Chapter 9: Writing for Radio and Television

The most useful aspects of this chapter are the sections on radio news releases and public service announcements, or PSAs. Radio news releases are like news releases, but have several major differences. Radio news releases are generally written using all uppercase letters in a double-spaced format. Announcements should take no more that 30 to 60 seconds to read. Writing style is more conversational with the emphasis on strong, short sentences. Average sentence length is 10 words (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques).

The text offers tips on how to write a radio news release. I found the following tips to be helpful:

1) The only way to time your story is to read it out loud, slowly.

2) Convey your message with the smallest possible number of words and facts.

3) A radio news release is not an advertisement; it is not a sales promotion piece. A radio news release is journalism- spoken.

4) Listeners have short attention spans. Have something to say and say it right away.

5) Never start a story with a name. While listeners are trying to figure out who the person is, they forget to listen to the sentences that follow(Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques).

A PSA is defined by th Federal Communications Commission as an unpaid announcement that promotes the programs of government or nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques). Radio and TV stations generally provide airtime to charitable and civic organizations as part of their responsibility to serve the public interest. Phil Rabin offers some tips for successful PSAs:

1) Do your research so your PSA reaches the appropriate station and its primary audience.

2) Keep it simple.

3) Always send PSAs to the director of public or community affairs, not the news department.

4) Send broadcast PSAs in different lengths.

5) Establish an effective tracking system.

6) Try to localize your PSA (Public Relations Writing and Media Techniques).

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