Lee Habeeb Interview: Part 1

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A few weeks ago I interviewed Lee Habeeb, a friend and business associate who is a “Talk Radio Coach to the Stars.”  Lee currently coaches 7 of the top 10 talk show hosts in America; people like, Michael Medved, Mike Gallagher, Dennis Prager, Hugh Hewitt and Bill Bennett.  He also developed “The Laura Ingraham Show” and was Laura’s Executive Producer for many years.

As Lee is one of the top “go-to” guys for helping national talk show hosts be the best at this medium – who better to give you advice on how to effectively use this medium when appearing as a guest!

I’ve separated the interview into two parts – below is Part 1 and this link will take you to Part 2.

I hope you enjoy the information!

My Interview with Lee Habeeb: Part 1

Marsha Friedman: Lee, why do you think being a guest on talk radio is such a good marketing vehicle for promoting a product, book or service?

Lee Habeeb: There are a few reasons why being a guest on talk radio is superior to every other medium.  First and foremost, when you’re on a talk radio show you’re getting the implicit endorsement of the host.  And what makes talk radio so powerful is the fact that the relationship between the host and the listeners is very intimate.  This differs from TV where pictures and action distract the audience’s attention and the segments are very short.  The speed of television is – four minute segment, commercials, four minute segment, and commercials again.

With talk radio, the hosts are on with the audience three hours a day (every day) and people become addicted.  They listen in their cars and online.  That three-hour session with that host over a long range of time builds a strong bond.

And these bonds are lasting.  This is evident in the career span of the average radio host.  Look at Gordon Liddy, Rush Limbaugh and Michael Savage, they have been doing it for decades and continue to go on and on.  The life of their careers is longer than most television hosts.  Television tends to chew up hosts and spit them out.

And so, the intimacy between the host and listener is powerful.  When you’re a guest, you become the expert the host is endorsing because he’s carving out some of his show time for you.  And I think that is the true power.  It’s the testimonial power and the implicit endorsement that you’re getting from this host.

MF: I couldn’t agree more.  What qualities would you say are the most important for somebody who wants to make the most of their air time when being interviewed as a guest on a talk radio show?

LH: The most important thing to think about is… “Who cares?  Why should I be listening to you?  What are you going to do for me?”  That’s the voice of the audience and they’re brutal.  Just think about when you’re the audience.  If the program doesn’t either pull you in emotionally or provide quality information…you hit that clicker button.  And how many times a day do we hit our clicker buttons while watching TV?  I would say 95% of our choices in television are choices away from certain programs seeking something we like instead.

MF: To reiterate your point, when prepping for the show the question most important to ask yourself is “Who is your audience and why should they care?”

LH: Exactly right.  The most important audience is the host.  If you can engage him, he by proxy is the entire audience.  The only reason most people gather around “The Savage Nation” is because they’re interested in what Michael Savage has to say and what he is interested in.  So by proxy, you don’t have to worry about entertaining Michael’s audience, you simply have to engage and entertain Michael.

The beauty of radio is you’ve got no one to look at, so all you have to do is engage the host.  You’re rarely even in the same room with them.  Moreover, since the host booked you on their show, your message is something they are interested in.  But if the host doesn’t like your interview, you are out the door!

MF: You mean a host will cut the interview short?

LH: Absolutely.  Your job as a guest is to entertain the host, share good insights and provide quality information.  In other words, provide good content for the host…which is what they want more than anything else.  After all, in many cases they could have three hours to fill per day!

MF: You’re really hitting on something which can be an obstacle for talk radio guests to overcome – making the most of their time on air.   The natural inclination for guests is get on the air and start selling.  But the problem is that they end up sounding like an infomercial!

LH: It’s crazy to think “I’ve got to say the name of my book 14 times!”  I’ll never forget, one author we had on Laura Ingraham’s show, who had obviously been coached by a consultant who said, “Name your book 12 times.  When you’re saying a sentence, name your book.”  And so he kept on saying, “Well, in my book “Blah Blah”…in my book, “Blah, Blah.”  Finally, Laura said, “Hey, this interview’s coming to an end right now if you say the title of your book one more time.”  He couldn’t just have a conversation with her and, of course, he only got five minutes and we didn’t book him anymore due to his shameless self-promotion.

The important thing to remember is his time on the air was not his time.  The host has loaned you the airtime, whether you paid for it or not.  As the host, I have given you good grace to invite you into my house.

Ask me about my family before you sell me your book, product or service.  Develop a relationship with me.  If you can do this, I will give you more time, plug your book or product, push you towards success…all without even thinking about it.  Even when you leave the studio, I’m going to say, “Wow, what a great guest.  Don’t forget, you’ve got to go out and buy so-and-so’s book.”

To help this along, be prepared before you are interviewed.  Have your five funny bullet points, a personal story and a flattering story about the host.  The best way to achieve this is to research the host.  Listen to a podcast of a recent show and find out something special that happened and say, “Before we get into the book, I listened last Thursday and that segment you did with so-and-so on sailing, even if you’re not a sailor, you had to love that segment.  Just thank you for doing what you do.”

You’ve got to care.  I think too many people don’t care, and to me pre-show preparation represents caring.

MF: Great point Lee.  It may seem like a lot of research before each show, but the payoff has got to be worth it.

###End of Part 1###

Click here to read Part 2

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