If you want to tout yourself and your book on radio or television, you will need to do your homework. There are literally thousands of opportunities out there, but you need to find them. The first step is a Google search. Check out various web sites to determine which radio and television shows might accept your genre of writing and/or be interested in discussing your topic of interest. You will find a searchable directory of on-line radio stations at: http://www.radio-locator.com. A searchable directory for television shows can be found at: http://www.TV.com. For both TV and radio, go to: http://www.TVRadioworld.com. A list of regular U.S. radio stations can be found at: http://www.gebbieinc.com. Of course, it is vital that you know your audience. In my own case, I chose all those stations that presented shows on the paranormal. There are other options as well, such as hiring someone like Mr. Pitch to get you those sought after interviews, subscribing to such on-line publications as Bill Stoller’s Publicity Insider, which gives you access to contact information for the top shows. Mr. Stoller gives subscribers some terrific information on radio and television contacts. However, it will cost you $97 per year for his wealth of information.
You might also consider purchasing the Harrison’s Guide, which has details about more than 5,000 radio and television stations. There are also sites like Appear on Top TV Shows that charge between $300 and $400. The cheapest option is to go to your local library to check out such books as Bacon’s Media Directory, Literary Marketplace and the Oxbridge Periodical Directory.
Dealing with live media is much different than print. Often they look for that truly sensational headline, as they receive so many requests for interviews. Since that is the case, feel free to jazz up your news release for them. Aside from your bio, you should also attach a sample of your work – perhaps a pertinent paragraph or chapter, as well as any endorsements or reviews you might have that will pique their interest. If you are accepted for an interview, they will request that you send along a bio as well as questions that you think their audience might like to have answered. Some request up to a dozen questions so make sure you have a list ready. Once you have acquired a few interviews, make sure you list the shows you have already been on at your web site with links to their archives if possible.
Preparing for a radio interview is vitally important – not how you look of course, because you can do this in your pajamas! But you must know your subject inside and out. You want to come off as professional, so you don’t want any of those painful airtime pauses. Print out the questions and your answers before the show and have them in front of you. You might also want to print out excerpts from your book that you think might be of interest to the listening audience. Some shows also have call-in lines for people to talk to you or ask questions. Be prepared for this, again, by knowing your subject.
Television is a different medium altogether. Make sure that you arrive well ahead of the appointed show time, as you will be taken into make-up and perhaps, wardrobe as well. Don’t bother with makeup, as they’ll just redo it. Don’t use hairspray, because they’ll likely redo that as well. Your best bet is to dress clean and conservative. Anything too provocative will take away from your overall professional appearance.
You really need to have a firm knowledge of your subject matter for television, as you won’t have any notes in front of you to follow. In some cases, you might also not know the questions you will be asked. For shows like Oprah, if you should get so lucky, you will know the questions beforehand, so this will help you.