How to do vox pops

Get the word on the street

In a previous post I wrote about how having callers on a phone-in show can add some life to your programming. But there are some pretty high hurdles to overcome if you want to do it well.

That got me thinking…what are the alternatives? When I was a young news reporter stuck for something to write about my editor would send me out to go speak with people shopping in the High Street.

It would mean approaching complete strangers, introducing myself and asking a question about something topical that I thought they would have an opinion on.

Such as: “Do you think the local MP should resign over his decision to …. fill in the blanks.”

Or: “Do you think the police are doing enough to catch criminals?”

Within half an hour I’d get a range of views, likely pick up some good story tips, and return to the office with a bulging note book of names, quotes and opinions. Years later I’d do the same thing for radio.

Which brings me neatly to the pitch of this post. Using a smartphone or a budget recorder (Tascam make a nice range) you can nip down to the High Street, introduce yourself, hand out business cards and ask for people’s opinion on the issue of the day.

You could also ask them to say they listen to your station for some nice homely endorsements.

Not only that, you get to tell people about your station and perhaps pick up a few new listeners.

But Vox Pops (Vox Populi / the People’s voice) can be a quick and easy way to add people’s opinion to your station or show. They can be great fun, and you never know what members of the public will say.

Have fun.



Steve Hart

Steve Hart

Steve Hart is a journalist and editor based in Melbourne.

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