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Writing for BBC Radio    Agency presentation 2011
Aims• To demonstrate the key principals in writing  BBC Radio promotions.• A demystification of what is network tonal fit....
What it won’t show you
“Words are often the only tools you’ve got. Learn to use them with originality and care.   Value them for their strength a...
Some basics
   Writing for the ear not the eye   Radio listeners aren’t good at taking in:    Names    Numbers – dates and measureme...
Top Tips•   The One Person Audience•   Be conversational and use contractions•   Be economical•   Be direct•   Tell the li...
BBC Radio•   Each week, nearly 35 million people listen to BBC Radio. The BBC offers a portfolio    of services aimed at o...
BBC Radio•   Music radio on Radio 1, Radio 1Xtra, Radio 2, 6 Music and Asian Network•   Speech, drama, analysis and the ar...
BBC Cross Promotion What makes producing promotions for BBC radio different?    The listeners tell us they have very high...
Writing for the BBC Radio audience Never patronise the audience, instead empathise with them. If you think it’s a good i...
Writing for the BBC Radio audience Write for the spoken word. "Set in the years before World War One,  this tale of roman...
Some More Basics Less is more. Too much information loses the listener. However, well made "long" is better than badly m...
Network ToneCreative    Right tone: Truthful, relevant to a young audience, comedy, topical,    Wrong tone: patronising.Mu...
Network ToneCreative    Right tone: friendly, simple, does what it says on the tin.    Wrong tone: trying to be too clever...
Network ToneCreative    Right tone: witty, challenging, makes you think, gives you something to talk    about, an invitati...
Common to all groups More tell, less sell Context is vital (tell them it’s a cross trail) Tag lines must be truly justifie...
The wrong Audio section• Tone – example of wrong tone in a network  junction• Acted Scenario• Too commercial sounding?• To...
The Right Audio section• Tone – example of right tone in a  network -• Acting - HD Trail• A single call to action – Folks ...
BBC Training module 5
Getting great BBC Promo copy•   Your script is going to be spoken so don’t use elaborate and complex sentence construction...
Guess the Station Fit Game• Where did this trail broadcast?
Guess the Station Fit Game• Where did this trail broadcast?
Guess the Station Fit Game• Where did this trail broadcast?
and finally• Writing for BBC Radio is different to writing  for Commercial Radio• The audience expect quality on the BBC• ...
Writing for bbc radio master
Writing for bbc radio master
Writing for bbc radio master
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Writing for bbc radio master

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Writing for bbc radio master

