An Introduction - American Radio History
aflcas i
An Introduction
to the
Sound Medium
edited by
Robert L. Hilliard
An Introduction to the Sound Medium
RADIO has not only survived the "decline" expected with the advent of television, it has grown
audience, impact and total revimpressively
enue. But, until now, there has been no up-todate basic text on the principles and techniques
of moden radio broadcasting.
In developing this book on the "what" and "howto" of radio, it was decided to approximate the
kind of information the reader might receive if
enrolled as a student at a good university. To this
end, each of the five chapters has been written
by a prominent educator with an extensive background of practical experience in commercial
and educational broadcasting. These major areas
are covered:
management and programming
operating and studio facilities
producing and directing
A comprehensive Introduction
provides the
fundamental background for an understanding
of the broadcasting aspects of the "sound medium." Illustrations, sample scripts, notes and
selective bibliographies add to the usefulness of
this practical book.
Radio is an increasingly vital force in this country, and internationally. For those exploring vocational opportunities, there are job opportunities for qualified people. It is the aim of this
book to provide a practical introduction to this
expanding field of communications.
151 East 50th Street, New York 10022
About the Editor ..
DR. ROBERT L. HILLIARD is Chief of the
Educational Broadcasting Branch of the Federal
Communications Commission.* He is also
Chairman of the Federal Interagency Broadcast
Committee, which he founded in 1965, and is
Executive Vice-chairman of the national Committee for the Full Development of the Instructional Television Fixed Service.
Prior to coming to Washington, D. C. in 1964,
Dr. Hilliard was Associate Professor of Radio,
Television and Motion Pictures at the University
of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. His fifteen years
of university teaching and administrative experience include positions as Consultant on Television in Higher Education for the New York
State Education Department, Consultant on
Television for the Council of Higher Educational
Institutions in New York City, and faculty member at Adelphi University and Brooklyn College. A graduate of the University of Delaware,
he holds Masters' degrees from Western Reserve University and a Ph.D. from Columbia
Dr. Hilliard is editor and contributing author of
a companion book, Understanding Television,
and author of the widely used Writing For Television and Radio (see back of this jacket). He has
published numerous articles in professional journals, is a frequent speaker on the mass media,
and has been chairman of media groups of a
number of national and regional educational
No official support or endorsement of this book by
the Federal Communications Commission is intended
or should be inferred.
Federal Communications Commission
Hastings House, Publishers
New York 10016
To My Sister
Second Printing, June 1969
Copyright © 1967 by Hastings House, Publishers, Inc.
All rights reserved. No part of this book
may be reproduced without
written permission of the publisher.
Published simultaneously in Canada
by Saunders, of Toronto, Ltd., Don Mills, Ontario.
Text Edition SBN: 803 8- 6290 -3
Cloth Edition SBN: 8038 -6291 -1
Library of Congress Catalog Card Number: 67 -18381
Printed in the United States of America
George L. Hall, National Association of
Educational Broadcasters
Donald B. Upham, University of North Carolina
William Hawes, University of Houston
Robert L. Hilliard, Federal Communications
Earl R. Wynn, University of North Carolina
published by Hastings House
Communication Arts Books in 1964, was intended for the beginning student
and for the layman who wished to learn the basic fundamentals of "what"
television is and "how -to" perform some of its functions. Its purpose was
not to go into the "why" of television. There seemed no immediate need
to present the kind of extensive historical and institutional material already
found in several excellent books being used in our educational institutions
and by the public.
The same holds true for Radio Broadcasting. It was developed as a
basic book of "what" and "how -to," and does not attempt to substitute
for or duplicate the historical and social impact materials already well researched and written and available in other works. It does attempt to add
to what is available and to provide what is not available, by presenting some
of the practical considerations, with background analysis where advisable,
of the actual broadcasting areas of radio. In that sense, this book may be
considered a companion work to Understanding Television; its formation,
development and editing were similar. Selected persons experienced as practitioners and teachers of radio broadcasting were invited to contribute
chapters on their respective specializations. Each chapter was carefully
edited, and revised and rewritten as much as necessary to fit the over-all purUNDERSTANDING TELEVISION,
poses of the book and to complement the approaches in the other chapters.
As with Understanding Television, a deliberate attempt was made to include, where feasible, repetition of ideas in different chapters when those
ideas seemed important enough to bear repeating, frequently from a different point of approach. By the same token, differences of opinion on the
same subject were deliberately included, thus providing the reader
student or layman
with the same kind of broad view of the field he would
get in a well -staffed diversified academic department. It should be kept in
mind that although there are basic concepts of radio broadcasting that, for
the moment, may seem eternal, interpretation and application of principles
and techniques may differ widely with different stations and in different
sections of the country.
In Understanding Television, contributors represented educational institutions and organizations in several sections of the country. For Radio
Broadcasting, it was decided to approximate the kind of material the reader
might receive if enrolled as a student of radio at one good university. All
the contributors, at the time they began work on their chapters, were members of the University of North Carolina faculty. This approach, it is hoped,
provides not only a comprehensive base, but healthy differences within a
consistent whole. It will be noted that several of the contributors have since
become associated with other organizations, in retrospect further providing
the reader, we hope, not only with cohesiveness, but with diversity.
It seems almost expected today, in the late 1960's, to offer an explanation for the need of any book on radio. With the advent of television,
radio seemed to have declined. But, as indicated in the Introduction, this
decline was more imagined than real. Whereas some 150 institutions of
higher education teach courses in television, more than double that number
offer some course work in radio. In addition, many secondary schools teach
radio subjects. What is perhaps most pertinent for the student who is exploring vocational possibilities, there are jobs in the radio field for those
qualified. And radio, in this country and internationally, is a continuing and
growing vital and effective force. Further, there is no single, wieldy book
that we know of at this time as Radio Broadcasting is in its final stages
of production
oriented as a basic introduction to modern radio broadcasting's various facets.
Our aim in producing this book, then, is twofold. First, to provide the
teacher, student and professional with an up -to-date basic text or source
book on radio broadcasting, covering those areas of practice most meaningful as an introduction to the medium: management and programming,
studio and operation facilities, producing and directing, writing, and performance. Preceding these chapters is an Introduction containing background materials which furnish a base for understanding the broadcasting
aspects of the medium. The second purpose is to make available to the
layman and to the interested citizen that kind of information which may
enable them better to understand and, in their wisdom, to affect the programming, practices and progress of this medium which has such an important impact upon the thoughts and emotions of all of us, and which can
play such a vital part in achieving mankind's goals of freedom and peace in
the world.
The editor-author, as a member of the staff of the Federal Communications Commission, and as Chairman of the Federal Interagency Broadcast Committee, wishes to make it clear that this book has been prepared in
his private capacity, and that no official support or endorsement by the
Federal Communications Commission, or by the Federal Interagency Broadcast Committee, is intended or should be inferred. We are grateful to
Russell F. Neale, publisher of Communication Arts Books, for his patience
and assistance in the publication of this book.
Washington, D.C.
May, 1967
That radio has had a tremendous social impact, affecting attitudes and
behavior, is undeniable. Mussolini once was quoted as saying that without
radio he would not have been able to achieve the solidification of and the
power over the Italian people that he did. In our country and from quite a
different ideological viewpoint, who of us who heard them will ever forget
the tremendous excitement and impact of President Franklin D. Roosevelt's fireside chats?
Radio's impact, too, on the economy, on business and industry, on
marketing, on the entertainment field, has been great. With the growth of
national network television in the early 1950's, prognostications were that
radio would soon be dead. The prophets were partly correct, for net radio
profits, which were $61 million in 1952, were $32 million in 1961. However, by 1965 profits had risen again
to over $77 million. The number
of stations grew: in 1945 there were 950 stations on the air; in 1950,
2,900; and in 1967 over 6,000. Total revenues increased from just under
$469 million in 1952 to more than $792 million in 1965.
In 1967, some 55 million or 95% of the homes in the United States
had radios. A total of 242 million radio sets were in use, including homes,
automobiles and public places. In the late 1960's the average time spent
per week per person listening to the radio grew to about 25 hours.
Radio's Background
A brief examination* of radio's history and development will be helpful in establishing bases for a better understanding of the procedures and
techniques of broadcasting.
Early History
Radio communication was born of many minds. In the 1860's James
Clerk Maxwell, a Scotsman, predicted the existence of radio waves. Two
decades later Heinrich Hertz in Germany demonstrated that rapid variations of electric current can be projected into space in the form of waves
similar to those of light and heat. In doing so he was the first man to create
what are now called radio waves. In 1895 Guglielmo Marconi transmitted
radio signals a short distance and in 1901 and 1902 conducted successful
transatlantic tests. In 1907 Lee DeForest, considered by some to be the
"father" of radio, patented what we know as the vacuum tube. The first
practical application of radio was for ship -to -ship and ship -to -shore telegraphic communication. This new communications medium was first known
as "wireless." American use of the term "radio" is traced to about 1912
when the Navy, believing that "wireless" was too inclusive, adopted the
word "radiotelegraph." Though the British still use the older term, "radio"
continues to be the American designation. The word "broadcast" stems
from early United States naval reference to the "broadcast" of orders to the
There were many early experimental audio transmissions, but it was
after World War I that regular broadcasting began. The "first"
broadcasting station is a matter of conflicting claims, largely because some
pioneer broadcast stations developed from experimental operations. Although KDKA, Pittsburgh, did not receive a regular broadcasting license
until November 7, 1921, it furnished programs experimentally prior to
that date. Records of the Department of Commerce, which then supervised
radio, indicate that the first station issued a regular broadcasting license
was WBZ, Springfield, Massachusetts, on September 15, 1921. There was
experimental network operation over telephone lines as early as 1922. In that
year WJZ, later WABC, New York, and WGY, Schenectady, broadcast the
world series. Early in 1923 WEAF, New York, and WNAC, Boston, picked
up a football game from Chicago. Later that same year WEAF and WGY
were connected with KDKA, Pittsburgh, and KYW, Chicago, to carry talks
made at a dinner in New York. President Calvin Coolidge's message to
Congress was broadcast by six stations in late 1923. In 1926 the National
Broadcasting Company started the first regular network with 24 stations.
Its first coast -to -coast hookup, in 1927, broadcast a football game. That
same year the Columbia Broadcasting System was organized. The first
round -the -world broadcast was made from Schenectady in 1930.
* The material in the major part of this chapter was obtained primarily from "Broadcast Primer: Evolution of Broadcasting," Information Bulletin No. 2 -B, published by
the Federal Communications Commission in 1966, and from other public documents of
the FCC.
A wireless Ship Act of 1910 applied to the use of radio by ships, but
the Radio Act of 1912 was the first domestic law for the control of radio
in general. It made the then Secretary of Commerce and Labor responsible
for licensing radio stations and operators. Early broadcasting was experimental and noncommercial. (It soon became a big business, however, and
in 1965 in the United States 91 radio stations had a revenue and 15 stations a profit of over one million dollars. Some stations, though, in addition
to those of educational institutions, are not only noncommercial, but public
subscription supported and
notably those of the Pacifica Foundation
carry programs of a controversial quality not found on commercial radio.)
In 1919 broadcasters were permitted to operate as "limited commercial stations." In 1922 the wavelength of 360 meters (approximately 830 kilocycles) was assigned for the transmission of "important news items,
entertainment, lectures, sermons, and similar matter." Recommendations
of the first National Radio Conference in 1922 resulted in further regulations by the Secretary of Commerce. A new type of AM broadcast station
came into being, with minimum power of 500 watts and maximum power
of 1000 watts (1 kw). Two frequencies (750 and 833 kilocycles) were
assigned for program transmission.
So rapid was the development of aural broadcasting that, upon recommendation of subsequent National Radio Conferences (1923 and 1924),
the Department of Commerce allocated 550 to 1500 kilocycles for standard broadcast (AM being the only regular broadcast service at that time),
and authorized operating power up to 5000 watts. Increase in the number
of AM stations caused so much interference that, in 1925, a fourth National
Radio Conference asked for a limitation on broadcast time and power. The
Secretary of Commerce was unable to deal with the situation because court
decisions held that the Radio Act of 1912 did not give him this authority.
As a result, many broadcasters jumped their frequencies and increased
their power and operating time at will, regardless of the effect on other
stations, thus causing bedlam on the air. In 1926 President Coolidge urged
Congress to remedy matters. The result was the Dill -White Radio Act of
The Radio Act of 1927 created a five -member Federal Radio Commission with certain regulatory powers over radio, including the issuance
of station licenses, the allocation of frequency bands to various services,
assignment of specified frequencies to individual stations, and control of
station power. The same act also delegated to the Secretary of Commerce
authority to inspect radio stations, to examine and license radio operators
and to assign radio call signals. Many of the early efforts of the Federal
Radio Commission were required to straighten out the confusion in the
broadcast band. It was impossible to deal with the 732 broadcast stations
Radio's Background
as they were then operating, and new rules and regulations caused some
150 of them to surrender their licenses.
At the request of President Franklin D. Roosevelt, the Secretary of
Commerce in 1933 appointed an interdepartmental committee to study the
overall interstate and international electrical communications situation. The
committee reported that "the communications service, as far as Congressional action is involved, should be regulated by a single body." Accordingly, it recommended the establishment of a new agency which would
regulate all interstate and foreign communication by wire and radio, including telegraph, telephone and broadcast. The resultant Communications
Act of 1934 created the present Federal Communications Commission for
this unified regulation.
Federal Communications Commission
The Federal Communications Commission, an independent Federal
Agency composed of seven commissioners appointed by the President, by
and with the advice and consent of the Senate, began operating on July 11,
1934. One of the FCC's major activities is the general regulation of broadcasting, visual as well as aural. This regulation has two phases. The first
deals with the allocation of spectrum space to the different types of broadcast services in accordance with Commission policies and rules to carry
out the intent of international agreements, the Communications Act and
other domestic laws affecting broadcasting. The second phase more directly
concerns individual stations and includes consideration of applications to
build and operate; the assignment of specific frequencies, power, operating
time and call letters; the periodic inspection of equipment and the engineering aspects of operation; passing upon transfers and assignments of facilities and upon changes in existing facilities; modifying construction permits
and renewing licenses; reviewing the general service of each particular
station to determine whether it has been operating in the public interest;
licensing operators of transmitters; and otherwise discharging domestic
regulatory responsibilities.
Public Interest
Broadcast stations are licensed to serve the public interest, convenience
and necessity. Because radio channels are limited and are a part of the
public domain, it is important that they be entrusted to licensees who have
a high sense of public responsibility. The normal broadcast license period
is three years, but in 1960 Congress authorized the FCC to make shorter
term grants at its discretion. The Communications Act sets up certain basic
requirements which must be met by broadcast applicants. In general, applicants must be legally, technically and financially qualified and show that
their proposed operation will be in the public interest. A 1960 amendment
to the Communications Act empowers the Commission to fine broadcast
licensees up to $10,000 for willful or repeated rule violations. The broadcast license privilege is limited by law to citizens of the United States. It is
denied to corporations wherein any officer or director is an alien or of
which more than one -fifth of the capital stock is controlled by foreign
Under the Communications Act, it is the responsibility of each broadcast station licensee to arrange his program structure so that his operations
will be in the public interest. The FCC does not prescribe any percentages
of time which should be devoted to particular subjects, which vary with
the needs of a particular locality. However, the FCC does periodically review the overall performance of a station in engineering and in other areas,
usually when it applies for renewal of its license, to determine whether it
has lived up to its obligations and the promises it made in obtaining permission to use the public airwaves.
In 1960 the FCC issued a report and statement of policy in connection
with the programming obligations of a station licensee. It said:
"In the fulfillment of his obligation the broadcaster should consider the tastes, needs and desires of the public he is licensed to serve
in developing his programming and should exercise conscientious
efforts not only to ascertain them but also to carry them out as well
as he reasonably can. He should reasonably attempt to meet all such
needs and interests on an equitable basis. Particular areas of interest
and types of appropriate service may, of course, differ from community to community, and from time to time. However, the Commission does expect its broadcast licensees to take the necessary steps to
inform themselves of the real needs and interests of the areas they
serve and to provide programming which in fact constitutes a diligent
effort, in good faith, to provide for those needs and interests.
"The major elements usually necessary to meet the public interest, needs and desires of the community in which the station is
located as developed by the industry, and recognized by the Commission, have included: (1) Opportunity for Local Self- Expression,
(2) The Development and Use of Local Talent, (3) Programs for
Children, (4) Religious Programs, (5) Educational Programs, (6)
Public Affairs Programs, (7) Editorialization by Licensees, (8) Political Broadcasts, (9) Agricultural Programs, (10) News Programs,
(11) Weather and Market Reports, (12) Sports Programs, (13)
Service to Minority Groups, (14) Entertainment Programming.
"The elements set out above are neither all- embracing nor constant. We re-emphasize that they do not serve and have never been
intended as a rigid mold or fixed formula for station operation. The
ascertainment of the needed elements of the broadcast matter to be
provided by a particular licensee for the audience he is obligated to
serve remains primarily the function of the licensee. His honest and
Radio's Background
prudent judgments will be accorded great weight by the Commission.
Indeed, any other course would tend to substitute the judgment of the
Commission for that of the licensee."
The FCC does not have the authority to direct a station to put a particular program on or off the air. Section 326 of the Communications Act
"Nothing in this Act shall be understood or construed to give the
Commission the power of censorship over the radio communications
or signals transmitted by any radio station, and no regulation or condition shall be promulgated or fixed by the Commission which shall
interfere with the right of free speech by means of radio communication."
The Commission has held that freedom of speech on the air must be broad
enough to provide full and equal opportunity for the presentation of both
sides of public issues. Licensees of broadcast stations not only have the
right to editorialize, but have been encouraged by the FCC to do so.
Other Rules
Advertising. The FCC is concerned with "voice commercials presented in a rapid -fire, loud and strident manner; and the presentation of
commercial matter at modulation levels substantially higher than the immediately adjacent programs." The FCC also considers whether over commercialization contrary to the public interest may be involved, in
considering applications for new stations, renewals and transfers. Also,
under a cooperative arrangement with the Federal Trade Commission,
which has jurisdiction over false and misleading advertising on the air, the
FCC notifies stations of broadcast advertising cited by the FTC so that
these stations may take any necessary action consistent with their obligation to operate in the public interest.
Political broadcasts. Section 315 of the Communications Act expressly
provides: "If any licensee shall permit any person who is a legally qualified
candidate for any public office to use a broadcasting station, he shall afford
equal opportunities to all other such candidates for that office in the use of
such broadcasting station: Provided, that such licensee shall have no power of
censorship over the material broadcast under the provisions of this section.
No obligation is hereby imposed upon any licensee to allow the use of its
station by any such candidate. The charges made for the use of any broadcasting station for any of the purposes set forth in this section shall not
exceed the charges made for comparable use of such station for other purposes." In 1959 the act was amended to exempt from the equal-time requirement appearances by candidates on "bona -fide" newscasts, news
interviews and other news coverage.
Sources of materials. Payola and fixed quiz show revelations resulted
in the Communications Act being amended in 1960 to make it illegal to
"plug" records and other commercial services over the air without identifying those instances in which money or other consideration is received for
so doing. Also, penalties are provided for those who broadcast deceptive
programs purporting to be based upon knowledge, skill or chance.
Lotteries, obscenity and fraud. The United States Criminal Code prohibits broadcast of information concerning "any lottery, gift enterprise, or
similar scheme," also utterance of obscene, indecent or profane language,
and fraud by wire, radio or television.
Time charges and station management. The Communications Act
declares that broadcasting is not a common carrier operation; consequently
a broadcast station is not required to sell or to give time to all who seek to
go on the air. Because programming is primarily the responsibility of
broadcast station licensees, the FCC does not ordinarily monitor or pass
upon individual programs, or require the filing of scripts. However, broadcast stations are required to keep a program log and a technical log, and a
record of all requests for political broadcast time. The FCC does not maintain surveillance of the day -by -day internal management of broadcast
stations, or regulate their time charges, profits, artists' salaries or employee
relations. It licenses only the stations and their transmitter operators, not
announcers, disk jockeys or other personnel.
Networks. The FCC does not license networks as such, only individual
stations. However, its licensees are subject to chain broadcasting regulations
adopted to further competition in broadcasting. There is a prohibition
against the same interest or group from operating more than one network,
or more than one broadcast station in the same service (AM, FM or TV)
in the same locality, or more than a total of seven AM, seven FM or seven
TV stations throughout the country. Networks provide their affiliates with
programming services and centralized national selling of these programs.
In the evolution of radio since the advent of television, local time sales have
grown steadily, and in the mid- 1960's accounted for about two-thirds of
all radio time, with network time and national spot sales accounting for the
remainder; a decade earlier the split was about 50 -50.
The major radio networks are the American Broadcasting Company,
with about 425 affiliates in 1967; the Columbia Broadcasting System, about
250 affiliates in that year; the Mutual Broadcasting System, over 500 affiliates; and the National Broadcasting Company, over 200 affiliates. There
are advertising and regional networks, too, of varying sizes.
Receivers. Sets that are used for reception only are not licensed. However, there are limitations on their radiations which may interfere with radio
or TV service. The advent of "wireless" prompted the use of receiving sets
by amateurs and others interested in listening -in on Morse code radiotelegraph transmission. Inexpensive crystal detectors boomed the production of home -made and manufactured receivers. The advent of broadcasting
aroused public interest in sets (at first battery operated) to receive regular
Radio's Background
programs. Receiving sets operated by house current came on the market
about 1928. A 1948 development called the "transistor" has replaced tubes
in many sets.
Call letters. International agreement provides for the national identification of a radio station by the first letter or first two letters of its assigned
call signal, and for this purpose apportions the alphabet among different
nations. United States stations use the initial letters K, N, and W, exclusively, and part of the A series. Broadcast stations are assigned call letters
beginning with K or W. Generally speaking, those beginning with K are
assigned to stations west of the Mississippi River and in the territories and
possessions, while W is assigned to broadcast stations east of the Mississippi.
AM Broadcasting
Amplitude modulation is the oldest system of program transmission.
Besides being used in the standard broadcast band, it is also employed in
most long- distance shortwave broadcasting and in the visual part of TV
programs. The 535 to 1605 kilocycles portion of the radio spectrum was
assigned for standard AM broadcast. This band consists of 107 channels,
each 10 kilocycles wide. Individual stations are assigned frequencies in the
center of each channel, such as 540 kilocycles, 550 kilocycles, and so
forth. AM broadcast stations use power of from 100 watts up to 50 kilowatts. The latter is the present maximum power permitted.
There are four major classes of AM stations. A Class I station operates on a "clear" channel with 10,000, 25,000 or 50,000 watts power in
order to serve remote rural areas as well as a large population center. A
Class II station operates on a clear channel with a power of 250, 500, 1,000,
5,000, 10,000, 25,000 or 50,000 watts. It serves a population center and
an adjacent rural area, and is operated so as not to interfere with the extensive services rendered by major clear channel stations. A Class III
station shares a "regional" channel with several similar stations, uses power
of 500, 1,000 or 5,000 watts and serves a population center and adjacent
rural areas. A Class IV station operates on a "local" channel which is
shared by many similar stations elsewhere, and has a power of up to 250
watts nighttime and a maximum of 1,000 watts daytime. Almost half of
that is, sunrise to
all AM stations are licensed to operate daytime only
FM Broadcast
Commercial FM broadcasting did not begin until 1941, although the
principle of frequency modulation was known for many years before. Extensive experimentation by Edwin H. Armstrong in the 1930's spurred the
development of FM, and on October 31, 1940, the FCC granted construction permits to 15 stations. By the end of the year 25 grants had been
made. Official FM operation was authorized to begin January 1, 1941 on
35 commercial and 5 educational non -commercial channels. The first commercial station to be licensed was WSM -FM, Nashville, Tennessee, which
operated from May 29, 1941 until 1951. In World War II all radio construction was frozen, but 40 FM stations continued to serve about 400,000
receivers. In 1945 the FCC moved FM from its 42 -50 megacycle band to
88 -108 megacycles, which provided less skywave interference, and increased
the number of channels to 80 for commercial FM and 20 for non -commercial educational FM. In 1962 the FCC divided FM broadcast operations into three nationwide zones: Zone I, which includes part or all of 18
northeastern states and the District of Columbia; Zone I -A, which is the
southern portion of California; and Zone II, which includes the remainder
of the United States, excluding Alaska and Hawaii. Three classes of stations were created, Class A stations assigned to all zones, Class B stations
to Zones I and I -A, and Class C stations to Zone II. Class A stations use
power of from 100 to 3,000 watts to serve an area of about 15 miles; Class
B stations have power of from 5,000 to 50,000 watts and a range of about
40 miles; Class C stations employ 25,000 to 100,000 watts power and reach
around 65 miles. At the same time maximum antenna heights and co -channel separations were established by the FCC. Stations operating under
authorizations prior to the adoption of the above rules were not affected.
In 1963 the 80 commercial channels were assigned to specific states and
communities, with a total of some 3,000 FM channel assignments to nearly
2,000 communities.
FM broadcast has several advantages over AM, specifically higher fidelity characteristics, and more freedom from static, from fading and from
background overlapping of other stations. FM receivers have the ability to
suppress weaker stations and other interferences. FM and AM broadcasts
do not interfere with each other because they are on widely separated bands.
FM broadcasters also operate subsidiary services such as background music
on multiplexing authorizations, and many transmit stereophonic broadcasts.
Many broadcasters owning AM and FM stations in the same city
duplicated the AM programming on the FM channel, thus providing additional advertising time without added programming costs. Beginning in
1967 an FCC rule forbid more than 50% such AM -FM program duplication in cities of 100,000 and over, thus providing greater diversity in
channel use.
Educational Radio
Educational institutions were among the pioneers in experimental
broadcasting and many held early AM licenses. By 1925, 171 educational
groups had broadcast licenses, although the growth of commercial radio
forced most of these off the air in the next few years. Though most educational stations are now FM, some 20 AM are still licensed to educational institutions and operate on a voluntary non -commercial basis. When regular
Radio's Background
FM broadcasting began in 1941, five channels between 42 and 43 megacycles were allocated for non-commercial educational use. In 1945, as
previously noted, 20 FM channels between 88 and 92 megacycles were set
aside for non -commercial educational operation.* In 1948 the FCC authoroperation on educational FM channels.
10 watt
ized low power
Many schools began broadcasting under this provision, reaching a two to
five mile radius with an investment of only a few thousand dollars. In 1951,
to further aid the development of educational radio, the FCC authorized
remote control operation for low power educational FM stations. FM educational stations are licensed primarily to school systems and colleges and
universities, which provide not only instructional materials to teachers and
students, but cultural, informational and public affairs programming for
the public in general. In 1967 more than 300 educational FM radio stations were in operation.
International Broadcasting
Under international agreement, certain high frequency bands are allocated for broadcasts directed between nations. Authorization for non government international broadcast stations located in the United States are
issued by the FCC. The minimum power for such stations is 50,000 watts.
During World War II international broadcast stations in the United States
were operated and programmed by the Office of War Information and the
Office of Inter -American Affairs of the Department of State. The "Voice
of America" is the title given to programs now broadcast daily in many
languages to many parts of the world by shortwave transmitters by the
United States Information Agency.
Rules and Regulations, Documents
will find it of value to obtain
student or practitioner
The reader
and study copies of the following FCC documents:
FCC Rules and Regulations, Volume III, "Radio Broadcast Services,"
available from the Superintendent of Documents, Government Printing
Office, Washington, D.C. 20402.
