How to interview a Rock ‘n’ Roll star, Howard Stern style

In my opinion Howard Stern is one of the world’s great interviewers.

In the clip below listen to his recent conversation with Liam Gallagher. Stern is fully prepped, puts his interviewee at ease and then hits his guest with an incredibly personal queston about his father. Gallagher opens up completely and it’s by no accident. Stern is a master of his craft.

This is how you interview a notoriously difficult Rock ‘n’ Roll star.

2fm Rising – New Irish Music

One of our new Irish music initiatives on 2fm is called ‘2fm Rising’. Each week we choose a number of tracks that receive daytime airplay and depending on listener reaction make it to our regular 2fm playlist. The quality this year so far has been nothing short of outstanding.

Here’s 5 of the current batch that we are really excited about.

Glory – Dermot Kennedy

Nobody Like U – Siights

Give it Up – Cities

Miss You in the Dark – Rews

All Or Nothing – Wild Youth

RTÉ2fm Music Highlights

Well what an unbelievable weekend of music content on RTÉ2fm! Friday saw arguably the world’s biggest music star Ed Sheeran co-present our drive show in a one hour special with Eoghan McDermott. On Sunday U2, in a world exclusive premiered their 2017 version of “Red Hill Mining Town” on the Dave Fanning show to commemorate The Joshua Tree’s 30th anniversary.

Bank Holiday Monday saw 2fm broadcast a new batch of music documentaries, one on Irish singer/songwriter Gavin James and another on “Cork Rocks”, looking back on the Cork music showcases of the 90’s. Finally 2fm as part of Cruinniú na Cásca, a Creative Ireland initiative presented by RTÉ broadcast live from Smithfield Square in Dublin with live performances from a whole host of new Irish acts including The Academic, Soulé, Aine Cahill & many more.

The excitement continues this week with 2fm Live – Jenny Greene & RTÉ Concert Orchestra performing this Friday night at Dublin’s 3 Arena!!

An acronym from the 1960’s is simply perfect for 2017

KISS is an acronym for “Keep it simple, stupid”, a design principle used by the U.S. Navy way back in the 1960’s. While some deem the phrase old fashioned & cheesy, in 2017 this acronym has never been more relevant. The attention of your audience is so fickle, it’s vital to simplify your ideas and in turn the content you create. You have to make it simple to grab their attention and then make the message so clear they don’t forget.

Simple is beautiful.

Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ.

Photo by Jeffrey Wegrzyn

For more posts on content creation & creativity follow me on twitter @alanswan or on instagram @alanswanirl

The Most Powerful Question You Can Ask During A Brainstorm

Don’t underestimate the power of ‘what if?’.

Sometimes we can stand in our own way when we refuse to let our imagination run riot. The most powerful question you can ask when creating content is ‘what if?’

When you’re working on your next idea why not ask that question multiple times. One ridiculous ‘what if?’ could lead to a ridiculously creative outcome. 

Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ.

Photo by Emily Morter

For more posts on content creation & creativity follow me on twitter @alanswan or on instagram @alanswanirl

Get your ideas sweat on with this simple trick

Do you have difficulty coming up with ideas? You sit down, pen in hand, blank page at the ready and then nothing. It happens to us all. But have you ever asked yourself “have I exercised my ideas muscle recently?”.

Your “ideas muscle”? What part of the body is that located? Well according to author James Altucher we all have one and we should practise using it everyday:

“It’s important to exercise the idea muscle right now. If your idea muscle atrophies, then even at your lowest point you won’t have any ideas. How long does it take this muscle to atrophy? The same as any other muscle in your body: just two weeks without having any ideas. Atrophied”

He adds.

“Take a waiter’s pad. Go to a local cafe. Maybe read an inspirational  book for ten to twenty minutes. Then start writing down ideas. What ideas? Hold on a second. The key here is, write ten ideas.”

Altucher recommends doing this EVERY day. Just 10, good or bad, silly or sad. Like going to the gym, that constant repetition builds up your muscle. In other words you need to get your ideas sweat on.

