"He's Truth Serum"

Credit: Matt Collins New York Times 

Credit: Matt Collins New York Times 

Conducting a great interview is both art and skill.  We have all watched and listened to countless "color-by-number" interviews that result in perfunctory answers.  “So what’s the book about?”  

A great interview often results in fresh responses, revealing answers and "oh wow" moments.  

Howard Stern had me a few years ago when interviewing Paul McCartney; he asked how The Beatles named a song ”Why Don’t We Do It In The Road.” McCartney laughed and said he had never been asked that question in 50 years and proceeded to tell a wonderful story.  

I refer to Stern often when working with radio and podcast talent. He and his team do homework looking for unique angles. In recent years, the Howard Stern interview has become a signature piece of his Sirius/XM show.  

Comedian Amy Schumer says Stern is “Truth Serum.” "It feels super intimate and protected even though you definitely aren’t.”

David Segal writes in a terrific Sunday New York Times  piece that “Mr. Stern just elicits the most interesting version of his visitors, through curiosity, patience and the benefits of huge and commercial-free blocks of time. The interviews are too long for anyone to fall back on jukebox answers they’ve been playing for years.

Many podcasters use a host/interviewer model. Most interviews are tediously dry. Stern is a primer on great interviewing.  Read, soak it in and learn.  

If you don't subscribe to Sirius/XM, some great interview segments ranging from Steve Martin to Steven Tyler can be found here.  

Steven Goldstein, Amplifi Media

 I will be speaking on the development of effective podcast strategies for broadcasters at the upcoming Morning Show Bootcamp on August 11 in Atlanta. Also, the NAB Radio Show, September 23 in Nashville.