Live interview on national Australian TV: Weekend sunrise

Check out this video interview I had over the weekend on Seven Network‘s Weekend Sunrise program, which is one of the most popular weekend shows viewed across Australia. If you’re a new subscriber from Australia, welcome!

It was my first time ever interviewed live on TV (and my second time ever interviewed on TV in general, the first time being in French for Quebec television, talking about Couchsurfing).

[Note: They use a strange flash-heavy video hosting system, so you might have to try it in a different browser for it to work. I can’t see it on Firefox (in Linux), but can in Chrome. I’m hoping they’ll send me the original video so I can upload it to Youtube some time. If you can’t see it here, then try this link instead. Sorry about the cheesy 30 second advertisement.]

Behind the scenes

After some email exchanges during the week, I was called into a TV studio here in Istanbul, and set up with audio and a microphone in front of a camera for live satellite transmission with Andrew O’Keefe and Samantha Armytage in Sydney. It was just after 8:30AM in Sydney, and 1:30AM in Istanbul.

Unfortunately I couldn’t see anything myself (they couldn’t give me a live feed of Seven Network in that studio), so I’m just staring into a camera and trying hard to hear the questions without talking over the hosts despite the time delay (you’ll notice I didn’t even hear the last question about saying goodbye in Turkish).

What I found quite ironic is that the view you see behind me is not far at all from my apartment, but I had to get a taxi 20km away from it to the studio (right by the international airport) and sit in front of an HDTV with a looped recording. (If you watch anyone sitting down on TV news with a nice view behind them, always be sceptical that they are sitting in front of a window!!) Far from being anywhere beautiful I’m in a dull building filled with cubicles 😛

As you can see, the interview went well even though it was my first time doing anything like this! I was a bit nervous, but remembered my number one rule for such situations and went with the flow. I like how they re-edited my Language Hacking Guide video!

I thought being interviewed on TV in front of such a big audience would involve lots of preping (telling me not to curse, explaining how I should answer questions etc.) but they must have presumed I did this before, since I just had a quick hello with the hosts when the audio was working before hearing the news and weather leading up to my interview. The questions were good, and I think I did an OK job despite the very tight timeslot.

The linear nature of TV is another reason I don’t watch it any more, and I can’t quite say much in four minutes. Online there are no such limits – you can always click for more information, or podcasts and Youtube videos are only limited by the audience’s patience since a 1 hour one and a 5 minute one usually cost the same to produce. Despite that, I think I got my basic message across!

I found Andrew’s replies funny as well as confusing, and he misleadingly said that I say I claim I can help anyone “master” a language in less than 3 months. His linguistic factoid is also not something I’d imagine many academics would agree with. I just nodded politely rather than try and argue.

Hopefully this is the first of many such appearances! Let me know what you think about it in the comments :)



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