Mary Wilson & Marianne Richardson @Women on Air

The road to hell is paved with good intentions they say! If that’s the case my path is going to be well filled!

Anyways, to the topic at hand. I was delighted to get along to the Women on Air event that took place in early March. Mary Wilson, of Drivetime fame and Marianne Richardson, renowned producer shared with us a fascinating behind the scenes look at how a radio show like Drivetime is put together. It wouldn’t be fair to share their trade secrets here, nor could I ever emulate what can only be described as their ‘mind twin’ dynamic. What I will share though is some of the tips they handed out to us aspiring female contributors in the audience and finish with a nice positive conclusion.

Tips for getting on and being good at contributing to radio shows: 

  • Contact the series producer with a simple, straightforward email with an introduction and your take on the topic. Always include your contact details and be radio ready – ie if they reply immediately you’ll be ready to go.
  • Follow up with a phone call and again its important to be radio ready.
  • Be ready to say yes but don’t be coaxed into something you’re not an expert on.
  • Try and do the interview in studio and get to the studio with plenty of time to spare.
  • If you bring notes, keep it to one page.
  • You will be scared. That’s ok.
  • Don’t apologise for interruptions, just go for it!
  • Get into it straight away, don’t waste your time thanking the show for having you. You can do that afterwards.
  • Warm up your voice and beware of rising voice syndrome.
  • Don’t drink coffee/tea/milk or eat chocolate beforehand.
  • Listen to the question and answer it. Don’t waffle.
  • Get yourself a broadcasting buddy who will give you honest feedback. No one is born a radio star – you have to practice and improve.
  • Listen back and critique yourself.
  • Be yourself.
  • Improve your message and keep it fresh by taking a different angle.
  • Finally beware of the red light – don’t say anything in a radio station that you wouldn’t be happy for the world to hear!


So there you go feministas, some hot tips from our lovely colleagues at Women on Air. For anyone interested in getting their topic covered in the media/becoming a media spokesperson we would highly recommend joining the Women on Air group. They are a fantastic bunch who organise top notch events and you get to network with very influential people. At this event alone, I managed to swap details with a producer from Newstalk and the following week I was on Drivetime with Mary Wilson – no coincidence there! #

So right now, go find Women on Air on Facebook & on Twitter:


Finally, what I found most encouraging about the event was not the wonderful encouragement and advice from Mary & Marianne (although that was great) but the huge level of interest, expertise and talent in the packed room. The Q&A session afterwards left me in no doubt of the calibre of women out there who want to get on air to have their voice heard in the public discourse. It promises to be a good day for media and Irish society when they do.

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