Quick Introduction

Computer Talk Radio has been on-air since January 2008, with all new content each week.  Computer Talk Radio airs on over a dozen stations scattered across the country… commercial, religious, and public radio.  The estimated listener audience is about 420,000, but will vary depending on location within the show. Overall focus is on computers and technology, with three recurring themes of

  • Nerds helping normal people
  • Technology is wonderous, amazing, and is a gift from God
  • Technology is not everything

Guest hints, tips and tricks!

Hello, this is Benjamin Rockwell, and I’d like to thank you in advance for joining me on the radio with Computer Talk Radio. The information below was compiled to assist you in being a remarkable guest on my show. Most important thing to remember, is that while you are joining me to promote your stuff, you must also provide absolutely entertaining content for my radio audience. You’ve likely already made the first step towards joining me on the air. Once on the air, you must be work to be unique, controversial, or fascinating, which keeps people tuned to the radio.

Unique Station Broadcast Concerns

Our stations have distinct concerns, and I will repeat these concerns prior to air. Computer Talk Radio plays on some Christian stations, alongside preachers, so we have to be SQUEAKY CLEAN. We also play on some NPR-type stations, so there are some distinct concerns about non-commercial approaches to interviewing.

Ultra-clean for Christian stations…

  • Forget George Carlin’s 7 words you can’t say…  “Saying OMG”, or other references that take the name of the lord in vain are not acceptable for Christian stations in the Bible Belt.  I actually edit out the words “heck”, “jeez”, and even more, to keep in-line with expectations of the stations.  We can edit the mistakes out, so please, no need to be stuffy, but just be aware!  OK, Christian’s can laugh about it too… For fun, check out the following link!
  • We occasionally venture into topics that are appropriate but adult in nature (with an anti-porn stance).  Please use terms like “inappropriate websites”, instead of “adult websites”, which indicate a position that is more in-line with their programming.
  • Keep it as clean as if you had your Pastor / Priest / Rabbi, your grandmother, and your 7 year old nephew listening.

Non Commercial station requirements…

You cannot mention any of the following items, to protect the station’s non-profit status:

  1. Price (can’t mention price or value of any of products… not even “free”. A parallel term could be “available for everyone”, etc. )
  2. Call To Action (Call now, Go to the website, etc)… and yet, I can ask what the website is (and will!). (alternative options like “Information is posted online at…” “The XYZ Website is located at…”… stick to informative, without the superlatives instructing to go to the download site, even if it’s free)
  3. Comparison (“rated by CNet as…”, “better than XYZ…”, etc…)
  4. Discount (no mention of a discount for any reason).
  5. Endorsement (can’t say who endorses, or “4 out of 5 dentists recommend”, etc.)

Making the pitch

Most guests want to sell something… a product, an idea, a philosophy.  That’s understood.  The NPR rules make for better radio, no matter how you put it.  Seriously, we both have to hold listener attention and not come across as an infomercial.  I’ve worked with many guests to create value-added content driven segments.  We air segments that focus on issues, content, and value to the listeners, rather than sales pitches.  Your interesting content is more likely to drive a customer, than an infomercial.  

I have a particular guest on the show who has bee on a number of times for no better reason than because they understand this concept. They provide CONTENT for the show, and barely mention one link to one of their products, and they mention their company name an average of once per show. I actually mention their company name at least a few more times, making me a salesman.  

Example: If your product is a Volvo… you sell the concept of how cars are becoming more safe. You talk about airbags, seatbelts, collision avoidance systems, FLIR systems, voice activated GPS, and so forth. The punchline doesn’t need to be driven home… a mere mention that you’re representing Volvo tells the listener to check out Volvo… and at the end, I ask you to mention Volvo.com.

This kind of approach is invaluable. If you present a reason for folks to listen to the show regularly, you’ll be back often! So, find a common sense topic that is related to your product, give the information on that topic, and subtly show how your product ties in.

