Podcast Guest Checklist: Here's the Secret to a Great Interview

Problem: how do we prepare our guests for the interview so they will get the right equipment and do what they need to do?

Answer: You can’t because humans are…lying, lazy, sons of…ahem. But here is something that might work for 1% of your guests.

Buzzsprout has created a video guide for podcast guests that’s fun. So some of it might seep into your guests’ minds if you send it as part of your on-boarding.

Just one error within the video - neither Riverside.fm nor Squadcast require your guest to install anything on their side.

So consider sending this to your guest as prep. What could go wrong? :grinning:

I’d love to hear your thought on prepping your guests. Especially [any cheat sheets!](pre-interview checklist: https://bit.ly/PodcastGuestChecklist)


Gee, @Jey , I didn’t realize you were American? I mean your message has a decidedly Yankee voice–rather than a proper British one. We must be wearing off on you.
Miss you. Hope you and your family have an awesome holiday season.


I couldn’t stand that video. The contrived humor felt like noise getting in the way of the message.

I have recently been looking at this problem though. How to get guests as prepared as they can be?
I don’t have a definitive answer and I think that’s because ‘guests’ aren’t a homogenous group of people.
When I think of interviews that went wrong, I don’t think any amount of information would have helped. We interviewed the wife of a famous UK magician that we couldn’t use. She was quite media saavy as she was the magician’s assistant and a media personality in her own right. But she wasn’t IT literate at all, her laptop was old, and the wifi at her house was unusable. Riverside never did upload her local recording. We could never have gotten her to upgrade her home internet connection, and get a new router, laptop, microphone, and headphones.

We have set up a process for our next season that starts with the guest using our Calendly link to book a time, then they get a confirmation email asking for their choice of a quote and song for their episode. In response to that email, we send a thank you email with some technical advice/suggestions. We want them to book a time, before they go down the rabbit hole of choosing their quote and song. And we want them to do their choosing before we bother them with the technicalities of recording a podcast.

Our thank you tech email is as follows:

Hi there.

Thanks so much for sending us your choices. We’re set to go.

Below is some advice we’ve pulled together from our experiences and the questions other guests asked us before their recording.

  1. Internet. If you have terrible wifi or an incredibly slow internet connection this might be tricky. So let us know and we’ll see what’s possible. Here are some tips:
  1. Use a computer - desktop or laptop plugged into a power socket so you’re not operating on battery.
  2. It is much better to connect to the internet with a physical cable rather than wifi. (This tip works for your other day-to-day internet use too.) Wifi is great when you absolutely need to be mobile, but there’s nothing better than a physical connection for consistency and speed.
  1. Location. Sitting in the laundrette or in a busy coffee shop won’t work. Be aware of potential noise issues, but it doesn’t have to be perfectly quiet. You just want somewhere you will be comfortable and won’t be disturbed.
  2. Equipment. You almost certainly have what you need. We use Riverside.fm which will make you sound lovely. A decent microphone is great, but we will work with whatever you are using for your Zoom/Skype/Meet calls.
  3. Browser Software. Our lovely Riverside.fm software requires you use the Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge browsers.

Let us know if you have any questions or concerns, and we’ll mail you right back.

Thanks again,

We haven’t used this process yet, so my fingers are crossed that it reduces our workload rather than complicating things. Before we had to book the session with lots of emails to and fro to the guest’s agents, and then more emails about their choices, and then our sound engineer frightened folks with his tech requests which people either freaked out about or completely ignored.

If anyone has perfected their approach to this, then I’m all ears!


As many of you know, I send guests this address when I tell them to pick a time. Then the confirmation email they get suggests reading the tips on that same page. I’ve revised that page many times—always trying to remove as much as a I can…


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Hello @Jey watching this video made me realize how much I miss your awesomeness :star_struck:

I am going to send this video to my next guest just to set the tone

Things off the top of my head for the checklist:
-put the mug on a towel
-turn off the ceiling fan
-remove bangles and ear pendant


Hello @AnnieP lovely to see you here!

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Miss you, too @leekei

Heeeeeeey @AnnieP how are you! Yeah I totally miss you too :pray:

Proper! Oooow that would spark some serious debate as to what constitutes a proper British accent. This could get us into some serious trouble!

How’s your podcast going? Awesome I hope?
We might have to start a new thread to continue this conversation :smile:
Seriously though, it’s lovely to hear you.

(Say, if you reply then would you include a link to your show? I’d love to catch up with your work)

OMG @leekei thank you! Yeah, being this awesome is a heavy burden to bear! :smile:

I was thinking about @Mark 's question

And maybe sending guest the link to the Adobe Mic Check page might be a good way to let guest check the mic setup they intended to turn up for the interview?

So you send them the link and say, “hey, do a quick test using this tool and let me know what it says.” If they are a little bit tech savvy you could ask them to send you a screen shot of the results. e.g.

Now it’s not you telling them that their setup is crap - it’s ADOBE!!!

Then you can help them deal with any issues before the call.

The biggest downside to this approach is that the guest will have to register with Adobe (also we don’t know how long this tool will remain free). But if you sense your guest is truly clueless then you could create a dummy login account for them to use.

Anyway. Great to hear from you. If you reply, please include a link to your show. I’d love to catch-up with your work.


Thank you Jey! Great to see you. :slight_smile:

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That video will come in very handy. No matter how I try to prepare the guest, there are always sound quality issues.

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