"Broadcast Application and Hearing Procedures," FCC Bulletin 1 -B;
"Radio Station and Other Lists," FCC Bulletin 4 -G; "Publications and
Services," FCC Bulletin 6 -G; "Educational Radio," FCC Bulletin 21 -B;
"Fairness Doctrine," Public Notice of July 1, 1964; all of these are available from the Office of Reports and Information, Federal Communications
Commission, Washington, D.C. 20554.
In addition, copies of applications for radio station construction permits (form 301 for commercial, form 340 for noncommercial) and licenses
(form 302 for commercial, form 341 for noncommercial) are available
from the FCC.
* In early 1967 the Federal Communications Commission was studying the advisability
of establishing a nationwide table of assignments of educational FM channels.
Associate Director, National Project
for the Improvement of Televised Instruction
National Association of Educational Broadcasters
After almost 17 years in commercial radio and television, George L.
Hall entered the field of educational broadcasting in 1960. He is currently
associate director of the National Project for the Improvement of Televised Instruction of the National Association of Educational Broadcasters,
Washington, D.C. Immediately previous to his appointment to NPITI
in 1967, he served as director of the Teaching Resources Center at the
University of Delaware. In that position his responsibilities involved
supervision of an elaborate program of instructional technology as well
as regular lecturing on broadcasting and related subjects.
An alumnus of the University of Virginia, Mr. Hall entered radio
work in 1946 as a writer and announcer. Beginning in 1951 he served
for five years as program director for WRAL -AM -FM and for the
regional Tobacco Network. In 1956, after participating in the hearings
that resulted in WRAL's receiving an FCC license for a television station,
Mr. Hall became program director of WRAL -TV. His interest in the field
of education prompted him to accept the position of program director at
the Chapel Hill studios of educational station WUNC -TV in 1960. The
following year he was appointed to the faculty of North Carolina State
University at Raleigh as director of television. During his 4 years in that
post, he helped N.C.S.U. develop a strong program in ITV, served as an
instructor on mass communication in the department of sociology and
acted as faculty advisor to campus radio station WKNC.
As a writer, Mr. Hall has had his plays produced in community and
educational theatre, and on television and radio. In addition to newspaper and periodical articles, he is the author of a handbook for the
United States Weather Service on Hurricane -Alert broadcasting for multistate radio networks. He has been active in both educational and commercial broadcasting associations and is a frequent speaker and panel
participant. He is a member of the FCC's Committee for the Full Development of the Instructional Television Fixed Service.
This chapter is divided into three sections. The first concerns definitions of radio programming; the second, programming techniques; and the
third, station organization and management of program operations.
Radio Programming is Communication
Basically, communication is the social process through which one person (the communicator) elicits responses from another person (the communicant) by the use of symbols. The communicator in radio programming
is far more apt to be a group than an individual. Radio broadcasting is
customarily an ensemble task in which numbers of people have a part:
announcers, musicians, engineers, writers, publicists and others. The communicant in radio programming is almost always a member of a large group
the audience. (Some characteristics of audiences will be investigated
Symbols are stimuli produced by a communicator and received by a
communicant. They carry meanings which are more or less shared by both
parties. (Words, pictures and gestures are kinds of symbols.) Only aural
symbols can be used in radio communication. This is a limitation of sorts.
Most people are more used to aural -visual symbols, notably those in the
speech-with -gesture category. Even so, radio can employ the rich and varied
symbol categories of music and speech- without -gesture.
Meanings are the similar responses which both communicator and
communicant would customarily make to particular symbols when presented in similar contexts.
Responses are the specific behavior elicited by symbols. Sometimes
such behavior is overt: a communicant moves, smiles, frowns or otherwise
reacts in a way which can be observed by the communicator. At most times,
however, response behavior is covert: a communicant thinks, imagines or
feels without manifesting any physical reaction which can be observed by the
communicator. When a communicator observes
or somehow discovers
overt response behavior by a communicant, he is said to be receiving feedback from his symbols.
Feedback enables a communicator to ascertain whether or not his symbols have elicited from the communicant (or listener) the responses he
intended. It can also help a communicator find out if he and the listener are
sharing the meanings of the symbols employed. Feedback is difficult to obtain in radio programming because the communicator /group is physically
separated from the large audience. Overt response behavior by individual
members of the audience usually cannot be observed directly by the broadcasters. Instead, feedback is sometimes obtained by various, complex methods of statistical discovery. For example, a small "sample" group of listeners
will be asked to report on their own response behavior, particularly in regard to which programming they actually tuned in. Statisticians will convert
the resulting data into figures by which the broadcasters may infer the
response behavior of the whole audience.
Broadcasters, like personal communicators, are apt to let feedback
help determine their courses of future action. Positive feedback, indicating
that the communicator's intentions have been realized, is interpreted as a
sign of success and is likely to cause continuance of that programming.
Negative feedback may not represent a communicator's failure so much as
indicate the need for the communicator to try again. This often leads to programming revision or repetition.
Revision involves a communicator's trying a different set of symbols to
elicit the desired response. He may decide to choose symbols which have a
certain redundancy. Redundancy is the term given the use of several different symbols which carry a common meaning, as with synonyms. Sometimes
redundancy is inadvertent and unwanted. Repetition involves a communicator's trying the same symbols all over again after receiving negative feedback. This technique is often employed when the communicator suspects
that the communicant did not receive the symbols on the initial try. Symbol
reception is an essential aspect of communication.
Reception of symbols through the aural and visual channels is most
important for most people in their everyday communication. Symbol re-
Programming and Management
ception may be adversely affected when some physical block or extraneous stimulus (like noise) interferes with the symbols themselves. Still another cause of inadequate reception can result from a communicator's
failure to attract or hold the attention of the person with whom he wishes
to communicate.
Attention- attractants are particularly significant in broadcast communication. A communicator can attract attention in several ways. He may cause
his symbols to have high stimulus intensity; that is, he may make them very
loud, fast, large, bright, and so forth. Low stimulus intensity can also be an
effective attractant technique in certain situations. Perhaps the most potent
attractants are those symbols which serve as psychological triggers. People
tend to pay quicker and closer attention to symbols which they associate
with their basic drives and needs.
The basic needs of people also underlie the four social functions of
communication: surveillance, prescription, cultural transmission and entertainment.
Surveillance is the label applied to communication which reports on happenings in the environment. In radio broadcasting it is manifested in such
informational program types as newscasts and weathercasts. Prescription
refers to communication giving advice or directions about measures which
communicants might take in reaction to environmental conditions. Health
talks and commercial announcements are likely to show this function. Cultural transmission is the imparting to new members of the community the
beliefs and attitudes of the older members. Church sermons and educational
lectures are broadcasts of this nature. Symbols used for amusement reflect
the entertainment function. Disc jockey shows and quiz programs are
obvious examples of entertainment.
Radio is a Medium of Communication
Basically, a communications medium is any material or device used to
extend symbols over space or through time. There are many media available to modern communicators. Print, cinema, television and radio are the
dominant media in our culture today.
Radio and television, as electronic media, are dependent on complex
electromagnetic devices and associated materials. The symbol output of
radio and television broadcasting is called programming. The broadcasting
media usually extend their symbols over long space but not through long
time. Their symbols are not usually re -used as are those in the print, photographic and film media, although various electronic recording devices can
store the symbols for future use.
Radio Can be Used for Mass-Communication
Basically, mass -communication occurs when symbol materials are di-
rected through a medium toward a relatively large, scattered and heterogenous audience.
In radio broadcasting, a relatively large audience is that number which
represents a significant percentage of the population living in the geographical area which a station or network serves. Its significance is dependent upon
such factors as the day of the week, the hour of the day and the number of
persons living in homes that are equipped with radios. For example, an
audience of 30 percent of the population might be considered "large" on a
snowy Sunday afternoon in a community of 30,000 where many homes are
radio- equipped. In that same community, an audience of 1 percent might
be "large" if the program being measured were broadcast at 3:30 a.m.,
Monday, when 97 percent of the population was asleep. The fact that a mass
audience is scattered (that is, the individual members are not gathered together in one place) has much to do with the difficulty of feedback in radio
programming. An even more consequential aspect of mass -communication
for the radio programmer is that of audience heterogeneity.
Mass audiences are composed of people who are different from each
other in a great many respects. These differences may be social, educational,
economic, psychological, cultural, ethical, religious, political, physical or
intellectual. This wide diversity of backgrounds, skills and attitudes produces
problems for mass -communicators. In addition, audience members receive
programs in a wide variety of different locales, each with a certain level of
distractions present. Receiving sets of differing sound qualities are used, with
a considerable risk that forms of technical distortion may interfere in some
degree with program symbols. The immediate activity of a listener during
reception is still another factor. Some people may sit and concentrate on a
program while others may let the radio serve more -or-less as a source of
background accompaniment to work or reading.
It should be remembered that the basic media
print, cinema, television and radio
can be used for private as well as mass communication,
and it is only when radio is used for the latter that the process is termed
As noted earlier, the success of any communication is determined by
the response behavior of the listener or viewer. Responses generally are
intended to fall into two broad categories: attending and reacting. Attending
responses occur when a communicant simply pays attention to the symbols.
In radio, that means simply listening. Of course, even before listening can
occur, a program must be tuned in on a receiving set. Therefore, tuning-in
is also a kind of attending response. Another kind is found in the immediate, affective behavior of the communicant during symbol reception itself:
laughing, crying, shuddering, or such. Reacting responses occur some time
after the reception of a program. The range of desired behavior is varied.
The programmer may wish audience members to do such things as buy
the product advertised, make a contribution to a charity which was pro-
Programming and Management
moted, drive more safely, or make a pudding with the recipe which was
Attending responses are primary in radio programming. Above all else
most broadcasters wish mass audiences to tune in and listen to their programs. This is not to say that certain reacting responses are not also very
desirable, particularly the subsequent purchase and consumption of advertised goods. However, such complex reacting responses are difficult to elicit
from a mass audience because of its heterogeneity. Of course, broadcasters
do not really attempt to elicit the same responses from all members of a
mass audience. (Mass- communicators have long recognized the impracticality and impossibility of such a task.) Instead, they aim at what might be
termed the widest -possible- consensus.
Although every member of a mass audience is genuinely unique, each
is likely to have some characteristics which are similar to those of a number
of other members of that audience. These characteristics may sometimes
take the forms of attitudes, interests, prejudices, preferences and opinions.
The individual audience members who have such characteristics in common are said to be "in a consensus." There exist many consensuses formed
around many values in any mass audience, but only those which include
relatively large numbers of people are generally important to broadcasters.
The radio broadcaster seeks especially to find sizeable consensuses which
result from common attitudes that can indicate which sorts of programming
are most apt to be listened to. The wider the consensus numerically, the
larger the probable audience for the programming in question. Years of
positive feedback have confirmed the general worth of this strategy for programmers. The widest -possible- consensus includes listeners who are frequently designated "average." A program preference established by this kind
of consensus is usually sanctioned by broadcasters as reflecting "popular
The widest -possible- consensus is valuable not only in helping programmers elicit attending responses (tune -in and listenership) but also in assisting them to predict the probable success of obtaining various sorts of
reacting responses. This knowledge (imprecise as it is) allows radio broadcasters to be fairly realistic about probable audience reactions to commercials and other messages.
Radio Programming Reflects a Variety of Social Forces
The total population of a community is a mass audience which contains a great number of attitudinal consensuses. However, attitude is not the
only factor which can unite individuals into groupings. Other groups may
emerge because of similarities in the roles, authority and possessions of persons. These might be called status groups because their very nature tends to
rank them into a social hierarchy with the more powerful at the top and the
less powerful below.
The groups at the top of this hierarchy are often referred to as the
power structure. The individuals constituting the power structure tend to
control the dominant economic, cultural and political resources of a community. It is important to note that the power structure is rarely gathered
together in one consensus. Instead, there may be many different consensuses
among numbers of its members. Some of these are even apt to be in disagreement or in conflict with others. These internal divisions weaken the
power structure so that its control of dominant community resources is not
rigidly directed by a single fixed attitude or philosophy. Nevertheless, there
are enough consensuses to represent a general power structure philosophy
about economics, education, politics, art and the like. More often than not
these beliefs have come to be widely regarded as worthy standards for the
community as a whole.
The status groups which are not included in the power structure fall
into two distinct categories: the bulk population and minorities. The bulk
population is composed of those people who tend to form the widest -possible- consensuses on a wide range of values and issues. While bulk attitudes
might sometimes differ with those of the power structure, sharp conflict
between them is not often present. The bulk population is customarily the
"average" component of the social hierarchy. Minority groups differ in status
or attitude from both the power structure and the bulk population. These
differences may be broadly classified as being cultural, economic and political, although other terms like ethnic and religious are also applied. The
members of some minorities are so unlike others in the community that they
are said to constitute a sub-culture. This is notably true when the differences
include language, manner of dress and such. Although some minorities are
cruelly discriminated against, most actually blend into the general community life except when some sensitive attitude is at variance with that of
the larger group.
Radio programmers have special relationships with the power structure, the bulk population and some minorities. These relationships have a
direct bearing on the program output itself.
The power structure views broadcasting as an instrument for community good. People in these leadership groups regularly seek involvement
in serious content areas about which they feel particular concern: religion,
commerce, politics, education, public morals, property, medicine and such.
Programs treating with these matters are almost certain to originate with the
power structure or, at least, to receive its attention and sanction. This does
not mean that the power structure exercises a blunt, external censorship
per se over such programming. Instead, it means that the broadcast programmer tends to be so closely allied with the leadership elements of the
community that their attitudes are also often his. Entrepreneurs constitute a
significant status group within the power structure. They have established
that the media of mass-communication can contribute to the economic
Programming and Management
growth of a community through the inclusion of advertising content to stimulate consumption and the sale of goods. Consequently, entrepreneurs
have taken a guiding role in the operation of the
acting as advertisers
mass media, radio among them.
The importance of the bulk population to the radio programmer has
already been noted in the discussion about the widest -possible- consensus. It
is necessary to add here only that the power structure generally accepts this
approach because the technique does result in attracting large audiences,
which are deemed necessary for effective advertising and perhaps also for
other kinds of prescriptive programming. The program preferences of the
bulk population and those of the power structure sometimes may be in disagreement. As a general rule, the numerically wider consensus will be
allowed to prevail except where strong objection from a relatively unified
power structure over-rides.
Broadcasters take minorities into account in two ways. First, some
broadcasters regard certain, larger minorities as total audiences for their
programming. This is notably true in metropolitan areas where the high
number of competing stations may reduce the widest -possible- consensuses
for a few stations to such relatively limited audience numbers, concentrating,
for example, on Spanish language programming. Second, attacks on minorities in programming are customarily forbidden, this approach upheld by
such organizations as the Federal Communications Commission and the
National Association of Broadcasters, both of which possess attitudes
strongly consonant with those of the national power structure.
Critics of broadcasting have sometimes expressed concern that many
of the essential differences between the program preferences of the power
structure, the bulk population and minorities have become too blurred over
the years. Nowadays, they say, practically everybody tends to like the
"limited" kinds of programming based on the widest -possible-consensus
among the bulk population. Whatever the reason, such programming, often
labeled "popular entertainment," is certainly the dominant type in American
broadcasting today.
The programming output of a station is usually broken up into a
sequence of individual units which vary in length. Those which last from a
few seconds to three minutes are customarily called announcements or
"spots." Units of greater length are referred to as programs. Program lengths
are ordinarily stated as round figures which are multiples of five minutes.
However, in actual practice such programs will often last for 30 to 60
seconds less than the stated length. For example, a so-called 15- minute
program might actually last on the air for only 14 minutes or 14 minutes,
30 seconds. This enables the broadcaster to insert one or more announcements before the start of the next program. It is customary to include in this
kind of transitional interval a brief announcement which identifies the station by call letters and location. The Federal Communications Commission
requires these "station breaks" at regular times in a schedule, generally on
the hour and at the half hour. Occasionally these may fall between parts of
a longer program.
The written schedule from which a station actually operates is called a
program log. (See Fig. 1.) Conforming to certain regulations of the FCC,
a program log is prepared in advance by staff traffic specialists and later
signed by announcers, engineers or production technicians who can vouch
for its accuracy as a record of programming actually broadcast.
In the days before television, most radio programs were neatly 15 or 30
minutes in length (i.e. 14:30 or 29:30). Nowadays the tendency is for
stations to schedule programs which last for several hours, although brief
news -type programs may be interspersed at convenient intervals. The longer
units are apt to be recorded music shows: disc jockey, background music,
classical concert.
Most broadcasters keep track of their program schedules by drawing
up a "traffic board" with seven vertical columns to represent the days of the
week. Horizontal lines are drawn across the chart to represent the hours of
the day (and perhaps shorter intervals as well) The names of programs
(and announcements) are entered in the appropriate spaces. The traffic
board is the primary source of information necessary to prepare the program log each day. (See Fig. 2.)
Radio programming usually operates in daily and weekly schedule
patterns. The five weekdays tend to show a common scheme, with Saturday
and Sunday showing separate schemes. Programs which recur in the same
broadcast day show a vertical relationship because they appear in the same
vertical column on the traffic board. News, weather and comparable "service" programs often have vertical relationships. Programs which recur at
the same hour on different days of the week show a horizontal relationship.
When there is a week -to -week program recurrence, the relationship is
cyclic. In radio, many programs have vertical, horizontal and cyclic relationships. If the horizontal relationship involves all five weekdays, the programs are said to be scheduled "across the board." Nowadays strong
patterns of frequency relationship in programming seem to contribute to
listener convenience and habit.
Obviously, programs fall ahead and behind one another in the daily
schedule. These juxtapositions are an important matter for programmers.
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Programming and Management
Stations must attract and hold audiences. Several techniques can be employed to keep audiences tuned in from one program to another.
Often broadcasters juxtapose two or more similar programs. The presumption is that audiences sometimes prefer variations of the same content
to an outright change. These "sound alikes" are most likely to be scheduled
during well- defined activity periods like mid -morning (when women do their
housework) or late afternoon (when commuters are en route home by car).
On other occasions broadcasters may deliberately break the flow of such
cognate materials by scheduling a marker program. Markers are apt to
appear at times of day which "mark" a significant change in audience
activity patterns. The insertion of comprehensive newscasts and other talk
materials at noon and around the dinner hour frequently constitutes marker
programming. When a broadcaster finds it necessary to change programming during an audience activity period, he may choose to buffer the two
very dissimilar broadcasts with a short bridge program. Bridges are generally
talk materials of wide appeal, like news, weather, sports or Hollywood
Nowadays stations tend to program in cognate blocks: early morning
(around 6:30 a.m. -9:00 a.m.), mid -morning (around 9:00 a.m. -12:00
noon), afternoon (around 1:00 p.m. -4:30 p.m.), late afternoon (around
4:30 p.m. -6:00 p.m.), evening (around 7:00 p.m. -11:00 p.m.), and late
evening (around 11:00 p.m. -1:00 a.m.). In addition to being scheduled
during the luncheon and dinner periods, shorter markers are also used to
separate the other cognate blocks. Bridges are rarely needed, since radical
program changes within activity periods are very few.
of programs is largely dependor time scheduling
The placement
ent on patterns of audience activity. Having first established which groups
are probably available as listeners during a given period (families, housewives, teenagers, etc.), the broadcaster then must decide which kind of programming is most likely to suit that group's activity pattern at the time. In
this way most radio stations find and fit programs to clock-hours.
Nowadays, a number of strong placement tendencies can be observed
in American radio. The early morning block is apt to be given over to family appeal programming: bright, recorded music interspersed with time and
weather announcements, brief news reports, meeting notices and the like.
The mid -morning block is usually beamed to the housewife: popular music
compounded with household hints, shopping tips and other such informational items. The luncheon period carries marker programming of a fairly
serious journalistic character: comprehensive news summaries, weather
analyses, editorials and commentaries. The afternoon block is often cognate
with the mid -morning, except that the recorded music is perhaps less "brisk"
and the household hints may give way to short features about movie stars,
women in the news and other human interest topics. Telephone quiz "gimmicks" are also frequently included in these housewife -appeal programs.
The late -afternoon block shifts emphasis to the commuting motorist: light
recorded melodies interwoven with traffic advisories, news "quickies," sports
scores and comparable elements. The marker programming scheduled during the dinner hour is like that of the luncheon period except that its tone
may be even more serious- minded, presumably because more men are in
the audience. For the same reason, stock market reports and business summaries are often found in these end -of -day marker sequences. The evening
block is very apt to be aimed at the teenager and young adult: recorded
"hits" and danceable music with relatively few talk elements added. On the
other hand, the late evening block may veer off in quite a different direction.
Many stations now schedule "adult level" interview programs with an accent on controversial personalities and issues. However, many other stations
offer soft, romantic background music aimed at late "readers" and courting
It must be remembered that these observations are about general placement tendencies. There are many striking exceptions, particularly on metropolitan FM stations which cater to minorities.
Counter -placement
Virtually all radio stations in the United States operate in competitive
markets; thus, most broadcasters must be sure that their scheduling strategy
takes their competitors' programming into account. On a day -to-day basis
this is accomplished in three ways.
A station may attempt cross -programming its competitor. For example,
Station A starts an especially attractive one -hour offering at 8:00 p.m., following a fairly routine program which begins at 7:30 p.m. Station B cross programs by starting a strongly appealing one -hour offering at 7:30 p.m.
Listeners presumably would be loath to tune from B to A in the middle of
a "good" program at 8:00 p.m., thus injuring A's listenership. A second
strategem is scooping. For example, Station A offers sports scores each evening at 11:00 p.m. Station B then offers the same scores at 10:30 p.m., thus
"scooping up" A's audience ahead of time. The third technique is probably
the best competitive approach: monopolizing. This is the exclusive offering
of unique programs of greatly superior appeal.
Programs and announcements are either commercial or sustaining.
Commercial programs are sponsored or participating. A sponsored program
is paid for by a single advertiser (although sometimes various portions of a
single program may be sponsored by several different advertisers). A participating program is one divided into a number of convenient segments in
order to permit the insertion of various commercial announcements. Stations
Programming and Management
assume the cost of sustaining announcements, which are most frequently
devoted to such public service topics as highway safety, Savings Bonds,
military recruitment and fund raising for charities. Some sustaining messages
promote programs to be broadcast by the particular station.
The organizational form(at) of a program stems from the application
of function to content. As noted earlier, function includes surveillance, prescription, cultural transmission and entertainment. Content is limitless, encompassing all aspects of life including commerce, industry, agriculture,
health, politics, geography, foreign affairs, crime, romance, rhythm, urbanism, religion and so forth. As pure content, "weather" doesn't say anything.
But applying the surveillance function to weather produces the familiar
"weathercast." If we apply the prescriptive function to weather, we might
get a discussion program in which several participants give advice about safe
driving on icy roads.
Another aspect of format has to do with the kinds of symbols
employed in presenting content. There are three sorts available to the programmer: speech, music and sound effects. Speech symbols can elicit very
precise audience responses. Music symbols carry a wide range of emotive,
ambiguous "meanings." Sound effects are aural symbols that sound like
noises to which some fairly specific meaning is readily attributed. Of course,
all three of these symbol forms are encountered in present -day programming, although sound effects are less important than they were in pre -television days when radio drama was a significant format type.
Nowadays certain format types reappear again and again as "carriers"
of a great variety of content. The principal of these are disc jockey shows,
newscasts, weathercasts, sportscasts, talks, interviews, panel discussions,
telephone chats, concerts, actualities (including sports events), quizzes,
background musicales and variety shows. (Analyses of format types may be
found in Chapters 3 and 4.)
A wise broadcaster makes every effort to see that his programming
strongly appeals to the potential audience. In so doing, he strategically aptechplies attractant techniques like intensity and psychological triggering
niques which can be colloquially translated into the term showmanship.
He also keeps in mind that some aural symbols are understood by
almost anyone who might hear them while others are really meaningful only
to a small intellectual elite. Most radio programming nowadays reflects a
sophistication level which is neither the lowest nor the highest, a practice in
keeping with the dictates of the widest-possible -consensus.
Content may be treated as being good or bad, right or wrong, real or
fantasy, serious or trivial. As a general rule, the value accorded any content
element will reflect the attitudes of the power structure, and probably the
bulk population as well.
If the rate of presenting program material over a given time period is
too fast, the audience may become confused and tune out. If it is too slow,
the audience may become impatient and also tune out. Obviously, neither
extreme is desirable. Nowadays, a tendency to fast pacing is compensated
for by a considerable use of repetition and redundancy.
Most radio programs involve the (vocal) appearance of one or more
persons: announcers, commentators, politicians, home economists, preachers or the like. Each such figure can be identified as having a certain role.
or plays
carries with it a certain set of beThe role he, or she, fills
come to expect a sportscaster
havioral expectations.
An effeminate -sounding
to sound "manly and
of a football game
announcer who giggles at
popular with an
he is supposed to be narrating
masters and
audience. In equivalent ways, disc jockeys,
home economists are also expected to
their separate roles. Because
indication of role, broadcasters tend to choose program figures largely on
the basis of vocal characteristics. This is not to say that a figure's "knowledgeability" is altogether ignored, of course.
To a considerable extent, local programming must be built around
available figures. For example, a station without a "mature, manly and
authoritative" sounding voice on its announcing staff may be forced to deemphasize serious news and commentary programs which require a figure
with such vocal characteristics. However, the same station might capitalize
on disc -jockey programs for teenagers because its staff includes two or three
"bright and youthful" sounding announcers who demonstrate an enthusiastic
knowledgeability of popular recorded music.
Origin and Release
A radio program is a kind
"happening" is the origin of the
sible: local and network studios,
points any place in the world
of aural "happening." The location of the
program. A great variety of origins is posexterior locations in the community, remote
or even in space. Many programs designed
Programming and Management
around the use of recorded music can be said to originate in "radio- space ";
that is, although the immediate origin of the program is the studio, the content may come from other sources, seemingly extending the studio to include
outside entertainment or recording spots.
Many programs are stored on audio -tapes or disc recordings for delayed
release. Sometimes the release is live, the program transmitted simultaneously with its production. In either case, as explained in Chapter 2, the programming expert is dependent upon the proper use of a great deal of
mechanical and electronic equipment.
Radio station management involves the coordination of a number of
specialized activities: engineering, sales and promotion, production and
programming, business administration, and (sometimes) research. But programming is central to all the others. It is the primary management responsibility in every broadcasting station.
The investments in land, buildings, equipment, materials, labor, licenses, services and so on are all made in order to construct and operate
an efficient means for the saleable production and distribution of attractive
programs to the public. Every management decision revolves around some
aspect of this complex communications activity. All the other activities,
important though they are, are subsidiary to it. Transmission and studio
engineering apparatus, even with the power turned on, is not really a system
of communication until somebody causes it to transmit meaningful sounds,
such as those of language or music, to listeners. Sales work also lacks purpose in and of itself. It requires the exchange of a commodity or a service
for money or other consideration of value. Programs (including spot announcements) are part commodity, part service and are the things to be sold
in spite of the jargon which speaks of selling "time." Promotion departments exist primarily to publicize and exploit programming to achieve
increased consumption and increased sales. Business administration concerns itself largely with providing the accounting, rights clearance and
clerical support necessary for program operation. Research, when carried on
in a systematic way by a station, is based on the study of programming and
questions closely related to it. Production is simply a term used for the
"manufacturing" phase of the broad programming activity.
