Master the radio news grab!


It’s one of my favourite interview formats: the radio news grab. Short, sharp, succinct - and sometimes a challenge!

As a spokesperson, you have to work hard at mastering a range of different interview types. From long-form radio interviews to TV appearances - live and recorded, panel discussions… the list goes on. 

One of the most popular interview formats remains the radio news grab. If you’re lucky, you’ll get five to 10 seconds of air time in an on-air bulletin to make an impact - and you need to know how to use every second wisely.

Radio news grabs are fun! I love the challenge of trying to communicate a big story or statement in just a few seconds. 

It’s helpful to make notes, or even write out key points you’d like to address in your interview - but it’s crucial to still sound natural.

You have to work hard at developing the skill of being bold, confident and straight to the point when being interviewed for a radio news grab.

Articulation is key. Practice speaking without ‘um’s’ or ‘ah’s’ - sure, they can be edited out - but it makes your statements so much stronger if you train yourself.

Really, we need to think of it as a ‘five second rule’. If we can get our point across in a matter of five seconds or so - we’re doing extremely well.

I find listening to radio bulletins daily is a big help. You can learn a lot from hearing the way other spokespeople nail the brief - or pitfalls to avoid.

The other main point to keep in mind, is that radio newsrooms are busy - and radio journalists even more so. The quicker and easier you can make their job, they more they’ll call on you for grabs in future.

Try implementing these tips the next time you get the call for a few quick grabs!

Katie Clift

*If this blog post helped, drop me a line at to say hi! You can also grab a free copy of my Public Relations Plan Template, tried and tested internationally for over a decade. What are you waiting for? Upscale your media coverage today!

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Katie Clift