Episode 57—Joe Donahue on the Art of the Interview

 

Joe Donahue, master interviewer, visited CNF HQ. Photo courtesy of The College of St. Rose’s blog.

By Brendan O’Meara

Tweetables by Joe Donahue:

“It’s not about you. It’s about the guest. The fact is people are there to hear the guest.”

“My job really is to present a person and get to the bottom of them, if you will, and ask questions that hopefully people want answered.”

“There is a jazz mentality, a call and response.”

“The worst thing that can happen is when guests sit down and say, ‘Ask me anything.’ Because they haven’t prepared anything.”

“Once you realize that you have that going with that person and have a report, that call and response, it can be delightful.”

“I made a conscious effort 15 years ago that I wasn’t going to write questions or notes down. I was too concerned about being beholden to them.”

“There’s a little acting to this. Sometimes, even if you don’t, you have to pretend like you give a shit.”

By Brendan O’Meara

You need to understand something, friend. Joe Donahue (@JoeCDonahue on Twitter) has had such a strong influence on how I conduct and listen to interviews, I can’t even begin to explain.

He hosts The Roundtable and The Book Show for WAMC Northeast Public Radio, which broadcasts out of Albany, NY. Joe wanted to be in radio since he was, oh, four years old. That’s focus and that’s passion.

“My job really is to present a person and get to the bottom of them, so to speak,” Joe says, “and ask questions that hopefully people want answered.”

It’s how he asks questions and how thoughtful those questions are that make Joe every bit as strong an interviewer as Terry Gross, Trevor Noah, or anyone, really. 

In this episode you’ll learn how he structures his research, thinks through questions, what he learned from Larry King and Fred Rogers, and why he decided to forego lists of questions and note taking during an interview.

I hope you enjoy this latest episode and I hope you’ll do me a favor and leave a nice review wherever you get your podcasts.

Thanks for listening!

Episode 53—Jessica Abel and the Power of Creative Focus

Photo by Laurène DuCrocq

By Brendan O’Meara

 

Tweetables by Jessica Abel’s (@jccabel) #CNFPod episode:

“If you don’t believe it’s something I learned, and if I learned it you can learn it, then you don’t take control, and if you don’t take control you have to live with this stuff.”

“Almost any idea you have could turn into a good idea if you invest in it enough and find what’s at the heart of it.”

“I like to say the Dark Forest is a good sign.”

“The thing that’s going to give you the best chance of having an awesome Tuesday is Monday.”

Jessica Abel is a cartoonist, a teacher, a writer, and a podcaster and her latest book, Growing Gills: How to Find Creative Focus When You’re Drowning in Your Daily Life, is her latest project. Continue reading “Episode 53—Jessica Abel and the Power of Creative Focus”