Reading for radio


You will already have a script which – we all hope – has been written for radio. If you have written it yourself, you will have already read it aloud as you have been writing it and it should have your natural flow and cadences. If you have been handed a script in plenty of time you should be able to re-write if necessary to make it “yours”.

Whether it is yours or written by someone else for you to read, then you should “make it up”. Sometimes marking is very simple, just find the important word(s) in the sentence, but that does not mean every third word: “so that YOU give EMPHASIS to just about EVERY OTHER WORD.”

“It’s about understanding and giving PROMINENCE to the right word.”

Some people speak quickly and are aware that sometimes they need to make up their script with “Slow Down” signs. Others need to be reminded to warm their voice, or even sometimes when to breathe or rest a beat. Mark up the script to remind you what the story is and the best way to deliver it. No one can mark up for you.

Accents rarely matter. Once radio was the domain of the Posh Voice. No longer. We don’t have to sound like members of the British royal family (who in the 21st century don’t really sound like the 1950s version anyway).

Clarity is importan

• Do not over annunciate
• Do not hector, preach or lecture

Be yourself – yes there is a degree of performance required, but only to the extent that you are being the best you.

Just a couple of exercises – the objective is to loosen your lips and jaw muscles and vocal chords.

• Expand and contract your lips a few times
• Wiggle you jaws left and right, back and forward,
• Speak a few words in your deepest voice and make it deeper
• Don’t smoke
• Don’t eat chocolate
• Sip water – not fizzy water! Have a glass of water to hand
• Take a couple of deep breaths –
• You are ready to go.

Yes, you are reading a script. But you should sound like you are talking directly to the listener. The way the script is written will help, but the delivery is all important.

• Picture a person as you are reading.
• Talk to that person.
• Understand what you are saying. If someone took away the script could you explain the story?
• As you are reading a description, visualise that description for yourself.


Everybody trips over words – everyday – all the time. And yes, it’s more noticeable on radio.

• Prepare: if a word is tripping you up in rehearsal, change it, but make sure you don’t change the meaning of the sentence.
• Some things cannot be changed: names, for instance, or direct quotations. You’ve got to practice so the pronunciation is as easy as any other word.
• If you are recording, go to the beginning of the sentence and start again. It is easier to edit afterwards. Don’t just sway the word again.
• If you trip – so what. Remember a BBC presenter once mis-pronounced the name of a British politician’s name. Jeremy Hunt (what is the worst way you can mis-pronounce Hunt?), laughed it off and the presenter laughed it off. You can’t change what has already happened.


No – not GRIN – just a little light lifting of the lips. It helps make you sound “warmer”.


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