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Apr 30, 2004

How to Get Interviewed on Entrepreneur 's Radio Show

SUMMARY: Every month millions of small businesspeople listen to Entrepreneur's radio show. We interviewed the produced to learn how you or your CEO can be a featured guest star. She says she's looking for 12 "good people per week" so there are definitely opportunities.
Marika Szoke
Executive Producer
Entrepreneur Radio/wsRadio
858-623-0199, ext. 104

-> Reach

The five Entrepreneur radio shows on the wsRadio network attract 150,000 of the network's one million monthly listeners.

Because archives are parked on as well as, total exposures is close to 3 million.

-> Szoke's background

Szoke produces and books all five of the Entrepreneur radio shows.

Her college major, Szoke says, was psychology, "but if I was to give myself an all encompassing title, it would be entrepreneur," she says.

Szoke and her husband own wsRadio. "My husband asked me to come help with this company two years ago, for thirty days. I'm still here, because it's still fun," she says.

Szoke enjoys taking a story that somebody has pitched her and spinning it to fit within the framework of the show.

-> Current editorial coverage

The Entrepreneur Radio shows mirror the content of the Entrepreneur Web site and magazine. "We want to keep a consistent message," Szoke says, but the interviews are "a little more personal, a little more in-depth."

All showcase the entrepreneurial spirit, generally highlighting a CEO. "It's nice and sexy to hear all the success stories," she says, but simple success stories aren't always what they're looking for. The best shows are when CEOs are willing to share their mistakes.

It's interesting, she adds, that the more successful the guest, the more they're willing to do that.

The shows include:

1. The Sales and Marketing Show
Szoke is looking for guests who can provide "down-and-dirty tips."

2. Entrepreneur Magazine Radio Show
Willing to include stories the magazine would never cover. For example, they recently did a series of kids who were "fired" from The Apprentice. "We brought them to the table for their sales and marketing, and didn't really talk about The Apprentice."

3. E-Biz Show
Covers the Internet from the basics to the latest innovations, from experts and authors.

4. Home Biz Show
Starting and running a home-based business.

5. Making Money on eBay
How listeners can create a full-time business or augment sales for their existing enterprise on eBay.

Szoke is also currently in production for a show about franchising. "We can track topics, and the most popular topic is the one segment every week on franchising," she says.

-> Best way to pitch Szoke

Email a short message to Because she gets 400-500 emails a day, catch her eye by referring to the show you're pitching in the subject line.

Example: "Entrepreneur Radio Show interview," or "Entrepreneur guest opportunity."

Szoke finds it fascinating that some PR people think they're a burden to the people they're pitching. "I have to place 12 good people a week, and it becomes a little bit daunting," she says. "I love it when PR people do their homework and kick me over people that are really a good fit."

A terrific way to build a relationship is to help out when she's in a bind. Recently, Szoke responded to a PR pitch, asking if the client would be available that very morning to do a show. When the client wasn't available, the PR contact went out and found another client who fit the bill and who was able to do the show that day.

"If you have come through for me in an SOS, you are a friend for life," she says. "In a pinch, I know who to call."

-> What she looks for in a story pitch

Not too much information, Szoke says. The pitch itself should be just enough that she can see whether the guest is a good match for the show, and whether it's a credible person. "We're pretty easy," she says.

Three things she's also looking for:

1. Collateral material
A bio, information on books or articles they've written, and eight or 10 questions the host might ask.

2. Specific topic in a catchy headline
"We archive by topic headlines," Szoke says. "It's how people search through our whole library."

A good example of a headline topic for The Sales and Marketing Show, Szoke says, might be: When a Good Sale Goes Bad -- Tips to Save a Sale.

3. Someone who likes to talk
"PR people automatically assume that if someone can write they can speak," she says. If you think someone can't handle a phone interview, don't pitch them.

Two things she's *not* looking for:

1. The "woo-woo" factor
"It's an interesting thing I've noticed," she says. "There's a lot of spirituality that people want to bring into the business. That doesn't work for us. The woo-woo factor doesn't belong in our shows."

2. Fluff
Don't try to fill out the pitch with anything extraneous. Keep it simple and short.

-> Pet peeves

Szoke doesn't particularly like PR people who, "when I kindly say [the pitch] is not going to work, they kick back. I have one publicist in Canada who said, 'What do you mean that's not going to work?'"

Take no for an answer, she suggests.

Another pet peeve is when she responds to your pitch and never hears back from you. "I got a blanket pitch for somebody out of the blue about six months ago and I responded -- nothing," she says. "And I called -- nothing. So if you're going to send out to a whole bunch of people, make sure you're going to have time to answer phone calls."

-> How to sound good on the air

Don't be nervous: the shows' hosts are highly professional and know how to manipulate the conversation so that it highlights the guest.

If you've written a book, get it to the host in a timely manner, and (unlike most radio hosts we've spoken with) they will read it and be familiar with your work.

Finally, remember they want to hear mistakes. Szoke mentions Bob Parsons of GoDaddy Software. "He's really successful now but the business had been failing," she explains. "He said something like, 'I strapped myself to the helm of the ship, and if it was going to go down, I was going to go down with it.'"

Listeners love that kind of thing, Szoke says.
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