why are you asking that question in the first place?

If there were a book like the one you suggest and you were to ask its questions, you wouldn’t be asking questions that are “out of the box.”

You’d simply be asking questions from inside someone else’s box.

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  • Bob Turitz January 25, 2011, 9:48 am

    Bad question, good answer 🙂

  • John Pellegrini January 26, 2011, 6:26 am

    Mostly just ask the artist about their creative process. Who inspires them, where did they get that idea, do they get writer’s block and how do they overcome it? That should get them going. If they don’t want to talk then end the interview. The whole point of an artist interview is for the artist to talk about their work. If they don’t want to talk then they are wasting the audience’s time. Also if you’re promoting the interview a few days in advance, as you should be, then get your listeners to email questions they’d like to have answered.

  • Peter January 26, 2011, 5:06 pm

    To break the ice ask them about their kids , did an interview once with Richie Sambora from Bon Jovi and we talked about the birth of his daughter , he loved it , who doesn’t like talking about being a father or mother for the first time

  • Bob - Toms Lake January 27, 2011, 4:16 pm

    Also, as far as I’m aware, there’s no book filled with dumb questions you can ask Dan.

  • Bern Leckie January 30, 2011, 7:26 am

    I’d like to buck the trend and recommend something. It’s not a grab bag of amazing random questions (that probably won’t make a great interview anyway) but an insight into how some great interviews have gone.

    Australian legend Andrew Denton has a series called “Enough Rope” which has published transcripts and reflections on how the interviews were prepared.

    They are a masterclass in how to get the best from an interviewee, famous or not. About half the guests simply have good stories to tell, which Andrew gives an unexpected platform for. He shows that great interviews come from understanding your guest and anticipating where a conversation could go. There’s a lot to learn from his process, not least the time and other people needed for a great job.

    The brilliant surprise moments come from that hard work, not from a book of easy short cuts, just like so much in radio and life!

  • Ricky T January 30, 2011, 12:25 pm

    Bern, you are not bucking the trend of this thread. Dan’s entire point, as I understand it, is that a book of easy short cuts wouldn’t be helpful.


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