A few people have asked me recently if there is anyone whom I attempt to emulate in my own interviewing style. As you can imagine, I am a voracious consumer of radio/podcast interview programming, and regularly listen to a variety of interviewers and interview styles. I always learn from close listening and attempt to absorb the best of the styles of interviewers whose questioning, rapport and demeanor best match with my style and conception of educational and entertaining programming.
Of course, this is a highly idiosyncratic analysis and subject to no “right” answers. Nonetheless, while there are several interviewers/journalists whom I admire. If I had to choose, let’s say, three:
(a) Neal Conan of National Public Radio’s (NPR) Talk of the Nation. Conan’s close but friendly questioning, ample knowledge and ability to get the best out of his guests is remarkable.
(b) Terry Gross of NPR’s Fresh Air. Gross has an amazing ability to delve into the mind and motivations of her guests, and deftly moves between topics with an engrossing demeanor.
(c) Dick Gordon of American Public Media’s The Story. I don’t think there is anyone better in doing exactly what the title of Gordon’s show suggests — getting the complete story out of the guest.
There are definitely others that could be added to the list, but as I prepare for and conduct interviews, these are the main people whom I most attempt to emulate. I’d be curious to get feedback regarding other radio/podcast interviewers about whom I should be aware and/or that you think I should consider as teachers. Thanks for asking!