Radio script writing question
Image courtesy of Media Helping Media and released under Creative Commons
Essential rules for writing a radio script
Which of these statements is true:
a) radio is all about sounds. Make sure you have the best clips and sound effects and don't worry too much about the words. People don't read your material they listen to it. The words are not that important. Of course they have to be accurate, but they are only there to support the audio
b) words are essential for a good radio piece. Work hard on ensuring that your script is tightly written and in a language that people understand. No matter how good the audio clips are your radio piece will fail to inform if the script is poor.
Correct Answer: b) words are essential for a good radio piece. Work hard on ensuring that your script is tightly written and in a language that people understand. No matter how good the audio clips are your radio piece will fail to inform if the script is poor.
Why b) is the right answer
The importance of the words
The script is what makes sense of the information you have gathered. It is the framework for your story. It brings together the most important elements, and helps your audience understand the significance of the points the people you have interviewed have made.
Your script is the framework for the facts you have uncovered
Keep it short and simple
The script should be written in simple, short sentences. Try to use everyday language and terms your audience will understand. It should not contain any complicated concepts that could confuse and distract.
Use everyday language and avoid complex concepts
Use the script to introduce the audio
The script should offer the audience introductions to the audio you are including. It should tell the listener what’s coming up without repeating the words they are about to hear. Don’t summaries too much; you should not take away the power of the clips in your piece.
If you have good clips you need good scripted links
Grab the attention of the audience
You are crafting a tease into material that is designed to make people stop and listen. The language should be in the active tense. The most important information must feature in the first few sentences. However, the quality should be consistent throughout and the script must not tail off at the end.
The script has to be good from start to finish
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The author of this piece, David Brewer, is a journalist and media strategy consultant who founded Media Helping Media, handing the site over to Fojo in early 2018. David has worked as a journalist and manager in print, broadcast and online. He has spent many years delivering journalism training and media consultancy services worldwide.
This site has been given permission to use and adapt elements of the BBC's Editorial Guidelines in these short editorial ethics modules. They have been updated to reflect changing international, regional and cultural variations.