Updated: June 2023
In some ways, radio is easier than television broadcasts as you only need to focus in on the audio aspect of the production. However, it can also be more difficult, in that everything hinges on the quality of the audio.
This means your audio needs to be even better than anything a listener might find on television. If your writing skills are not up to par, the quality of your radio news script is going to suffer tremendously. So, if you are considering entering the world of radio broadcasting and you are looking at the different schools and programs available, you need to make sure to practice your radio news script writing.
The stronger your writing is, the better your news scripts are going to be.
Short and Sweet
You’ve probably heard the phrase “keep it short and sweet.” You need to embrace this with radio. Your scripts should not be longwinded as it becomes difficult for the listener to remember what exactly you are talking about and what the point of the story is. You want to keep the audience’s interest and provide the necessary information that paints a desirable picture of the scene, without becoming overburdened with too many words.
Introduce the Audio
With radio broadcasting news stories, you are going to have recorded audio segments. You should always bookend the audio recording with your script. This way, you can introduce the audio with your short bit of information and offer a conclusion with your script as well. The recording is the middle segment of your story.
Work on the Tease
You need to grab the attention of your listener with your intro. As you don’t have visual elements to aid you with this, everything needs to come through the language you use. It needs to be active and tense. It should draw people in and make them want to hear more. Think of it as the teaser trailer for a great film. You want to whet the appetite of the listeners so they can’t wait for you to return and provide more information.
Cut Out Your Opinions
If you are a shock jock radio host, sure, interject your opinion. That is what you are paid to do and you want to give out your opinion so callers can either support or reject your stance. That makes for great talk-show radio. However, a radio news script is not for a talk show. It is for a news show that needs to deliver just the facts. In order to make sure the listener receives the best quality news program, you need to remove your opinions completely from the broadcast and keep it entirely focused on the news.
Before ever bringing it up over the airways, it is vital for you to fact-check. The last thing you want to do is provide inaccurate information. Now, from time to time you might find out that you provided information that turned out to be not entirely true, even though your sources indicated it to be true at the time. Should you find this out, it is important to cite the correct source and provide the correct information when you can. This helps ensure your level of integrity. News, whether it is radio or television broadcast, is all about integrity. Once someone questions it, you have lost them forever.