“when you exercise in the gym, your muscles don’t start to  build until you break a sweat. Your metabolism doesn’t improve when you run until you sweat. Your body doesn’t break down the old and build the new until it is sweating. The poisons and toxins in your body don’t leave until you sweat. The same thing happens with the idea muscle. Somewhere around idea number six, your brain starts to sweat. This means it’s building up.  Break through this. Come up with ten ideas”

Don’t worry if you can’t come up with 10, it’s all about getting the pen going. Getting those reps going. Before you know it, you’re an iron man ideas athlete.

I adore Altucher‘s writings, his honesty and outlook on life. I do this muscle tactic every day and it has helped me greatly in my creative life. His full post on the topic is here and I highly recommend his new book which is called Reinvent Yourself

Attention! It’s all about attention

A recent piece from Fast Company highlighted the work of US public radio station WNYC and how they are finding innovative ways to push the medium forward. It’s a great read.

For me though it reinforced the challenge facing radio, with one word jumping off the page.


As audience behaviour changes and becomes more fragmented, you as a broadcaster are now in the attention game, not the radio game. Listeners don’t have time for you unless you bring some value to their lives. You’re background noise.

According to Dean Cappello, WNYC’s executive vice president and chief content officer “You have to fight every moment of the day for somebody’s attention,” Cappello said. “And if you’re not doing that, they’re going to move on to something else.”

He’s right. If you don’t stand out, grab attention and be memorable, it’s over. Forget your closest FM competitor. That doesn’t matter anymore.  You’re up against Netflix, Snapchat, Spotify, You Tube, World of Warcraft & thousands of other outlets fighting for attention.

The positives? In a world of distraction you can be the curator that pulls the best from all the noise. You can be the broadcaster or podcaster that illicit those ‘Me too’ moments that really strengthen that bond between you and the listener. Look at Snapchats biggest stars, they are playing the oldest radio tricks in the book. Storytelling, entertainment and authenticity on a one to one basis. They are grabbing a big % of that attention through building a traditional relationship with the viewer.

So when preparing for your next show, think ‘Attention’. Forget the long rambling links, add some structure and get to the point. Spend that extra hour working on your prep, finding those features that will make you famous for doing. Call a random listener after your show and ask them what they thought, build those relationships. Go deep with your data, use your analytics, what streams worked best, what podcasts got the most downloads, what tested well, you’ll see pretty quickly what’s working and what’s not. How responsive are you? Can you put unique spin on a breaking story? Put aside a day for planning for your next quarter, spending those hours ripping your show apart, amplifying the really great bits and coming up with the ideas that will get you your slice of the attention. I assure you that if you do even a quarter of those things, your show will be instantly better for it.

Now, have I got your attention?

Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ. 

Photo: Attention! by msmornington

For a radio duo who know how to grab attention, read my recent post on Hamish & Andy


Episode 15 ‘The Outerview’ – Rick O’Shea

“The Outerview” is a podcast on the art of media interviewing. Each episode I look to explore what it takes to conduct the perfect interview from dissecting classic interviews to discussing techniques with some of the worlds leading broadcasters, podcasters and journalists. This week my guest is Rick O’Shea.

Rick has been a radio presenter with RTÉ since 2001His 2fm weekend show has twice won Bronze PPI Radio Awards. He’s also the presenter of The Poetry Programme on RTÉ Radio 1.

He regularly introduces movie premières and has conducted public interviews at the Dublin International Film Festival for the last few years with the likes of Richard Dreyfus, Danny DeVito, Michael Madsen and Harry Shearer.

He also hosted author interviews in recent times with guests as diverse as playwright Simon Stephens, authors Anthony Horowitz, Eoin Colfer and Chris Cleave, journalist  Johann Hari at Dublin’s International Literature Festival and Graham Norton at Listowel Writers Week.

To listen back to past episodes, you can find our archive here

Views expressed do not represent the view of RTÉ.