Module 4: Transformative Potential of Community Radio
  Session 3: Radio Interview Techniques (Enhancing Media Skills)

Duration: six hours

       Interviews are a way to share knowledge, wisdom and experience of community members and resource persons with the audience. An interview aims at getting from the interviewee, in their own words, facts, opinions or reasons on a particular subject so listeners can form their own opinion. At the end of the six hour
session the participants should have:

  • Basic knowledge, skills and tools to do effective interviews capturing the untold stories of women and getting information and opinion from their interviewees and be able to:
  • Identified problems encountered in doing the interview and be able to come up with appropriate solutions
  • Derive tips on improving interviews


Room for 25 persons, LCD, sound system to play interview examples. For File Interviews: 4 recorders with microphones and earphones. For Editing: 4 Computers for sound editing, USB Flash Drive.


  • Record/select different good and bad examples from local radio interviews.
  • Set appointments with resource persons for field interviews
  • Collect basic information on the topics of the field interviews, such as primers, articles etc.
  • In case there are not external resource persons available you can select interviewees from among the participants and trainers.

Session Topics:

  • Different Types of Interviews
  • Different Locations
  • Different Types of Interviewees
  • Preparing the Interview
  • The Interview Proper
  • Identify Areas for Improvement

Session Plan:

Topic / Activity Duration Teaching Aids/Material
Activity 1: Interview Simulation 1 hour (5) Sample Interview Situations
Topic 1: Radio Interview Techniques (Lecture-Demonstration) 1 hour Slides Presentation (ppt file), interview samples, sound system, Microphone, Text for trainer (doc file)
Activity 2: Practical Field Interviews Editing and Critiquing 3 hours Recorders, Microphones, Earphones, Computers for Editing

Activity 1: Interview Simulation

    The Interview simulation is an exercise for the participants in doing interviews under difficult circumstances. This is a way to identify possible problems in doing radio interview and discuss possible approaches. It helps prepare them for future interviews. Participants are expected to have a hard time getting the information they need from the interviewees. The exercise can be a lot of fun.

    Select three talents from among the participants or co-trainers to simulate the interviewees described below. Explain them their roles without letting the other participants know it. They have to act their roles very well to make the simulation look like real. You can add other difficult characters from your interview experience. Instructions to the activity are as follows:

  • Divide the plenary into three groups
  • Distribute the sample interview cases, (see below) with the three groups. Use your creativity to give an interview topic that has relevance with the theme of the workshop of is of actuality.
  • Sample cases:
    • An authoritarian person (police, military) who tries to get control over the interview by always asking back. (E.g. who are you, from what radio station? Where do you have your information from? Why do you want to know this? What is your relation to the victim etc.)
    • A very shy person (refugee, farmer, poor women, children) who only gives very short insufficient answers. (Yes/no to every closed question, don't know to either or questions. One sentences or one word only for open questions etc.)
    • A talkative person (politician, business person) who is trying to avoid the topic and is always taking about something else. (E.g. asked about the demolition of an urban poor community she/he always starts talking about traffic enforcement or the airport that will be opened soon etc.)
  • The groups are given ten minutes to prepare for the five-minute simulation interview, group members who will define who will do the interview (not more than two). The others are observers.
  • Do the simulation the plenary by improvising an office of the police chief or the house of the women farmer with a microphone and a recorder.
  • After 5 min stop the interview
  • After each simulation the plenary will discuss what was difficult and how it could be improved.
  • Guide Questions for the Processing:
    • What facilitated the interview process?
    • What were the difficulties encountered in the interview?
    • What steps could have been done to put the interview on track?
    • If you were to do the interview over again what would you do differently?
    • Identify the activities involved in the pre, during and post interview (responses may also be clustered this way)

Topic 1: Radio Interview Techniques (Lecture Discussion)

    Illustrate what you are presenting with the help of the slides presentation and the trainer's text with listening examples that you collected. In case you are short of time you can use the short version of the slides presentation.