  1. 1. Writing for BBC Radio Agency presentation 2011
  2. 2. Aims• To demonstrate the key principals in writing BBC Radio promotions.• A demystification of what is network tonal fit.• Be familiarised with the styles and language of BBC Radio promotions.• Answer the question: How do I write for BBC Radio?
  3. 3. What it won’t show you
  4. 4. “Words are often the only tools you’ve got. Learn to use them with originality and care. Value them for their strength and their precision. And remember: somebody out there is listening.”
  5. 5. Some basics
  6. 6.  Writing for the ear not the eye Radio listeners aren’t good at taking in: Names Numbers – dates and measurements Abstract concepts Long lists with dry facts Words devoid of feeling Complex grammatical constructions Radio listeners are good at taking in: Mind images – examples – anecdotes Stories about people and their experiences The unusual, the weird, the funny and shocking Powerful evocations of mood Words spoken by someone who is committed to what they are saying.
  7. 7. Top Tips• The One Person Audience• Be conversational and use contractions• Be economical• Be direct• Tell the listener
  8. 8. BBC Radio• Each week, nearly 35 million people listen to BBC Radio. The BBC offers a portfolio of services aimed at offering listeners the highest quality programmes, whatever their interest or mood.• We broadcast in the UK on analogue (AM, FM & LW), DAB Digital Radio, digital television (DTV) and online.
  9. 9. BBC Radio• Music radio on Radio 1, Radio 1Xtra, Radio 2, 6 Music and Asian Network• Speech, drama, analysis and the arts on Radio 4• Classical music and jazz on Radio 3• News and sport on 5 live and 5 live sports extra• Local programming from 40 stations in England• 6 dedicated radio services in the nations (Radio Scotland, Radio nan Gàidheal, Radio Ulster, Radio Foyle, Radio Wales, Radio Cymru)• Comedy, drama and childrens programming on Radio 7
  10. 10. BBC Cross Promotion What makes producing promotions for BBC radio different? The listeners tell us they have very high expectations of their BBC radio station. BBC radio promotions are played on their own into live programmes (not back to back) They are part of the programmes Presenters can and will comment on your work, especially if it doesn’t fit. Listeners tell us they expect the quality of promotion on BBC radio to be higher than on commercial radio  Radio does evaluation, appraisal and intimacy.  Often a simple creative thought works better.  Cross trails only ever carry one call to action.
  11. 11. Writing for the BBC Radio audience Never patronise the audience, instead empathise with them. If you think it’s a good idea to ask rhetorical questions? the answer evoked is usually NO  "So, is something dramatic on the cards tonight in Casualty..." will prompt many a viewer to shout NO Can you say it another way? Try turning the sentence around and discover another way of saying it.
  12. 12. Writing for the BBC Radio audience Write for the spoken word. "Set in the years before World War One, this tale of romance and decadence" becomes "This is a tale of romance and decadence in the years before World War One" Everyone watches or listens to a programme for a reason. Everyone visits a website for a reason. Can you clearly say what that reason is. The audience wont value the programme unless you show clearly you do. WHATEVER YOU WRITE, REMEMBER YOUR GOAL IS POWERFUL COMMUNICATION NOT CLICHÉ
  13. 13. Some More Basics Less is more. Too much information loses the listener. However, well made "long" is better than badly made "short" Credibility is vital - false fails Humour is risky, one man’s gag is another man’s gaff Content not form – some promos are triumphs of style over content. The best promos have likeability - warmth - personal relevance. Radio is a medium of sound, feelings, emotion and language – use them all.
  14. 14. Network ToneCreative Right tone: Truthful, relevant to a young audience, comedy, topical, Wrong tone: patronising.Music Right tone: contemporary, credible. Current Playlist. Classic Anthems Not classical. Exceptions: sig tunesVoices Right tone: natural, young, no hard sell, truthful, young-regional. Wrong tone: patronising, knowing & use of characters. Exceptions: celebs & comediansLanguage Young, credible, conversational, with attitude
  15. 15. Network ToneCreative Right tone: friendly, simple, does what it says on the tin. Wrong tone: trying to be too cleverMusic Right tone: Mainstream, pop, rock. Wrong tone: Hip hop, rap. Nothing too obscure, too specialistVoices Right tone: Friendly, mainstream Wrong tone: too posh, too young.Language Familiar, conversational, established
  16. 16. Network ToneCreative Right tone: witty, challenging, makes you think, gives you something to talk about, an invitation Wrong tone: dumb, loud, hard sellMusic Right tone: must be there for a reason, no reason = no music, not just classical Wrong tone: see music associated with group 1Voices Right tone: educated, engaged, witty, experienced, announcers rather than voiceovers Wrong tone: cockney, American. Exceptions: talentLanguage Grammar must be perfect. No slang. Full sentences
  17. 17. Common to all groups More tell, less sell Context is vital (tell them it’s a cross trail) Tag lines must be truly justified by the creative Give them a call to action
  18. 18. The wrong Audio section• Tone – example of wrong tone in a network junction• Acted Scenario• Too commercial sounding?• Too many calls to action?
  19. 19. The Right Audio section• Tone – example of right tone in a network -• Acting - HD Trail• A single call to action – Folks on Fiction• Good with words – AHOW
  20. 20. BBC Training module 5
  21. 21. Getting great BBC Promo copy• Your script is going to be spoken so don’t use elaborate and complex sentence constructions• Every word counts• Use thought provoking copy that involves the audience and communicates the message quickly• Don’t tell the listener how to feel – make them feel it• Talk to one person – remember the intimacy of radio• Write for the target audience• Reflect the network style in your writing• Great promos start with great writing – be prepared to rewrite and rewrite• Read your scripts out aloud• Clichés are your enemy – stamp them out or make fun of them• Acted scenarios rarely work• Connect and engage with the audience
  22. 22. Guess the Station Fit Game• Where did this trail broadcast?
  23. 23. Guess the Station Fit Game• Where did this trail broadcast?
  24. 24. Guess the Station Fit Game• Where did this trail broadcast?
  25. 25. and finally• Writing for BBC Radio is different to writing for Commercial Radio• The audience expect quality on the BBC• Be creative• Be real• Be effective• …someone out there is listening.

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