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Interviewing Skills

I have been doing the occasional band interview for various rock magazines since 1997. Some interviews are very easy, usually when the musician is bright, has an active thought and creative life. Some interviews are painful, usually when the non-creative, drugged out member of the band is pawned off on the press. And a few are just plain dull.
In an effort to have more easy, sparkling interviews and sharpen my own skills in interviewing even the most dull or recalcitrant person, I like to listen to the interviewing skills of radio hosts. How do they ask the questions? What questions do they ask to illicit a good response? How do they control a babbler? How do they get a civilized answer out of an asshole?
After actively listening for sometime now, I have decided that Fresh Air’s Terry Gross, Talk of the City’s Kitty Felde, and NPR’s Tavis Smiley are my favorite interviewers. All three have great skill and dexerity in their craft and are a pure pleasure to listen to.

One Response to “Interviewing Skills”

  1. Meg

    Terry Gross is the best. I’ve been listening to Fresh Air for about 10 years, and she’s just plain unflappable. Did you hear that interview she did with the guy from KISS?
    He was SUCH a turd, bragging about conquesting thousands of women, and pulling all this male chauvinist propaganda on her. It’s the only time I’ve ever heard her crack, even if it was ever-so-slightly. Does anyone remember, didn’t she prematurely end the interview??
    But it’s such an anomaly that they always run that show during pledge drives, and promote it like: Listen to Terry Gross’s hardest interview ever! She barely cracks under this load of crock! Check it out!!!!!!! (and give us money!!!!!!!!)