Barbara McCann has been a journalist in radio, television and print since the late 1970s.
In this edition of “Podcasting for … (communities, journalism students, anyone interested)”, we talk about interviewing and writing for radio (and podcasts).
Along with reading, writing, recording and editing, Interviewing is one of the key skills for podcast and radio production. I write about them all in the book Podcasting for Communities.
I also wanted Barbara to share some tips on writing for radio. She told me about the first big lesson she learned.
“On my very first day back in Downtown Radio, the great Harry Castles handed me a press release and said “Write that up for me.” So, I spent about an hour writing five or six hundred words. This was for radio.” She laughed at the memory.
“Harry took it, God bless him, and sat down at the type writer – as it was then – and he wrote two lines. And I thought “Oh my Lord, he has told the whole story in a couple of lines.” And I learned from him, economy of words, especially for radio, is to have a couple of lines to get over the main story. It’s the main points. And that’s how I regard writing anything for radio or television. Just tell the story in one or two lines.”
As a final thought, Barbara added, “Also with no ‘big words’, as we call them. Your listener would be trying t work out what that big word means and miss the whole gist of the story.”
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You can listen to the track in full here.