Getting a client onto The BBC’s Today Programme, the UK’s most influential current affairs programme, is a goal that most PRs dream about.
Recently Gorkhana shared some really useful insight from The Today programme’s business presenter Dominic O’Connell and business editor Simon Hamer into the kind news that gets covered and how guests can ensure interviews go swimmingly. The pair were speaking at a recent Gorkhana media briefing in London.
We love their useful nuggets and we’ll certainty be using them.
The Today Programme needs guests
The Today Programme needs a constant supply of guests because, Hamer said: “radio is a conversation”. Of course this provides PRs with opportunity, but the programme has some key criteria that need to be met. O’Connell wants to speak with CEOs of major companies. He cited Sir Martin Sorrell as an example of a CEO who makes a great guest, since he understands the value of the programme and its audience and is, therefore, accessible.
Business news has grown in importance
The Today Programme introduced its first business editor in 2000 but business and economic news is getting more and more important.
Over-preparation does not make for a good interview
O’Connell said: “The radio is amazingly good at communicating bulls**t.” With the aid of some audio examples from the programme this year, he advised interviewees to stay away from overly-prepared content, such as press releases, or a list of key messages, and said the best guests let their personality come across. O’Connell also advised that CEOs know relevant facts and numbers before coming on air and that they provide direct answers to the questions asked.
Tone is key
When asked what type of content they look for, the Today Programme’s business team is reluctant to rule anything out. O’Connell said: “To me everything is interesting.” Hamer added: “There is no magic formula about what’s going to work. The key is tone.” In relation to guests, O’Connell agreed: “I like people who are interesting and tell their story well.”