What does it take to get on a big radio show like KCRW’s Good Food in Los Angeles? To find out, I arranged to meet Gillian Ferguson, the executive editor of this award-winning show and its sister show, “Good Food on the Road” at the recent IACP annual conference.
Here are Ferguson’s top five tips on how to get on a radio show:
- Don’t pitch the host, pitch the producer. Or pitch both. Yes, you listen to “Good Food” with Evan Kleiman, and you want her to interview you. But even if she likes your pitch, she must pitch her producer and that’s who you’ll be working with to get your pitch to air.
- Know the outlet you’re pitching. Listen to the show and get a feel for it, because your topic may not be a good fit. Tell the producer why you are the right guest for his or her show in your pitch.
- Keep it short. Producers get hundreds of emails each week, from public relations people, publishers, individuals, and others in the industry. Be concise and direct in three paragraphs or so.
- A referral is even better. Radio show hosts get tips from colleagues who think you might be a good fit. If you have good word-of-mouth, and you know lots of people, someone might mention you.
- Follow up once. Maybe she missed your email or she forgot about it. Don’t be a pest.
Ferguson explained that if the producer is interested, she will call the potential interviewee pre-show to determine if she is a good talker and if listeners will learn something. Her advice is to “just relax and have fun with it. It’s not nuclear policy. You’re there to entertain people.”
If you’d like to be interviewed on the show, pitch Abby Fentress Swanson, supervising producer, at goodfood AT kcrw.org.
You might also like:
- This long-form profile of Evan Kleiman: Welcome to the Golden Age of Food Radio. Read it before pitching the show.
- My interview with Kathy Gunst, an award-winning radio food writer: How Writing for Radio Differs from Print.