In most station organization plans the Program Department is on a
level with all (or most) of these other specialized divisions. Yet if it is
genuinely central to the rest, why should it not occupy a special position of
rank? This is because programming is really an activity of common concern,
in which each of the departments shares a certain part. Management must
supervise and harmonize these parts into a coherent and effectively operating entity. It is the collective "programmer."
Programming and Management
The Program Department itself is simply that element of organization
which is peculiarly responsible for executing management's decisions and
policies about programming as a finished product. The head of the department, usually called the program director, is the executive who takes the
most active role in making daily programming decisions within a context of
long -range policies set by ownership, the station manager and the executive
staff as a whole.
Staff Organization
The organizational patterns in broadcasting vary with the size of stations. In large stations, individuals are apt to hold single, specialized posiproductions. In small stations, an individual may hold many positions
tion, sales, management
at the same time.
Rank in a station is not necessarily an indicator of status factors such
as income, seniority and prestige. For example, in a given situation, an announcer may enjoy very high status but may have an intermediate rank in
the organizational structure of the station. The office manager in the same
station may have a higher position of rank but may be making less money
and enjoying far less prestige than the announcer. Conflicts sometimes arise
between rank -holders and status-holders. A prestige announcer may resent
being ordered around by a program director of higher rank but lesser status.
In a well- managed station such problems rarely occur.
The organizational relationships within a radio station are, basically,
similar to those of any large organization. There are collaborative relationships where people of comparable rank work at comparable jobs under the
same authority. (For example, several transmitter engineers working under
the leadership of the chief engineer, or several announcers supervised by
the chief announcer.) A problem in large stations frequently comes from
institutional relationships; that is, where people in different departments
using different skills may have few direct relationships with each other, but
whose totality of work must be integrated for effective functioning of the
station as a whole.
One of the most important positional relationships in broadcasting is
that of the "team," specifically in program production, where each person
must play a particular role in a smoothly coordinated whole. For example,
the team leader at a remote pick -up point might be a newsman who directs
the work of several other persons of higher rank, such as the chief engineer,
production director and chief announcer. In effectively completing such team
efforts, normal organizational relationships are temporarily abandoned. Radio veterans will tell you that such occasions constitute "moments of truth"
in which the real, professional relationships of the staff are revealed far
more accurately than any study of organizational charts or observation of
routine, everyday station operation.
Programming and Management
Job Descriptions
There is no standard organizational pattern for radio stations in the
United States. Therefore, the job descriptions which follow show general
tendencies rather than any definite plan. The same limitation holds true for
the sample organizational charts of large and small radio stations shown in
Figures 3 and 4.
General Manager
Duties: 1) articulates the policies of the licensee-owner; 2) coordinates
and guides the departments comprising the total station staff; 3) is responsible for the relationship of the station to the outside community and to all
external institutions and organizations; 4) devises and maintains efficient
business procedures for the station as a whole and as a collection of individual departments; 5) oversees and evaluates the work of department heads
reporting to him; 6) is in charge of that part of the station's staff called "administration," including financial, personnel and managerial assistants.
Requisites: general, working knowledge of business administration, FCC
regulations, NAB Code, radio advertising practices, copyright laws, personnel management, public relations techniques, radio programming and
production, broadcasting technology, salesmanship and showmanship techniques.
Program Director
Duties: 1) supervises all units and employees of Program Department;
2) executes policies set by general manager and/or ownership; 3) is responsible for the daily scheduling of all local and network programming; 4 )
supervises all broadcasting talent not actually attached to the Program Department; 5) has primary supervision of "public service" and "public affairs"
programming; 6) assists in the development of commercially exploitable
programs and announcements; 7) supervises the auditioning and selection
of program materials.
Requisites: broad working knowledge of FCC regulations, NAB Code,
radio advertising practices, copyright laws, radio production, traffic procedures, showmanship techniques, broadcasting technology and journalism.
Position: supervisory; responsible to general manager; collaborates
with production director in supervision of program execution; collaborates
with sales manager in overseeing the design and scheduling of commercial
Production Director
Duties: 1) supervises all employees of the Production Department; 2)
executes policies set by the general manager and /or ownership; 3) is respon-
sible, with program director, for overseeing the physical execution of all
local programming; 4) is responsible, with chief engineer, for planning studio and remote equipment needs for program production.
Requisites: working knowledge of broadcasting technology; specialized knowledge of broadcasting showmanship techniques.
Position: supervisory; responsible to general manager (or sometimes
program director).
Chief Engineer
Duties: 1) supervises all units and employees of the Engineering Department; 2) executes policies set by the general manager and / or ownership; 3)
is responsible for overall technical operation of the station; 4) is in charge
of maintaining necessary technical records for FCC inspection; 5) works
with production director in planning program equipment needs.
Requisites: professional knowledge of radiotelephony and FCC regulations; First Class Radiotelephone license.
Position: supervisory; responsible to general manager.
Sales Manager
Duties: 1) supervises all employees of the Sales Department; 2) executes policies set by the general manager and /or ownership; 3) maintains
liaison with national sales representatives and networks; 4) meets with prospective and actual clients; 5) plans overall sales strategy; 6) works with
program director in creating and scheduling commercials.
Requisites: complete, working knowledge of radio advertising practices, sales procedures, public relations techniques, radio programming and
Position: supervisory; responsible to general manager.
Duties: 1) speaks and reads on the air; 2) plans and performs specific
programs; 3) keeps (i.e. "fills out ") the official program logs; 4) selects
recorded music for use in programs; 5) compiles newscasts from wire services teletype copy.
Requisites: pleasant voice and personality; reading ability, fluency,
poise; working knowledge of recorded music, current affairs and broadcasting showmanship techniques.
Position: responsible to program director (sometimes through a chief
announcer); collaborates in program execution with other announcers, production specialists, newsmen, music librarians, copywriters and staff talent.
Production Specialist
Duties: 1) operates studio and remote control equipment during the
assembly of programs and broadcast materials; 2) edits and files audio tape
recordings; 3) devises sound effects of various sorts.
Programming and Management
Requisites: skilled knowledge of broadcasting technology and showmanship techniques.
Position: responsible to production director; collaborates in program
execution with other specialists, announcers, newsmen, music librarians,
copywriters, staff talent and engineers.
Duties: 1) operates and maintains transmitter, studio and remote
equipment; 2) keeps engineering logs and records; 3) helps design, build,
or install new equipment arrays for special program purposes.
Requisites: thorough knowledge of radiotelephony and FCC regulations; First Class Radiotelephone license usually necessary.
Position: responsible to chief engineer, collaborates with other engineers and production specialists in setting up remote broadcasts and studio
equipment for program execution.
Duties: 1) sells advertising to local and regional clients; 2) services
existing commercial accounts; 3) helps plan commercial materials.
Requisites: thorough, working knowledge of radio advertising practices, sales procedures, public relations techniques, and radio programming
and production principles.
Position: responsible to sales manager; collaborates with other salesmen, copywriters, traffic specialists, publicity planners and research people
in mapping out and waging advertising campaigns.
Traffic Specialist
Duties: 1) prepares daily schedules and types daily logs; 2) maintains
information relative to availability of program and announcement times for
commercial or other scheduling.
Requisites: knowledge of FCC logging regulations; thorough set of
clerical skills.
Position: responsible to program director; collaborates with other traffic specialists, copywriters and salesmen in various matters related to program scheduling and logging.
Duties: 1) writes commercial and sustaining announcements not externally supplied; 2) writes program continuity scripts except news; 3)
maintains an orderly system for filing copy for daily broadcasting use.
Requisites: knowledge of radio advertising and showmanship techniques; high verbal skill; ability to type efficiently.
Position: responsible to program director; collaborates with other
writers, traffic specialists, salesmen, production specialists, announcers, mu-
sic librarians and staff talent in planning and designing various broadcast
Many station organization plans include a number of other staff-specialists: newsmen, women's editors, sports editors, farm editors, music
(record) librarians, publicists, audience and sales researchers, sales merchandisers, office managers, secretaries, bookkeepers and chief announcers.
The work of some of these people is examined in more detail in later
Visits to stations
local and regional, independent and network
would be extremely helpful in learning about their varying organizational
patterns, job responsibilities and requisites, and intra- station relationships.
Such visits will also clearly show that all management patterns focus on the
central task of effective programming.
Programming and Management
Banning, William P., Commercial Broadcasting Pioneer; the WEAF Experiment,
1922 -1926. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1946. A biased but fascinating historical study of the early
years which devotes a good deal of attention to management and programming.
Barnouw, Erik, A Tower in Babel. New
York: Oxford University Press, 1966.
The first of three volumes, this covers
the history of broadcasting to 1933.
Well written, scholarly, includes human
Dexter, Lewis A., and David M. White,
eds., People, Society, and Mass Communications. Glencoe, Ill.: The Free
Press, 1964. Especially recommended
for Fearing's article on communication
and Mendelsohn's article on present -day
radio listening.
Landry, Robert J., This Fascinating Radio Business. Indianapolis and New
York: The Bobbs-Merrill Company,
1946. A dated, but entertaining work
on programming in radio.
McLuhan, Marshall, Understanding Media. New York: McGraw -Hill Book
Company, 1964. A controversial book;
the chapter on radio deserves careful
Rosenberg, Bernard, and David M. White,
eds., Mass Culture. Indian Hills, Colo.:
Falcon's Wing Press, 1957. Valuable
for its critical inquiries into the character of popular entertainments.
Schramm, Wilbur L., ed. Mass Communications. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1960. 2nd Ed. Provides a
wide range of studies treating with various historical, sociological and ethical
questions relating to all mass media.
Schramm, Wilbur L., The Process and Effects of Mass Communication. Urbana:
University of Illinois Press, 1955. Contains excellent material on the communications process.
Settel, Irving, A Pictorial History of Radio. New York: Bonanza Books, 1960.
Diverting, historical work on radio programming as an aspect of "show business."
Steinberg, Charles S., ed., Mass Media and
Communication. New York: Hastings
House, 1966. A collection of essays by
experts in all mass media areas, concentrating on their sociological impact
and significance in a mass society.
Taylor, Sherri!, ed., Radio Programming.
New York: Hastings House, 1967. A
collection of essays by radio station
managers and other experts on programming for modern radio, as originally
presented in the 1966 programming
seminars of the National Association
of Broadcasters.
Practical information about developments and trends in radio programming may best
be found in the following trade publications: Billboard, Broadcasting Magazine, Radio TV Daily, Sponsor, Variety. Scholarly reports may be found in AV Communication
Review, Journal of Broadcasting, Journalism Quarterly, Educational Broadcasting Review. Criticism relating to radio programming may occasionally be found in such
publications as Atlantic Monthly, The Nation, New Republic, The New York Times,
Saturday Review. Program schedules, published by many radio stations, can serve as
a means of concrete investigation into contemporary programming.
Director of Operations and Lecturer,
Department of Radio, Television and Motion Pictures,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Mr. Upham received the B.S. in Business Administration from Northeastern University, Boston, and has done graduate study in communications at Boston University and the University of North Carolina. While an
undergraduate he worked for the Boston Herald -Traveler, educational FM
radio station WGBH, and WBZ- AM -FM -TV (Westinghouse). He has been
technical writer for several electronics companies. While serving with the
U.S. Army in Europe he observed various European broadcasting systems
in operation.
Mr. Upham served as the first Project Director of the Educational
Radio Network (ERN). Among other activities in that position, he supervised construction of WFCR (FM), Amherst, Massachusetts, a link in the
network's radio -relay system of educational FM radio stations. From 1961
to 1962 he served as General Manager of KLAM, Cordova, Alaska.
Mr. Upham holds a First Class Radiotelephone license from the Federal Communications Commission and has been an active amateur (ham)
radio operator. As Director of Operations of the Department of Radio,
Television and Motion Pictures at the University of North Carolina, where
he has been since 1962, he teaches radio and is responsible for the operation of studios, laboratories and the facilities of WUNC (FM).
RADIO is sound which is instantaneously transported from
one place to another by the use of electromagnetic waves. A man in a
studio speaks. His words reach the sensitive diaphragm of the microphone
before him and are changed into electrical energy. The electrical energy
flows through a microphone cable to electronic amplifiers, which greatly
increase the strength of the electrical energy. Electrical energy, however,
cannot be sent through the air as it is; it must be superimposed on something called a carrier wave. This is done by a device called a transmitter.
The carrier wave is radiated into space by a conductor called an antenna.
In the home, in the automobile or wherever a receiver is located, the
process is reversed. An antenna intercepts some of the electrical energy
being sent by the transmitter. Other transmissions are rejected by the receiver
and the desired energy is amplified. The energy bearing the desired information is derived from the carrier wave, amplified again and applied to a
loudspeaker. The loudspeaker converts the electrical energy into sound and
the voice of the announcer in the studio is heard.
There are over 6,000 radio broadcasting stations in the United States
today. They range in size from the powerful network "flagship" stations in
our largest cities to the small local stations. The quantity and quality of
equipment, personnel and production techniques are very different from one
station to the next. However, all stations use certain basic equipment, and
through custom and federal government regulation, certain techniques have
become fairly common. It is with "hardware" and techniques of use that
this chapter is concerned.
Unless one intends to be an engineer, the study of the technical aspects of radio production and transmission might seem unnecessary. Yet,
any artist in any field knows the importance of the mastery of the tools of
his medium before he attempts to create a worthwhile product. This is
particularly true in radio where, more and more, broadcasting is becoming
a one -man job. Networks and some of the larger stations still use a staff of
several people to produce any given program, but in most stations automated equipment and economics have combined to eliminate multi -person
production work almost entirely. With the effective use of new equipment
today, it is possible for one man to create radio productions similar to those
that once required a crew of skilled personnel working under a good director. And in many cases, particularly in small local stations, the one man at
the control board and microphone is also answering the telephone, operating the transmitter, keeping two sets of logs
program and technical
and doing as many other tasks as he has time and energy for.
The person who knows what can be done with the resources of a given
station can be the more creative individual. He needs to know not only
basic operating procedure, but what equipment to apply and how to apply
it in special broadcast situations. He must know not only the potentials of
the technical devices at his command, but their limitations as well. If something does not function properly or, as sometimes happens, breaks down
entirely, whoever is on duty
whether an engineer, disc jockey, announcer
or continuity writer
should have the basic insights into equipment operation which will enable him to continue on the air with a minimum of
- -
Radio broadcasting in the United States has travelled a large circle
and, in many ways, is back where it started. The first radio broadcasting
stations used modified amateur radio transmitters. The microphone was in
the same room with the transmitter and some of the entertainment consisted
of phonograph recordings played on a wind -up machine set close to the
single microphone. As radio grew in popularity, these techniques were refined. The microphone was located somewhere away from the transmitter,
partly to eliminate interference from the transmitter and partly to accommodate the separate natures of transmitters and performers. It became
customary to locate the transmitter in some out -of- the -way area where soil
and other conditions were favorable for good transmission, yet not too
close to large numbers of receivers which might result in blanketing of
reception. One or more engineers were required to be on duty at all times
Operating and Studio Facilities
when the station was on the air. It was convenient to have the microphones
in downtown rooms, called studios, where performers could readily reach
them. And as radio broadcasting became a business dependent upon advertising, studios and offices were located in the business district of the city.
The wind -up phonographs were soon replaced by electrical means of reproducing the recordings and, more significantly, by live performers. For
many years it was a rule at CBS and NBC that performances were to be
recordings were not to be used. The growing networks believed that
wanted to hear live performers rather than scratchy recorded
revenues, first from the sale of receivers and later from
voices. The
the sale of advertising, permitted the use of large numbers of live performers in magnificently- equipped studios.
The post World War II years brought many changes to radio broadcasting. Numerous new stations were built, including many small ones
owned by local businessmen without sufficient financing. Many of these
stations derived most of their program fare from music on phonograph
records. Their need for live performers and live programs was minimal.
Construction and operating costs were thereby kept to a point where local
stations in small towns and cities could not only survive, but make a reasonably good profit.
The introduction of magnetic tape recording in the late 1940's caused
a great many changes. The cumbersome 16 -inch disc transcriptions which
usually sounded something less than satisfactory on the air were replaced.
Subsequent refinements of tape recorders resulted in machines that operated with cartridges that eliminated threading and offered automatic cueing.
Completely automatic programming became possible and by the mid 1960's
was being used by many stations.
It was television that brought the greatest changes to radio broadcasting. At the network level, the best people were snatched away from radio
production and put to work on the development of a television program
service. As sales of TV sets increased, the audience for radio fell and network radio advertising revenues fell with them. One radio network reached
the brink of bankruptcy while the other three held on by sustaining their
losses from television profits. Dramatic and variety programs disappeared
from network radio and were replaced with news and music, most of the
latter recorded. At the local level, however, construction continued and
stations prospered, particularly as radios became more portable. Most new
automobiles came equipped with radios and after 1955 the small transistor
radio effected a revolution in radio listening.
Frequency Modulation or FM broadcasting deserves special mention.
Introduced in the late 1930's by the late Edwin H. Armstrong, it had gained
a small toehold at the outbreak of World War II. At the end of the war,
FM frequencies were shifted to a new and higher band where transmitting
equipment and receivers were not immediately available. As a result, most
new postwar radios and transmitting stations remained with standard (AM)
broadcasting. As equipment was produced for the newly-assigned FM freand then slipped badly
quencies in the late 1940's, FM radio boomed
as public interest was captured by television. A slow revival in FM began
again in the mid- 1950's and has accelerated since then. The saturation of
AM stations is the primary reason for the boom in FM, although FM's
many advantages (freedom from static, higher fidelity, lack of fading,
among others) are also important factors. Too, the special cultural and
controversial programming sometimes available only on FM have attracted
many listeners.
Many of the new stations, both AM and FM, were built with a combined studio and transmitter installation, permitting economies in construction and operating costs. As transmitters were refined, it became
technically possible and legal to operate them with employees having only
a bare minimum of technical training. For those stations having separate
transmitter buildings and studios, it became feasible to operate the transmitters by remote control, thus eliminating the need and cost for an
Thus, the typical radio station of the 1960's was not unlike its ancestor of the early 1920's: a microphone and a transmitter at the same
location (or at least under the control of the same operator) with much of
the program fare coming from phonograph records.
Completely automated radio stations are feasible and are being built.
Of course, some human help is needed to record the announcements, supervise the transmitter and load the various machines with reels, cartridges and
records. Technically, the results from automated equipment can be almost
perfect. Yet, the impression on the audience created by the use of this
equipment has not always been satisfactory. It would appear that the live
announcer with his ad-libbed remarks about the state of the weather, and
other timely and human comments is something many listeners desire which
cannot be "programmed" by computers.
The conscientious radio broadcaster aims to transmit sound in such a
way that the listening public will be able to understand speech clearly and
enjoy the reproduction of music. This seems a rather simple objective, yet
the achievement of it is often difficult and, unfortunately, at many stations
is never accomplished. After leaving the transmitter, sound is subject to all
sorts of losses and quality degradations before it reaches the listener's ear.
Therefore, it is necessary to keep the technical quality of the sound as high
as possible at all times while it is under the control of the station. The station
must not relax its efforts to provide "clean" audio, especially because much
of the audience may be listening on inexpensive table model radio sets and
tiny transistor portables. For example, although newspaper photos are
Operating and Studio Facilities
necessarily rather coarse in comparison with original photographs or magazine reproductions, expensive cameras, careful processing and delicate engraving methods are used to insure that the clearest possible pictures, within
the limits of the reproduction process, result.
AM Radio. The letters AM stand for Amplitude Modulation. This is
the standard method for transmitting broadcast programs. AM also refers
to a type of program service, but will not be discussed as such in this chapter. Technically, AM is one way of impressing the information we desire to
transmit onto a carrier wave. The strength (amplitude) of the carrier wave
is varied (modulated) . There are 107 channels available for this service in
the frequency range from 540 to 1,600 kilocycles. About 4,000 stations
in the United States operate on these channels. At night, outside metropolitan areas, reception is usually poor because of heavy interference between stations. But inasmuch as most stations operate only in the daytime
the overall results are technically quite satisfactory.
FM Radio. FM, or Frequency Modulation, is a later development than
AM. As with AM, it is a means of impressing information onto a carrier
wave, but instead of the strength being varied, the frequency of the wave
itself is changed, or modulated. FM radio broadcasting occupies a position
in the electromagnetic spectrum far above the regular, or AM, broadcast
band. In the United States and Canada, it is assigned 100 channels from
88 to 108 megacycles. Any discussion of FM radio inevitably includes the
ambiguous term, "high fidelity." High fidelity refers simply to accurate
reproduction of sound; any further attempts to define it involve personal
opinion and technical terms too esoteric to use here. It is sufficient here to
say that our FM broadcasting system has capabilities for producing superb
Although radio reception is not under the direct control of the broadcaster, he should be aware of its qualities. Radio receivers vary tremendously in their ability to reproduce voices and music. Some of the smallest
and cheapest transistor radios are only marginal in reproduction ability, yet
the fact that they are in use must be kept in mind when creating sounds in
the studio. At the other extreme, some home high fidelity FM installations
reproduce all the speech and music frequencies, including the low thuds of
footsteps in the studio and the "pops" and distortion of some phonograph
recordings. In addition to variations in receiving equipment, sound is affected by conditions in the area where the radio is located; noise of children
at home, traffic noise in the automobile, and other sounds tend to mask or
interfere with what is coming from the loudspeaker. The broadcaster must
compensate for these factors through careful control of sound quality and
proper structuring of announcements.
There are certain qualities that set professional radio broadcasting
equipment apart from electronic equipment intended for home use. Equipment in broadcasting stations is designed for heavy duty service (24 hours
a day if required) over a period of years. Portable equipment, for example,
must withstand the bumps and bangs of regular hard usage. The sale and
exchange of second -hand radio broadcasting equipment is an active business, and many small stations have been built entirely with equipment that
once served larger stations. Equipment is designed, too, so that repairs can
be made with a minimum loss of time. Major manufacturers keep good
stocks of special repair parts and offer emergency air shipment to any part
of the nation. Equipment is designed to work well within the limits of all
components, and a certain safety factor or reserve is available to compensate for aging and other normal changes without the need for constant tuning and adjustments. Quality of this kind requires careful design and
production. It is not inexpensive. Frequently, only after one understands
what can be expected from a given item of broadcasting gear does the cost
seem reasonable.
It is important to remember that many foreign broadcasting systems
use equipment and techniques quite different from those employed in radio
stations in the United States and described in this chapter.
The microphone is a mechanical device that has just one job: to transform sound energy into electricity. Expensive microphones obviously do
this more accurately than cheaper ones. Weight, bulk, usability under adverse weather conditions, ruggedness and directional characteristics are
primary considerations.
Types. There are several kinds of microphones that are not used very
much in commercial broadcasting service. These include the carbon, once
used in broadcasting, but now considered useful only for telephones and
communication equipment; the piezo -electric microphones, usually called
crystal or ceramic, widely used with home tape recorders but not used to
any great extent at broadcast stations. The crystal or ceramic microphone is
inexpensive and rugged, but is limited in frequency response (ability to
respond equally to all sounds
low, middle and high) They are technically classified as high- impedance microphones and cannot be directly
connected to low impedance professional broadcasting equipment. They
work well with the five or six foot cords normally supplied for home tape
recorder use, but will pick up stray interference and lose sound quality if
the cord is extended.
Fig. 1: Dynamic microphone suitable for general use. EV -655C
Courtesy of Electro- Voice, Inc., Buchanan, Mich.
The three types of microphones most commonly used in radio stations
are the dynamic or pressure microphone, the ribbon or velocity microphone, and the condenser microphone.
The dynamic or pressure microphone is probably the most popular
microphone in use in radio stations today. It is sturdy, is often packaged in
quite small and easy to carry cases, is moderate in cost, can be made
directional, has excellent frequency response and is inherently a low impedance device (microphone extension cables up to several hundred feet can
be used without degradation of the sound or introduction of interference)
Dynamic microphones come in many forms. A popular type which
may be used on a stand, as a hand -held instrument, or as a "lavalier" suspended from the neck for television is shown in Fig. 1. Many of the older
dynamic microphones still in use at stations can be identified by their shape
and color. Though produced by several different manufacturers, many of
them are about the size of a man's fist, have a heavy cast housing with
slots in it and are often chromium -plated. Newer dynamic microphones are
cigar- shaped and are finished with a dull paint which makes them usable
for "on camera" television audio pick -ups. The dynamic microphone is
broadcasts originating outside the studio. In addipopular for "remotes"
tion to its small size, light weight and sturdy construction, it is less sensitive
to wind than are other studio microphones.
Some dynamic microphones do not satisfactorily reproduce the voices
of certain individuals. The difficulty manifests itself in popping or oversibilant noises when the speaker pronounces certain sounds, notably "p's"
and "s's." It is caused by a combination of the design of the microphone and
the speech characteristics of the speaker. If difficulty is encountered, try
moving the mike away from the speaker or have him speak across, rather
than into, the microphone. Or if another type of mike is available, see if it
is more satisfactory.
The dynamic microphone is constructed of a diaphragm, a permanent
magnet, and some coils of wire wrapped around the magnet. The diaphragm
is positioned within the field of the magnet. Movements caused by sound
waves result in a disturbance of the magnetic field and a small electric current is induced into the coils of wire. Dynamic microphones are usually
non -directional; that is, they respond to sound coming from all directions
and do not minimize unwanted noise that may be in the background. The
more expensive dynamic microphones, however, are directional and will
respond best in one direction while rejecting sounds from all other directions.
The velocity or ribbon microphone is the next most used type of mike.
It is easy to recognize from its oval or coffin -like shape. The name ribbon
derives from the construction: a thin metallic ribbon stretched in the field
of a powerful permanent magnet. As in the dynamic microphone, movements generate small currents of electricity in a coil of wire wrapped around
the magnet. A widely -used velocity microphone is RCA model 77D. (See
Fig. 2.)
The name "velocity" comes from the action of sound upon the ribbon.
responds to the velocity of the sound which reaches the microThe
phone, rather than the pressure of the sound, as in the dynamic microphone.
The velocity microphone is an "inside" microphone. Its bulk, weight, fragility, and a lack of tolerance for wind restrict it to stand or boom mounted
positions. The fidelity of its response and adaptable features make it highly
desirable as a basic microphone for studio speech and music pick -ups. The
RCA 77D has a screw on the back face to select different pick -up patterns.
In the first switch position it has a one -sided, or uni- directional pattern.
Sounds from the back and sides are rejected, while sounds from the front
r./ ^r,r`
r ,- .., r
Fig. 2: Velocity microphone. RCA 77D.
Courtesy of Radio Corporation of America, Camden, N.J.
are picked up. In the second position it becomes bi- directional. The pick -up
pattern approximates a figure -8, with sounds accepted from the front and
back, but rejected from the right and left sides. In the third position, the
sounds from all sides are equally
microphone becomes non -directional
plus another in the base which
make the 77D an almost
controls the amount
in the use of velocof
universal microphone
it is wise to
ity and dynamic microphones: because
keep them away from tape recordings, inasmuch
might partially erase a program if the microphone came
a reel of tape.
The condenser (capacitor) microphone has a curious history. First
used in commercial radio broadcasting in the 1920's and early 1930's, it
went out of style because of technical problems. Improvements, many of
them German-made, led to a re- introduction and wide use in the recording
industry and in some radio stations in the 1950's. The condenser microphone is distinguished from the dynamic and velocity mikes in several ways.
First, it is an expensive microphone (about $400), preventing its use by
many radio stations. Second, it can produce a level of sound quality highly
prized by high -fidelity fans and very popular with recording companies.
Third, it can be used in sound laboratories for the measurement of other
sound reproducing components. Finally, it has the disadvantage of being
somewhat more inconvenient to use than other mikes because it requires a
tube or transistor within the case, and a special power supply and cables.
Indications are that these problems will be greatly modified, eventually
making the condenser mike as simple, flexible and relatively moderate in
cost as dynamic and velocity types.
Placement and stands. Correct speaking distance from a microphone
depends upon the characteristics of the speaker's voice, the size and acoustic properties of the studio, the design and type of the microphone, and the
desired effect. As a general rule, one can begin with the microphone about
a foot away and adjust the distance until the desired result is achieved.
Proper microphone placement for musical pick -ups can be a complex procedure. Sometimes one microphone, carefully placed, can pick up all instruments satisfactorily. More often, additional microphones are needed in
order to balance the sound from the various instruments and vocalists.
Some microphones are light enough and small enough to be hand -held
for special programs such as audience -participation shows. Usually, however, it is desirable to fix the microphone in one convenient position. A
number of different types of stands have been devised for this purpose.
something to hold the microphone
The simplest is a small desk stand
up a few inches or so. More elaborate desk stands, sometimes called banquet stands, may hold the microphone up some two feet above the table
top. Various flexible arms are available which make exact placement of
Operating and Studio Facilities
Fig. 3: Modern audio control board.
Courtesy of Gates Radio Co., Quincy, Illinois.
the microphone easy. Boom devices which suspend the microphones are
very popular. They range from the simple "baby" variety
three feet long
to elaborate devices with huge floor bases and rubber -tired wheels.
Control Boards
Function. The control board, console, or just "board," as it is commonly called, is the nerve center of a radio station. It is the point where
sounds coming from various microphones, record turntables, tape recorders
and network telephone lines are joined together in various combinations.
The resulting mixture goes to the transmitter and is sent out over the air.
Although boards function generally the same way, not all are alike in specific detail. It is not necessary for the beginner to attempt to memorize all
operating details of all boards. Once operation of a typical board is learned,
it is fairly easy to adapt to the operation of all others. The "typical" board
face consists of switches, potentiometers ( "pots ") for the control of sound
levels, and a meter which visually displays the outgoing sound level. (See
Fig. 3.) Internally, vacuum tubes (transistors in the newest models) and
other electronic components make up the amplifiers which raise the incoming signals to the levels required to send the program to the transmitter
and to various loudspeakers in the control room and around the radio
Operation. Although no detailed operating instructions can be given
that are universally applicable, all boards have certain controls that are
similar in nature. As you read the following descriptions of board controls,
see the Fig. 4 diagram for clarification of their typical appearance and
"A" in Fig. 4. All boards have one knob
1) Master gain control
which is distinguished from all other knobs by color, placement or shape,
and which is labelled "master." In practice, it is usually set at a given number (volume level) and is so marked with crayon or tape.
`B" in Fig. 4. These are the active
2) Sub -master gain controls
controls or "pots" which are used almost continually during a show. They
are rarely labelled "sub- master," but are given the names of the inputs,
such as microphone 1, microphone 2, left turntable, right turntable, tape,
and network.
"C" in Fig. 4. A selector switch for each sub 3) Input switches
master pot permits a choice of various inputs to be "fed" into the given pot.
This increases the number of possible inputs without the need and expense
of putting a large number of pots and their associated preamplifiers into an
already crowded console.
"D" in Fig. 4. All boards incorporate
4) Audition or cue switches
some means of enabling the board operator to hear the sound coming from
various inputs, especially record turntables, before the sound is sent out
over the air. Sometimes this is done with a lever-type switch above the sub master volume control, at other times with pushbuttons. The sound being
auditioned may be heard on a special loudspeaker in the control room, on
the regular control room program monitoring loudspeaker, or over earphones worn by the operator.
"E" in Fig. 4. Most boards have some switch to
5) Output switch
control the output from the board. In one switch position no sound goes
to the transmitter, though the board appears to be functioning normally.
After the transmitter has warmed -up and the station is ready to sign on, the
switch is thrown and the program goes on the air. The same switch often is
designed so that a spare telephone line to the transmitter can be used in the
event of failure of the regular program line.
"F" in Fig. 4. The volume meter, or "VU" (vol6) Volume meter
ume unit) meter as it is usually called, is the visual device used to determine the correct sound level. It is impractical to attempt to judge relative
sound levels just by listening to the loudspeaker. The meter is connected to
the output of the board and measures the strength of the outgoing signal.
It is scaled from 0 to 100 and designed in accord with an established engineering standard so that all broadcast audio equipment has the same
standard unit of measure.
"G" in Fig. 4. This permits the plugging -in of
7) Headphone jack
to the output of the board. Additional means
Operating and Studio Facilities
A. Master gain control
B. Sub -master gain controls
C. Input switches
D. Audition or cue switches
E. Output switch
F. VU Meter
G. Headphone jack
H. Monitor gain control
Fig. 4: Diagram of Control Board
can allow listening via headphones to incoming remote, network and similar
broadcasts. Some operators prefer to wear headphones; others rely on the
loudspeaker. The former must remember to keep his voice at a constant
level because hearing one's voice over the phones frequently results in a
lowering of vocal volume.
8) Monitor gain control
"H" in Fig. 4. A separate, independent
control for the loudness of the control room speaker permits the operator
to adjust for a comfortable listening level, to turn it down for telephone
calls, or to raise it to hear some important sound. This control does not
affect the outgoing broadcast or other loudspeakers around the station,
which have their own volume controls at each speaker location. If a microphone is turned on in the studio or the control room, the monitor loudspeaker in that room will automatically be shut off or "muted." This prevents "feedback." Feedback is caused when sound from the loudspeaker
reaches the microphone and is amplified again and again until a continuous
whistle results. The loudspeaker in the radio studio comes back on automatically as soon as the microphone is shut off. Similarly, warning lights
inside and outside the studio go on and off as the microphone switch is
9) Talk -back provisions. Many boards permit the operator in the
control room to talk to a remote broadcast location before broadcast time
and to the studio (s) when they are not on the air. In some boards a single
pushbutton is all that is needed; others require the operator to use more
than one switch to accomplish the communication.
It should be noted that many stations use dual-channel boards. These
are really two control boards in one and permit great flexibility and versatility in their operation. They are somewhat more complicated to operate
than the single channel boards, but can be mastered either by taking just
one section and learning how to run it or by applying previous knowledge
of the operation of a single channel board. Control boards intended for
stereo broadcasting or recording are similar to dual-channel boards, but
have some of the controls ganged together to permit simpler operation and
accurate coordination between the left and right channels.
Phonograph records have always been a part of radio broadcasting.
The special needs of radio resulted in the development of technically different turntables and recordings than those used by the general public. In
general, the record playing equipment to be found in a radio station is
sturdier, of. greater precision and more expensive than that found in the
In broadcasting, the word turntable means more than just a revolving
mechanical device, but includes the pick -up arm and cartridge, the necessary sound equalizers, the internally-mounted pre-amplifiers and even the
Operating and Studio Facilities
wooden case. Turntables often are built into a table or control desk at a convenient location and height, sometimes into their own free -standing, enclosed cabinets. They do not have loudspeakers of their own, as do home
phonographs, but depend upon and must be electrically wired to the control
console. Two and even three turntables usually are installed together in
radio stations to permit continuous playing of music and recorded announcements without the delays which would be necessary if only one turntable
or a mechanical record changer were present. Record changers have rarely
been used in broadcasting except for some late -night broadcasts and with
automated equipment at some stations.
Speeds. The typical radio station today is equipped with three -speed
turntables: 78.26, 45 and 331/2 revolutions-per -minute. Older turntables
still in use usually are equipped for only 78 or 33 rpm. A very few stations
have variable speed turntables which produce special sound effects by
speeding up or slowing down recordings. Broadcast turntables provide easy
and positive selection of the different speeds. They start very quickly, to
permit close cueing. Many have synchronous drive motors which provide
very accurate playback timing of transcribed programs.
Sizes. Many turntables used in broadcasting are quite large, oriented
toward the 16-inch transcriptions which were in frequent use before fine
groove recording made possible the use of smaller records. Because 16-inch
records are becoming obsolete, more and more stations are installing turntables which accept records only up to 12 inches in diameter. Most 12 -inch
turntables include a depressed area to provide a secure hold for the 7 -inch
45 rpm records which are widely used in broadcasting.
Pick-up arms, cartridges and styli. Although a large variety of models
exist, all are relatively simple to operate. Arms and pick -up cartridges are
all of precision construction in order to afford ease in use, protection for
the delicate record grooves, and freedom from sticking in or skipping of
grooves. Almost all have some means of changing the type of stylus
(needle) in order to accommodate the various kinds of records. The most often used pick -up cartridges have a quick and simple turn -around device
for changing styli. The operator should take care, however, that the desired
needle is seated exactly and is not jammed slightly out of position. If the
stylus is not in place, the sound will be distorted, with much noise from the
stylus itself, and the record will be damaged. Dust on the stylus sometimes
causes this same problem. Some pick -ups require the detaching and exchanging of the end of the arm for another cartridge containing a different
size stylus.
as they variously
As noted above, records, discs or transcriptions
are called
are of several speeds. In addition, groove size varies. The 45
rpm records are fine -grooved, as are most of the 331/2 records today. Many
16 -inch records have old -style wide grooves; some of the newest ones are
fine -grooved. 78 records are wide -grooved. Unfortunately, records are not
always labelled with groove information. Fine groove records should be
played with a 1 mil stylus; older, wide -groove records with a 2.5 mil stylus;
78 records with either a 2.5 or 3 mil stylus.
Lateral and vertical recordings. All of our present -day disc recordings
are recorded with side -to -side groove motions and are called lateral recordings. At one time several transcription services provided records that were
made with up and down or vertical groove motions. Some stations still have
and use these recordings. They should be played only on a turntable
equipped with a special pick -up arm, and the vertical -lateral equalizer
should be set on "vertical."
Stereo. Many stations now broadcast in stereo and have turntables
which were either designed or have been converted to reproduce stereo
recordings. Some stations which cannot broadcast in stereo have installed
reproducing arms on their equipment to allow stereo recordings to be played
monaurally ( two channels blended into one) . Stereo recordings are made
complex comwith both up- and -down and side -to -side groove motions
bination of vertical and lateral movements. They must be played with a
pick -up arm designed for stereo because monaural pick -ups have been designed to respond only to lateral movements, cannot track the vertical
movements of the stereo record groove, and will gouge and scratch the
Acetate recordings. Radio stations frequently use disc recordings that
have been cut directly by a disc recorder, not stamped out of plastic as are
commercial recordings. These acetate recordings are made of an aluminum
base which has been coated with very smooth and soft material such as
cellulose nitrate. Excellent reproduction may be obtained from these records
if extra care is used in handling them. Because the grooves are softer than
the grooves of "pressings," as standard records are called, care must be
taken to avoid scratching the needle across the grooves and to avoid repeated cueing of the record.
Equalizers. All professional turntables have a control labelled "equalizer" or "filter" which allows compensation for different recording characteristics and which reduces noise when old recordings are played. It is a
simple knob with several settings labelled as to type of recording characteristic. The audible effect is similar to a tone control on a radio or record
player. At one extreme the sound is very crisp and record noise and distortion, if present on the disc, are noticeable; at the other extreme the
sound is more muted, higher notes are reduced, and scratch and distortion
are not as noticeable.
Cueing. Listeners are accustomed to hearing an announcer introduce
a particular record, and then, without any delay, fumbling or scratching,
they hear the music. This is accomplished by a process called "cueing."
Operating and Studio Facilities
The board operator selects the record to be played, places the pick -up arm
on the correct band or "cut," if it is a long playing record with several
selections, and lets the record run until he hears the very beginning of the
music (via the cueing circuit
not on the air!) He stops the record at that
point and backs it up a turn or a fraction of a turn. The record is now said
to be "cued" or "cued -up." There are several methods for completing the
process. Some involve holding the record itself, with the motor running,
and letting it go on cue, with the music heard in a fraction of a second.
Others involve the use of the turntable motor switch. Learn the practice best
suited to the equipment and records at the given station. Be careful not to
over -cue records
repeated plays and back -ups to find the precise spot
for a quick start. This is hard on the records and will result in a noticeable
amount of noise at the beginning of the music or speech.
Handling. Records will last longer and sound better if given proper
care. When removing a record from its jacket, press the edges slightly so
that the record is not dragged against the sides of the jacket. This will reduce scratches. Do the same when replacing a record. Hold the record by
the center and the edges
don't touch the playing surface. Hands usually
have a slight amount of oil on them and, on a record, this will attract dust
and dirt. Handle the pick -up arms carefully to avoid scratching the record.
Be careful not to drop anything on the turntable while the arm is resting
on the record. Don't play the records on home phonographs unless the
stylus condition is good.
Tape Recorders
Magnetic tape recorders are widely used in radio broadcasting. Most
stations have one or more fixed -position professional machines in the control room. In addition, stations use "plug -in" and battery- operated portable
machines for special events and news coverage. The sales and program
departments, among others, often use home -type portable machines for
auditioning tape recordings in their own or customers' offices. A special
type of tape recorder, the automatic cartridge tape recorder, is widely used
for the playing of announcements and musical themes at many stations.
Some stations operate partially or entirely via automatically -controlled tape
A Danish inventor, Valdemar Poulsen, demonstrated magnetic recording in 1898, but at the time there were no vacuum tubes to amplify the
weak sounds produced. In the 1930's German and American researchers
produced magnetic recorders for experimental and limited commercial service. During World War II many wire recorders were produced in the
United States for military use, and following the end of the war were introduced into the consumer market. They were briefly popular in the home
and at a few radio stations, but were soon superseded by magnetic tape
which has many advantages over wire. Until 1950, broadcast stations used
disc recording. Since that time tape recording has grown into virtual exclusive dominance.
Types. Broadcast -style tape recorders are similar to broadcast turntables in that they do not incorporate loudspeakers, but are connected
electrically to the control console. The most common recording speed in the
broadcasting industry is 71 inches -per- second. Speeds of 15 ips and 33/4 ips
are also used, the former for high quality music recordings and the latter
where economy or maximum uninterrupted playing time is the prime factor.
Broadcasters use the full width of the recording tape: full -track (or singletrack) recording. In contrast, home recorders provide half-track (or dual track ) recording in order to double the amount of recording time that can
be contained on a reel of tape. Full -track recording provides slightly better
quality, eliminates possible confusion of location of the desired program
on a tape, and permits editing without cutting into another program. Tapes
made on half-track machines can be played on full -track broadcast machines if the second track is left blank. But if any recorded material remains
on the other track, it will be heard playing backwards at the same volume
as the desired program. Tapes made on full -track machines can be played
on home half -track machines.
Stereo tape recorders found at well- equipped broadcast stations record
two channels side-by -side on a tape. Many are equipped to play quarter track stereo tapes that are commercially popular.
Broadcast machines often employ separate recording and playback
heads in order to provide improved quality and reliability. With this arrangement it is possible to listen to a recording a fraction of a second after
it has been recorded in order to be sure that it is going properly.
Studio mounting. Many stations prefer to have their most expensive
tape recording machines permanently mounted in metal racks or separate
consoles at the studio. (See Fig. 5.) This way they are always available in
the control room and are not subject to the jars and abuses received by
portable equipment. They may be used to record events occurring outside
the studio by connecting them to a special line rented from the telephone
company. The station sends a remote amplifier and operator to the outside
event and at a prearranged time or upon a cue from the outside operator,
the control room operator starts the tape rolling.
Portable equipment. Lightweight tape recorders for portable use are
widely used. (See Fig. 6.) Good ones are rugged, fairly compact and will
record with a fidelity approaching that of the larger studio machines. When
plug-in power is not available or convenient, many stations use batteryoperated tape recorders. Except for the most expensive kinds, these machines do not usually provide full fidelity recordings, but are nevertheless
adequate for speech and low enough in cost so that a small station can buy
one or more for use in gathering local news.
Cartridge machines. Tape recording made it possible for radio stations
Fig. 5: Console -mounted tape recorder for studio use. Note large
reels. Ampex 351.
Fig. 6: Portable AC- operated broadcast -type tape recorder. Ampex 602.
Courtesy of Ampex Corp., Redwood City, Calif.
to effect economies in their announcing staffs without the monotony of having
the same voice for every announcement. This required the threading, cueing
and rewinding of many short reels of tape. The introduction of automatic
cartridge tape recording machines eliminated threading and cued the announcements automatically. (See Figs. 7 and 8.) Operation is simple. A
tape is inserted into the machine, automatically runs until it finds the start
of the announcement, stops and waits until a button is pushed, starts instantly, plays to the end and then stops. The tape is wound in the cartridge
in the form of a joined loop so there is no rewinding.
Automated tape equipment. Though the cartridge tape machine is a
form of automation, automated tape equipment refers more specifically to
equipment incorporating two or more machines, an automatic control panel,
and sometimes an automatic record changer. Some stations operate for a
portion of their broadcast day with automated programming equipment; a
few operate entirely with automation. Many of the automation systems use
prepared reels of tape which are furnished for a rental fee by central production organizations. The equipment is arranged so that local announcements (on tape) and network programs are cut in and out of the prepared
Tapes. Tape comes in a bewildering variety of thicknesses, base materials, coatings and lengths. The standard recording tape used by radio
stations is 1.5 mils in thickness, is made of cellulose acetate, and is coated
with a dark reddish oxide of iron. 1,200 feet of this tape will fit on a 7 -inch
reel and plays for a half-hour at a speed of 71 inches-per- second. There
are thinner tapes available and some stations use them, but they have some
disadvantages, such as tendency to stretch, fragility, handling difficulty and
higher cost, which limit their use for day-in, day -out broadcasting. Tape
made of cellulose acetate may break, but ordinarily only if the equipment
is poorly adjusted. It breaks "clean," however, and can be repaired with
no loss of recorded material. Some other types of tape are stronger and
but this requires the trimstretch a section of the tape before breaking
ming of some of the program material before the tape can be spliced. Using
a standard brand of recording tape will result in better functioning equipment and a consistent quality of sound. Unbranded tapes offered at bargain
prices will record, but it is usually best to leave them for home use where
less may be expected of them.
Reels. Radio stations make almost universal use of the 7 -inch plastic
reel. It is popular because of low cost, ease of handling, easy storage,
adaptability to virtually any machine and convenient playing time (one -half
hour of standard thickness tape). Many stations also use 101/2-inch metal
or plastic reels which hold twice as much tape as the 7 -inch reels and are
useful where an hour -long program, recorded at 71/2 ips, must be handled
by one machine. These reels are useful when recordings are made at 15
ips because they offer more uninterrupted recording time (one -half hour).
Operating and Studio Facilities
Fig. 7: Cartridge tape recorder. Spotmaster 500A.
Courtesy of Broadcast Electronics Inc., Silver Spring, Md.
Fig. 8: Tape cartridges for automatic cartridge-style tape recorders.
Courtesy of Broadcast Electronics, Inc., Silver Spring, Md.
Five-inch and smaller reels are sometimes used, but one should check ahead
of time to see if the equipment will handle them. Many professional machines have difficulty in pulling such reels evenly and will sometimes slow
down, stretch or even break the tape as it nears the end of the small reel.
Editing and splicing. Editing recording tape is a simple process. The
exact location where the cut is to be made is located, a mark is made on
the back of the tape (shiny side) with a china marking ( "grease ") pencil,
and the tape is cut with a pair of scissors. To join two pieces of tape together, a tape splicer may be used or, with care, scissors will do. A diagonal
cut is made and the two pieces are joined together with a piece of special
splicing tape applied to the back or shiny side of the tape. Don't use regular
transparent mending tape for splicing because the adhesive will bleed
through to adjoining layers of tape and will cause the tape to stick when
it is played. If a recorded tape has been broken, join the tape together with
splicing tape without cutting anything away. If care is taken, it is often
impossible to hear the break.
Although tape recorders automatically erase any old recording as a
new recording is made, radio stations are equipped with a device to completely remove old recordings from a reel of tape beforehand. A recording
is a magnetized impression in the iron oxide of the tape and can be removed
by a powerful electromagnet which demagnetizes the entire tape in a few
seconds. The demagnetizer (or bulk eraser as it is sometimes called) must
be used carefully so that the old program is removed entirely and no spurious noises remain or are created.
Devices for measuring the running time of a tape-recorded program
come in several forms. Stopwatches are useful, but unless they are assigned
to individuals who will care for them, their life is short. Larger and more
sturdy wind -up or electrically-operated timing devices are often used in
stations. A program for broadcast should not be timed on a home -type
tape recorder. The speeds of non -professional machines are not exact and
in a half-hour program usually result in a plus or minus error of several
seconds to a minute.
Labelling and storing. Be sure the reels and tape boxes are properly
identified. A china marking pencil for writing directly on the plastic reels
or adhesive -backed labels may be used. Recordings should be stored in
correct boxes, which should be placed on edge. To prevent crushing the
edges of the tape if the boxes must be stacked temporarily on top of each
other, there should not be too many in any one pile and nothing heavy
should be set on top of them. Temperatures and humidity should be
moderate. Tapes should not be stored next to an electric motor or transformer
for example, a refrigerator or a large television or radio receiver
because the magnetic field from the motor or transformer may alter the
quality of the recordings. Permanent magnets, such as those found in microphones and radio receivers should be kept away from the tapes. Tapes
- -
Operating and Studio Facilities
should be rewound before being broadcast if they have been stored for
more than a month. Winding and rewinding loosens sticky splices that
might cause jerkiness in the sound.
Sound Effects Equipment
In the days of network dramatic broadcasts, important among studio
equipment were various mechanical and electrical devices to create certain
sounds. A large library of recorded effects and a big multi -turntable sound
playback console were considered essential to any well- equipped radio
production studio. Skilled sound men were important members of production staffs. Sound effects are not so significant in radio today, although they
are useful in creating distinctive commercials. Many effects involve modifications of the announcer's voice: echo effects, filters to make it sound as
if it were coming over a telephone, and speeding or slowing it.
Echo. Mechanical devices, notably the EMT reverberation generator
made in West Germany, and a reverberation device manufactured by the
Hammond Organ Company, are effective in obtaining echoes. The former
is very expensive, but has control and fidelity that make it useful for many
other effects, including increasing the apparent "liveness" of music. The
Hammond device is sold under several names, is inexpensive, and is even
used in home high fidelity sound installations. An echo much used for
commercial announcements, but unlike a natural echo, may be obtained
with a professional three -headed tape recorder. The recorder is connected
to play back virtually instantaneously any sound that is fed into it. A portion of the playback is fed back into the input of the machine and a feedback condition is created. The feedback is not in the form of the traditional
whistle usual with audio equipment, but is a repetition of the sound at
split-second intervals, determined by the time required for the recording
tape to pass from the recording head to the playback head. Regular broadcast recorders may be used, but special machines are available that have
either more than one playback head or a playback head that is adjustable
in distance from the recording head.
Filters. Filters are often used to imitate the sound coming over a
telephone or through a radio receiver, or to create a rather piercing, unusual sound. The output of a microphone preamplifier is connected to a
filter that removes low notes and high notes and leaves only the middle
tones. Sometimes the filters are adjustable and allow an operator to remove
just the degree and portion of highs and lows that he wishes.
Recorded sound effects. Extensive collections of recorded effects exist
and individual sounds may be purchased as needed. Many of the older
sound effects records are nonbreakable 78 rpm discs, easy to cue, but sometimes rather low in fidelity. Many stations transfer new recorded effects
onto tape cartridges to prevent wear of the originals and to provide convenient use.
Fig. 9: Remote pickup radio transmitter for portable or mobile use. 150
megacycle band, FM, 30 watts output. Marti M -30B.
Courtesy of Marti Electronics, Cleburne, Texas.
Other Input Sources
Radio programs originate from sources other than studio microphones,
turntables and tape recorders. Programs from outside the studio are often
an important part of the schedule. Programs from the national radio networks, ABC, CBS, MBS and NBC, come to the individual stations over
special wire circuits leased from telephone companies. Regional and state
networks provide programming for many stations, some of them through
leased telephone lines, others through the facilities of an FM broadcast
radio station. Stations receiving the network service via FM simply pick up
the program with an FM receiver and route the signal through their own
control console. Control boards usually have at least one switch or pot
labelled "network" or "net," and many have a means of plugging in headphones to monitor the incoming network "feed."
Live remote broadcasts originated by the station itself are an important source of programs. These may be sent to the station by leased telephone wire or by radio. Recent improvements in radio remote equipment
offer advantages over wire, formerly most often used: speed and flexibility,
lines do not have to be ordered in advance, and no line installation and
rental costs. (See Fig. 9.) Control boards usually have several input switches
Operating and Studio Facilities
that are set aside for remote broadcasts. If wire lines are used, the board
feeds the regular broadcast program down the remote line to assure the
operator at the remote that the line is in order and to furnish him with a
starting cue. Regular telephone circuits may be used for special programs.
Speed, flexibility and low cost can compensate for the inferior sound quality
transmitted by telephones. Telephone connections may be brought directly
into the board, though for some programs various devices are used to delay
the speech a second or more in order to be able to interrupt the telephone
connection if objectionable remarks are made.
License Requirements
Some radio stations operate with the transmitter in the same room
with and under the direct control of the board operator. Some have the transmitter at a remote site with an attendant engineer. Others operate their
transmitters by remote control from the studio control room. In all cases
the board operator has responsibility for starting the transmitter, adjusting
the power, reading several meters at half -hour intervals and maintaining
general supervision of the transmitter, in addition to his other duties at the
A license from the Federal Communications Commission is required
for operators who actually control transmitting equipment. Licenses are not
required for operation of audio control boards, tape recorders, and similar
instruments, though many radio stations expect all their operating employees to have an FCC license. Licenses come in different classes and are
the Third Class license requiring little
obtained through examination
technical knowledge, the Second and, especially, the First Class licenses
requiring more specific knowledge of broadcasting equipment and practices. The Third Class Radiotelephone license is the basic license and is
good for use at most stations needing a combined board operator-transmitter operator. Study guides for self-preparation are listed at the end of
this chapter. The license is obtained by passing a rather simple multiple choice test administered by an FCC examiner. Every radio station must have
at least one technician on call with a First Class license, which must be
posted at the transmitter.
All transmitters and remote transmitter controls differ, and no specific
instructions can be given that apply to all situations. Some generalizations,
however, may be made. Most transmitter problems develop at sign -on, so
it is wise to arrive on the job early. In case of trouble, the extra minutes
provide time to try different methods to get the transmitter in operation or
to summon help from the chief engineer. Putting a transmitter on the air
is often a two or more step process. Most transmitters require some warm-
up time. Many contain automatic timing devices which prevent operation
on the air until the warm -up has elapsed. The meters should be read as
i.e., every half hour. Readings help the engineers to determine
if the equipment is operating properly, and can save time in diagnosing
trouble when a transmitter has gone off the air. The only transmitter adjustment a Third Class licensee is legally permitted is to raise and lower the
output power. FCC standards provide that the power is to be maintained
within a range of 10% below to 5% higher than normal licensed power.
If a malfunction develops, an engineer with a Second or First Class license
must repair the equipment. (Figure 10 shows an AM transmitter featuring
but one vacuum tube in an otherwise all-transistor design.)
Certain stations have assumed obligations to participate in emergency
networks to relay news concerning local, regional or national disaster situations. All stations are required to maintain monitoring equipment to warn
of such disasters. Instructions concerning the Emergency Broadcast System
are given to operators at individual stations.
The control operator must keep two sets of written logs. One is the program log and contains the beginning and ending times, the name of the program, the sponsor, an indication that the sponsor was identified, the source
of the program and the time a recorded program was so announced.
(See Fig. 11.) The second log is a technical record of the meter readings
and other information relating to the transmitter. (See Fig. 12.) The program log is very important to the station as it tells the operator what to
perform and, when it is filled out, serves as the master record of what went
out on the air. Billings for advertising are usually taken from information
recorded in this log. The FCC requires that logs be kept in a legible, permanent form; entries should be typewritten or in ink. Corrections may not be
made by erasure, but by striking through the incorrect entry, initialing the
correction and dating it. Only the person who made the original entry is
authorized to make the correction. Logs must be kept on file by the stations
and are open for inspection by the FCC. At license renewal times, sample
logs are forwarded to the FCC with the renewal application.
Operating and Studio Facilities
Fig. 10.. Modern 1000 watt AM transmitter. Uses transistors and one tube.
Courtesy of Gates Radio Co., Quincy, Ill.
Gates Vanguard I.
ST -Local Studio
LR-Local Remote
ATR -Am. Tel. Remote
RB-Re- Broadcast
NET- Network
RD- Recorded
RS- Recorded Sustaining
RC-Recorded Commercial
LS -Live Sustaining
TR- Transcribed
1360 K.C.
LC -Live Commercial
SP-Station Promotion
M -Music
Fig. 11: Program Log.
Courtesy Village Broadcasting Company, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Sheet No
Fig. 12: Technical Log.
Courtesy WUNC Radio, University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, N.C.
Operating and Studio Facilities
Crews, Albert, Radio Production Directing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1944. Radio production as it was
done before the coming of television.
Still useful.
Nisbett, Alec, The Technique of the Sound
Studio. New York: Hastings House,
Publishers, Inc., 1962. British (BBC)
sound techniques. Good description and
illustrations of highly refined techniques
of radio broadcasting and recording.
Oringel, Robert S., Audio Control Handbook for Radio and TV Broadcasting.
New York: Hastings House, Publishers,
Inc. Rev. ed. 1963. An excellent text for
use in beginning-to- intermediate audio
production classes. Liberally illustrated.
Turnbull, Robert B., Radio and Television
Sound Effects. New York: Rinehart,
1961. Good "idea" book for making
Walker, A. Prose, Ed., NAB Engineering
Handbook. New York: McGraw -Hill
Book Co., Inc., Fifth ed. 1960. A massive reference book for those seeking
specific information. Found in most
radio stations and large public libraries.
First -Class Radiotelephone License Handbook. Indianapolis, Ind.:
Howard W. Sams & Co., Inc., 1964. A
good study guide for use in preparing
for a First or Second Class FCC license
Study Guide for Third-Class
Radio- Telephone Operator License with
Broadcast Endorsement. Washington,
D.C.: National Association of Broadcasters. Pamphlet.
Several periodicals should be consulted regularly by those interested in
the technical operation of radio:
Audio. Mineola, N.Y.: Radio Magazines,
Inc. "The original magazine about high
fidelity." Many articles on recording
and reproduction of sound, broadcasting. Monthly.
BME. New York, N.Y.: Mactier Publishing Corporation. "The magazine of
broadcasting management /engineering."
Broadcast Engineering. Indianapolis, Ind.:
Howard W. Sams & Co. "The technical
journal of the broadcast- communications industry." Monthly.
Broadcast News. Camden, N.J.: Radio
Corporation of America. RCA radio
and television equipment and feature
articles on stations' facilities. Monthly.
Broadcasting: Yearbook Issue. Washing-
ton, D.C.: Broadcasting Publications,
Inc. Includes broadcast equipment directory, lists of all stations and much
other useful information. Yearly.
Journal of the Audio Engineering Society.
New York, N.Y.: Audio Engineering
Society. Acoustics, equipment relating
to reproduction of sound. Monthly.
Associate Professor of Communication Arts,
University of Houston
In addition to his teaching responsibilities, Dr. Hawes is faculty adviser
to KUHF, the FM radio station of the University of Houston. Previously
he was faculty director of WUNC, the FM radio station of the University
of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and adviser to KTCU, Texas Christian
University, which he developed from carrier current to an FM station.
He received the A.B. degree from Eastern Michigan University, where
he majored in English and Speech. He has the A.M. and Ph.D. degrees
from the University of Michigan. After teaching at Eastern Michigan for
four years, he became director of the Division of Radio -Television-Film at
Texas Christian University, where he produced numerous radio and television programs for commercial stations in Fort Worth and Dallas, in
addition to his duties with KTCU. After a brief period at WTOP -TV,
Washington, D.C., he spent a year as a visiting assistant professor in the
Department of Radio, Television and Motion Pictures of the University of
North Carolina. He has also served on the staffs of the University of Michigan and the National Music Camp.
Originally interested in art and theatre, Dr. Hawes has directed, designed and acted in university and community theatres. In 1956 he made
an official tour of European theatres, and the following year won a major
Hopwood Award in drama. In a joint venture with Eastern and Central
Michigan Universities and WJRT, Flint, he taught the first television
course in drama for those educational institutions, and subsequently taught
courses in educational television and in radio at Texas Christian University
and at the University of North Carolina. He has also produced various
films, including three on ballet. He has been a speaker and panelist at conventions of professional organizations, and his offices include the position
of secretary of the Radio -Television-Film Group of the Southern Speech
Association. His articles on the mass media have appeared in publications
such as the NAEB Journal, Journal of Broadcasting, Television Quarterly
and the Journal of the University Film Producers Association.
ENTERTAINMENT, information, commercials and announcements are the substance of radio programming. To a degree every moment
of the broadcast day requires the services of a producer and a director, although in modern radio these titles as such are virtually non -existent.
The functions of the producer and director have been absorbed by other
members of the radio production team
the program director, the news
director, the disc jockeys, and other people who double as producer- director
and talent. For these people, producing and directing is just part of a day's
work. It is, therefore, desirable, if not essential, for a novice to understand
the diverse responsibilities of producing and directing so that he will be
prepared to share these assignments. The purpose of this chapter is to examine in detail the philosophy, place and application of producing and directing in a modern radio station.
Producing and directing is a mixture of the ideal and the expedient. A
producer and a director must have the ability to lead people and sufficient
self -discipline to get the job done on time. Each must be familiar with legal
restrictions and the industry's self-imposed rules of good practice. Each
must have a temperament that will endure the most exasperating circumstances, and confidence in himself.
Producing. Producing is the task of bringing programs, commercials
and announcements into existence. Its goal is to make the creative process
possible. To do this, a producer may assemble artists, technicians, financiers
and administrators from all over the world. He has a keen memory for
talent, and is an originator of ideas. A New York producer once said that
producing is a matter of getting people to believe in your ideas. A producer
sells ideas: program ideas, ideas for commercials, ideas concerning how to
utilize talent. He is a man with wide experience and many contacts in show
business and finance. He constantly looks for new ideas, new talent, new
sources of money. What does the public want to hear? What does the industry need? A producer attempts to answer these questions. He is a businessman. Although every venture involves a certain amount of risk, he is cautious with the money of his investors. That is the reason he selects highly
competent, dependable people
in other words, "professionals." As accurately as possible he determines the cost of the production of a program or
commercial, so that lawyers, accountants and sponsors can appreciate the
ideas in terms they understand. Every moment on the air, even sustaining
spots, is paid for by someone. In that sense each moment is a risk to someone. A producer attempts to minimize that risk. He works with talent agents,
advertising agencies, unions and station executives. A producer may hire
talent directly, or he may work with the talent's representative or agent. A
producer negotiates contracts, which are often long and complex. A contract
describes in detail the conditions under which a performer will work, and how
much he will be paid. It is an agreement which protects both the producer
and the performer. Large markets are highly unionized. Union membership
adheres strictly to the contract; infringement may result in cancellation
of the contract and /or a legal suit. A producer may be a salaried employee
of a radio station or free lance. He may get a commission on each program
or be reimbursed at the end of a series. He may have "residual rights," that
is, he may receive money each time the program is repeated on the air, or
he may sell all of his interests to the station at one time.
Directing. Directing is the process of artistically arranging sounds in a
meaningful order. A director is a student of sound. He may be versatile
enough to work in radio, recordings, television or film. Technically competent, he is equally at home directing a program from an acoustically treated
radio studio, from a large auditorium, from a golf course or from a mobile
unit. A director is an artist. He realizes that every sound has aesthetic value.
How useful a sound is depends upon how sensitive a director is to it. A director uses speech, music and special effects the way a painter chooses
colors from his palette. A director knows that a performer never utters just
a word; he utters a sound that ignites a multitude of stimuli in the brain of
the listener. Years ago the news commentator Gabriel Heatter sometimes
began his program with "There's good news tonight"
line which, by its
very inflection, raised and lowered the blood pressure of a war -conscious
Producing and Directing
nation. A skillful performer can take a nonsense syllable and by sheer inflection make it vibrate with suggestive overtones, such as in a recent novelty
recording consisting mainly of two people laughing. A classic case occurred
during the 1930's when Mae West played Eve in a sketch on the Edgar
Bergen show. As a result of the broadcast, Miss West was not heard on
radio for many years. A good director remembers voices, their nuances and
their dialects, so that he can use them whenever necessary. Sounds, like
colors, have many shades of meaning and expression. Listening to a symphony orchestra, a director hears the exotic lilt of Rimsky-Korsakoff's
Scheherazade, the delightful rhythms of Saint Saëns's Carnival of the Animals, the piercing notes of Paganini's Caprices, the majesty of Schubert's
Ave Maria. A director keeps a mental notebook of sounds. Someday a few
measures from Moussorgsky-Ravel's Pictures at an Exposition may provide
a theme for a newscast, or a pastoral sequence from Debussy's Prelude to
the Afternoon of a Faun may cast the proper mood for a moment in a documentary. Just as the length of a single note is important to a conductor, the
duration of each sound is significant to a director. He also seeks the sound
that is precisely correct.
Directors are continually finding new sounds. These days monaural
sound that is, in a
sound is being replaced with stereophonic sound
sense, bigger than life itself. One thing which the rock -and -roll era has
taught the modern director is that no sound should be overlooked. Clever
directors have styled relatively unattractive voices into a composite of highly
popular sounds. What is a microphone to a director but a means of amplifying an irresistable sound? The incoherent lyrics of Elvis Presley, the "catch"
in the throat of Judy Garland, the hand clapping of Harry Belafonte, the
labored speech of Sophie Tucker, the whispers of Peggy Lee are superb uses
of sound. Show business consists of people who have mastered sound, who
have made an artistic use of their vocal gifts. Such an artist may seem larger
than life itself because his "sound" is a composite of the skills of many people, including those of an imaginative director. A voice may succeed or fail
because of the decisions a director makes. Noise is disorganized sound. But
what is organized and what is not? Some composers are working with
garbage can covers in their compositions. Strange? Yet, washboards have
been used for years. Isn't oriental music dissonant to people in the Western
Hemisphere? Radio directors have just begun to use sounds from other
countries, to replace tired commercials with fresh, new sounds. Wind, heartbeats, engines running and fire were among the old sound effects; rockets,
sonar devices, voices from outer space are the current ones. But what are
the sounds of starvation? the sounds of learning? the sounds of the joys and
sorrows that forge the will of men? A director hears these sounds, remembers them, knows where to get them and when to use them. A director
conducts an orchestra that embraces all of the sounds the human ear can
Basic Functions
From time to time nearly every employee shares the producer-director
functions, although these duties are included primarily in the programming
category. A radio station's staff ranges from less than a dozen to more than
40 people. No radio station is quite like any other; furthermore, they are
constantly changing. One representative 250 -watt station has about eight
people involved in program production: a program director, a continuity
writer, and a half-dozen announcers who operate their own audio consoles.
One representative 50,000 -watt network affiliate has 19: nine people in
programming, one newsman, six in traffic- continuity, and three secretaries.
The size of the staff depends upon the demands of the market and the solvency of the station.
Initial Conferences. Anyone at a radio station may originate an idea
for a program or a commercial, but ultimately it will involve several people.
Inasmuch as a lack of audience interest and high production costs have
forced radio networks and stations to omit, for all practical purposes, dramas
and documentaries from their schedules, radio production is a relatively
simple task. It begins with three or four people
the program director, the
talent, perhaps a continuity writer, and someone from promotion or sales
sitting in an office or conference room, where they develop a new idea for a
program. They discuss the proposal from every point of view: content,
talent, schedule, promotion, sales. If they agree that it is a good idea, each
of them assumes part of the producing and directing function. They are
primarily interested in keeping their ratings up and in selling as many
commercials as possible. The program director usually coordinates all activities and sends out memoranda confirming their plans. He frequently
assumes the chief producing responsibility or delegates it to a performer,
who then develops the program. The entire process is informal.
Rehearsal or Practice Sessions. The directing functions are commonly
shared by the talent and engineer, who are often the same person. Each
should be a master craftsman and be acquainted with the aesthetic objectives
of directing.
Establishing Purpose and Mood. The talent determines what the mood
of the program should be according to the consensus established in the initial
conference. He may consult further with the continuity writer, although his
knowledge of the station's library should enable him to establish the appropriate atmosphere without much difficulty. All music and sound effects are
carefully filed. The talent locates his own records, tapes and cartridges. He
may have to reserve studio facilities.
Timing. Radio's time limitations require strict control over the length
of program material. Optional cutting is one method. There are two kinds of
cuts: structural and line omissions. Both are useful. The former refers to
Producing and Directing
entire segments or scenes; the latter to lines, phrases or words. Every segment of a program is timed with a stop watch before a broadcast or recording. A few extra seconds are allowed for music bridges, elaborate sound
sequences, and so on. A set amount of time is specified for ad-libbed sections.
Long scripts are immediately cut to the proper length. Paragraphs that can
be omitted without destroying the intention or mood of the program are
marked. These optional cuts are carefully timed and used as "pads" to
lengthen a program on the air, if necessary. Timing and cutting are frequently
handled outside of the studio during an early rehearsal or, for example, in
the newsroom.
The Control Room. Anyone who wishes to direct should know how to
operate tape recorders, turntables, a patchboard, a console, microphones
and a cartridge machine. Regardless of whether the program is live or recorded, there is a basic, standard directing procedure followed by the director in the control room. The following is a chronological rundown of a
typical sequence of control room procedure for the director.
To talent over the intercom: "Level check, please."
The engineer adjusts his "pots."
To talent over the intercom: "30 seconds to air."
To talent 10 seconds to air: "Stand by
To engineer (in the control room) : "Hit theme. Music to background."
To announcer (in announcer's booth) "Cue announce."
The announcer reads his copy.
To engineer: "Music up." (It plays for a few more seconds so as to
establish the sound.) "Sneak music out."
To talent (gesturing from control room) : Stand by and cue.
Talent performs. (During the broadcast the director gives whatever
additional hand signals are essential. He may smile or gesture that the
program is going well. He watches the time carefully. In long programs talent prefers cues at 15, 10, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1, and one -half minutes.)
The talent finishes.
To engineer: "Theme. Fade to background and cue announce."
The announcer reads his closing copy.
To engineer: "Theme up and fade out."
Everyone remains silent until the director indicates that the program is
over. Speaking over the intercom: "That's it. Thanks, everybody. That
was fine."
The longer the staff works together, the fewer signals are needed. Electronic devices such as "on -air" lights sometimes cue talent. Once a program
is in progress, a director depends upon visual signals to contact the performer. Hand signals for cueing, for regulating the talent's relationship to
the microphone, and for timing are commonly used. The signal chart (Fig.
1) indicates the appropriate, standard signals for all situations. Remember
that not only the director and other production staff members, but also the
The following standard hand signals must be known by the performer and
staff, obeyed virtually as reflex actions.
The director points
directly at the performer.
Start what you are
The director's hand
is held up, palm toward the performer with a pushing
Move away from
The director's hand
is held up, palm
toward him with a
pulling motion.
Move closer to the
The director's index
finger moves in a
Speed up.
supposed to do.
the microphone.
rapid clockwise
motion in front of
The director's hands
pull away from
each other in a re-
peated stretching
Fig. 1: Signal Chart.
Slow down.
Producing and Directing
The director moves
his hand upward,
palm open and up.
Raise volume.
The director moves
his hand downward,
Lower volume
palm open and
The director's
thumb and index
finger form an "O"
with the other fingers stretched up.
In position. Every
thing satisfactory.
The colloquial
"okay" sign.
The director's index
finger touches his
On time or "on the
The director draws
his index finger
Cut or stop.
across his throat in
a slashing motion.
Prepared by Earl Wynn
performers (see Chapter 5) must be able to give and respond to these signals without a moment's hesitation.
Live Broadcasts or Taping Sessions. At most radio stations newscasts,
disc jockey programs, a few commercials and announcements, and an occasional public service program are live. At some stations newscasts originate from the news room, at others from the control room or studio. Live
sports programs are broadcast from remote locations. The microphones in
these various locations are activated by merely throwing the proper switch in
master control. In actual practice performers time their own programs and
use specific verbal cues
"This is (name), (call letters) news, (location),"
or "We pause 30 seconds for station identification. This is (call letters), the
(sponsor) sports network."
to alert the man at the audio console to insert
a commercial or switch to another program. The engineer in the control
room has very little to do with program content unless he is also the talent.
Much radio broadcasting is pre- recorded, but at some time or other
all programs are live. Interviews, feature programs, political speeches are
often recorded live in the studio and broadcast later. A director may be
appointed to assist in the production of these programs. For example, the
program director might serve as director -moderator for a panel discussion.
Time limitations on busy participants, economic factors, long-playing tapes,
programs distributed by tape production companies, and pre- recorded commercials and announcements indicate a trend toward automation. A program
may be
and frequently is
taped in segments and then spliced together.
Every director should know how to edit tape. (See Chapter 2.) After the
tape is ready, it is played for the program director and a salesman. If it gets
their approval, it is heard by the sponsor. If approved, the program is
Evaluation Conference. After several people, especially top management, have heard the program, mail has come in and ratings have been
tabulated, it is evaluated. Improvements may be made or the program may
be dropped.
Traditionally, a producer and director were associated particularly with
the entertainment aspects of radio programming: network dramas, musical
programs, variety-comedy programs, quizzes, and similar formats. Even
though radio drama has declined in the United States, it finds occasional
revival at independent radio companies. Shakespearean plays, children's programs, serials and mysteries are frequently redesigned in highly abbreviated,
segmented forms to attract radio listeners of the present generation. One
firm, for example, divided three -hour Shakespearean plays into six half -hour
segments. In 1965 the ABC Radio Network initiated Theatre 5, a half -hour
dramatic series for radio. "Unless radio tries original programming meth-
Producing and Directing
ods," said Robert R. Pauley, president of the ABC Radio Network, "we can
never become anything more than a news and music medium. "1 Radio
dramas are being produced by educational groups and by foreign radio networks, such as the British Broadcasting Corporation and the Canadian
Broadcasting Corporation. In Germany, where radio drama thrives, the
Hans Bredow Institute for Radio and Television of the University of Hamburg seriously studies it as a literary art.2
The radio producer- director of entertainment programs in the United
States in the late 1960's is less concerned with drama, however, as a practical production assignment, than with musical programs, contests, some
forms of variety programs, and public service entertainment. Yet, the newcomer to the field, the student, has a need to study the producing and directing of drama programs. The drama often encompasses most, if not all, of
the elements found in other forms of radio production, and knowledge of
and familiarity in producing and directing the drama provide a firm base for
creative and effective work in all other forms of radio production. The following material on the drama, therefore, is not meant to suggest an area for
immediate application in the field, but a base for applicability and adaptation to other forms.
The schedule for a producer and a director of a radio drama includes
preliminary program planning, an off-mike rehearsal, an on-mike rehearsal,
a dress rehearsal, and the on -air performance.
Preliminary Program Planning. The producer plans the program or
series. He selects the director and the writer. He may contract some of the
leading players, and he may take care of the legal and promotional aspects
of the program. He often tries to interest an advertising agency or network
or station in his idea while the program or series is still in the planning
stage. He usually estimates budget requirements.
The director, meanwhile, studies the script in detail. He depends upon
his own imagination and understanding of it to create the sound image necessary for complete visualization by the radio audience. The director consults
with the writer, if possible. Some passages may need clarification and
changes. For timing purposes, the director and writer decide where the
script can be cut judiciously, if that should be necessary in production.
Opinions may differ between the writer and the director. These differences
should be resolved before rehearsal. Although a radio production is a composite effort, the writer's vision tends to prevail during this period. The
director holds conferences with the composer and the sound technicians. If
special sound effects are required or a new musical score must be composed
or arranged, this will take time. The director must allow for its completion.
The director may select the entire cast. He may wish to be in on the
For Notes, see end of this chapter, page 114.
choice of each voice, or he may let a competent casting director do the
screening for him. It is common in radio dramas for a single actor to play
two or three minor roles in a production. The judgment necessary for picking out such a versatile actor is another reason for the director's attendance
at tryouts. Often a director is already acquainted with people who have
ability and with whom he can work effectively. He tends to hire them if he
can. A stimulating working atmosphere must exist between the director and
his cast, if excellent results are to be obtained. The director may have to
reserve space and studio facilities for specific time periods. Production space
is limited and talent time is expensive. The director has to work out a well planned rehearsal schedule. He may also have to allow for special technical
Off-mike Rehearsal. The director calls the actors and technicians together for a reading of the script. He assigns parts and he discusses the approach he will use by generally describing the characters and the sound
effects as he hears them. The cast reads the entire script aloud. This reading
rehearsal establishes overall continuity and a sense of the total dramatic
effect of the script. The director times the reading. Each elapsed minute is
noted in the script so that it can be used as a check point during the on -air
production. This read -through enables the director and the cast to become
acquainted. It also establishes the director as the organizational and artistic
leader upon whom everyone depends for judgment and, practically speaking,
for cues.
A competent actor will contribute immeasurably to the role he is portraying; however, if his interpretation is not consistent with the director's concept, the director probably will correct it during an off-mike rehearsal. It is
equally important that he encourage the good aspects of the reading by
giving some praiseworthy attention to each actor. Establishing a working
rapport with an actor is one of the director's most delicate and difficult tasks.
On -mike Rehearsal. The director calls a production rehearsal in the
studio, where he rehearses the drama, scene by scene, from the beginning.
He attempts to integrate all elements
actors, music and sound. No attempt is made to time these segments.
This is the creative period for everyone. The director concentrates on
the content of the script. He interprets it in terms of the sound medium. The
actors' voices, the music and the sound effects require detailed attention.
The director will stop and start the production many times. The director's
skill is needed in proportioning the right amount of time to each production
obstacle. Rehearsal time is very limited, and he will have about twice as
many things as he will be able to do. The director must be highly selective.
One thing the director works on is pacing. A script usually consists of a
series of minor crises leading to the climax or turning point in the life of the
protagonist. Often these moments of crisis alternate with moments that are
relatively placid. The director tries to manipulate the internal rate at which
Producing and Directing
the scenes progress. He concerns himself more intimately with each characterization. He describes the total character first and then discusses the performance of each actor. The sound man, too, is considered an artist. The
degree that the director can get the cast and crew to do what he wants is
the essence of his contribution to the program. The psychology of human
motivation, artistic sensitivity and technical skill are prerequisites to successful radio directing.
The director must also work with his engineer. The engineer will control, mechanically at least, the volume, the placement of microphones and
special electronic sound effects; he may pick out some recorded music. The
engineer's job can be complex. The on -mike rehearsal will indicate whether
the engineer can manage all of the sound sources as rapidly as the script
demands. A sensitive engineer can assist in making artistic decisions. Each
microphone, for example, brings out certain qualities in an actor's voice.
An engineer can alter these qualities. To some extent, he can regulate the
relative loudness of voices and of other sounds by "riding gain." He can
assist in determining actor "presence" by suggesting the relative position of
the actor to the microphone. Standard "on- mike" distance for most scenes is
about one foot.
Dress Rehearsal. The dress rehearsal is a facsimile of the on-air performance. The director, therefore, runs through the complete performance
even though there may be obvious errors. The script, moreover, is accurately
timed by the director or by his assistant. The director takes notes on every
aspect of the entire production. He gives every cue to the cast, technicians
and engineer just as they can expect to get them during the final on -air
performance. During this period the director also must listen to the program as a whole, as the listener will hear it.
After the dress rehearsal, the director goes over his notes with the
respective members of his cast and crew, and he rehearses any weak spot in
the production. If a new cue is to be used, the director makes certain everyone knows what it is. Generally speaking, it is too late for him to change
characterizations during the dress rehearsal, for such changes might endanger the final performance.
The producer, some members of the advertising agency and the sponsor may sit in on the dress rehearsal. They may even have a conference with
the director prior to the on -air broadcast, especially if the sponsor disapproves of something in the program, The producer tries to keep both the
sponsor and the director happy. His ability as a diplomat in moments of conflicting opinion is an important attribute.
On the Air. The strain and excitement of a production reaches its
height just prior to air time; nevertheless, the director attempts to radiate
confidence and composure. He gives those cues which were clearly established in rehearsal. He follows the script carefully, looking ahead to warn
the engineer (and anyone else) about a difficult passage that is coming up.
Many directors give as meaningful a performance in the control room
as the actors do before the microphone. This responsiveness on the part of
the director to the performance of the actors is infectious. Some radio actors,
especially comedians, prefer live audiences so that they can have the stimulation of a "live" reaction from them. The feeling that someone is paying
attention creates a response within the performer which is invigorating. The
director controls the mechanics of the program, too. He constantly checks
the time to make sure it compares favorably with that recorded during the
off-mike rehearsal. He lets the cast know whether the tentative cut will be
deleted or not; he continues to indicate to his cast that the program is going
well, even if mistakes are made. The director should not show displeasure
during the program because this might create a bad psychological effect on
the entire cast and crew, resulting in more errors. Besides, mistakes seem
smaller in retrospect. The director blends the sound elements by listening
and responding with the subjectivity of an artist and the objectivity of a
member of the audience.
The producer, the sponsor, advertising agency representatives, network
or station personnel and a few guests may attend the program. The producer
attempts to point out some of the positive features and benefits of the program to the group. In short, he serves as a skillful public relations man. He
listens carefully, however, to the opinions of the others. When the program
is over, he dutifully thanks everyone. Later, he discusses the program with
the director privately. The producer often has a more detached point of view
which may be helpful to the director.
The history of radio has indicated that some dramas are particularly well
suited to the sound medium. These programs stimulate the imagination
"the theatre of the mind," as Erik Barnouw called it
by suggesting scenes
of horror, mystery, fantasy, and romance.3 Lights Out, I Love a Mystery,
Let's Pretend, and the "soap operas" were some of them.
With the advent of audio tape, the production techniques changed.
Nowadays, dramatic productions are recorded on bits and pieces of audio
tape, and they are so skillfully spliced together that every element blends
with every other imperceptibly. For a WUNC (Chapel Hill, North Carolina)
radio production of Charles Dickens' "A Christmas Carol," the director
taped many elements out of sequence: first, the narrator; second, scenes with
Scrooge and the cast; third, scenes with Scrooge only; fourth, crowd scenes.
Some sounds (the phantom's chains, for example) and background music
were added last. The director, producer and engineer heard all of the segments and arranged them in order. Then they began the long process of editing them and splicing them together. After 15 hours of recording the scenes
and about 46 man hours of editing and splicing, "A Christmas Carol" was
finally assembled for broadcast. The final, two -hour production consisted of
over 250 splices. A vast difference from the days of the Lux Radio Theatre,
which was presented live in one continuous performance.
Producing and Directing
Musical Programs
Music is the staple of entertainment programs in modern radio. For
example, in Los Angeles in the mid- 1960's, four-fifths of the average program schedule for thirteen radio stations was devoted to music; the highest
proportion was 94 per cent, for a classical music station, and the lowest proportion was 50 per cent.4
The Program Director as Producer. The principal producer of musical
programs is the program director. Usually the program director is in charge
its scheduling and its composition. On the one hand
of all programming
the program director is challenged to create new ideas or to improve established techniques. On the other there is the operational problem of translating ideas into action. The program director is hired to maintain or establish
the entertainment image of the station. His selection of talent and his
authority over programs give him the key responsibility for program innovation. Some stations attempt to ease these responsibilities on one man. As
a result WFBM, Indianapolis, established the position of program operations manager for AM and FM radio: "While the program managers are
still responsible for the operational area, they are freed from the day -byday details of program operations, and can thus devote more time to creative
Perhaps the main duty of a program director is to devise an
attractive sound image for the station. A station image is a blend of all
music, news, production techniques, promothe programming elements
tional spots, announcements, jingles, talent, and its services to the community. It is the total concept a listener has of the station.
Stations are classified in various ways: Sherman Lawton, in his book
Introduction to Modern Broadcasting, lists them as foreground, middle of
the road, traditional, special interest and educational.6 At many foreground
or top-tune stations the program director controls what is played on the air
by purchasing records for the station's library and by restricting the list of
records that can be broadcast. He does this in consultation with talent and
the music librarian. Records are chosen generally by personal taste and by
published surveys. Billboard, Variety, local sales in records and juke boxes
are among the many sources. In Los Angeles, radio station record libraries
range from 3,000 to 900,000 selections. Playable records at a top tune
station may be as few as 100 or 200, however. Many program directors go
a step further than the list by using a formula or order in which the records
are to be played. "An ideal quarter -hour of popular songs would include
two current hits and two standards, done as a group vocal, a male vocal, a
female vocal, and an instrumental," according to J. Leonard Reinsch and
E. I. Ellis, of WSB, Atlanta.? Frequently, a disc jockey works within the
list, but he chooses his own order for playing the music. At various middle of- the -road or easy -listening stations, the program director merely reviews
what the disc jockey decides to put on the air. The station may have
thousands of records to choose from, and so there is no list or formula so
long as the disc jockey keeps within the basic philosophy of the station. One
program director has put it this way: "We play those tunes the listener can
sing, whistle or hum with very little difficulty."
In addition to top tune, easy listening, and traditional or classical
music stations, some stations broadcast to social or ethnic groups. One
station specializing in the Negro market bases its philosophy on a survey indicating that Negroes prefer rhythm and blues, news, spirituals, daytime
serials and variety, in that order. Consequently, two and a half hours daily
are devoted to spirituals. Negro personalities produce and announce the programs. In 1967, 33 stations were entirely and 348 partly foreign language
prospeaking. Two of Hawaii's radio stations
grammed 100 per cent in the Japanese language. Their programs compared
favorably with those of the mainland prior to television, when most stations
offered a varied fare.8 A further kind of radio operation is the automatic
station. It is commonly an FM adjunct to an AM -FM combination. Its
stereophonic and popular music is recorded on three -hour tapes, and its
news is simulcast from its AM counterpart. In effect, the AM staff produces
the FM programming, too, duplicating within the limits set by the Federal
Communications Commission.
The program director, consequently, produces a sound image that is
consistent with the philosophy of the station: foreground, middle of the
road, traditional, special, or educational. He may even program two stations,
where one is dependent upon the other. Commercial radio station philosophy
is based on providing attractive entertainment programs that will sell products to a particular audience. The program director never forgets this concept.
The Talent as Producer. The program director may delegate the responsibility for the development of individual programs to the talent, such
as a disc jockey or master of ceremonies. The program director thus would
place himself in a supervisory capacity, leaving the internal production of
the program
its continuity and its music selection (within limits)
the talent.
Typically, these stations encourage "personalities." The program director has the job of deciding what personalities best convey the image of
the station throughout the broadcast day. He may divide disc jockey shifts
into the morning, early evening, and late night tours, using an entirely different personality for each. A Fort Worth top -tune station rotates six disc
jockeys throughout the day. Each man has a unique style. The early morning man is a mature, veteran announcer playing top tunes and talking to
housewives in an easy manner. As the day progresses other men pick up the
pace slightly. During the evening hours, a young fellow playing the same
records shouts and jokes in breathless delivery to attract the teenagers; and
late at night another young man changes the pace and speaks in a mellow
voice. Each man tries to project his own personality
mature, moderate,
Producing and Directing
boisterous, smooth. Personalities lend variety to top tune stations, where the
record selection and order are relatively constant, by ad libbing continuity
in a jargon peculiar to the disc jockey. The basic procedure:
1) . The disc jockey arrives at the station in time to study the program
log. It will list all of the commercials, PSA's and ID's that he must play on
his program. There may be 20 or 30 separate items in addition to his music.
He checks to be certain that they are in the control room, probably in the
tape cartridge rack or "tape deck" or record rack. He also pulls his records
from the station's library, if necessary.
2) . The disc jockey is an expert in the operation of the audio console, having practiced long hours before going on the air. He is thoroughly
familiar with the layout of the control room. The disc recordings, audio
tapes and cartridges are within about an arm's length from where he sits at
the console, and so are the machines to play them.
3) . Before him on the console desk is the program log which he follows. Nearby is the continuity book containing all announcements that he
will read live. If he has any extra copy such as gags from magazines or
newspapers, it will be near also.
4) . The disc jockey might begin his show with theme, program ID,
transition to first record, first record, comment and lead to first commercial, first commercial, comment, second commercial, and lead to second
record. Disc jockey comments are commonly under 10 seconds, pacing is
lively with tight cueing at top tune stations; an easier style is used with
other formats. If the disc jockey works his own board, he frequently has a
third -class radiotelephone operator's license issued by the Federal Communications Commission. It should have a broadcast endorsement.
At many middle -of- the -road stations the program director prefers
anonymous announcers. He depends upon the total programming of the
station and its reputation to attract an audience, not personalities. Some
stations are a combination of both philosophies. Network affiliates often
use personalities from the network feed such as Garry Moore, Arthur Godfrey or Art Linkletter to attract listeners; but anonymous local announcers
and disc jockeys fill out the rest of the day.
The Radio Team as Producer. At large stations in highly unionized
markets talent and engineering duties are well defined and tend not to overlap as much as they do in small markets. That is to say, one man does not
perform as many different services. The program director determines the
composition of the program; the program operations manager schedules it;
a continuity writer provides copy; the talent reads it; and an engineer controls the audio console. The modern radio production team at work consists
of several professional people producing and directing a single moment on
the air. The basic procedure:
1) After the initial conference described earlier, the talent, a continuity writer and the program director meet a second time to talk about
the program's content and other details. Most radio stations specialize in
some kind of music, so the tunes they play are restricted to the format. An
easy -listening station, for instance, might develop a program of Latin
American music. The talent is asked to brush up on his Spanish and Portuguese pronunciation. The continuity writer will get short feature items
about Latin America. The program director suggests a program title, theme
music, and what the announcer's opening and closing remarks should include. They list the order for playing records (instrumental, vocal, novelty)
and approximately where the spot announcements will go. This outline is
called a "run down." The session is informal, and these plans are tentative.
2) The writer polishes all of the continuity before it goes on the air,
and the talent reads it over many times. Numerous commercials are developed in cooperation with the sales department.
3) . On the day of the broadcast, the talent arrives early enough to
have an informal rehearsal with the director
who may be the engineer.
The program director and writer listen to the first few programs and continue to make improvements, which gradually become the responsibility of
the talent and the engineer, although the writer continues to update commercials.
Occasionally, radio programs which are involved with talent, guests,
audiences, prizes, judges, accounting problems and contracts have a producer and /or director who function in the traditional sense. They meet with
the talent and guests, plan the format of the program, rehearse it if necessary, work with sponsors and perform other traditional duties. These programs often duplicate a program already on network television. They no
longer originate very frequently on the local level. Producing and directing
the contest requires several special considerations:
1). The producer- director (or program director) must be thoroughly
familiar with the complex laws concerning contests. No advertisement of
or information concerning any lottery, gift enterprise, or similar scheme,
offering prizes dependent in whole or in part upon lot or chance, are permitted on radio.
2) The producer- director may be required to obtain legal opinion
before entering into any contracts, if there is the slightest doubt concerning
the details of the contest. The Storer Broadcasting Company, for example,
requires this of its managing directors.
3 ) After the program is approved, the producer-director gives full
information to all contestants so that they can compete fairly. Contestants
may also be rehearsed in the mechanics of the game, but they must not be
provided with information which gives one contestant an advantage over
4) The producer- director reads the continuity to be sure that the
Producing and Directing
rules for judging entries are explicit. He determines the dates of the contest, and where, when and how entries must be submitted. He decides the
number and nature of the prizes and the order in which they are to be
awarded. Finally, he must be responsible for the prompt awarding of
prizes, and he must be certain that the contest is conducted in accordance
with the rules.
Contests are among the most difficult programs to produce because
they arouse keen public interest and, as a result, bring the station's policy
of fairness and responsibility under intense scrutiny.
Simple quiz formats and contests have been tried by local stations.
They are a mainstay of top -tune stations. These programs consist of playing records and placing telephone calls to homes in the listening area, sometimes selected at random from the telephone directory, sometimes drawn
from postcards sent to the radio station by listeners. After the talent draws
the name, he calls the listener. If the listener is at home, he is asked a
question. If he answers correctly, he, of course, wins the prize; if he does
not, the prize often gets bigger. Such programs are attractive to listeners
and furnish the station with some feedback concerning the audience. Record
hops, treasure hunts, mystery voices, talent searches, word and number
games are the bases for other contests. The list is unlimited. The basic procedure:
1) . After a standard opening, the talent may play a record or two, and
give a clue or answer to the day's question.
2) He draws a name at random and makes his call, relating every
step to the listener: "While I play the next tune, I'll make the first call on
today's Telequiz."
3). He gets his party: "This is WXXZ Telequiz calling. To whom am
I speaking? Hello, Mrs. (name) Have you listened to our program, and
do you know the magic word?" The talent is friendly, but he usually
specifies the allotted time in which the listener must answer the question.
Frequently the talent repeats the question once.
4) The talent may have a winner, or he might have to call someone
else. After the program the names of all prize winners are usually submitted to the Promotion Department. Prizes are often mailed to winners.
Occasionally, the talent awards them in person because the ceremony publicizes the station.
Variety Programs
In recent years "magazine" formats have become popular in radio
programming, especially on mornings and weekends. In the mid- 1960's segments of music, comedy and conversation were heard regularly on NBC's
Monitor and on the CBS equivalent, Dimension. These programs are a
mixture of entertainment and information. A producer has the overall responsibility of integrating pre -taped program material, pre -taped commer-
cials, and live newscasts. Each segment is scheduled to the second so that
local stations can insert local spot announcements, if they wish. Even the
20-year -old House Party began to reflect this trend in the early 1960's. It
changed from strictly light fare concerning children, adults, games and
prizes to some serious moments concerning special problems and other
issues. It developed a "magazine- like" concept, according to its master of
ceremonies, Art Linkletter. The antics and music of Grand Ole Op'ry are
among the few survivals of radio's yesteryear.
On the local level, the producer of a variety show is often the talent.
Listeners may provide some of the continuity either by letters or by calling
the station while the program is on the air. Sometimes two people are talent
and producers for this kind of a program. The job of collecting material is
substantial. When they are before the microphone, one man can be assembling material or answering the telephone while the other man is speaking on the air. One Hollywood commentator obtains part of the copy for
his casual variety -talk format from an information service. In all practical
respects, the service dictates its "inside" reports over the telephone to the
talent's secretary, who types them up. Subsequently, the talent reads these
reports over the air. The secretary may also schedule interviews with celebrities, may research the guest's background and, in fact, may literally produce the program for the talent. Well known commentators are flooded
with promotional materials from all areas of show business. Most celebrities
are just as eager to be interviewed by disc jockeys or commentators as
the local performers are glad to have them on the program.
The directing function for such a program, after an informal preliminary rehearsal, is principally a matter of cueing talent, riding gain, and
playing music or sound effects as needed. The engineer does this at large
"local" stations, such as WTOP, the CBS affiliate in Washington, D.C.
Public Service Entertainment
Special entertainment programs are broadcast by schools and civic
groups for educational or fund raising purposes, historical ceremonies and
holiday celebrations. The programs are produced and directed without
charge by the group concerned. The station furnishes air time and technical
skill through its program director. A typical example is a campus talent
program that is sent to local stations on a regular basis. The program may
be prerecorded at the institution or at the station. Virtually every local radio
station is willing to accept such programs on a limited basis. Numerous
universities have standing agreements with commercial stations for broadcasting student programs. Programs from educational institutions and civic
groups vary in quality and frequency; nevertheless, these programs are a
valuable supplement for educating students in broadcasting. They are also
important to stations that could not afford to produce these programs and
yet need them to round out their local program responsibilities. The basic
Producing and Directing
1). The producer-director (who is often an educator or civic leader)
goes to the program director of the local commercial station. He explains
his idea for a program or series. The program director usually asks what
the station has to furnish in regard to personnel, facilities and air time. He
may offer suggestions concerning the content of the program. If the idea is
a good one, and air time is the only request made of the station, chances
are that the program will be accepted. Radio stations usually are cooperative and generous.
2) . The producer- director plans the entire program in detail. He enlists the assistance of the talent he will need. A telephone call may be sufficient. In some cases, governing boards must be consulted before students,
teachers or public servants may participate as representatives of the institution where they are employed. Rehearsal times are agreed upon and coordinated with everyone.
3 ) The producer-director forms his radio team. An assistant and an
engineer may be all the people he needs. The fewer the better. He should
obtain the most competent people he can find. Many high schools have
students who are capable engineers.
4) If possible, the producer- director should follow a procedure similar to that of the radio drama: off -mike rehearsals, on -mike rehearsals, and
performance. Inasmuch as he would be working with inexperienced people,
his instructions would have to be explicit, consistent, and perhaps repeated
often. Practically speaking, people tend to be too busy to devote much time
to complex programs. The producer- director therefore keeps the requirements on the talent to a minimum. He sets deadlines and he takes nothing
for granted. He rehearses the program as much as time will allow. Most of
his talent are devoting their spare time to the project; therefore, he should
appreciate whatever they contribute.
5) The program may be recorded at the radio station or on other
high quality equipment. The producer-director should have access to the
equipment for several hours at a time because the editing and splicing
process is a tedious one. After all of the segments are recorded, they are
assembled in accordance with the script. Swift pacing, fast action and many
voices maintain audience interest. The producer-director previews the tape
in sufficient time to allow for changes. Some industrious producer- directors
do all of the technical work themselves.
6) . The producer- director delivers the tape to the station by placing
it in precisely the right spot at the agreed -upon time. Program directors
rarely play these tapes on the air themselves; the disc jockeys or engineers
do. In order to avoid confusion, pickup and delivery times should be carefully coordinated with the program director.
7 ) If it is a series, the producer- director should meet with the program director occasionally for a critical evaluation. Both parties should
consider the series as a serious contribution to the community. The station
may wish to assist in promoting it.
Informational programming is perhaps the fastest growing area in radio.
Immediate or "hard" news and news -in -depth are its two principal categories. Both utilize several techniques
reporting, talking, interviewing
and discussing
to reveal current happenings. Both are commonly divided
into areas. Immediate news includes international, national, regional, local
weather and sports events. Feature news runs the gamut from a one- minute
editorial to an hour -long documentary. Broadcast journalism has gradually
tended to reduce broadcast entertainment. When WNUS, Chicago, became
the first all-talk AM -FM radio combination in the country, Gordon McLendon, president of the McLendon Broadcasting Corporation, announced:
"No city in the world except Chicago can immediately tune news
either band
at any hour of the day or night. "9 WINS, New York, a
Westinghouse station, also adopted an all -news format shortly thereafter. A
portion of its program log illustrates its dependence on continuous news and
spot commercials (See Fig. 2.)
Informational programs have developed steadily from broadcasts of
news, weather and market reports by pioneer stations KDKA, Pittsburgh,
WHA, Madison, and WWJ, Detroit, to the intensive coverage of events in
space by the networks. NBC Radio, for instance, began its coverage of the
Gemini space mission claiming "the largest, most elaborately equipped
mobile unit ever designed and built especially for radio reporting of space
projects." The network initiated its broadcast an hour before scheduled
launch time, continued its coverage through the first orbit, then issued tenminute progress reports every half-hour. It broadcast the third orbit and
recovery of the space vehicle completely. Extensive coverage along with
documentaries before and after the flight were also on ABC and CBS radio.
News or "hard" news, as it is referred to in radio, is the day to day,
minute to minute compilation and dissemination of current events. Providing the public with fair and comprehensive news coverage is a difficult job.
Due to increased demands on newsmen, there is a trend toward hiring those
with college degrees in journalism, broadcasting, government, history and
political science. Despite increasing salaries, expanding radio news departments have difficulty obtaining good newsmen. This is particularly true at
smaller stations.
The Local Newsman as Producer. The backbone of a news operation
is the man or woman on the scene, whether it is in a small town in the
South or in the jungles of Asia. A News Department at a local station may
Fig. 2: WINS All -news Format Program Log.
ir[st H[o
1010 KC
A1022 30F
02 9
A1030 601 LIKE
70L IV
6 0
have one or two people. KGVL, Greenville, Texas, for example, has two
newsmen, with the diverse producing and directing responsibilities of one of
these men a graphic illustration of the situation in many small stations: he
is a newsman, chief announcer, audio engineer, and program director (although most decisions are made by the station manager). He reads the
news, checks the weather instruments, makes tape recordings of incoming
news from the mobile units, or covers wrecks, fires and special events himself; he plays records, reads commercials and announcements, produces
promotional spots, jingles and special effects; he purchases stock, helps in
the office with the log, is in charge of the music library, carries out a multitude of engineering duties, and opens the station in the morning if the announcer fails to show up.10
At larger stations several newsmen may be "on assignment" anywhere
in the world. These stations may have free -lance or part -time newsmen,
called "stringers," who report significant news items whenever they occur
in their vicinity. Each of these newsmen is, in fact, the producer of a news
segment that may be used on a radio program.
The News Director as Producer. The principal producer of news programs is the news director and /or news editor. He works in cooperation with
the program director on all matters, especially those involving program
policy. He knows the station philosophy and so emphasizes the news accordingly. He has the responsibility for molding his staff into a news team.
Multi- station news operations like those of the McLendon chain require an
executive producer for news. He oversees and coordinates the activities of
all the stations. Whether the responsibilities are placed with an executive
producer for news, a news director or a local newsman, the newscast is
produced essentially in four steps; planning the news, gathering news, assembling news, and presenting news.
Planning the Newscast. The news director must make several preliminary decisions in news programming. Length, frequency, emphasis and staff
assignments are among them. Radio newscasts last from five to 30 minutes.
Some stations give "headlines" and "the top story of the hour," both brief
reports. Major newscasts are commonly presented at times which coincide
with meals, driving to and from work, or going to bed. Minor news summaries are customarily presented on the hour or half-hour, although there
are variations. Stations broadcasting "the news when it happens" and networks like CBS Radio's "Netalert" interrupt programs any time an important story breaks. The news director and program director determine the
length and frequency of newscasts.
Most news directors emphasize the news of the locality. A low -power
station has local coverage and local emphasis, whereas a powerful station
may cover several counties and have regional coverage and regional emphasis. An extremely powerful station may be heard over many states.
Emphasis in the news depends upon the nature of the station. Most news-
Producing and Directing
casts carry international, national and local news along with weather and
sports. Often they are in just that order. It makes little sense for a network
affiliate to concentrate its staff on national news, if the network is already
providing it. For major events, however, a station that can afford it will
send a reporter to the scene for a story with a local viewpoint. The Republican and Democratic conventions draw numerous local station newsmen
as well as those from the networks.
At the network level, World News Roundup, broadcast by CBS from
New York every morning for over a quarter of a century, illustrates the
duties of the producer -director. The producer of World News Roundup
begins planning the program at CBS News Headquarters on the afternoon
before the broadcast. During this period he determines which stories will
have direct reports from all over the world. He sends wire and transoceanic
orders to appropriate correspondents for reports. A correspondent, moreover, may place an order for himself by notifying CBS News Headquarters.
The chief newscaster or "anchorman" shares the producer- director responsibility. He checks the lineup of stories hours in advance of the newscast.
The anchorman and the producer are, of course, constantly on the alert for
late- breaking stories that may replace or affect the apparent lineup. Overseas and national spots are carried live, if possible; if atmospheric conditions do not permit it, the producer has the stories pretaped. Prior to air
time, the anchorman at his microphone gives his lineup a final check. A
news editor, sharing the director function, meanwhile, sits alongside the
engineer in the control room. The editor speaks to the overseas correspondents and coordinates their reports with the newscast. He accurately checks
the lead -in and -out cues, story content and length of the reports. The
anchorman must be prepared to give ad-libbed introductions to live spots
on a moment's notice; changing circumstances may require updating some
reports. He must have planned in advance to have sufficient information
on all news items. The CBS news team with its news editor and engineer
share modern producer- director functions by carefully organizing each
newscast in advance.
Gathering News. The newsman, particularly in the smaller station, will
obtain his copy from a wire service. In fact, he may literally rip the copy
hence, the expression "rip
from the machine and read it over the air
and reao." Lately this kind of news operation is looked down upon because the newscaster neglects to shape his material to his own audience.
The newsman will make a few routine calls around town for additional
items of local interest. At a large station the news gathering sources multiply and so does the staff. The news director assigns certain areas of city
government to newsmen on his staff. They telephone their stories to the
station, or report them from any one of several mobile units. These reports
are recorded at the station on audio tape and at an appropriate time the
news director or anchorman on duty inserts them into the newscast.
The most dramatic news gathering event in recent times occurred in
Dallas, Texas, when President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. An
account of how Dallas radio station, KLIF, and Fort Worth radio station
KXOL, gathered the news on November 22, 1963 is illustrative of the
efficient use of local radio news facilities and of the complex assignment
many news directors have.11 The Dallas radio and television stations had
agreed that two reporters, one representing radio and the other television,
would cover the President's arrival at Love Field. Joe Long, news director
of KLIF, and Bob Walker, of WFAA -TV, represented each medium,
respectively. The two newsmen stood on the roof of WFAA's mobile television unit, where they made a 45-minute broadcast of the landing. The
President's motorcade was to travel more or less in a loop from Love Field
to downtown Dallas and back again. KLIF newsmen Roy Nichols and
Glen Duncan were positioned in two mobile units along the parade route,
while Gordon McLendon (president of the McLendon stations) awaited
Kennedy's appearance at the Dallas Trade Mart, where he was to make a
luncheon address. The motorcade consisted of the President's car, followed
by Secret Service men, and the Vice President's car. A fourth vehicle was
the bus containing the White House correspondents. One was Bruce Neal,
assistant news director of KXOL. As the President's car passed the Texas
School Book Depository, Neal, who was near the front of the bus, recalled
hearing "what sounded like firecrackers... We didn't know what had
happened. The bus speeded up and we went immediately to the Trade
Mart, thinking the shots had missed."
In another part of Dallas, Joe Long was returning to KLIF when he
heard a "Signal 19" police call, indicating a shooting. It was followed by
the words, "The motorcade is involved." Long states: "Apparently the
button stuck on a policeman's radio
probably someone on motorcycle
because I could hear sirens screaming. A voice said, `We're Code 6
(have arrived) Parkland. There is a shooting. Two persons have been
rushed to Parkland. No identification."
Both the Dallas and Fort Worth stations geared for action. They abandoned musical programming and commercials and switched to continuous
news. Their approaches to covering the series of events were quite different, however. The news director at the Fort Worth station concentrated his
staff at Parkland Memorial Hospital; the news director of the Dallas station
placed his newsmen at key positions throughout the city. KXOL depended
heavily on the Associated Press to amplify its stories; KLIF used United
Press primarily for non -local events. Both stations set up a small staff and
special facilities for feeding other stations.12 A make-shift press room was
prepared at the hospital. Within an hour four newsmen, two mobile units,
a portable tape recorder, a walkie-talkie and a teletypewriter enabled the
KXOL newsmen to switch from telephone communication (which was
overloaded) to continuous two -way radio communication with their station
Producing and Directing
in Fort Worth. Neal directed the operation, assigning Russ Bloxom in one
mobile unit to the front of Parkland, Jerry Hahn to the emergency entrance, Bill Hightower to the medical briefing room, and Bill Hicks to a
second mobile unit that served as liaison and back up. At KLIF, Joe Long
took over as anchorman and directed the operation. He called in extra
reporters and dispatched them to key places in Dallas. Nichols and Duncan, who were in mobile units along the parade route, went to Parkland
and police headquarters, respectively. At the book depository Gary DeLaune got an eyewitness account of the shooting; Nichols reported from
Parkland that President Kennedy and Texas Governor John Connally were
both struck; McLendon described the confusion at the Dallas Trade Mart;
and Duncan made reports from police headquarters. "By one o'clock we
had two reports from each man in addition to interviews from Jim Wright,
Ralph Yarborough, and others." 13 In approximately one hour the KLIF
news director had activated a ten -man news staff to cover the city. In the
control room at each station the news director immediately defined the
situation, decided how to cover it for his station, assigned his personnel,
mobilized his facilities, and actually participated in the newscast as anchorman.
Because of the growing complexity and expense of covering important news events, networks, individual stations, and wire services have
consolidated their efforts. Memo #2 (See Appendix, page 116) from Russ
Tornabene, "pool" producer for Pope Paul VI's visit to New York City in
1965, illustrates the enormous amount of advance planning that such an
event requires. Temporary phone lines between pool control and each
location, and radio relay between control and the helicopter gave the pool
producer command over the entire operation. Explicit "end" cues are
especially noteworthy for they signal the next program segment. Notice
that pool reporters were in eight locations only; therefore, networks and
individual stations were assigned space at other key locations where they
provided their own reporters.
Assembling News. The gathering process will bring in much more
news than the news director will need for any broadcast, even on a "slow"
news day. He must evaluate what is news from what is not, and then determine just which facts are essential for a clear understanding of what is
happening. After every story is condensed to the irreducible minimum
length, the news director arranges the stories in a meaningful order, and
in the studio or on location
times them. He also determines where
each newsman will read his story and where tapes, telephone reports and
commercials will be inserted in the program. A complete run down is then
typed up, duplicated, and distributed to all concerned. This sample format
News at Ten, produced for WUNC, Chapel
for Communique 30
Hill, shows how the news director has organized the program: 14
Opening Headlines (AP)
Introduction (Cartridge)
National /International (AP)
Promo "The Musician" (Cartridge)
National /International (AP)
NASA Report, "Gemini" (Tape)
National/International (AP)
State News (AP)
Weather Report (AP and Local
Airport Tape)
Promo "Peace Corps" (Disc)
Wrap -Up
Closing (Cartridge)
Announce Booth
Master Control
Announce Booth
Master Control
Announce Booth
Master Control
Announce Booth
Announce Booth
Master Control
Announce Booth
Master Control
Presenting News. A news director listens for a particular kind of voice
or style of reading that fits the station's image. No criteria have been successfully established. The selection of a newscaster is highly subjective, but
news directors seem to agree that a solid education and a good voice are
both desirable. Newscaster David Brinkley has said that broadcasting hopefuls should "stop wasting their time with speech courses because it doesn't
matter that much. "15 It is true that a man with a message does manage to
communicate it in most cases. But the dynamic, compelling voices of an
Edward R. Murrow, a Lowell Thomas and an Edward P. Morgan certainly
have done a great deal to present the news in a listenable fashion. Inasmuch as newscasting is so highly competitive, there seems to be a trend
toward greater perfection in its presentation vocally as well as in other
aspects. Fewer nationally famous newsmen have noticeable dialects or
speech defects. Many news directors, anchormen and major correspondents have virtually flawless speech; in fact, they not only report the news
but they tend to set the national standards for enunciation and pronunciation. Furthermore, most of them read with great fluency. When a young
man looks for employment as a newscaster, he will be screened through the
submission of an audio tape.
The news director frequently uses production aids. Some journalists
believe that these aids tend to destroy the basic reason for tuning in the
news: that is, to hear accurate, immediate, unbiased reporting. Many news
directors agree with production people, however, that production techniques help to attract larger audiences to radio. Many directors augment
the news with "beeper" phone reports, remote reports and taped interviews. They use special effects such as a teletype machine, rockets blasting
Producing and Directing
off and musical inserts to focus attention quickly on the scope, depend-
ability and immediacy of the newscast and, therefore, on the station. They
employ these devices to give the station a unique sound for the opening, closing and transitions during programs. Special effects are mass produced and
sold by various companies. They are heard typically on top -tune stations,
where news directors strive for a dynamic sound image.
The following routine for a typical 5- minute local newscast summarizes the duties of a news director. The news director:
1). Assigns and dispatches all newsmen.
2) . Edits wire service copy.
3). Obtains local stories by calling hospitals, government offices, educational institutions, churches, businesses and athletic departments, and by
listening to police, fire and sheriff department monitors. He may rewrite an
article or two from a newspaper, giving credit to it for originating the story.
4). Tapes incoming calls from reporters on assignment, special interviews, statements from public officials and reports from the weather bureau.
5) Rewrites and assembles each item, being wary of remarks that
are inaccurate, libelous, or contrary to good taste.
6) Practices reading his copy.
7) Takes his cue from the engineer on duty.
8) Reads the newscast on the air.
9) . Updates all stories for the next news report.
The news director's work is never finished. At many local stations he
reads the newscast from a newsroom where microphones, telephones, tape
recorders, monitors and teletype machines are located. The task, then, becomes noisy as well as hectic.
Sports Programs
Sports newscasting often consists of reading excerpts from the wire services. The biggest stories of the day are summarized and the scores of major
contests are read. Sports news is treated as another news sequence in the
routine newscast, particularly at a small station.
A sports director or sportscaster comes into his own during the play -byplay radio coverage of an entire sports event. Football, baseball, basketball
and boxing receive the most complete coverage, primarily those contests of
national interest but frequently on a local level, too. The national Indianapolis 500 -mile auto race and the more locally oriented Fort Worth Colonial
Golf Tournament both get full attention on radio stations. The sportscast
can be programmed as a special event of the station; it can be sold as an
entire program or as spots. It not only brings valuable extra revenue to the
station, but is welcomed by tournament entrepreneurs as a source of promotion and money for the event. Interest in high school and regional contests
has increased, and local rivalry provides as great a potential audience for
the local station as do some national contests.
A sports director may undertake the role of producer-director and
commentator. He will know in advance when and where the contest will
take place and that he will probably broadcast from a remote location such
as a press box, a mobile unit or a gymnasium. He must do a great deal of
1) He obtains clearance from the university athletic department,
country club, stadium or arena officials to broadcast the event. Broadcasting rights are restricted and must be cleared ahead of time. Accessibility to
players is sometimes limited. Usually a public relations man representing
the club and /or athletes handles arrangements for radio coverage. He is the
contact man for the sports director.
2 ) . The sports director advises the program director about the event
and how extensively he would like to cover it. The program director schedules the sportscast by preempting the regular programs.
3 ) The sports director carefully plans what he will do with his equipment (microphones, cables), where he will park his mobile unit, where the
power supply is located, where telephones are if needed. He anticipates every
contingency regarding the physical setup of the program.
4). He discusses the organization of the program with his assistant, or
"color" man, and if it is a big game he may line up interviews with local
celebrities because they add background information, insights and personal
rapport with listeners. He studies the contest and the players thoroughly. He
memorizes the players' names and numbers. "Pre -game preparation is 90 per
cent of the broadcast," according to Bill Currie, sports director for WSOC,
5). For football, the sports director must obtain good spotters. No one
can spot by himself because he can not see the game that well. A sports director may place a spotter on either side of him. Each spotter observes one
team, and records his observations by sticking pins into a cork -backed chart
called a "spotting board." The spotting board
one for each team
each player's number, last name, age, weight, height and home town. The
spotters give silent signals to the sportscaster concerning substitutions and
other changes, while he is on the air. In basketball, spotters are too slow.
The sports director must remember the names of the players, and must be
able to see the game clearly. Baseball action is so relatively slow that the
sports director needs to fill with a great deal of additional information about
the players and previous games. Again, separate charts are used for keeping track of the team at bat and the team in the field.
6) On the day of the game the sports director and his assistants are at
the site early enough to set up properly and to check out all equipment. There
is always the possibility that they will have to return to the station for an
emergency item, even though possible breakdowns have been anticipated.
The sports director has an easier set-up if he broadcasts from a permanent
press box, with an assigned area. He must, nevertheless, arrive soon enough
Producing and Directing
to check his lines with master control at the station, where an engineer on
duty will take the sports director's signal or "feed" and broadcast it to the
fans. Occasionally, a game does not start as scheduled. A rule -of -thumb
one sports director uses is to ad -lib a delay of ten minutes or less, but to
return to the station disc jockey if the delay is longer. i G
7). The sports director is sometimes responsible for promotional materials and for attending numerous athletic functions (dinners, pre- season
activities) to stimulate interest in the team. He must travel a great deal.
Weather Programs
Weather programs are produced at the weather bureau, at a station
or on location. If the local weather bureau is the producer, the process is
simple: the announcer on duty calls the weather bureau, the man at the
weather bureau makes his report over the telephone, and the report is either
broadcast live or is taped for replay later. If the weather report is assembled
at the station, the procedure is the same as for any newscast, except that the
announcer may check a few instruments (thermometer, barometer, rain
gauge, radar) at the station.
When the possibility of severe weather exists, the announcer has informational and psychological responsibility as the link between known and
expected conditions and anxious listeners. During the early 1950's, when
tornadoes first brought real disaster to Michigan, most local radio stations
were not prepared to handle warning reports judiciously. Many residents
listened in fear for several hours while some radio stations meted out weather
to keep audiences tuned in. By coninformation as dramatic bulletins
trast, Texas radio stations long since learned to issue advisories when the
possibility of severe conditions existed, and then they proceeded to localize
the severe activity for listeners. Michigan stations soon learned, of course,
and now, by and large, they avoid undue emotional elements in weather
If the weather requires a direct report, the station weatherman (or
newsman) goes to the scene. The basic procedure:
emergency broadcasting equip1) He packs two kinds of gear
ment (audiotapes, batteries) and survival supplies (flashlight, first aid
in his mobile unit.
kit, blankets, matches, even food)
2). He drives to the location and sets up his headquarters at an
affiliated station, if there is one.
3) . He observes conditions, checks with the local weather experts,
and gets on- the -scene interviews.
4). He telephones his reports to his home station at pre -determined
times unless an important story breaks. His reports are recorded by the
engineer on duty in the control room, or by the news director.
Gathering information can be hazardous work. Porter Randall, veteran KFJZ (Fort Worth) newsman, gave this description of a hurricane
that ravaged the Texas coast in 1963. He and Gene Duncan of KOLE,
Port Arthur, Texas, attempted to reach High Island during the height of
the storm:
The highway from this little town to High Island on the coast
as we had been warned
impassable. And yet, somehow we
got through. We maneuvered the car around the bodies of cattle that
had died
in the storm. Great piles of brush had blown
onto the roadway. The most pitiful thing was the birds. I saw thousands of dead ones. Others
still alive
would try to get out of the
way of the car, but couldn't. Maybe they were half- drowned
maybe they couldn't fly in that screaming wind
but anyway our
wheels have crushed dozens of them; perhaps hundreds. There was
not any way we could miss them.
At High Island, on the coast, only about six people had remained. We were the only reporters on the spot. No one else had been
able to get through...
High Island was a nightmare. Its fishing vessels had been carried
up into the 'streets by wind and water. Its fishing dock was half destroyed. Stores and houses lay strewn about in pieces; like crushed
match -boxes. But the tiny telephone exchange was still standing, and
I learned it had just managed to restore service on emergency power.
I managed to get through two reports to KFJZ from High
Island, and then I called A.P., the U.P.I., and finally the weather
bureau at the Jefferson County Airport.17
In modern radio, weather information may be produced as on -thespot coverage by two reporters from local stations. As with the hurricane
disaster, coverage of the Alaskan earthquake of March 27, 1964 also illustrated how radio stations and wire services cooperate with each other. The
owner of Radio Station KBVU, Bellevue, Washington, was talking to his
brother in Anchorage when he heard his brother shout: "My God, we're
having an earthquake!" The telephone went dead. The station owner
quickly relayed his brother's words to The Associated Press in Seattle. This
was the first report of the great, widespread disaster. At least 50 newspaper and broadcast members combined to help report that story.18 Reporting natural disasters is another dimension of the news. Great personal
risk to newsmen is often involved. Foresight, daring and ingenuity are combined with succinct reporting ability.
Feature Programs
Informational, and some entertainment programs, may examine a subject in depth. There are several ways to do this. Talks, interviews, discussions and documentaries are the most commonly used methods. Programs
derived from these methods may be of interest to the public generally or
to specific audiences such as women, farmers, children or other groups.
Producing and Directing
Broadly speaking, a talk involves one person, an interview two or more,
and a discussion three or more. The content of a talk focuses on the beliefs
of a single person such as a politician making a speech or a teacher giving
a lecture. The interview is usually a study of the interviewee's knowledge,
attitudes or personality. The discussion explores a subject ostensibly from
many points of view. The documentary is a collection of these techniques
assembled or edited by an outside party so as to express a certain point of
view on a particular topic. Often the editor of a documentary assembles
non -fictional or actuality materials as though they were fiction; that is, in
the classic pattern of a beginning, middle and end. An individual (or group)
has a problem, he seeks a solution, he does (or does not) solve it, he looks at
the prospects for the future. The feature or news-in -depth type of programming has become increasingly popular during recent years. Talks, interviews
and discussions are rather inexpensive. The documentary may vary greatly in
cost, from a simple local program to a complex study of a world crisis.
The Talk. Speeches, commentaries, editorials and lectures are among
the principal talk programs. In many instances the talent will produce his
own programs, and the engineer on duty will give him basic cues. If a greater
degree of perfection is desired by the speaker, he will probably have someone in the control room listening critically and functioning as a producer.
Politicians frequently use a campaign aide as producer. The political
speech should be written and delivered with great care, concentrating on a
vocabulary that is easy to understand and on conversational delivery that
makes the most of simple, direct sentences. Many newspapermen record
commentaries for the broadcasting media. In the early days of radio some
newsmen won international fame by broadcasting their opinions to the
world. The commentator is often his own producer- director and controls
the entire program. He may seek outside help during the initial broadcasts
so that he can make the transition from writing for print media to writing
for broadcasting media more rapidly. On some occasions the commentator
will simultaneously record a video tape for television and an audio track
for radio. Editorials reflect the station's viewpoint and are usually no more
than five minutes in length. The news director usually is the producer, although higher station executives sometimes assume that responsibility.
Because of the fairness doctrine issued by the Federal Communications
Commission, stations are supposed to seek and encourage opposing points
of view. Sometimes an opposing view is presented in person, other times
through letters read over the air. The basic procedure:
1). The producer files a request for air time with the station. A special form is provided for political candidates. It states that the candidate is
legally qualified and that he or his representative will appear on the program. It designates other details about the broadcast such as payment,
length, frequency and time. The station may require a statement releasing
it from liability for remarks made by a political candidate.
2). The producer must arrange to have the script, records or transcriptions of the proposed broadcast ready for review by the station prior
to air time. The station's program director will call attention to material
that cannot be broadcast legally: obscene, indecent or profane language,
language that advocates the violent overthrow of the Government, that incites to riot, that is libelous or slanderous. The producer can then expect
the program to be broadcast in accordance with all aspects of the equal
treatment of candidates regarding rates, sponsorship and announcements.
3 ) If the broadcast originates at the station, a director will probably
be assigned. He may be the engineer on duty. In any event, the director
makes the candidate or speaker comfortable in the studio, and follows
standard directing procedure. The director may wish to have a read -through
rehearsal; however, for simple talk programs this is seldom done.
The lecture is usually an educational program. A producer and /or a
director are needed. For such programs the educational institution may
provide both of them. Programs involving direct instruction are broadcast
over educational radio stations almost exclusively. These stations provide
staff members who assist the teacher in designing the lecture series. The
producer may also direct the program and assume full responsibility for
the production. He coordinates the broadcast schedule with the administrations of the schools using the programs, and will suggest various production
aids that may improve the lectures. A teacher's personal approach to teaching must, of course, be respected; but the producer-director should seek
ways to skillfully enhance the studio presentation. The basic procedure:
1). A producer-director is assigned to the series by the program
2 ) The producer-director schedules a conference with the teacher
and with an administrator who coordinates the program on behalf of the
school systems. Sometimes the producer- director must coordinate the program directly with the schools involved, which can be a very difficult and
time -consuming task. More often, scheduling problems are handled at the
highest administrative level so that uniformity can be assured. School supervisors and the teacher outline what must be covered, and the teacher
develops it in detail. The producer -director suggests how the teacher's objectives might be more beneficially fulfilled using radio. He assembles all
sound and music effects which the teacher needs.
3 ) . The producer- director meets the teacher in the studio for a rehearsal that resembles the complex procedure of a drama: read through,
on-mike rehearsal, dress rehearsal and performance. He will probably have
a complete staff to assist him. The teacher reads through the script and the
director times it, including ad -lib remarks and sound effects. Educational
programs often involve large groups, especially children. The director and
teacher may have difficulty in getting participants to speak naturally on
microphone. Children are very good as a rule, but adults are often artificial.
Producing and Directing
A large group also increases the possibility of studio noise, and injects the
danger of miscuing because of inattention. Explicit, polite instructions are
among the director's more helpful tools. Another problem may be condensing the teacher's vast amount of material into the length of the program.
4) . During the on-mike rehearsals, the director tries to correct any
problems he might have on the air. Can everyone see the director? Will the
teacher need a glass of water? No detail is too small. Hand signals are reviewed, levels are checked. Basic instructions are thoroughly discussed
several times because non -professionals (children, guests) tend to become
nervous and confused.
5). During the performance the director concentrates on encouraging
and reassuring the teacher and her guests that the program is going well.
This heightens everyone's spirits: if the talent enjoys the program, the listeners will.
6). After the performance, the director praises everyone, even though
perfection is seldom obtained; an atmosphere of good will should be preserved for all succeeding broadcasts. As the teacher and director become
better acquainted, they depend upon each other in numerous minor ways
that strengthen the program.
The Interview. The producer- director of an interview must decide
upon a subject, obtain a guest to interview, schedule a production date and
work out the details of the program. He can begin with a topic or an interesting person. For example, if the community has a campaign for safe driving, the police chief may be the natural person to interview. On the other
hand, there may be an entertainment personality in town who can be interviewed. In some cases the producer may also be the interviewer.
The producer schedules the program through the news director, if it
is part of a news program, or through the program director, if it is a special
series. Once the guest and the subject have been determined, the producer
plans a list of questions that explore the topic thoroughly and effectively.
The questions should blend from one to another without repeating themselves. A good interview takes consummate skill. The interviewer works
under the pressure of limited time. He must get to the heart of the topic
quickly and at the same time he must not appear to rush the guest. The producer's responsibilities for an interview differ somewhat from those for a talk:
1) The producer-interviewer visits his guest on several occasions before the program, reads what the guest has written or has had written about
him, and then prepares a routine or run-down sheet, as described in the
chapter on Writing. This is distributed to the director and production staff.
2) On the day of the program the producer-interviewer greets his
guest well in advance. He assures his guest of the importance of the interview and attempts to make him comfortable in a brief warm -up session.
The director explains the program procedure to the interviewee so the
latter will not become annoyed or confused during the program. The pro.
ducer- interviewer has the duty of getting the broadcast on and off the air
on time.
The Discussion. Technically, discussion programs have many forms
panels, which enable anyone to speak out at any time informally; symposiums, which give everyone an opportunity to make a formal presentation
first, then include questions and cross discussion; audience participations,
which are basically question and answer situations between the guest and
the audience; and forums, which are formal presentations of several points
of view. A discussion has two main characteristics: several participants and
a sincere desire on the part of all of them to solve or work toward solving
a problem. A debate, to the contrary, is a formal presentation of opposing
points of view without attempting to reconcile the opposing sides. Instead,
it is an effort to persuade a third party, the listening audience.
The producer's task in the discussion program is to get the right guests
together to discuss only those aspects of a given subject which create excitement and enlightenment. Once the producer has an idea for a program, he
selects a moderator who has insight and knowledge of the subject (or is
willing to become informed). The moderator should have an understanding
of human beings, an ability to listen attentively and a keen sense of organization. The producer and moderator outline the program. They decide
which guests would be most effective. A guest who is responsive, intelligent
and willing to speak candidly is rare. The producer and moderator may
visit personally each potential member of the discussion group to discover
where the individual stands on each issue, and whether he will talk about
it on the air. Essentially, only those questions where there is disagreement
are discussed, and these provide the base for the program outline. The
moderator must maintain a neutral position during the program, although
he may play the devil's advocate if the occasion calls for it.
Guests on discussion programs frequently do not wish to be controversial
to be involved in any situation where they might lose face or
suffer embarrassment. The moderator must create an atmosphere that
allows the free exchange of ideas, but which also protects the dignity of
the participants. The procedure for the discussion is similar to that of the
talk and the interview except that its complexity is multiplied by the number of guests:
1) . During the program the producer and /or moderator keeps the
discussion moving at a lively pace by asking the most controversial questions
first, by including all of the guests in the conversation, and by striving toward greater understanding for the listening audience. Four guests with
voices that are easy to distinguish are about maximum for radio.
2) In the control room the director gives the usual signals, knowing
that it is more difficult to stop a stimulating discussion than an interview
with a single person. At a prearranged time, perhaps two or three minutes
before the end of the program, the director will expect the producer-
Producing and Directing
moderator to end the discussion and to read a prepared, pre -timed summary
or to ad -lib one that will fit the time requirement. Well- prepared openings,
closings and summaries add clarity and smoothness to the discussion program.
The Documentary. There are two basic types of documentaries: the
actuality program, with on- the -spot reports involving real people and real
events, and the dramatized or semi -documentary, which uses actors to
recreate a real happening. The producer and director have a complex responsibility resembling that of the radio drama.
"With the advent of television, radio's function altered so drastically
that the latter lost much of its significance as a documentary instrument.
While sporadic individual efforts in a documentary style are still made by
local stations, it is fair to observe that one of the central conditions we have
to create a massive impact upon great
established for documentary
has ceased, in radio, to exist." 19 Nevertheless, the artistic and
informational impact of the documentary and its occasional production in
many stations make it worth -while examining.
The producer sees a need to explore a certain theme or topic in depth.
He (or his writer) does extensive research, organizes a script outline, arranges a budget and obtains clearances, as necessary. Next he assembles a
production unit consisting of a director, a narrator, an engineer and, depending upon the complexity of the project, other artistic, production and
technical personnel. (He may do two or three of these jobs himself.) They
tape- record the events on location and bring them back to the station for
editing. The tape is evaluated and assembled. WBT, Charlotte, for example, has produced a series called Project 60. Each hour -long program is
a composite of interviews, discussions, comments by individuals and announcer narration concerning such topics as the lost continent of Atlantis,
extrasensory perception, and sounds of the city. Numerous local stations
have documentaries concerning civic issues, especially around election time.
Although all creative radio personnel would like to produce documentaries,
the factors of money, time and mass sales appeal discourage most from
doing so. The basic producing- directing procedure is essentially the same
for all types of stations and subjects:
) The producer- director drafts an outline of his idea for a program
or series. He gets approval from the program director to produce it.
2). The producer- director assembles all of the actuality tapes, transcriptions and sound effects that he will need. This process may take several
months. In addition to live taping, he may depend on library resources of
his station and of national and even international broadcasting organizations. Gathering material may require an extensive amount of preliminary
listening as well as a great deal of time clearing copyrights.
The director re- records all of the assembled pertinent material on
audio tape approximately in the order he will use it on the program. He
edits and times each segment.
4). Next he carefully splices the segments together, checking each one
for fidelity, length and relevance to the script.
5) . After all of the editing and splicing is done, the director duplicates
his "master" or final tape. The duplicate will be played on the air.
The creative genius of people in advertising is sometimes overlooked.
Poetry, original music, original sound effects, comedy, attention -getting
devices and audience research are some of the ways advertisers stimulate
listeners to purchase products and services. Commercials and some promotional spots are the most expensive moments on the air. Many sponsors
believe that radio can give a product more exposure than any other medium
for each dollar invested: time sales surpassed $900,000,000 in the mid 1960's. The FCC's approval of an "all -ad" station in 1966 suggested even
greater dimensions for advertising on radio. Because of the high investment
in radio advertising, many employed in radio spend part of their time
producing and directing commercials. The business is so lucrative and complex that several major manufacturers, department stores, and some nonprofit organizations have their own promotion departments which design
commercials and public service announcements for all media. Radio stations and advertising agencies either produce their own commercials or hire
a production company to do them.
Station Production. Many local sponsors work directly with the station. As a result the station makes money on selling the air time and on
producing the commercials. In many instances two of the station's personnel
the operations manager and the sales director, for example
spend a couple of hours in the evening after their daytime -only station
goes off the air to produce a one -minute commercial. They might read all
the roles themselves, operate their own console, and change the copy as
they go along. Procedures differ, of course, for different stations:
1). Unless a sponsor dictates what his commercial shall include, the
salesman and a continuity writer assume the chief responsibility for producing the commercial. If a sponsor wishes to put on an entire campaign or
several different commercials involving a great deal of production work, the
campaign may go through the several steps typical of a major radio program, beginning with an initial conference examining the product or service
from every point of view.
2) Once the copy is written, it is sent to the program director who
assigns it to someone on the production staff, probably an announcer. After
his board shift is over, the announcer finds production orders accompanied
by sales copy in a studio available for the production of commercials. One
radio station, used as an example here, has two production studios. Studio
A is used for most everyday production. Studio B
the larger of the two
Producing and Directing
is the commercial production room with an array of microphones, three
turntables, two tape recorders, a disc recorder, a record library and recorded sound effects. The station may have over 1,000 sound effects on file
in addition to many commercial lead -ins and jingles. All production copy is
initially recorded on tape. This work is done by the program director and
the five station announcers. (At some stations audition copy is written,
produced on tape and then played for a prospective client over the telephone. If the client buys the spot, it is then placed on the disc.) Because of
the constant turnover in announcements, the production work is never
3) Radio announcers are generally familiar with editing techniques
and with unique sounds which will draw and hold the attention of listeners.
The announcer reads and records the copy as it is written, integrating the
sound and music that he believes will be effective. Recorded music typically
is used. Live music is easier to pace and usually results in better spotting
and more exact duration. Small combos and vocal groups can be hired.
Good effects are achieved by such instruments as guitars, drums or even
slide whistles. Electronic filters, reverberation synthesizers and delayed impulse echo equipment are useful devices. Experimentation pays.
4). As a final step the announcer-producer duplicates the completed
audio tape of the commercial on a cartridge and puts it in master control.
He marks the production order completed.
Although the process is not easy, many commercials and announcements are frequently done in a day. One station, for example, tries to give
sponsors "same day" service, that is, it broadcasts the commercial the same
day the order comes in! The writer has to constantly dream up ways of
selling products over radio. The production people have to find new ways
that will intrigue listeners. The probattention getters or "gimmicks"
lem is complicated further by a desire on the part of the radio station and
the sponsor to have the listener indicate that he heard the commercial on
radio, as described in the section on "feedback" in Chapter 1.
Advertising Agencies. An advertising agency is a business consisting
of specialists who create and plan a company's entire marketing program.
Nearly all national advertising (that is, other than retail) in newspapers,
magazines, outdoor displays and broadcasting media is placed through advertising agencies. Radio stations in major markets like Washington, D.C.,
do not as a rule produce their own commercials. They receive them from
agencies. Agencies also place most of the advertising in the professional,
technical and business publications. An agency handles a number of accounts. Its function is to select, recommend and contract those it feels are
best -suited to advertise a client's product or service. The radio and television department of an agency is one of its exciting and challenging divisions, because of the amount of money involved and the skill, judgment and
taste entailed in selecting the radio and television programs and for produc.
ing the commercials.20 Radio and television production calls for a high
degree of talent and experience and the ability to work long hours under
These comments from Clarence M. Thompson, vice-president and
creative director of Colle and McVoy, Minneapolis, illustrate the approach
of one agency toward producing radio commercials for the modern farmer,
an approach that can be usefully applied to any segment or type of listening
Be honest. Farmers can spot an overenthusiastic claim for any
product or service in a second.
Don't "talk down" to farmers. This is one of the most sophisticated markets in radio. The farmers of today are scientists and don't
forget this point. Don't forget either that they are big businessmen.
The average good farmer in this area runs an operation with a capital
investment of well over $100,000.
Be specific. Avoid superlatives. If your product is "best," better
explain why.
Be professional. Write crisp copy. Use first-class talent. Farmers
are probably the most quality- conscious consumers around. Your
commercials should sound "quality," too.
Be creative. Don't use "corn" unless it is very well done. Farmers
respond to a fresh approach as well as, or perhaps even better than
Should you play it straight, with your commercials read by the
station's farm director? Should you prerecord your farm commercials?
Should you use jingles in your radio advertising? We have done all
three successfully at Colle and McVoy.
It's well to remember, except for his high degree of product
knowledge, a farmer is just like everybody else you sell with radio. He
wants "hard" information but he also wants to be entertained.
If your product has definite competitive advantages, give the facts
to your farmer listener. If your product is one of the crowd, entertain
him! 21
If an advertising agency has studios, they are similar to those at a
radio station, and the procedure for producing the spot is basically the
same. Agencies send cartridges, tapes and discs to the station after the
agencies have purchased air time through the station's sales department.
Producing and directing radio programs have changed greatly since
the advent of television. The producer and director functions have been absorbed by individual members of the radio team: the program director, the
news director, the talent, the continuity writer and other production people.
Producing and Directing
Nevertheless, producing and directing will always be a vital function of a
radio station. Someone has to do it. There would be no radio otherwise.
The emphasis in this chapter has been purposefully oriented to local
station operation because the bulk of the opportunities in radio are on the
local level. A clear understanding of what a station expects of its programming personnel, as delineated in Chapter 1, should be of benefit to the
aspiring radio employee. Good radio is more than just a voice over the airwaves. It requires skill, artistry, and knowledge of the technical aspects of
the medium, of writing, of production, of performing. It is also a complex
what they like to hear and what they will
process of knowing people
buy. A radio producer and director or one who serves these functions must
have an intimate knowledge of all of these aspects of the radio business,
if he hopes to be successful.
