USC Annenberg Media Resources

Tips for getting your radio story on the air

1.Choose your soundbites (actualities) FIRST:

  • Choose your best two or three soundbites
  • Clip them out of your raw recording and put them into your Adobe Audition session.  (Or highlight the bite you want, leave a couple of seconds extra at the beginning and end, and Edit > Copy to New to copy the bite to new file.  Name file.)
  • For a 1:00 wrap your soundbites should be about 5-15 seconds.  Most likely you will only use two of the clips. (Make sure you have both sides in the story.)
  • Note HOW LONG the actualities are.
  • Put ambient sound, if any, into your session.
  • Time permitting, cue up your actualities so that when the advisor or producer edits the story, you can play the actualities.
  • If you can’t do “f” above, write out a brief transcript of the bites you’ll use.  This helps editors.

2. Write your script:

  • Write the host intro FIRST.  Make sure to introduce the reporter:

EXAMPLE:  A SUSPECT IS BEING HELD WITHOUT BAIL ON CHARGES OF KILLING A ONE-YEAR-OLD GIRL IN COMPTON.   AS SUSIE ANNENBERG REPORTS, POLICE THINK THE SHOOTING WAS GANG-RELATED.

  • Write your script around your sound, starting with your strongest sound. To do this, YOU MUST KNOW WHAT YOUR SOUND SAYS.

TIP:  Try this method when writing into an actuality:

Say you choose this soundbite:

ACT: SOMETIMES WE TEND TO GET INTO A PENALTY TROUBLE BECAUSE WE ARE GOING OFF OUR BIG HITS AND WE’RE NOT PLAYING TOGETHER AND SO THE MOMENT YOU’RE NOT IN THE POSITION WHERE YOU HAVE ALL YOUR BLOCKERS ON THE TRACK OR YOUR JAMMERS OFF THE TRACK AND YOU’RE IN PENALTY TROUBLE SO THE GAME KIND OF GETS AWAY FROM YOU.

Instead of using the entire soundbite, use the first line as your set-up:

TRACK

BETH GILBERT SAYS THE TEAM SOMETIMES GETS INTO PENALTY TROUBLE BECAUSE THEY’RE NOT PLAYING TOGETHER:

ACT: SO THE MOMENT YOU’RE NOT IN THE POSITION WHERE YOU HAVE ALL YOUR BLOCKERS ON THE TRACK OR YOUR JAMMERS OFF THE TRACK AND YOU’RE IN PENALTY TROUBLE SO THE GAME KIND OF GETS AWAY FROM YOU. (:12)

  • Indicate in the script how long your soundbite is.  If you don’t know how long your soundbites are, you can’t estimate how long your story will be.

3. Get your script approved by a faculty advisor or producer.  Make sure your actualities are cued up so that the advisor or producer can hear the soundbites as you read him/her the track.

4. Track following the tracking tips in the studio.  (NOTE:  Always count down before you start a track:  3, 2,1 [begin track).

5. Edit and mix your piece.  Talk to a producer, a tech or faculty adviser if you are unsure how to mix in ambient sound.

6. Save as a .wav file, 44100 sample rate, 16 bit in your student folder.

7. Drag your finished wav file to the NewsBoss folder on the desktop, then drag it into the INTRO page in NewsBoss.

About This Site

This is a resource hub to help student reporters at the Annenberg Media Center.

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Contact the Media Center

General inquiries:
mediacentereditors@gmail.com

News / TV inquiries:
213 740 3847
213 821 8477
213 821 8888

Radio inquiries:
213 740 1079
213 740 8008

For equipment-related issues:
213 740 5739
ascequip@usc.edu
annenbergtechops.com