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  • Writer's pictureEric Dahl

Dan Rather is my Nemesis

Recently I have been seeing Dan Rather all over AXS TV interviewing many of the artists I would like to get on one of my shows. Now let’s face it Dan is way out of my league in the interview biz and he is actually an award-winning journalist with more accolades than any normal person should have. But, at 87 years of age can’t he give it a bit of rest and let a few of us that aren’t based in New York City grab some gusto with some awesome interviews? His latest interviews have included: Billy Gibbons, Steve Perry and Paul Stanley! His list of past interviews with the Big Show have been even more ridiculous with Linda Ronstadt, Melissa Ethridge, Darius Rucker, Roger Daltrey and the late Merle Haggard. So, I can stay Larry King are probably some of the best interviewers in the world in my opinion. I believe we all possess a uniqueness or gift in the way we handle things better or differently than others. Mine is that I have a fairly deep knowledge of music gear, guitars, pedals, amps and other music-oriented tidbits. When interviewing musical artists this gives me an angle that many interviewers don’t know or aren’t comfortable delving into. My other quirk is that I truly find other people very interesting and I want to find out what makes them tick and how they got to this place in time with the successes that they have achieved! My third niche is that I over prepare for every interview, listen to the answers and don’t use a teleprompter – I memorize it all. Here are my reasons for doing it this way. Early in my career FOX 23 KBSI didn’t have a teleprompter, so I had to memorize my scripts. Later when I tried to use a teleprompter (that scrolls your scripts in front of the camera, so you can read what it is written) I found out I sucked at it and you could see my eyes moving. Plus, with my style of interviews I prefer they be more like a conversation that the viewer is sitting in on. Those are the kinds of interviews that I like to watch and listen to. Give me something I didn’t know before that is interesting and fun about the artists and bands that I like. My early efforts on camera weren’t very good and honestly some of my first interviews didn’t flow as they should. My efforts now are to make the artist or band as comfortable as possible in studio and on camera and keep the spotlight on them and their creative efforts. I’m not the star, but I am blessed to interview them and provide a conduit or outlet for them to gain more awareness. Will I ever be as talented an interviewer or command the reverence that Dan Rather receives from his guests? Probably not, but I’m okay with that as long as I continue to improve. Every time I conduct an interview whether it be for TV, Radio or Print I feel that my skills are getting better and hopefully the end product is more powerful too. Jeff Cook of Alabama was my 400th interview for the Rock & Review. I thought about doing posts and making a big deal about it, but why. I’m always booking, preparing and setting up the next interviews for the TV show and radio shows. People frequently ask me who was my favorite interview so far and should probably say the next one. For now, I will keep watching Dan Rather and other incredible interviewers and try to learn their techniques that I can add to my vocabulary. Interviewing, much like playing guitar, writing articles, authoring books and making homemade are things that I will never master but hope to continue to be better at every day. And gradually I will start chipping away at some of the artists that Dan has showcased?

I couldn't afford the Dan Rather picture so this it!


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