So Neal Conan was already in the studio, headset around his neck. I walked in and we shook hands, and he said that he’d gotten very hungry reading my book. I’m such an NPR geek, and I love Talk of the Naton and listen to it all the time.. and well, I have sort of a radio crush on him My mind raced to an appropriate response to the “hungry” comment but found none, so I simply said “thanks” and took my seat. So, as I sat across from him amid a jungle of other mics, we did the sound check and I suddenly appreciated the surreal feeling of the situation. And right then, I got nervous. And I never get nervous over radio interviews, but somewhere in my brain, all I could think was that there were 2.8 million listeners and I’d emailed everyone I knew to listen. I suddenly couldn’t remember what my book was about, or any of the half dozen stories I tell regularly when doing any sort of media. Oh, and this was only the second live radio show I’d ever done. I heard the familiar “Talk of the Nation” jingle and then thought, “Oh, shit, what am I going to say?”
Also, I forgot about the duck.
In media training, Lou Ekus had told me to think of an interviwer’s question as a stuffed duck, and once the interviewer threw me the duck, hold onto it until the interviewer took it back. The worst thing, he said, was to just drop the duck. I didn’t drop it, but I didn’t run with it until well into the interview.
So it went fine. A friend emailed immediately to say it was great. Mike, who knows me best, could tell I was nervous. So, in the end, it wasn’t the best interview I’ve done, since I was a bit intimated by the whole NPR-ness of the situation, although Neal Conan asked terrific questions and managed me and the random callers with grace.
You’ll be able to listen to the archive, plus see the nice story, excerpt and recipes they ran on the NPR site. And you can read about how I really dropped a duck, but on the floor at Le Cordon Bleu. (The painful metaphorical irony is not lost on me….) The archive audio will be available after 6 p.m. EST/3 p.m. PST).
If you listened, let me know what you thought.