The Fortune Cookie Chronicles

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    WAMU: Kojo Nnamdi Show, and musings on radio interviews

    By Jennifer 8. Lee | June 17, 2008

    I finally got my chance to appear on the Kojo Nnamdi show on WAMU in Washington, which means that except for Chicago, I’ve been on all the major NPR markets: New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Seattle, Boston, Washington, Philadelphia (WHYY’s building is soooo nice) + assorted markets in New Hampshire, Colorado.

    I have to say that these were one of the best prepared set of questions I have ever encountered (that and my All Things Considered, where the host actually read the book). And by now I have dealt with many many radio interviews (probably 40?), so I’ve come to understand what makes for a good host..

    A good radio interviewer cues you up with a smart question, so you know where they are going, but they also seem informed. A bad interviewer is one who steals your punchline.

    Bad: “So I hear fortune cookies are Japanese.” (You have no traction to work off of)

    Good: “I understand that your research about fortune cookies led you to some interesting discoveries about war time politics.”

    The credit often goes to the producer, who reads the book and puts together all the qusetions.

    Also amazing, as I walked out the door, they handed me a CD with the interview on it.

    Topics: Appearances, Audio, Book Musings, Media & Interviews | No Comments »

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