The Fastest Four Minutes of Your Life: Tips for Broadcast Appearances / by Mackenzie Maloney

So you’re gonna be on the big screen! Securing that first broadcast appearance is always exciting, but it’s easy to get overwhelmed as you get closer to the big day. Whether you have a professional PR agency, are working with a freelancer or secured the segment yourself, it’s important to take time to prepare for the unexpected. If you go in feeling confident and ready for anything, you have a much better chance of succeeding than Mr. Wacky.

Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick catches up with Rich Friedrich, Executive Chef of P.J. Whelihan’s to discuss the best tailgate food found at P.J. Whelihan’s

Fox 29’s Mike Jerrick catches up with Rich Friedrich, Executive Chef of P.J. Whelihan’s to discuss the best tailgate food found at P.J. Whelihan’s

Below are a few basic tips.

Before You Arrive

Make sure you know if the segment is in-studio or outside. Location may determine your entire approach, formal vs fun and casual. Either way, dress appropriately to make sure your attire is true to your brand. Stay away from checks or busy patterns, which show up oddly on camera. Brewers and Chefs may opt for logoed apparel while restaurateurs or real estate developers choose a business casual look instead.

Find out who will be interviewing you and do a little research. PR firms typically provide background on recent segments as well as competitors that were featured but doing your own digging may provide an opportunity to discover a common interest or point of conversation to create an easy on-air rapport. Figure out if you have any shared contacts on social media. 


Know Why You Are There

Understand the goal of the segment. Are you promoting a new product, opening a new restaurant, is this a trend piece or national holiday (real or made up food day)?  Are you there not only as a representative of your company but the industry as a whole? If so, you may need to update yourself on critical issues such as tax credits or upcoming legislation that stand to affect your industry.


Message Exercise

Now that you have your goal, focus on the message. At Food Shelter, we provide individualized worksheets that prep clients for appearances, working through messaging, identifying any potential stumbling, and highlighting any props or materials necessary to make the segment come alive.


As the founder or spokesperson, you know your brand better than anyone, but the challenge can be expressing benefits or ideas in a precise, easily digestible manner. It takes practice (often known in the biz as “message exercises”) to develop a few quick lines that come naturally to describe your company, brand or big idea. You can say something a thousand times in your head but until you hear it out loud, you may not identify critical mistakes, such as forgetting to include the name of your brewery or company.

To reinforce the point above, at Food Shelter, we tell our clients to say their company name at every opportunity.  See what we did there? 

Lastly, don’t forget to smile and check your posture.

And Just Like That - It’s Over

Segments are exciting and fast paced. Unfortunately, basic manners can get lost along the way. This opportunity should be treated like any other high-level meeting. Be gracious no matter what. Don’t forget to thank the host. If you completed a food or product segment, make sure you offer something to the crew. It’s always a good idea to leave product in the green room, either for interns and newsroom staff or even the next set of guests.