Look Smart for Radio! Or is it TV?

As we enter 2022, various aspects of the media continue to morph and evolve, particularly as the pandemic continues. One change that many have missed is that while TV is all about appearances, the joy of radio has always been that you can be dressed in your pyjamas or look like a tramp, and the listener would never know – and be able to concentrate on what you’re actually saying. At least, that used to be the case. But is it true any more? If you go on radio to be interviewed nowadays, you may often find it’s not so different from television. For a time there was a fashion for radio stations to have webcams in the studio so you could see who was coming and going. But these were low-res wide shots and you couldn’t see people’s faces very well. However, stations like LBC and Times Radio now have studios kitted out with high quality television cameras. These are not normally broadcast ‘live’ but the more interesting clips are used to promote the channel via social media, and regularly make their way on to broadcast TV and news bulletins, when a high-profile interviewee says something controversial or interesting. BBC Radio 4’s influential Today programme can also show what’s going on when it wants to – as when presenters Nick Robinson and Martha Kearney had to evacuate the studio during a fire alarm. Studio guests for Ian Dale’s LBC Cross Question panel show should be aware they will always be in vision, as the show is also streamed via YouTube.

This means that anyone invited to do a radio interview via Zoom or Skype needs to be aware that they might be seen as well as heard. Check your background, make sure you are properly lit and smarten up a little. Daily Mail columnist Sarah Vine found this out when appearing on Radio 4’s Woman’s Hour from a chilly living room a couple of weeks ago. Unaware she would be appear publicly, she was seen wrapped up as for the Arctic in a thick coat and scarf. Ms Vine appeared to take it sportingly however, tweeting “If I had known you were going to film me I would have brushed my hair! And worn some make up.”

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