Writing Content

The Basics

Good writing is good writing. Whether you’re writing for radio, print, TV or the internet, a lot of the same basics apply. Clarity, good organization of your thoughts and themes and a vocabulary that your listeners/readers/viewers will understand are all important.

But there are a few things that are specific to the medium of radio because of its unique nature:

  • Unlike print, radio listeners can’t go back to the part they’ve missed. It has to be clear the first time, because there is no second chance.
  • Unlike TV, there are no pictures to reinforce your words. That means your script has to do all the describing. It also has to grab the listener’s attention. You can’t back into the main point – you have to get to it quickly without a long preamble.
  • Unlike a podcast, it is not available for weeks at a time. You have one, and only one, opportunity to make an impact. (Although you can create a podcast afterwards, work on the assumption that if people have listened to the live show, they are unlikely to listen all over again)
  • Radio is conversational. Think of the most boring lecture you have ever attended. For starters, the presenter probably read it. And it probably sounded like an academic journal paper, full of jargon and long-winded sentences. Does anybody really talk like that?
  • Radio is personal – you’re talking to one person at a time. That’s why your writing has to sound like it is “talked”, not read. This is why lectures don’t work on radio. The script does not exist all by itself. And it cannot be just “read”. It must be written to be performed.
  •  Bottom line — radio writing has to be tight and clear and above all, interesting.

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