Last week I had a bunch of radio interviews relating to my book, and it was fun to interact with the hosts about the content. I've done a few dozen interviews in the past for my previous books, and you never really know what's going to happen. Some interviewers have not read the book and just ask questions from a pre-scripted list, while others have read the book and interact deeply with the content. (Those are the most satisfying, needless to say.) Some interviews are taped for later rebroadcast, and they can edit out all the "ummms" and "uhhhhs," but most are live, and it's a little freaky to think that what I say into the phone is being heard by thousands of people at that very instant. I have to fight off the occasional temptation to say something wholly inappropriate. The scariest interviews are the ones where the show is open to live callers - you have absolutely no idea where folks are coming from, and they could ask absolutely anything. When I did interviews for my book Grieving a Suicide, I got some heartrending calls from folks who had recently lost a loved one to suicide, and it's quite challenging to try to provide some degree of personal pastoral care over the radio.
This last wave of interviews for the suburban book went pretty well. While a few stuck to the script, the rest had either read the book or at least had acquainted themselves with the themes of several chapters, so they interacted with the content and asked their own questions. It's interesting to see what different hosts want to talk about. One fellow mostly asked questions about suburbia's consumer culture, while another show focused on the issues related to commuting. One host asked about racial diversity in churches, which relates to part of my topic but I wasn't sure that I could speak authoritatively on the issue, so I sort of punted and referred listeners to another IVP book.
The neatest thing about the interviews is that one host had been on a brief mission trip a few days before my interview with him, and he had not yet received a copy of the book before he left. His trip was with several other radio hosts, and on the plane one of them said something like, "Have you seen this book? You should have this guy on your show." And the book she pulled out of her bag was The Suburban Christian! So he read her copy on the plane and was prepared for the interview. How cool. Sure feels like a God thing to me.