Interview on Radio

Dr. Mrinal Chatterjee Professor Indian Institute of Mass Communication (IIMC) Sanchar Marg, Dhenkanal 759 00 , !rissa mrinaliimc"#ahoo$in % &&&$mrinalchatter'ee$in
What is an interview? (n inter)ie& is a formal*non+formal dialogue, &here the inter)ie&er tries to get some information*comment*reaction from the inter)ie&ee on ,articular su-'ect*s$ Why Interview? .here could -e se)eral reasons for conducting an inter)ie&, such as/  0etting information from a ,erson$ .he inter)ie&er can ,ursue in+ de,th information a-out a ,erson or around a to,ic$  0etting a )ie&,oint or se)eral )ie&,oints$  Presenting a ,ersonalit# to the audience  Satisf#ing curiosit# a-out the li)es of the famous*interesting* in+ ne&s ,erson$ 1istening from the 2horse3s mouth3 it fulfills the curiosit# of the audience$  Inter)ie& accords credi-ilit# to the ,rogramme$ Interview for Radio: is it different? Inter)ie&ing a ,erson for radio is different from inter)ie&ing him*her for ,rint media or e)en )isual media$ 4irst, in case of radio medium, the inter)ie&ee has to speak and s,eak fairl# clearl#$ Second, there cannot -e silence for more than t&o+three seconds$ .here has to -e some sound, coherent and logical$ In an inter)ie& for ,rint media, the inter)ie&ee can take minutes to ans&er$ In )isual media too, e)en on li)e ,rogramme the inter)ie&ee can take some time, -ut there is no such sco,e on radio$ 5ithout an# kind of sound, &hich is coherent to the ,rogramme+ the ,rogramme is dead$ It is the

res,onsi-ilit# of the inter)ie&er to kee, the inter)ie& going, to make the inter)ie&ee kee, talking and talking sense$ .herefore inter)ie&ing for radio is trickier than for ,rint or tele)ision$ Types of Interviews $ Informal, conversational interview/ 6o ,redetermined 7uestions are asked, in order to remain as o,en and ada,ta-le as ,ossi-le to the inter)ie&ee8s nature and ,riorities9 during the inter)ie&, the inter)ie&er :goes &ith the flo&:$ 0ood for entertainment$ ;as# listening$ ;as# to conduct for ,ersons &ith the gift of the gar-$ <$ eneral interview !"ide approach: It is intended to ensure that the same general areas of information are collected from each inter)ie&ee9 this ,ro)ides more focus than the con)ersational a,,roach, -ut still allo&s a degree of freedom and ada,ta-ilit# in getting information from the inter)ie&ee$ =$ #tandardi$ed, open%ended interview % here, the same o,en+ended 7uestions are asked to all inter)ie&ees (an o,en+ended 7uestion is &here res,ondents are free to choose ho& to ans&er the 7uestion, i$e$, the# don8t select :#es: or :no: or ,ro)ide a numeric rating, etc$)9 this a,,roach facilitates faster inter)ie&s that can -e more easil# anal#sed and com,ared$ >$ &ormal interview: ?suall# cele-rities, im,ortant ,ersonalities and dignitaries are inter)ie&ed formall#$ In formal inter)ie& at times 7uestions are sent in ad)ance to the inter)ie&ee to let him*her ,re,are the ans&er$ .he tone of the inter)ie& is se)eral notch formal then con)ersational inter)ie&s$ .hat does not mean there can not -e humour or light hearted moments$ @ut the a,,roach is different$ 5$ Closed, fi'ed%response interview % &here all inter)ie&ees are asked the same 7uestions and asked to choose ans&ers from among

