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Sounds Good!
Jon Beaupré is a voice and performance consultant for radio and television performers. Under the name Broadcast Voice, he provides private training and workshops for reporters, anchors, sports and weather casters, and others working in electronic and broadcast media. He teaches in the Broadcast Communications program at California State University at Los Angeles, and conducts workshops and seminars with the Associated Press Radio and Television Association. He has been a fixture on the convention circuit, teaching workshops at a wide range of specialty journalism and broadcast conventions and stations on both coasts of the U.S.

Live vs. Memorex

We're pulling apart the long and complex process of

understanding what makes good interviews and what doesn't.

In past weeks, I have suggested you do diligent homework,

observe all the formalities, set the ground rules, and

really listen to your subject. In this installment, we take

a look at the differences between live and taped interviews.

Ultimately, the only hard and fast rule is that there are no

hard and fast rules. There are some generalities, however,

that are not so much rules as ideas to think about as you

prepare and conduct your interviews.

In live interviews, while they may seem nerve-wracking for

everything that could go wrong, and actually considerably

more free-wheeling than taped interviews that are intended

to be used as part of a larger package. Needless to say,

you can never get your subject to say or use precisely the

words you want them to use (that's the magic chemistry of

interviewing!). However, in your taped interviews, there is

a much stronger sense that you need to cover a specific

topic or address a specific issue, and while you may not be

live on the air, you are rolling tape!

There are many approaches to interviewing; many good

approaches even. My thoughts about live interviews are that

you have a huge job to do simply to reduce the fear, anxiety

and aprehension of your guest, so that they will sound their

best. Because of that, I tend to concentrate more on

personal feelings questions, personal observations and

reflections. In your live segment, you are much freer to

let your questions wander wherever they might lead you.

In your taped interviews, think them out carefully. If

there is no possiblity you will see or hear a certain topic

in your final package, don't ask it, or rather avoid it if

at all possible. For example, if you are profiling a 50

year marriage between Bob and Betty, and you wonder whether

their longevity came from their parents marriages - AND you

do not intend to talk about their parents - don't waste time

exploring that subject. This may not be easy, if you need

some time to warm your subject up to the topic, some of that

'warm-up' time may not end up in your final package, but may

be necessary to get your subject to address the subject of

the story. Unfortunately, there is no substitute for real

life experience; you simply have to conduct enough

interviews to build your own confidence, and be able to get

your subject to their comfort zone as soon as possible.

So, in summary, live interviews have lots more freedom with

regards to where you let the conversation wander, but are

unforgiving if you make a mistake. Taped interviews are

technically easy (you can always edit!), but directing the

conversation to the subject you need your interviewee to

cover may be difficult.

Until next week, breath deeply!