Prepare both of us before your interview…

These things help me to work with you to make the best interview possible…

  1. Prepare a list of interesting facts, and questions that I can ask you. The best interview I had was with a guy who showed up with 3 pages of notes including bulleted points for introduction, as well as questions, factoids, and trivia, that allowed both of us to sound great. He knew the answers to each question, and he sounded at the top of his game. Think of them as “thought starters”, and ways to keep me from surprising you.
  2. Provide a page with specific website addresses, phone numbers, product names, etc, that you’ll be covering. This page is kept on one side of me for instant reference, and reminds me to ask you to mention it! (grin!)
  3. If you have a name that is hard to pronounce, please write it out phonetically, exactly how you would like it pronounced. For instance, Lan Nguyen wrote it like this… “Lawn New Yen”…
  4. Send me a copy, sample, trial version, whatever, of your product, book, whatever, as far in advance as possible. In any given week, I may have anywhere from 2-6 hours to prepare for my show. If I have only 2 hours for everything, and I just got your package a day before broadcast… well, you get the idea. If you need the copy, sample, demo unit, whatever, returned, please provide appropriate materials to return it.
  5. If you have give-aways that I might give to my audience, I will tell you that they appreciate it, and I do too. Units donated specifically as giveaways will receive a little plug.
  6. Grab a listen of my show on-line, and see if you can find something to relate to in the show. I’ll give you some ideas as well, if you ask!


Of course, it helps to know how the show works.

  1. I usually record on Tuesdays or Wednesdays around 6pm to 8pm Central Time.  The show is broadcast each weekend, but I may keep segments on hand for weeks or months, depending on how to fit them in best.  
  2. Your interview will likely be 10 or 8 minutes in length, but occasionally, if we have a major value-added topic, I might put it into two segments.
  3. I strongly prefer Skype these days.  It offers the best of all options right now. 
  4. I suggest that you have a good USB microphone (the built-in mic’s sound horrible), and a set of headphones.  Check out the Yeti microphone from Blue Microphones, if you need something nice!  $100 investment that will make you sound GREAT!  
  5. When we start recording, I’ll intro the show back from break, mention the website or phone number, then introduce you, and launch into the interview.
  6. About a minute before the end of the interview, I will ask you to tell (or perhaps repeat) the key website or book or widget. Think subtle plug… think pillows, not hammers.

During the interview…

These tips are crucial…

  1. Remember the show objective, which is to be entertaining, fascinating, and educational about computers, technology, and related topics.
  2. DO NOT MENTION the time or day of broadcast… While we might be broadcasting on Saturday morning, some stations have different times.
  3. DO NOT MENTION locations, the weather, or any other identifying remark, as our listeners may be in Alaska or New Orleans… Remember the fact that the show is syndicated, streamed, and podcast.
  4. HUMOR – I do have an off-beat and corny sense of humor, and encourage you to have fun…  I’m a nerd, a dad, and so on…  
  5. If you have multiple products, focus on just one… If you’re a good interview, I’ll may have you back later to promote others, as needed, so don’t worry about it.
  6. Don’t over-promote yourself or the product. Almost every resource that I’ve seen about interviews covers this crucial topic. Typical interviewees with my show are brought on as experts, and because the product is interesting… and it should sell itself from there.

After your interview…

Thought you were done??? Nope, there’s more!

  1. Relax, deep breath, it really wasn’t that bad, was it?
  2. Keep in touch with me. I frequently may look to have you return to the show, especially if you have a major enhancement, or a new product to promote.
  3. Check out the audio when it airs…  (link at the top of this page)
  4. If you have a new item to cover, let me know ASAP, and I’ll probably be happy to bring you back. If you have 10 items, it may just take a lot longer to cover them all…
  5. If you know someone else who might be a good fit, let me know, and I’ll be happy to check them out!
  6. We do have advertising spots, and endorsement options as well, so feel free to ask about those!

In closing…

Thank you for taking the time to prepare for the show.

Do you have any questions? Ask me!

The information provided here was either inspired, modified or otherwise sourced from multiple pages including: