Writing introductions for radio programs

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The importance of a good introduction

  • If they like the introduction then people will probably listen to the entire story

The elements of a good introduction and things to keep in mind

  • An introduction should give the informational context – who and why should we care
  • Researchers, scientists and politicians are not always that interesting to your listeners – real people are usually a lot more appealing
  • Good to capture people’s interest. This can be done by not giving the whole story away or by creating a picture of a scene

Things to keep in mind when writing introductions

  • Radio is not like a newspaper where people can go back and rewind – you have one chance to connect with your listeners.
  • If you use one word that people don’t understand, then you will lose them for a couple of seconds and the meaning of the story might be lost for them.
  • Numbers confuse people.
  • Exact dates aren’t important and can confuse listeners. Instead of 639,000 say just over 600,000. Decide what numbers are pertinent
  • Make introductions more about people than about organizations – people emotionally connect to other people.
  • Not all facts are necessary.
  • People’s job titles should be avoided if they don’t clearly describe what the person does - instead use "person works for x," "person responsible for x".
  • Good radio writing is about showing not telling – creating pictures. People relate to images. Challenge yourself to create at least one picture in your introduction, connect it to people and use active verbs
  • Use short sentences.
  • If you want to use a proverb, they shouldn’t be long and should have a clear meaning for everyone in your audience. Otherwise people might not follow the story.
  • It is really important you don’t confuse people.
  • You should look over every word to make sure it’s necessary – make the introduction as simple as possible.