the same set of alternati)es$ .his format is useful for those not ,racticed in inter)ie&ing$ Cond"ctin! an interview: @efore #ou start to design #our inter)ie& 7uestions and ,rocess, clearl# articulate to #ourself &hat need is to -e addressed using the information to -e gathered -# the inter)ie&s$ .his hel,s #ou kee, clear focus on the intent of each 7uestion$ More often than not, the ,ur,ose of the inter)ie& determines its form and format$ More s,ecific are the o-'ecti)es of the inter)ie&, -etter &ill -e the ,re,aration$ (reparation for Interview $ Research. 4ind out as much as #ou ,ossi-l# can a-out #our inter)ie&ee -efore #ou meet him*her9 and*or a-out the issues #ou are going to discuss during the inter)ie&$ Aead ,u-lished re,orts, articles, -ooks$ Search and surf rele)ant &e-sites$ .alk to ,eo,le regarding the ,erson and*or issues$ 0ather information from e)er# ,ossi-le source$ Sometimes this &on3t -e ,ossi-le, -ut recognise that -eing ,re,ared is &hat gi)es #ou the edge and is essential in -usiness and ,olitical inter)ie&s$ <$ &rame )"estionnaire. It is -etter to frame 7uestionnaire as it hel,s #ou to -uild the architecture of the inter)ie&$ It sha,es the flo& of the inter)ie& and hel,s #ou to take control$ Bou ma# not use the eCact &ording of the 7uestion during the inter)ie&, -ut it &ill kee, #ou on track$ Duestions could -e o,en or closed t#,e, for clarification or leading or e)en loaded (considered as mani,ulati)e and not recommended -# 'ournalism schools -ut often used)$ Customise #our 7uestion$ Make #our 7uestions suit #our inter)ie&ee$ ?suall# it should -e in a logical order$ If #our 7uestions ho, a-out in a &eird &a# it confuses the inter)ie&ee$

=$ *'plain the p"rpose of the interview. Discuss &ith the inter)ie&ee a-out the ,ossi-le content and format of the inter)ie&$ >$ *'plain the format of the interview. ;C,lain the t#,e of inter)ie& #ou are conducting and its nature$ If #ou &ant them to ask 7uestions, s,ecif# if the#8re to do so as the# ha)e them or &ait until the end of the inter)ie&$ 5$ +ddress terms of confidentiality. 6ote an# terms of confidentialit#$

E$ Chec, e)"ipments -efore #ou start recording$ !ften &e forget to do the o-)ious$ Types of Topics in -"estions (s a thum- rule, there could -e siC kinds of 7uestions$ !ne can ask 7uestions a-out/ $ .ehavio"rs % a-out &hat a ,erson has done or is doing <$ /pinions0val"es % a-out &hat a ,erson thinks a-out a to,ic*issue*e)ent =$ &eelin!s % note that res,ondents sometimes res,ond &ith :I think $$$: so -e careful to note that #ou8re looking for feelings >$ 1nowled!e % to get facts a-out a to,ic*issue*e)ent 5$ #ensory % a-out &hat ,eo,le ha)e seen, touched, heard, tasted or smelled E$ .ac,!ro"nd0demo!raphics % standard -ackground 7uestions, such as age, education, etc$ 6ote that the a-o)e 7uestions can -e asked in terms of ,ast, ,resent or future$

#e)"ence of -"estions $ et the respondents involved in the interview as soon as possi2le. <$ .efore as,in! a2o"t controversial matters 3s"ch as feelin!s and concl"sions4, first as, a2o"t some facts. 5ith this a,,roach, res,ondents can more easil# engage in the inter)ie& -efore &arming u, to more ,ersonal matters$ =$ Intersperse fact%2ased )"estions thro"!ho"t the interview to a)oid long lists of fact+-ased 7uestions, &hich tends to lea)e res,ondents disengaged$ >$ +s, )"estions a2o"t the present 2efore )"estions a2o"t the past or f"t"re. It8s usuall# easier for them to talk a-out the ,resent and then &ork into the ,ast or future$ 5$ The last )"estions mi!ht 2e to allow respondents to provide any other information they prefer to add. Wordin! of -"estions $ Wordin! sho"ld 2e open%ended. Aes,ondents should -e a-le to choose their o&n terms &hen ans&ering 7uestions$ <$ -"estions sho"ld 2e as ne"tral as possi2le. ()oid &ording that might influence ans&ers, e$g$, e)ocati)e, 'udgmental &ording$ ()oid am-iguit#$ =$ -"estions sho"ld 2e as,ed one at a time. Do not ask se)eral 7uestions at a time like a machine gun firing -ullets$ >$ -"estions sho"ld 2e worded clearly. .his includes kno&ing an# terms ,articular to the ,rogram or the res,ondents8 culture$

