She has the perfect face for radio…

She has the perfect face for radio

The perfect face for radio…

…as my late mother, who didn’t exactly rate my talents very highly, often used to say.

However my voice on radio isn’t too bad

After having smoked cigarettes for 20 years I only quit when my son, then aged 9, shamed me into it back in 2001 (NB: by the time he was 14 he had taken it up along with all his cool buddies in secondary / high school. He still uses an e-cigarette now, aged 23. Go figure.)

Anyway now, still, my dulcet tones hang down towards the alto or even baritone and to this day I sometimes get called “Mr St Maur” by pea-brained telesales nitwits who haven’t yet figured out that “Suzan” is an exclusively female name, with perhaps the exception of an occasional drag queen. [Read more…]

Not the brightest sparks in the bonfire…

Having recently failed the “Life in the UK Citizenship Test” despite having lived here in Britain for more than 40 years, I couldn’t help feeling comforted by the equally pathetic performances from the archives of British TV and radio quiz programs a few years ago. Enjoy these glorious pearls of wisdom…

Jamie Theakston: Where do you think Cambridge University is?
Contestant: Geography isn’t my strong point.
Jamie Theakston: There’s a clue in the title.
Contestant: Leicester

Stewart White: Who had a worldwide hit with “What A Wonderful World”?
Contestant: I don’t know.
Stewart White: I’ll give you some clues: what do you call the part between your hand and your elbow?
Contestant: Arm
Stewart White: Correct – and if you’re not weak, you’re…?
Contestant: Strong.
Stewart White: Correct – and what was Lord Mountbatten’s first name?
Contestant: Louis
Stewart White: Well, there we are then. So who had a worldwide hit with the song What A Wonderful World?
Contestant: Frank Sinatra?

Alex Trelinski: What is the capital of Italy?
Contestant: France
Trelinski: France is another country. Try again.
Contestant: Oh, um, Benidorm.
Trelinski: Wrong, sorry, let’s try another question. In which country is the Parthenon?
Contestant: Sorry, I don’t know.
Trelinski: Just guess a country then.
Contestant: Paris

Anne Robinson: Oscar Wilde, Adolf Hitler and Jeffrey Archer have all written books about their experiences in what: – Prison, or the Conservative Party?
Contestant: The Conservative Party.

DJ Mark: For 10, what is the nationality of the Pope?
Contestant: I think I know that one. Is it Jewish?

Bamber Gascoyne: What was Gandhi’s first name?
Contestant: Goosey?

GWR FM (Bristol)
Presenter: What happened in Dallas on November 22, 1963 ?
Contestant: I don’t know, I wasn’t watching it then.


Phil: What’s 11 squared?
Contestant: I don’t know.
Phil: I’ll give you a clue. It’s two ones with a two in the middle.
Contestant: Is it five?

Richard: Which American actor was previously married to Nicole Kidman?
Contestant: Forrest Gump.

Richard: On which street did Sherlock Holmes live?
Contestant: Er. .. .
Richard: He makes bread . . .
Contestant: Er . …
Richard: He makes cakes . . .
Contestant: Kipling Street?

Presenter: Which is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world?
Contestant: Barcelona
Presenter: I was really after the name of a country.
Contestant: I’m sorry, I don’t know the names of any countries in Spain.

Question: What is the world’s largest continent?
Contestant: The Pacific.

Presenter: Name a film starring Bob Hoskins that is also the name of a famous painting by Leonardo da Vinci.
Contestant: Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

Steve Le Fevre: What was signed, to bring World War I to an end in 1918?
Contestant: Magna Carta?

James O’Brien: How many kings of England have been called Henry?
Contestant: Er, well, I know there was a Henry the Eighth … ER. ER … Three?

Chris Searle: In which European country is Mount Etna ?
Caller: Japan
Chris Searle: I did say which European country, so in case you didn’t hear that, I can let you try again.
Caller: Er ….. Mexico ?

