Class Agenda – Wednesday, Oct. 11

As a reminder, your scripts for the 4-5 minute radio feature are due on Wednesday, October 18. This means you will need to have already conducted your interviews by then.

IMPORTANT: When you go out and record your interviews, DON’T FORGET to record 90 seconds to two minutes of ambient sound/room tone in the location where you conducted your interview. It should become a deeply ingrained habit to wrap up the interview and say “Now if you don’t mind, I’m just going to stay here and record a few minutes of nothing!”

In-class exercise: Script Writing

I’m going to give you a link to an interview recorded recently, and you’re going to script a radio story out of it. It’s up to you to determine what angle you want to take.

You can and should also use excerpts from other sources (public speeches and statements found on YouTube etc.—this is considered fair use) to fill out the story. Give the interview a listen, decide on four or five sound bites of no more than about 20 seconds each (with maximum three of those coming from the main interview), and write them into a short script that provides full context and background on the situation.

Interview (and full transcript) here.

For future reference, if you intend to use any audio from these extra sources (if recent public statements by the mayor are relevant to your story, for instance), a good resource for ripping the audio is Audio Hijack. There is a free version.

Remember that the template for writing a script looks like this:


AMBI: (natural sounds and room tone go here)

TRACK: (your narration goes here)

ACT: [NAME]: (transcription of soundbites goes here)

TRACK: …and so on. I included one of my complete scripts in this post if that’s helpful to refer back to.

Remember that you’re writing for the ear, which means simple sentences, conversational style, and lots of description. Be careful to write into and out of the sound bites in a way that clearly introduces the speaker and sets up what they’re going to say.

When deciding what to put into the narration vs. what sound bites to include, think about it this way: Exposition/Description vs. Color/Emotion/Opinion.

The role of the host intro is to tell the listeners what they’re about to hear and why it matters, before throwing it to you, the reporter.

Exposition/Description. Your narration is there to give all the who/what/where/when/why info and to guide the listener through the story so they’re never confused as to who is speaking, where you are, and what’s happening—and to do all this as efficiently, clearly, and engagingly as possible.

Color/Emotion/Opinion. In most cases, if there’s a sound bite that’s full of dry facts and figures, it is best to include that information by paraphrasing it and writing it into the narration. The quotes we want to hear from people are ALIVE, full of humor, sass, sadness, insight, and opinion.

If you’re not finished writing the script by the end of class, that’s okay: just make sure you email it to me by Monday so we can look at them together in class.

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