The Worst Radio Interview Ever?

Luke Burbank attempted to interview Sigur Ros on NPR. Watch the video to realize how difficult it is to conduct an interview when the interviewee isn't a self-winding talking points machine.

I do sympathize with Burbank. I've participated in a few Q&As that stalled—including some where PR companies set up their clients in interview booths, where the celebrity had to speak to a new journalist every 25 minutes for hours. Just try getting a unique insight under those circumstances.

I've heard Burbank's interviews before and he usually comes to the table well-informed and on his game. Here, I think he just doesn't let go of his game plan and keeps returning to questions the band obviously isn't willing to answer. When the flop sweat starts to bead on your forehead, you've got to pull out your change up and forge off in a different direction. Once you get some communication going, you might get different reactions to the questions they dodged earlier.

That doesn't always work, of course. I once had a phone interview with a designer who insisted we do it while he drove across the desert. He repeatedly refused to answer questions about his designs, asking me what I thought. Finally, frustrated beyond endurance, I blurted out, "I know what I think, I'm attempted to discover what you think. If you can't help me with that, I see no point in our continuing this conversation." Then I hung up and fretted about my failure.

A minute later he called back. "I think I lost my cell. We were talking about what I thought and my phone dropped your call. Now, what was that last question again?" He then answered all the questions he'd dodged earlier.