Paul Wappat: How long did the Six-Day War between Egypt and Israel last?
Contestant (long pause): Fourteen days.

Daryl Denham: In which country would you spend shekels?
Contestant: Holland ?
Daryl Denham: Try the next letter of the alphabet.
Contestant: Iceland ? Ireland ?
Daryl Denham: (helpfully) It’s a bad line. Did you say Israel?
Contestant: No.

Phil Wood: What ‘K’ could be described as the Islamic Bible?
Contestant: Er. … .
Phil Wood: It’s got two syllables . . . Kor . .
Contestant: Blimey?
Phil Wood: Ha ha ha ha, no. The past participle of run . . .
Contestant: (Silence)
Phil Wood: OK, try it another way. Today I run, yesterday I . .
Contestant: Walked?

Melanie Sykes: What is the name given to the condition where the sufferer can fall asleep at any time?
Contestant: Nostalgia.

Wright: Johnny Weissmuller died on this day. Which jungle-swinging character clad only in a loin cloth did he play?
Contestant: Jesus.

Now – get your writing really fired up!

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well
“How To Write About Yourself”…how to make the most of yourself, whatever you need to write
“How To Write Winning Non-fiction”…all you need to know to write a good non-fiction book and get it published

How to come across well in a radio interview

Doing a spot on local or even national radio can terrify the pants off people, but in all honesty it shouldn’t. Radio is lovely; it’s relaxed, low-pressure and very friendly. There’s none of the hustle and bustle of television with its harsh lights and aggressive-looking equipment.

It’s all very low key and informal; one time when I was interviewed about one of my books at a station in south-west England I ended up boiling the kettle and making tea for everyone while I was waiting to go on the show.

So if you get asked to go on a radio show and be interviewed, or participate in a discussion or phone-in about your business or hobby, do it. Not only is it good publicity, but also it’s good fun.

And although strictly speaking there’s no writing involved here for you, it’s a good idea to be aware of the basics and write down key points you want to make, so you can glance down at your notes if you need to.

My first piece of advice is, RELAX.

Forget about the microphones. Forget about the headphones – you don’t have to wear them unless you want to. Just talk to the interviewer as if s/he were a friend you’re having a chat with over a latte.

Look him/her in the eye – these people are trained to encourage interviewees visually with nods and smiles, so it will be easy to connect with him/her. When you do, that will come over in your voice and what you say.

A small technical point…

Try if you can to avoid talking over the presenter/interviewer and anyone else on the show. In normal conversation we often do this, usually just by saying a word or two in agreement (or disagreement) with another person. However on radio more than one voice speaking at a time comes across as very messy and hard to hear. If you’re asked a question, wait until the speaker stops before you say anything, and when you’ve finished end your statement very clearly by shutting up!

Promoting a business – or not?

Another piece of advice is, if you’re being interviewed in connection with anything to do with your business, forget giving them a description of what you DO. What a radio audience (and any prospective clients out there) are interested in … the only thing they’re interested in … is what you could DO FOR THEM.

Let’s say you’re a Virtual Assistant, and you’re given the opportunity to describe your work briefly on the show.

Think what are the main benefits a client gets from using your VA service? When you work for someone, what differences does that make to their lives? More quality time with their kids? More time to concentrate on their own skillset? More time to get out and sell, so increasing profits? Do you free people up so they can do more of what they’re really good at? Do handle the quantity, so they can get going with more quality?

In, say, a 45 second slot, aim for a statement of about 70 words. Don’t try to be slick or overly clever; just be sincere. Write out what you want to say, memorize it, then put the piece of paper away. When you do your interview, remember the gist of that message and say it naturally in your own words.

And above all else, enjoy it!

How to really sparkle when you’re speaking:

“Super Speeches”…how to write and deliver them well

“The English Language Joke book”…hundreds of laughs about this crazy language of ours