Steve Langford of the Howard 100 News Team interviewed me by phone this morning about my last blog post. I love being interviewed by Steve: it is exactly as if you’re talking to a New York Times reporter, or a field producer for 60 Minutes. The questions are well-informed, always with follow-up, and often tough—and then I realize— this is the Howard 100 News.
Anyway, in my usual fashion, just after Steve hung up, I realized what I should have said. I don’t blame Piers for not conducting a great interview with Howard—it was Piers first week, Howard is even so out of his league as a broadcaster, you don’t step on to to the field and throw a 90 yard pass on your second play. If anything, Piers has a producer who should have either warned him off, or should have given him a better approach. Here’s the approach I would have advised Piers to take: get Howard’s advice. Piers is starting out as an American broadcaster, Howard is in the twilight of his radio career. Piers wants to reign supreme one day, Howard has and, in my opinion, does. So the question is, how does Howard do it? What for him makes a great interview? How does he get major subjects to open up? How does he follow up a brilliant interview with a stripper who never graduated high school with a brilliant interview with a governor or senator? How did he develop his talents? How does he account for his success?
Piers should have played the student to Howard’s mentor. Howard has lessons, rules to his success. (I was going to call this blog Stern Rules, but it felt too fanzine-esquie). It would have truly enlightened the audience, allowed them a glimpse into how Howard constructed one of the most successful careers in American media—it would have been fascinating and useful.
Oh well, next time.
Meanwhile, here’s a previous post on the genius of the idea of Howard 100 News.