Given my former life as a tv producer, I’m often asked “how can I get on tv”?
Or…more specifically…”I’ve got this really popular blog post and I reckon it’d make a great story for Sunrise or Today, can you help me with that?”
Well maybe I can.
Changing channels (from online to on air) can be tricky but it can be done. It’s a bit like wrestling the clicker from your partner; you just need to have a plan, Stan.
To be clear, I’ve worked on lifestyle shows (morning chat shows and light entertainment) so we’re not talking hard-hitting news and current affairs here. With that in mind, I’ve prepared a few bits and bobs you might want to consider before you contact Kochie:
1. What are you on about?
Time for some tough love. Make sure you have a really clear focus for your story. Sit down and jot it down – point by point. Is there stuff you don’t want to talk about? Do you know sufficient information about your area of interest? If you got thrown a curly question, could you answer it?
2. Do you really want to do this?
While some folk feel really comfortable online dating, they might not feel as comfortable mingling in a pub or club. Likewise, you might enjoy crafting your story online but how would you feel on air?
If the show’s live, you might not meet the hosts until minutes before you go to air. If you’re someone who can build rapid rapport, you’ll probably be at ease in this setting. If not, perhaps a pre-recorded spot would be better for you.
Back to the live show scenario…you’ll likely be sitting in hair and make-up for an hour or so, then you’ll be taken to the green room (a holding lounge nearer the studio) where you’ll have a lapel mic attached to your shirt. Once you’re wired for sound, you’ll then go in to the studio and sit under a lighting grid, in front of multiple cameras with a dozen or so crew looking on. Make sure you’re down with that. If not, you might opt to stay online and avoid on air.
3. Watch and learn
It might seem obvious but watch the show you want to appear on. Really watch it. Examine their segments. If they do a lot of stories about breaking news, maybe there’s no room in their rundown for anything else. Do they exclusively interview international celebrities and local politicians? Then you might want to reconsider approaching them about that gardening invention of yours.
On the flip side, maybe you’ve noticed they have a regular guest who covers medical issues for adults but they never talk about infants. If you’re a baby whisperer, you might have just hit the jackpot! Likewise, if you’ve noticed they do a lot of stories about local heroes and you just won an award for community service, then you could be just what they’re looking for.
4. Make like Kenny Rogers
Know when to hold ’em….don’t pick up the phone until you know the show’s recording schedule. The Production Coordinator should be able to fill you in on when’s a good time to call the office. Remember, you won’t get a proper hearing if you call during “show time”. You’ll want to phone the office when the show’s done and dusted and the Segment Producer can really concentrate on what you’re saying.
The Segment Producer compiles story ideas to suggest to the Executive Producer (head honcho). This guy or gal will love you if you make suggestions about possible vision that could accompany your story idea.
If your segment gets the green light, the Segment Producer will be in touch to get loads more info from you. Remember, they have to prepare briefing notes for the hosts, pull together some vision and suggest questions for the interviewer to ask you.
5. Watch the clock
If you’ve landed an appearance, you’ll want to practise. Segments can be snappy – between two to six minutes. Get your partner, mum, neighbour or Aunty Kath to pretend to be the host and ask you a few questions. Watch the clock and you might be surprised how quickly the time goes. Also, rehearse a few key phrases or sentences that you can revert to if you get lost for words.
6. It’s not you, it’s me
Lastly, if your idea doesn’t get picked up, try and keep your chin up. There’s a gazillion behind-the-scenes intricacies that could have resulted in a no go for you and your idea. Maybe they covered that very topic last month, or perhaps a “special” has been in the wings for weeks.
Hang in there, grasshopper. It’s no small feat to get on the small screen and your break could be closer than you think.
Have you ever considered appearing on telly? What story would you share with viewers at home?
Linking up today with With Some Grace for Flog Your Blog Friday.