If you are Canadian and own a radio then you’ve heard the voice of Tarzan Dan. He’s worked at the biggest stations in the country, winning numerous awards including announcer of the year multiple times. Plus, you can mix in six years as the host of the very influential show The Hit List on Ytv. To sum it up, if you have a favorite musician the odds are that they have been interviewed by Tarzan Dan. So we are very pleased to have him join us for an interview about interviews.
How do you prepare for an interview?
Leaving them asking, How?
I actually will go back to what I’ve learned watching Larry King, he said “always find something that will leave them wondering, “how did they know that?” For instance when I interviewed Jennifer Lopez, one of the things with her was that she was a hairdresser. So I actually said, “how did you end up here? you wanted to be a hairdresser.” I asked her how my hair looked that day, did I do a good job? She laughed and put her hand on my head and a photo of the moment ended up on the front page of the National Post. Those are the little things that break down the celebrity wall by connecting with them personally.
Do you script or not script? What’s your advice?
Be prepared, not scripted
I never script an interview. I will spend time writing bullet points or writing down info, but I’ve never scripted. It will all be bullet points so that if, say their mom had a birthday the other day. I may make a note that said “did you get a chance to see your mom for her birthday?” When you ask something like that, there is realism, versus a superficial approach. However, that style is not for everybody. It’s an interview style that I tried to hone and to develop. So don’t be stealing my style, I need my job!
What’s your advice for when you have to ask a difficult question?
If you’re not sure….
Sometimes I think it can be avoided. I try to avoid having to go down that road, I don’t think it’s fair either, just because they’re public figures doesn’t mean that I can ask personal or intimate questions. There is a saying in radio “if you have to question it, don’t do it”. I want them to have a good experience. I want them to want to be interviewed again. I want them to walk away and think “that guy is awesome, I want to talk to him again.”
What do you do when an interview is going badly?
Is the final product worthy of you?
I can count on one hand how many bad interviews I’ve had in my career. Most celebrities are very gracious and surprisingly down to earth. You know the funny thing is, the bigger the celebrity usually the nicer they are. Guys like Brian May from Queen, or John Bon Jovi, both really nice people. But in the end, you have the ability to control what you put out. If it’s not worth it or it’s not worthy of you, why air it?
What’s your advice for a podcaster?
Talk about what you know
Find your niche. If you’re a guy who fixes cars and you want to show people how to do that, then do that. You shouldn’t be like baking bread on the engine ’cause that’s just something completely different. So I think that that’s the thing. You have to find what hits a chord with people. If you are authentic and if you’re lucky, you can find a podcast that fills a void.