Guidance for guests

Programmes

Programmes for CMP come in two formats:

  • broadcasts of lectures (for example, given at conferences)
  • or short interviews with people about their interest/work in the combat motivation/morale. The latter type can include discussions with authors about new books or research they hav conducted.

Interviews for the podcast

  • Episodes based on interviews last around 15 to 25 minutes when broadcast depending on the interview length. These interviews are focused around a dialogue based on a question and answer format. This is not a rigid structure but aims to focus and direct the conversation to make ‘good radio’ and a clear narrative.
  • Interviews will be edited; some hesitations, pauses and interruptions may be removed. The chronology of the interview may be changed and some questions and answers may be omitted because of time pressures.
  • Necessary changes will be made to sound quality as appropriate (such as amplification and truncating silences).
  • Interviews cannot be played to contributors before they are broadcast as this podcast is a voluntary effort and there is no capacity, resources or time to facilitate this process.
  • The podcast  is a voluntary personal effort by unpaid enthusiast and it is not usual practice to pay a fee for guest participation.
  • Any content that is ‘off subject’ or threatens the ‘family rating’ of the programme will be edited out.
  • The views which appear on the podcast are unofficial expressions of opinion; they do not represent the official position of any organisation, government or entity unless explicitly stated.
  • It is not usual practice to re-edit programmes once they are broadcast.
  • It is intended that interviewees on the podcast will be there in a personal capacity and their views do not reflect the official position of any national state agency or private organisation unless specifically stated.

Sound quality is key

Aspodcasting is an auditory medium, sound quality is of utmost importance. Even the best editing cannot fix terrible audio quality, so do what you can to ensure your voice comes through clearly. Below are some suggested tips for guests (apologies if these appear obvious, but all these issues have cropped up in interviews):

  • Skype may be temperamental. If you are being interviewed over Skype, be warned that sometimes Skype connections can be weak, poor and muddled, that can make getting broadcast-quality audio challenging. It may be necessary, in some cases, to re-record questions, establish a new connection or try an interview at an alternative time. However, this is rare!
  • Ensure you have a great phone or internet connection. If you are being interviewed over Skype and have spotty wi-fi, go somewhere else with a rock-solid internet connection.

If you are being interviewed over the phone, use a landline if possible. If you use a cell phone, do so in a place where you know you get full coverage, no background noise and no dropped calls.

  • Do your interview in a small, quiet room and close the door. 
    • Any sound on your end will be picked up by your microphone and recorded. That means barking dogs, construction noise or voices outside your window, your colleagues talking in the next room, kids playing, overhead fans or air conditioning units, phone or email notifications and you fidgeting with stuff while you are being interviewed are all recorded and crowd out your voice. Put a sign on your closed door telling people not to knock or open it.
    • Small rooms are better because large rooms, empty rooms, hallways, and tall ceilings cause echo. If you can find a carpeted room or a room with lots of blankets or furniture, even better. Close external windows and doors to minimize noises from outside. Ask anyone in the house to be quiet whilst you’re being interviewed. Close the curtains/drapes in your room as this helps to reduce echoes.
    • Public areas like coffee shops or parks are horrible for interviews, even if you’re using headphones: every single sound will be picked up and will render your interview next to useless.
  • Turn off all notifications during your interview: on your phone, tablet, email platform, computer, alarm clock, microwave, etc. If you prefer to turn your phone on vibrate instead of turning it off entirely, bury it under a blanket in the next room because the vibration sound will be picked up by the microphone.
  • Wear headphones (borrow a pair if you don’t have one). Again, this is about limiting the sounds the recording picks up and not wearing headphones will cause your interviewer’s voice to echo back through your speakers when recorded.
  • If you have one, use a microphone. This can be as simple as the built-in mic in your headphones. No need to go out and buy anything special for an interview, but if you have a mic, use it.
  • If you can’t find a quiet place, you should reschedule the interview for a time when you can. If you have an unexpected noisy interruption like a dog that starts barking or a partner who comes home and starts making noise, ask your podcast host if they would prefer to do that part of the interview over, or reschedule the interview if the unexpected noise isn’t going away anytime soon (e.g. traffic noise).
  • Microphone etiquette. Speak close to your microphone (12cm/5inches). Try to maintain a consistent distance from your microphone. Don’t touch your microphone during the interview.
  • Speak naturally. The podcast format lends itself to the conversation. So speak how you normally speak. If you are naturally humorous and often crack jokes, don’t be afraid to show some humour (it’s a good idea to keep the jokes clean though!), but don’t force it if that’s not your usual thing.
  • If you are using a computer, use headphones (e.g. your MP3 player’s ear-buds). Don’t use your computer’s speakers so its microphone doesn’t pick up an echo of the interviewer’s voice.
  • Keep the language clean! CMP is a family show and we don’t want to lose our clean ratings on iTunes or Acast.
  • Where possible use anecdotes and examples to illustrate your points. People love stories and the more that you can tell to illustrate your wider points the better.
  • Avoid jargon and complex technical issues. The audience is non-technical people with interest in motivation/morale and may not have the depth of knowledge of academics.
  • Squeaky chairs. If your chair is made of leather or creaks when you move, this can unconsciously be recorded during the interview. Please try and find another (silent) chair.
  • To script or not? Previous experience has shown that some guests like to script their answers to questions and read this text out on the podcast. This can make the answers appear very stilted and dead and can deaden the sponentiety and ‘vibe’ of the podcast. Whether guests choose to take this approach is up to them but it is advised they try and answer questions without a script.
  •  Answer the questions! It may seem obvious, but the format of the show depends on guests sticking to the question and answer format for the show. If people deviate from this format (e.g. don’t answer the questions) then any material recorded would not be usable in the broadcast! This has happened on a few occasions. Please speak to the host if you want to change/add questions before the interview.
  • Drinking/eating during the interview. Both activities are frequently picked up in recordings and can sound rather odd. If you need to drink, please stop the interview and this interruption will be edited out later.