The SMT: A Conversation with a Camera
A Satellite Media Tour is a conversation with a camera. The biggest surprise for spokespersons doing their first SMT is that they will not see the news anchor interviewing them, as TV viewers at home might on a split screen. The good news is that not only can they can hear the interviewer’s questions in their earpiece, but it’s unlikely that seeing the anchor would affect or improve the talent’s answer.
An SMT spokesperson will face three kinds of interviews:
• LIVE interview – for TV this will usually mean three to 3.5 minutes. Generally the host or hostess will first introduce the spokesperson and either say, “good morning,” or ask a question. Then, they will follow up with three to six more questions and finish by thanking the spokesperson and ending the interview. If our spokesperson is doing a demonstration, like cooking, the interviewer will probably let the demonstration proceed unimpeded, but the spokesperson should listen in case the anchor interrupts with a question. The spokesperson should answer the question, either continuing the demonstration as he or she talks or returning to it as soon as the answer is done. In case of a live radio interview, the host is likely to go five to 10 minutes, giving the spokesperson ample time to explore the subject.
• LIVE-TO-TAPE interview – will feel exactly like a live interview since it is being recorded to be played in its entirety at a later time or date. The only difference is that the spokesperson should not make any references that will date the interview like, “Mother’s day is only four days away,” when the station is planning to air the interview on Friday.
• TAPED interview – the interviewer will sue one or more answers or excerpts from the interview. It will proceed very much like any media interview, with print or electronic, and with a length of three up to eight minutes.
Almost always, stations book the interview because they see value for their audience in the subject or the spokesperson. Only rarely (less than one out of 100 interviews) is the spokesperson asked a nasty or threatening question.
Finally, stations often will ask the spokesperson if he or she has anything more to say. We tell the spokesperson to take the opportunity either to repeat or give a website for more information, or succinctly repeat their main, take-home message.