Several weeks ago my phone rang and it was a representative of Spotlite Radio. Apparently they had found my website and wanted to interview me about my business on their radio station. It would be for 8 minutes, a producer would call me ahead of time to go over the questions. It sounded like it might be a good experience, and it was free, so I said yes.
I am not good at public speaking, or at articulating on the fly. I was a little bit worried because I knew that my radio spot was likely to be filled with long pauses and too many UMMS. Sure enough, when the time arrived, and the announcer started asking questions,
it. was. horrible.
There were gaping silences, unfocused responses and it was, over all, very very awkward. It was with great relief that I hung up the phone 8 minutes later and decided to drive to the post office to clear my head before getting back to work.
It hadn’t been five minutes when my cell phone rang. It was a “producer” from Spot lite radio, (although there was a quiet hum of other voices talking into phones in the background, similar to those calls we get soliciting donations to support the local police or sherif’s office). I am going to paraphrase what he said to me, after insisting that I pull over to listen to him and take notes.
“Do you have a background in radio? You were fantastic. Usually our speakers have rankings (between 1 and 10), averaging around 3.1, 3.2 – however, your rankings were around 6.7. It was an amazing response from our listeners. People are calling in and asking “Why didn’t we give her more time”. They want to hear more. We have dozens of calls already asking for your contact information. The response has been so great that we want to offer you three 1/2 hour feature slots”… and he lists everything that they do to promote the featured interviews, the great exposure etc.. for only $1,500.
Now, I appreciate more than most people the importance of exposing your business over multiple platforms. I think doing a radio spot, having a YouTube video made of it, getting a press release in major publications is a very good thing, and I might have considered it if he hadn’t been so obviously lying to me. He was so over the top in his praise of the interview that, I knew, had completely bombed, that it made everything he was promising me suspect, and he kept pushing me to agree to a package before I hung up the phone. He had gone down to one half hour slot for $400 when I convinced him that I wasn’t going to decide right that minute, sitting in Reliable Market’s parking lot in my car.
I felt a little bit let down that the whole thing had been a scam. They hadn’t seen me as a leader in my field, being in business doing website design and programming for 17 years. They saw me as a gullible small business owner who may be desperate to do anything to drive more traffic to my website. The next day I went to their website to see if my interview had been posted. I listened to about 2 minutes of the awkward gaps between my responses and the interviewer’s questions, to my stilted and unfocused answers and had to click the pause button. It was truly as bad as I remembered. There was no way that anyone would want to listen to 1/2 hour of that.
The thing is, if someone had called me after the interview and said, “how did you feel about that? It was a little rough around the edges but with coaching, it could be a great tool for promoting your business, here is how..” I might have listened and actually considered it. However, to tell me I was a star performer in order to sell me $1500 worth of advertising when I knew that the interview was a disaster, put the legitimacy of their whole business in question.
The interview was a good experience. The next time I sign up for one, I am going to definitely get the real list of questions before hand and I’m going to practice. I want my answers to be useful information and interesting to listeners, and, if the radio spot costs money, I am going to thoroughly research the station before hand and make sure it is one that people and most especially my clients, are actually listening to.
So, I guess what I want to communicate is that if someone approaches you with a sales pitch riddled with what they think you want to hear instead of the truth, be careful. And if you are in sales and pitching a radio spot to me, don’t lie. I wouldn’t be successful in my business if I wasn’t able to look at my work with constructive criticism in order to improve it, and the same goes for my public speaking.
Link to my interview here: spotlightradio