USC Annenberg Media Resources

Basics of producing a radio broadcast rundown

The Rundown is your central working space. It will organize the order of your story and provide the format for the broadcast.

After the stories have been assigned and the reporters are out in the field it’s time to start crafting the rundown.

Things to consider:

  • Look for connections between stories – group the stories next to each other that have natural ties; i.e. trial stories, government stories, education stories, whatever.
  • Be sensitive to story flow – don’t put a serious story about murder or an attack next to something light or fun without a music bridge or transition. The shift in tone can be jarring to the audience.
  • Don’t ever have the same reporter voice more than one story in the rundown. 
  • Music bridges: Use bridges to break up large blocks of news, or as a transition between the newscast and the features or interview portion of the show, or to bridge a drastic turn in content. Sometimes you can use a short bridge called a ‘sting’ in between stories. A sting is a short punch of music that’s about 3 – 5 seconds.
  • Select a few extra copy stories to use as padding in case the newscast runs short or a story drops out. Pull about 5 interesting and relevant wire stories into the ‘Wire Basket’ in NewsBoss so you can easily access them later when it’s time to write.

Stories & Slugs

Once you’ve decided the order of the stories in the cast start inputting them into the rundown. Each story should have it’s own distinct slug – two or three words that describe the story – with the reporter’s name next to it as a reminder of which reporter is working on which story. Do this even with cut/copies so you know who’s responsible for what.

Example:   GARCETTI MINIMUM WAGE – JULIO

or    FREEWAY CLOSURE COPY – JESSICA

All Voicers, Wraps and Stories will have two lines in the rundown:

  1. Intro:  The intro read by the host live on the air to introduce the reporter and the story.  The audio clip for the pre-produced story is placed in this line.
  1. Script: The line where the reporter writes his or her script for the pre-produced story.  

Moving in and out of stories:

  1. Open a story by double clicking on the story in the story list.
  2. Save a story by clicking the exit X.  Hit the default “yes” to save it.
  3. Make changes by clicking on the story and hitting Edit icon (paper and pencil) in the toolbar or in the menu select STORY EDIT.
  4. To create a new story:  click the New icon on the toolbar or in the menu select STORY NEW.

All scripts should be written in UPPER CASE.  If you forget to write in upper case, highlight the text, then click on EDIT in the menu on the top and choose TO UPPERCASE.

Any directions or instructions that should not be read on the air, should be put in brackets [  ].  Anything in brackets will not be calculated in the timing of the script.

When audio cuts are imported into the script, they will appear in RED.

Run times

  • Wraps in the newscast should be short – about a minute to 1:15. If a story has great sound it can go up to 1:30 but in a short newscast we want to keep the pieces brief.
  • Copy stories should be no longer than :25 if they have no actualities.
  • Cut/copies should be kept to :45.
  • Anything longer than :45 should be voiced by a reporter.

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