5$ .e caref"l as,in! 5why5 )"estions. .his t#,e of 7uestion infers a cause+effect relationshi, that ma# not trul# eCist$ .hese 7uestions ma# also cause res,ondents to feel defensi)e, e$g$, that the# ha)e to 'ustif# their res,onse, &hich ma# inhi-it their res,onses to this and future 7uestions$ Cond"ctin! Interview $ .e a friend. Skilful inter)ie&ers can ask almost an#-od# an#thing and get a reasona-le res,onse$ (,,roach and st#le are &hat counts$ Bou can ask tough or rude 7uestions if #ou ask in the right &a#$ Bou need to -e seen as s#m,athetic and understanding -# the ,erson #ou are talking to$ <$ The th"m2 r"le of !oin! a2o"t an interview is: -egin &ith some o,en ended 7uestions$ .r# to tha& the inter)ie&ee$ Put him at ease$ .hen ask 7uestions focusing on #our o-'ecti)e$ 1et the inter)ie&ee s,eak$ Pro-e, ,rod, em,athise, encourage$ Close the inter)ie& smoothl# and &ith some meaningful dialogue$ =$ +s, one )"estion at a time. 0i)e the inter)ie&ee reasona-le time to res,ond$ If he*she is not res,onding hel, him*her to res,ond$ @ut do not ,ut #our &ords in the inter)ie&ee3s mouth$ >$ +ttempt to remain as ne"tral as possi2le. .hat is, don8t sho& strong emotional reactions to their res,onses$ Sho& enthusiasm in listening to the ans&er$ @ut -e careful not to gi)e a&a# #our emotional reaction$ 5$ *nco"ra!e responses &ith occasional nods of the head, :uh huh:s, etc$ @ut do not o)er do it$ !n radio, it might sound -iFarre$ E$ (rovide transition 2etween major topics, e$g$, :&e8)e -een talking a-out (some to,ic) and no& I8d like to mo)e on to (another to,ic)$:

7$ Watch yo"r pron"nciation$ Gar# #our tone, ,itch$ It is audio+ e7ui)alent of -od# language$ H$ Do not as )"estions to show off$ Aemem-er, inter)ie&ee is the star$ Bou are inter)ie&ing him*her, -ecause #our audience &ant to hear him*her$ 9$ Don6t as, what yo" sho"ld have ,nown from yo"r research. .hat makes #ou look un,re,ared and the inter)ie& uninteresting$ 0$ Don6t as, clich7%ridden )"estion like, 2ho& do #ou feel3 in

certain o-)ious situations$ $ Don8t lose control of the interview. .his can occur &hen

res,ondents stra# to another to,ic, take so long to ans&er a 7uestion that times -egins to run out, or e)en -egin asking 7uestions to the inter)ie&er$ Aemem-er, #ou are conducting the inter)ie&$ It is #our res,onsi-ilit# to make it interesting for the listeners$ +s,in! to"!h )"estions .here are t&o a,,roaches/  If #ou &ant to ask 7uestions that #ou sense #our inter)ie&ee &ill not &ish to ans&er a,,roach gentl# and if #ou meet refusal, anger or aggression, 7uickl# )eer a&a#+ returning to the su-'ect later$  (sk a tough 7uestion near the start of the inter)ie&$ .he inter)ie&ee3s relief at ha)ing sur)i)ed it so 7uickl# ma# ,a# di)idends for the rest of inter)ie&$ *nd note Inter)ie& is an im,ortant element in radio ,rogramme$ It could also -e used as an eCcellent tool for making interesting radio ,rogrammes$ .he trick is to ha)e genuine curiosit# to kno& the su-'ect*,erson*issue and to ha)e the skill to conduct the inter)ie&$ .he skill can -e learnt$ .he difficult ,art is to make #ourself curious$ 4or that #ou ha)e to hold #our ego in check$ .hat is the hardest ,art$