One of the most important skills that a sports broadcaster needs to possess is the skill of interviewing. Many times a broadcaster will need to interview coaches and players, both on the air and off. Good interviewing starts with developing rapport with people. It involves spending time with people and learning about them. The types of questions you ask depend on the types of interviewing you will be doing. If you are interviewing a coach or a player as part of the team you are covering, the questioning can be direct yet informal. I ask questions that seek to ascertain what I feel is important to the game I’m covering using this approach, yet I use a friendly conversational style. This helps to build rapport while at the same time uncovering the critical information. I ALWAYS prepare for interviews before hand- I never go into them cold. I will jot down questions on an index card so that I am never at a loss during the interview. Please feel free to listen to my audio clips here on the site to learn more about this approach.
Off the air interviews are important as well. Going down on the field and observing batting practice during baseball games are a great way to obtain those nuggets you can use during a broadcast. Shootarounds in basketball, warm-ups in football, and morning skates in hockey are also glorious ways to informally talk to people to get the knowledge you need.
On the other hand, if you are doing an interview for the purpose of investigational reporting, you will need to abandon the “friendly conversational ” approach. These types of interviews require direct and sometimes pointed questioning. Your mission here is to discover facts. Your purpose here is totally different in the investigational interview. If you were to take the conversational approach here you would not get the information you need because you are not conveying a sense of urgency. You need to know the answer.. you need to uncover the information and facts. Bob Costas and Larry King are two examples of investigative reporters who are very skilled at asking those difficult questions. It is also critical to be an excellent listener in all interview formats, while also being prepared to ask follow up questions to expand on answers.
I use a variety of Zoom voice recorders to accomplish my goals of conducting interviews that deliver pristine audio.
Please visit my Podcasting page to hear examples of the techniques I’ve used in several interviews in the recent past.