While all interviews should be conversational, the
ad-lib method can carry this to the extreme. The
unprepared atmosphere of the just sit down and start
talking method can cause stuttering, repeated questions
or answers, off-the-subject discussions, long pauses and
security or propriety violations. For these reasons, you
must be focused when you use the ad-lib interview
Areas where the ad-lib method can be used include
occasions of spontaneous news, such as on-the-scene
reports and other live topics of interest.
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Recognize the areas
that comprise the format of an interview.
Now that you know the different types of interviews
and the methods with which to conduct them, we will
examine the standard interview format. Simply stated,
all interviews have the following three parts:
l The opening
l The body
l The closing
The opening clearly identifies you, your subject and
the topic. This allows your audience to know up front
whether the interview has any direct interest to them.
Additionally, the opening can give your location to
establish a local tie-in or explain any background noises.
The body is the interview itself the actual
questions and answers. At this point, the interview takes
shape and becomes a reality.
The closing is an abbreviated form of the opening.
During the closing, you can summarize briefly the
content of the interview and once again identify yourself
and your guest.
The opening and closing may be the most important
parts of the program, since the opening grabs the
audiences attention and the closing provides a
conclusion to the story being told.
After you have determined the focus of the
interview and formulated your questions, you may write
and record the opening and closing before you talk to
your guest (if time permits). If you want ambient
(natural) sounds for the opening and closing of a radio
interview, take your script along and read it at the
interview site. For television, memorize those parts you
will do on camera. Of course, if you need additional
information that you will gather during the interview,
you can record the opening and closing afterward.
Keep in mind that you may deviate from this
interview format. Be creative with visuals or audio and
vary the wording of the opening and closing so your
audience is not barraged with carbon copy interviews.
LIVE AND TAPED INTERVIEWS
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the types of
live and taped radio and television interviews.
Only under the most extraordinary conditions will
you conduct a live television interview; therefore, we
will not cover it in this section. However, when you plan
a radio interview, you should consider whether you want
to present it live or on tape and address the concerns of
taped television interviews. Both the live and taped
interview methods are covered next.
Live interviews, especially opinion interviews, are
difficult to control from both a propriety and sensitivity
aspect. However, there are several ways you can
conduct live interviews on radio. They are as follows:
The studio interview is usually either a personality
or informative interview. Make sure you have enough
microphones in the studio for all interview participants.
Although a common setting for a live radio interview,
the studio interview tends to present a sterile
atmosphere. Additionally, a strange location may
intimidate the guest, preventing him from really