Link: Slides presentation (ppt file)

Link: Presentation Trainer's text (doc file)

Link: Slides presentation (short version) (ppt file)


    Radio interviews are a way of sharing expert opinion, and first hand information to the listeners. The interviewer acting as an instrument to the listeners, has to have the skill to draw the information needed from the most difficult interviewees, remain tactful at the most sensitive interviews and package it as a learning experience for the listeners. One of the greatest assets of the interviewer is the ability to listen. The better she/he is prepared the easier it is go immediately follow any line of questioning. Never leave the audience feeling there were questions left unasked.

Activity 2: Practical Field Interviews Editing and Critiquing

    The field interviews are part of the hands on exercises. Interviewees have been pre-identified as experts and/or working on a related project that is of relevance to the theme of the training.

  • Preparatory Activities – 1hour
  • Actual Interview – 1 hour (depending where the interview takes place)
  • Editing – 1 hour (this can be left out and you listen to the unedited interviews)
  • Identifying Areas for Improvement 1 hour

    Groups of participants are assigned to the different interviewees. They may be grouped according to their interest in the topic. As soon as the participants decide on the interviewee, they are given time to prepare for a 10 minute interview. Preparatory activities can be made more or less in an hour.

    The interviews can be conducted on the training site, or in the places of the interviewees, depending on the availability and convenience of the interviewee. Given the limited time to do the interview exercise the organizing or training team can provide short written materials on the topic or the organizations that interviewees belong, to help the groups in preparing for the interview.

    Since the field interviews come after the session on Sound Editing with Audacity, the participants can also do hands on editing on their recorded interviews.

    If Sound Editing is not part of your training you might proceed straight to listening to the interviews in the plenary, and discussing possible areas for improvements.

    Identifying Areas for Improvement

  • Guide Questions:
    • What was the main message shared in the interview?
    • Were the questions clear and straight to the point?
    • What principles of EPJ were applied in doing the interview?
    • Was there any point when you lost interest in what the interviewee was saying? When and why?
    • What were the difficulties encountered? What helped facilitate the interview process?
    • How was the technical quality of the recording?
    • How can the interview be further improved?

Synthesis Point:

    The radio interviews are a product of both applying the framework of engendered peace journalism by way of highlighting women’s participation in peace building and the effective use of interview techniques, recording and editing equipment to ensure the interview is of high quality. The combination of these skills together enhances or highlights the message we want to share.

Hand outs: Link: Summary of presentation with check-list (doc file)

Evaluation: Link: Form to evaluate the interviews (doc file)

Additional Resources:

Link: The Radio Interview – Tips and Advices on how to do Effective Radio Interviews (doc file)
By Bianca Miglioretto, Isis-International Manila, August 2006


Interview Tips from NYT Learning network
Tips and information on interviews from Campus Web lines,
Web Learning Network website.

IJNet Interviewing
Tip sheets on interview techniques and strategies,

Poynter Institute Articles on Interviewing
The art of the interview, based on a presentation by Neal Conan

Guidelines for Interviewing Confidential Sources: Who, When, and Why?
By Al Tompkins


Dreifus, Claudia. 1999. Interview. New York, 279 pages
Seven Stories Press, Textbook Division, 140 Watts Street, New York, NY 10013,
fax +1 212-226-1411,,
ISBN-10: 1888363428, ISBN-13: 978-1888363425

Hekkanen, Ernest. 2001. The Radio Interview. Vancouver, 52 pages
New Orphic Publishers, 706 Mill Street, Nelson, B.C., V1L 4S5 Canada,
tel +1 250 354 0494 , fax +1 250 352 0743,
ISBN-10: 0968731740, ISBN-13: 978- 0968731741

Kalish, Karen. 1997. I'll see you on the radio: How to prepare for and give radio interviews, St. Louis, 24 pages:
Kalish Communications.CONTAC, DC tel 202-332-3232, tel +1 314-727-2727, fax 1 314-727-1122,
e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.,
ISBN-10: 1886152454, ISBN-13: 978- 1886152458

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