Here’s an interesting little media training factoid – Stanley Baldwin, the first prime minister to do a radio broadcast, had his wife sit opposite him when he spoke. Why? Because he wanted to remind himself that he was speaking to her and not addressing the nation in a speech.

Baldwin was a wily and successful politician – and he was certainly shrewd enough to understand that when using this new fangled radio device, he was, in effect, speaking to one person. It’s a point that I always make in my media training courses during the radio session.

“Where are you when you listen to the radio?” I usually ask. My other question is, “What are you doing?” Many people are alone when they are listening to the radio, driving in the car or perhaps getting ready in the morning. So the point is that if you want to do a good radio interview, remember that in effect you are speaking to one person. They don’t want you to shout at them or hector them, they simply want you to chat to them in a relaxed, friendly way.

However, as I say, they’re also doing something else. The days when Baldwin addressed listeners who were gathered around the radio in rapt attention are long gone. So this means that you have to fight to make your audience listen. To do a good radio interview you have to sound lively and interesting. You have to dive straight in with some interesting thoughts and a punchy phrase or else you’ve lost your audience. You have to use natural, chatty language. And, of course, you only have two or three minutes in which to do this.

“Be lively and lovely,” is what I suggest to participants on my media training courses when it comes to doing radio interviews. Baldwin might not be familiar with the phrase but he certainly understood the sentiment.