Giving up the Dream of Being a Radio Star

My first radio interview is now history and I have mixed feelings about it. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to tell people about my book and grateful the station chose me. But I’m not sure how it went. I realize that while I love speaking in front of a roomful of people, talking on the radio is a whole different animal. I need the constant feedback you get from a live audience’s body language and facial expressions. Are they laughing at the right times? Does a hush come over the crowd and their eyes begin to glisten at the appropriate moments? Are they yawning or winding up their throwing arms and grabbing for tomatoes?

I’m also thankful that I know better what to expect if I’m fortunate enough to get this opportunity again. The day before the interview, the station called me to confirm my phone number and told me they’d call again 10 minutes before we go on air. The phone didn’t ring until one minute beforehand; I was getting a bit nervous. The talk show host said hello and welcome, and I answered back with an enthusiastic greeting, trying to be larger than life as I’d been instructed. We were chit-chatting about Pennsylvania and North Carolina when suddenly he interrupted me and said hello all over again. I realized that was the moment we went live. I’m talking about my parents’ hometown of Prospect Park, Pennsylvania while he’s introducing me to the listening audience.

My publicist had prepared eight questions and I’d practiced my answers. However, the questions that day were entirely different ones, which is the preogative of the interviewer. That would have been fine except they weren’t always the most pertinent to my book. Really, does it matter whether Yugoslavia split into 5 or 6 countries when that’s only one sentence in We Wait You? I tried to segue to the matter at hand a few times but should have done that more often. Another guest was squeezed in after me so the interview ended earlier than I expected, before I could give the phone number for people to call in to order copies.

I think I will not try to start a new career in radio broadcasting.

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