Commercials. A director often records commercials and promotional
spot announcements at a higher volume than the programs; as a result, the
commercials receive greater prominence while they are on the air. Fewer
radio spots are merely read today; most require production.
Cues. A director calls his cues aloud when working in the control
room so that technicians there can hear him. He may use the expression
"from the top," which means from the beginning of the script. As a psychological device, some directors smile prior to cueing, and periodically
signal "on- the -nose" and/or "thumb-forefinger circle" to assure talent that
the program is on time and/or going well.
Gain. Most programming can be properly recorded if the needle on
unit meter on the console remains in the black. Louder, more
forceful sound is obtained when it "peaks" in the red. A director should
watch the meter, for it is the only accurate gauge. A control room monitor
can be deceptive at times.
Microphones. A director should not encourage performers to touch
microphones. He should explain the beam pattern to the talent. Maximum
"presence" and clarity are established when the talent speaks directly into
the beam in a normal tone. Voices positioned at various distances from the
beam give the production "perspective." Performers should never be allowed to yell, tap or purposefully blow into a microphone to test it. Microphones in auditoriums should be placed so as not to detract aesthetically
from a concert or recital.
Mixing. A director may find taping his music, sound and voices separately is desirable, if he can combine them more easily by electronic than
by live means. He should remember that the qualities of a soft voice can be
easily amplified without strain on the performer. "Dubbing" is the process
of filling in a missing segment on a tape or of duplicating it.
Music. For bridges and transitions, a director generally looks for
passages that are not easily recognized. He allows about 10 seconds to
establish a musical segment. "Fades" should occur at the end of musical
phrases. Decreasing volume imperceptibly is referred to as a "sneak out."
A "segue" is usually a transition from one musical selection to another. A
"stinger" or "stab" is a brief, intense note(s) inserted for emphasis. If a
director hopes to have amateurs sound like professional performers, he
tapes them utilizing every electronic aid at his disposal.
Noise. A director should warn performers about script rattle. A disc
jockey "wows" a record when he prematurely increases its volume before
it is up to proper speed. Microphones used outside should be covered with
a moderately light cloth to avoid unwanted noise.
Script Marking. A radio script can be marked in any manner that is
meaningful to the director, but clear notations are essential because there
is little time to figure them out during the performance.
Sound Effects. To deaden a room, a director may surround the talent
with a "gobo," a two -fold covered with heavy material such as velvet. When
he needs additional dimension in a sequence, he uses reverberation or filter.
Slight reverberation or filter is sufficient, otherwise it is difficult to understand the talent. A "sound truck" is a movable bench containing turntables
and storage space for live sound effects. A simultaneous fade out of one
element and fade in of another is a "crossfade."
Voices. The closer a performer is to a microphone, the softer he should
speak and the more intimate the sound becomes. Words with plosive sounds
should be spoken gently, if a "pop" is to be avoided.
Robert R. Pauley, " `Creativity', Not
'Conformity', Radio Necessary, Says Pau ley," Radio- Television Daily, Vol. 96, No.
54 (March 22, 1965) , p. 23.
2 Roger L. Cole, "European Radio Drama
Still Lives," NAEB Journal, Vol. 24, No.
(January -February 1965), pp. 3 -7.
3 Erik Barnouw, Handbook of Radio Production (Boston: D. C. Heath and Company, 1949), p. 9.
4 Don C. Smith, "Music Programming of
Thirteen Los Angeles AM Radio Stations,
1963," paper read before the Speech Association of America, Chicago, Illinois, December 30, 1964. (Mimeographed.)
3 "Total Service in Total Broadcasting,"
(Twin State Broadcasting, Inc., Indianapolis Division, December, 1959), p. 5.
fi Sherman
P. Lawton, Introduction to
Modern Broadcasting (New York: Harper
& Row, Publishers, 1963), p. 69.
7 J. Leonard Reinsch and Elmo I. Ellis,
Radio Station Management (New York:
Harper & Row, Publishers, 1960), p. 126.
s Donald Klopf and John Highlander,
"Japanese Language Broadcasting in the
United States," paper read before the
Speech Association of America, Chicago,
Illinois, December 30, 1964. (Mimeographed.)
9 "WNUS Expands
to FM, 24 -Hour, 'All News'," Radio- Television Daily, Vol. 96,
No. 54 (March 22, 1965), p. 4.
10 John Paul Kimzey, "A Survey of Radio
Station KGVL" (unpublished report, Division of Radio -Television -Film, Texas
Christian University, 1964), p. 35.
11 Interviews with Joe Long, Vice President of News, The McLendon Stations,
and News Director for KLIF, Fort Worth;
and with Roy Eaton, News Director, and
Bruce Neal, Assistant News Director,
KXOL, Fort Worth.
12 KLIF fed 75 different radio stations in
Producing and Directing
addition to Radio France, the BBC, and
the Voice of America. Roy Eaton estimates that KXOL fed over 100 stations.
13 Interview with Joe Long.
14 This "run down" happens to be for an
educational radio station, but it serves
equally well as an example of a segmented
format for a commercial broadcast. Communique 30
The News at Ten was developed by Bill Jennings, Producer, and
Richard Buddine, News Director for
WUNC radio, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
13 "Here and There," NAEB Newsletter,
Vol. 30, No. 4 (April, 1965), p. 4.
18 From a speech by Bill Currie, Radio
and Television Sports Director, WSOC,
Charlotte, at the University of North
Carolina, June 16, 1965.
17 Porter Randall, My Date with Cindy,
Radio Station KFJZ (Fort Worth: KFJZ,
1963), pp. 5 -6.
18 Earthquake in Alaska, The Associated
Press (New York: The Associated Press,
A. William Bluem, Documentary in
American Television (New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1965), pp. 71 -72.
20 The reader is referred to Advertising
(New York: The American Association
of Advertising Agencies, Inc., 1961).
21 Clarence M. Thompson, "Radio Serves
Needs of Today's Big Business Farmer,"
Broadcasting, September 28, 1964, p. 20.
Chester, Giraud, Garnet R. Garrison and
Edgar E. Willis, Television and Radio.
New York: Appleton- Century- Crofts,
1963. Rev. Ed. A comprehensive view
of broadcasting, including reference and
background material on radio programming.
Hilliard, Robert L., Writing for Television
and Radio. New York: Hastings House,
Publishers, Inc., Second Ed., Rev., 1967.
Analyses and examples of non -dramatic
radio scripts illustrate the relationship
of writing to producing and directing.
Jackson, Allan, "You Have to Write,
Too!" New York: CBS Radio Network.
A concise, brief statement about writing news programs.
McCoy, John E. (ed.), Storer Broadcasting Company Program Manual. Storer
Broadcasting Company, 1960. Some
legal considerations and precautions the
company takes in programming for the
Nisbett, Alec, The Technique of the Sound
Studio. New York: Hastings House,
Publishers, 1962. The use of sound as
a medium of expression in addition to
technical information.
Oringel, Robert S., Audio Control Handbook. New York: Hastings House, Publishers, 1963. Rev. Ed. An introductory
text filled with clear illustrations and
explanations of audio facilities and procedures.
Siller, Bob, Ted White, and Hal Terkel,
Television and Radio News. New York:
The Macmillan Company, 1960. A popular textbook on preparing broadcast
news programs.
Skinner, George, The Nuts and Bolts of
Radio. New York: The Katz Agency,
Inc., 1959. Top -tune radio from an
agency viewpoint.
Willis, Edgar E., A Radio Director's Manual. Ann Arbor: Ann Arbor Publishers,
1961. A collection of exercises that illustrate technical and artistic problems in
Those Concerned
September 23, 1965
Russ Tornabene
MEMO #2 Pope Paul VI Radio
This second memo to all interested parties of radio pool operations of Pope Paul's visit to this country will recap all planning to
this date.
The pool will consist of the following members:
ABC -Dick Dressel, 39 W. 66th St. SU 7 -5000
CBS Sheldon Hoffman, 524 W. 57th St. 765 -4321
WCBS- Marvin Friedman, 51 W. 52nd St., 765 -4321
NBC -Jim Holton, 30 Rockefeller Plaza, CI 7 -8300
MUTUAL -Jack Allen, 135 W. 50th St., LT 1 -6100
WOR -Les Smith, 1440 Broadway, LO 4 -8000
WNYC -Allen Levin, 2500 Municipal Building, 566 -2283
WMCA Barrie Beere, 415 Madison Ave., MU 8 -5700
WINS -Stan Brooks, 19th Floor, 90 Park Ave. (39 -40th St. ), 867 -5100
UPI AUDIO -Scott Peters, 220 E. 42nd St. Room 1216, TN 7 -3995
RPI -Bill Scott, 604 5th Avenue, LT 1 -6444
WBNX -C. Carroll Larkin, 801 2nd Avenue, 889 -6880
WRUL (RADIO N.Y.) Mitchell Krauss, 4 W 58th St., PL 2 -3322
WABC -Robert Kimmel, 1926 Broadway, SU 7 -5000
RADIO PULSEBEAT NEWS-Jay Levy, 340 E. 34th St., 686 -6850
WNEW- Gerald Graham, 565 Fifth Avenue, YU 6 -7000
USIA- Robert Rudine, 205 W. 57th St., 971 -5641
WADO -Sydney Kavaleer, 205 E 42nd St. LE 2 -9266
Events will be divided into two main areas: United Nations and
outside the United Nations. United Nations facilities for unilateral
feeds will be handled by Josef Nichols, PL 4 -1234, ext. 2997. Outside United Nations activities will be handled by Papal Visit News
Center, 866 United Nations Plaza, Radio and Television Public Relations: Jack Slocum, 421 -1494. The news center has copies of the
Pope's itinerary.
The pool will operate in the following manner: I, as pool producer, will be in control room 5B, 5th floor, NBC, 30 Rockefeller
Plaza. All subscribers listed above will be linked with me by a producer's PL. This PL, which is being ordered by NBC Traffic Department, will have a phone installation, jack, headset and speaker
box. This Command PL will be used to provide all cueing information. For example, the pool producer will say on the PL, "Coming
up in two minutes from now, a report from Lester Smith in the helicopter, to run about two minutes, ending with the normal end cue.
Starting in one minute and thirty seconds... starting in one minute,
a two minute spot by Lester Smith from the helicopter." and so on,
with the countdown going to "five seconds from now." I will then
cue Les for a spot which I have pre- arranged with him.
Producing and Directing
The pool producer invites all members to suggest spots to be
reporters, if at all possible.
done by pool
The following are the termination points for the PLs:
CBS Studio 1 -524 West 57th St.
WCBS Control A -51 W. 52nd St.
ABC -Studio 1A -39 W. 66th St.
WABC -Tie in with ABC network.
MUTUAL Control A -16th Floor, 135 W. 50th St.
WOR- Control 6 -1440 Broadway, 24th Floor
WNYC- Master Control -25th Floor, 2500 Municipal Building
WMCA- Master Control -415 Madison Ave.
WINS -19th Floor Broadcast Control, 90 Park Ave. (between 39 and
40 St.)
UPI Audio -Room 1216 -220 E. 42nd St.
NBC Control 5C -30 Rockefeller Plaza
RADIO PULSEBEAT NEWS -1st. Floor Suite 1 -H -340 E. 34th St.
WNEW Control room, 2nd floor, 565 Fifth Ave.
RPI- Master Control -604 Fifth Ave.
WADO- Master Control -205 East 42nd St., 8th floor.
The pool will feed sound from all major events involving the
Pope's visit, in the following manner:
Each of the remotes will be fed into NBC control 5B, mixed
and sent on a landline to WNYC, which will re -feed the composite
programs to all members of the pool listed previously.
WNYC will feed all members by pre- arranged lines. If any
member does not have a line from WNYC, he must make this arrangement.
Each member of the pool is reminded that he must order all
unilateral lines, though the pool producer is requesting broadcast
positions from the Press Office and the Police Department.
Pool reporters will be at the following locations:
Mobile Unit
United Nations entrance
United Nations Reception
Patrick's Cathedral
Church of the Holy Family
Vatican Pavilion
Waldorf Towers for meeting with Johnson
In addition, the feed by the pool to the WNYC line of the Mass
at Yankee Stadium will have a running commentary by a priest.
This priest will make occasional theological explanations of what
is occurring in the Mass. He also will briefly describe the departure of the Pope from the Stadium, so we may have a smooth closeout to this event.
We will offer clean sound, without reporters, from the following locations:
Airport Arrival.
Statements from White House and Vatican or Diocese spokesmen
from Waldorf.
United Nations speeches and remarks by the Pope in the following manner: The major address to the General Assembly by the
Pope will be in French. This feed and a simultaneous U.N. provided English translation will be mixed at Pool control and fed
to the pool. The Pope's remarks to assembled groups in the
three Council Chambers and to the UN staff later in the General Assembly, to be spoken by him in English, will be fed on
the pool line.
NOTE: The pool producer may, for the Pope's remarks other
than the major address, be able to give very short notice on the
Command PL. Therefore, it is strongly advised that all producers refer to live television picture to aid in cueing their com-
4. Yankee Stadium. The
mass, with priest (name to be supplied)
providing occasional comments.
Airport Departure.
Following is the list of pool reporters and their positions; a
name or two may change before airtime, but the position and the
reporter's instructions will remain the same:
HELICOPTER-Lester Smith. End cue will be "This is Lester
Smith in the Helicopter."
ST. PATRICK'S CATHEDRAL -Joseph Michaels. End cue will be
"This is Joseph Michaels at St. Patrick's Cathedral."
UNITED NATIONS: Public entrance of the General Assembly terrace position -Frank Singeiser. End cue will
be "This is Frank Singeiser at the entrance to
the United Nations."
Exception: Frank also will cover the departure
of the Pope from the UN Building, reporting
from his terrace position. With the help of a
TV monitor, he will describe the departure
from the building which will take place at the
Delegate's entrance (on the West side of the
General Assembly).
North Lounge -This is the site of the major
reception in the UN.- correspondent to be announced. End cue: "This is
in the reception at the United Nations."
Definitely in the motorcade from the airport
in the morning. Hopefully in all movements
from one point to another during the day and
into the night, ending at the airport for the departure- Dallas Townsend. End cue: This is
Dallas Townsend in the mobile unit." OR upon
Producing and Directing
occasion, where it is important editorially,
"This is Dallas Townsend at
in the mobile unit," to describe for example,
"in the heart of Harlem," or "entering the
World's Fair Grounds." But in all cases, the
last words will be "... mobile unit."
-Meeting of Pope with other religious
leaders -Harry Hennessy. End cue will be: "This is
Harry Hennessy at the Holy Family Church in Man-
WORLD'S FAIR VATICAN PAVILION -Paul Parker. End cue will
be: "This is Paul Parker in the Vatican Pavilion at
the World's Fair."
The pool producer will have individual PLs to each of the pool
correspondents (except the helicopter and the mobile unit, which
are RF) for coordination and cueing to air.
Because the Pope arrives on Monday morning, the pool re-
hearsal must be on Sunday, Oct. 3. Therefore, the following facilities must be checked out on Sunday, Oct. 3, in a runthrough scheduled from
a.m. to
Both United Nations pool
reporters' position.
Vatican Pavilion.
WNYC feeding line.
Command PL.
It is not absolutely necessary that the assigned reporter be at
the rehearsal, but is desired to acquaint him with the position he
will work the next day.
We do not expect to rehearse the helicopter, the mobile unit
and St. Patrick's and the Holy Family churches.
Would all producers have someone on deck Sunday at 11 a.m.
to answer the command PL?
Here are the highlights of the announced schedule of events for
Pope Paul within the United Nations:
3:20 to 3:30 p.m. Arrival by Canadian Doors, at Public Entrance
(north end of building) of the General Assembly. Goes to Visitation
3:30 to 4:00 p.m. Address to the United Nations, in General Assembly, speaking in French.
4:00 to 4:30 p.m. Visit to the three Council Chambers. Speaks
briefly in each one.
4:30 to 5:15 p.m. Reception in North Lounge, 400 dignitaries will
file past and meet him.
5:15 to 5:45 p.m. Private reception by
coverage of any kind permitted).
Thant on 38th Floor (no
5:45 to 6:00 p.m. Remarks to UN staff members in General As-
6:00 p.m. Departure for Church of the Holy Family.
remarks except major address will be in English.
The Pope will leave St. Patrick's after his blessing there (approximately 12:30 p.m.) and go to the Waldorf, entering the Waldorf Hotel via the Towers entrance on 50th Street side. He will be
greeted by President Johnson at street level, either outside the
doors or immediately inside. They will take the Towers elevator
to the 42nd floor. There, they enter the suite of Ambassador Goldberg, going immediately into the den for a private meeting. The
length of this meeting is not known at this time, but it is estimated
that the entire visit of the Pope, portal to portal, will last about one
hour. After the private meeting, the two men will walk from the
den into the living room, where they will pose, it is estimated,
about five or ten minutes. The Pope probably will be accompanied
by the President down the elevator to the spot where the two met,
the street level exit of the Tower's side. The radio pool will have
a reporter inside the apartment, and be able to describe the arrival in the apartment, and the picture taking. IF the Pope and the
President speak in the living room, it will be fed as part of the
Pool. If they do not speak, there will be statements by a White
House and by a Vatican or Diocese spokesmen, at a larger room,
probably on the ground level of the hotel. There, unilateral arrangements must be made for reporters; the pool will feed clean
sound of these statements.
The pool was requested by the Papal Visit News Center to coordinate the requests for working positions of networks and stations
where there is limited space. These include:
have received to date (10 a.m. Sept. 23) requests for positions
Producing and Directing
have not heard from USIA, WADO, WCBS and WNYC.
Reminder: all members using unilateral positions must order their
own lines after allocation of work space is made.
NOTE: The Papal Press office has provided two warnings: mobile
units and /or reporters cannot expect to move from one major event
to the next. Also, credentials for the airport departure will be different from those used for the airport arrival.
As you have noted, the pool requirements are rather basic
and have not entailed great cost. Each network or station providing
a correspondent and engineering to the pool will pay for these
items. Therefore, the only expected costs to be borne by the pool
are the special broadcast lines and PLs from each pool position,
and the command PL system. Networks (there are eight) will be
charged a greater share of the total cost than local stations (there
are eight, with no charge to USIA and WNYC). These divisions will
be made by Business Affairs experts.
Today I surveyed the airport and have allocated all radio positions. No other radio positions will be set up except those listed
below. As you know, the Pope arrives aboard ALITALIA airlines
plane at 9:30 a.m. OCT. 4, at the International Arrival Building,
and departs from the same spot sometime after 11 p.m. aboard
TWA plane.
All radio positions will be on the OBSERVATION DECK as
noted on the sketch below and in the attached drawing. Positions
running WEST along the Deck from the corner will be even -numbered. Positions running SOUTH will be odd-numbered. Now you
may order your own lines, PLs and production facilities from the
telephone company.
The numbering was done alphabetically, with Vatican Radio
getting a favored position, then three groupings: major networks,
network-type services, and local stations. From all positions, it
is possible to see the Pope easily. The spaces are easily identifiable: it is the space between the posts of the metal mesh fence on
the OBSERVATION DECK. Each space is about eight feet wide. We
will be permitted to use about 3 -and a half feet deep, or away from
the fence.
*Chief, Educational Broadcasting Branch,
Federal Communications Commission
Radio Broadcasting is Dr. Hilliard's third book for Hastings House Communication Arts series. Writing for Television and Radio, published in
1962, shortly became the leading work of its kind and required a second
edition (updated) in 1967. Understanding Television, which Dr. Hilliard
edited and contributed to, was published in 1964 and is a companion work
to this book. Dr. Hilliard has also published more than 20 articles on communications and education in professional journals. He has been active in
both the commercial and educational mass media fields as a writer, producer and director, has been the recipient of several playwriting awards
and has had his plays produced in university and community theatres. His
newspaper background includes five years as a drama critic in New York.
Dr. Hilliard received the A.B. degree from the University of Delaware, where he majored in philosophy and political science, the A.M. and
M.F.A. degrees from Western Reserve University, and the Ph.D. degree
from Columbia University. He began his teaching career in 1950 at Brooklyn College, subsequently taught at Adelphi University, and was Associate
Professor of Radio, Television and Motion Pictures, University of North
Carolina at Chapel Hill, prior to becoming a member of the FCC staff in
1964. He has been active in professional associations and has served as
chairman of educational communications committees and projects of
national and regional organizations. In 1963 he was on leave from the University of North Carolina to serve as a consultant on television in higher
education for New York State. He has also served as a special consultant
on television to the Council of Higher Educational Institutions in New
York City.
Dr. Hilliard is Chairman of the Federal Interagency Broadcast Committee, which he founded in 1965, and is Executive Vice-chairman of the
national Committee for the Full Development of the Instructional Television Fixed Service.
Dr. Hilliard has written this chapter in his private capacity. No official support
or endorsement by the Federal Communications Commission is intended or
should be inferred.
RADIO has been called the art of the imagination. The radio
writer is restricted only by the breadth and depth of the mind's eye of his
audience. He has complete freedom of time and place. He is not limited by
what can be presented visually. The radio audience cannot select what it
wants to hear (or "see" in its imagination) The writer, through effective
combinations of sound, music, dialogue
and silence
can create whatever stimuli he wishes and may place the audience in any physical relationship to any character he wishes. A vivid illustration of this and, appropriately for this chapter, an example of good script writing is Stan Freberg's
award -winning spot announcement, "Stretching the Imagination."
Radio? Why should I advertise on radio? There's nothing
to look at... no pictures.
Listen, you can do things on radio you couldn't possibly
do on TV.
That'll be the day.
Ah huh. All right, watch this. (AHEM) O.K. people, now
I give you the cue, I want the 700 -foot mountain of whipped
cream to roll into Lake Michigan which has been drained
and filled with hot chocolate. Then the Royal Canadian Air
Force will fly overhead towing the 10 -ton maraschino
cherry which will be dropped into the whipped cream, to
the cheering of 25,000 extras. All right... cue the moun-
Cue the
air force!
Cue the maraschino
Okay, twenty -five thousand cheering
Now... you wanta try that on television?
Doesn't television stretch the imagination?
Up to 21
see... radio is a very special medium, because it
stretches the imagination.
inches, yes.
Courtesy of Freberg, Ltd.
Unfortunately, the writer does not have complete freedom. While the
medium itself provides wide aesthetic flexibility, the organization and control of the medium create restraints. Because radio broadcasting is dependent upon advertising revenue for its continued existence, the content of
radio must be oriented toward the widest possible audience in order to
provide the maximum potential in prospective customers. Unfortunately,
the sponsor and producer frequently search for and often find the broadest
common denominator, which usually turns out to be the lowest. Reliance
as criteria for programming upon quantitative measurements of numbers
of audience listening, as represented in the work of rating organizations,
tends to adversely affect the qualitative contributions of the medium.
The radio writer is also restricted by censorship of various kinds. There
is little quarrel with the fact that profanity and material in bad taste usually
are not found in a script at all. On the other hand, the writer who considers
himself and his medium a part of the world frequently finds that material
dealing with the realities of life, with issues of a controversial nature,
should be a vital and integral part of a given script. He learns, however,
that the sponsor controls program content, and if any piece of material
might tend to alienate any potential customer anywhere, almost always that
material will be deleted before the script is finalized. Censorship also occurs
because of a sponsor's personal prejudices, which may range from attitudes
about modern art to intolerance of specific religious or political ideals.
For the overt areas of content control, as voluntarily practiced by the
stations themselves, the prospective writer should obtain a copy of The
Radio Code from the National Association of Broadcasters, 1771 N Street,
N.W., Washington, D. C. 20036.
It is true that the practical considerations of keeping a job in radio
sometimes create a dichotomy for the writer between the potentials of the
medium and the restrictions imposed by the industry. Yet, even while conforming to the latter if he wishes to continue working in the field, the
writer should not lose sight of the capabilities of the medium or of the role
he plays and the responsibility he assumes in affecting
as only the mass
media can
the minds and emotions of the audience.
What are the areas of radio writing today? More and more they have
become limited as television has taken away the more popular entertainment -art features that dominated early radio. For practical purposes, radio
is no longer a source for drama or for variety shows. The radio playwrights,
who for a time in the 1930's and early 1940's were among the most creative writers in America
the Norman Corwins, the Archibald MacLeishes,
the Arthur Millers, the Ernest Kinoys and others
have gone into television, the theatre and the film or have disappeared from the field entirely.
At the same time certain areas of radio writing have become more significant. Foremost of these are news and documentary writing. Radio, although faltering shortly after the rise of television, has come back and is
even stronger than ever in terms of statistics of sets, stations, advertising
and revenue. The commercial announcement is therefore at least as important as it ever was. The good stations
the large city stations, the regional stations, the exceptional local stations
make an effort to go beyond
the platitudinous ad -libs of a top-forty music format, and try to prepare
their recorded musical programs with taste and originality. Radio still is an
important outlet for interview and discussion programs, especially on the
increasing number of quality FM stations and on the all -talk AM stations
that seem to be growing in number. Many local stations have found that
the women's program is able to combine excellent public service features
with a lucrative income from diverse local sponsors.
The primary areas of concern to the radio writer today and the areas
with which this chapter will primarily deal are: commercials, news and
sports, special events, documentaries, music, interview and discussion, and
women's programs. The drama, however, is not ruled out as an area of
study. Indeed, it is the base for all other writing. The radio writer of any
program type should, as much as possible, be steeped in the techniques
of good dramatic writing, for drama is an integral part of all other forms,
from the dramatized commercial to the semi-documentary presentation.
Accordingly, a brief overview of radio dramatic writing is included here.
Basic Production Elements
Just as the painter must know his media for expression on canvas,
the radio writer must know the tools of his medium. He must have a basic
knowledge of the potentials and limitations of the technical aspects of radio
so that he may know just how far he can go in creating a mind's eye picture for his audience. He must also have command of the terms designating
various production aspects so he may clearly state in his script the device
or action called for. The elements of production that directly affect writing
technique include use of the microphone, sound effects, music and the special devices of the control room.
The Microphone. The writer should know the five basic microphone
positions: a) on mike, where the performer speaks directly into the mike
and the audience is put in the same physical setting as is the performer;
b) off mike, where the performer is some distance away from the mike,
and the audience in its imagination sees the performer as some distance
away from its own place in the setting; c) fading on (or coming on), where
the performer gradually approaches the mike as he is speaking, and the
audience "sees" the performer coming toward it in the imaginary setting;
d) fading off (or going off), the exact reverse of fading on; and e) behind
an obstruction, where either through an electronic or manual device the performer sounds as if there is a barrier, such as a wall or door, between him
and the center of audience orientation.
Sound Effects. Sound effects, also designated by the writer in the
script, serve seven major purposes: a) to establish locale or setting; b) to
direct the audience attention to emphasis on a particular sound; c) to establish time; d) to establish mood; e) to signify entrance and exits; f) to serve
as a transition between program segments or between changes of time or
place; and g) to create unrealistic effects.
Music. The writer must know how and where to indicate the use of
music in his script to achieve any one or more of five major purposes:
a) as content for a musical program; b) as the theme for any program
type; c) for the bridging of divisions in a program; d) as a sound effect;
and e) for background or mood.
Techniques and Terms. When the writer wishes to designate how
sound and music are to be employed he must use terms universally understood by radio production people. Essential terms are: a) segue (seg -way),
the following of one sound immediately by another; b) cross -fade, the
disappearing of one sound even as the next one is being heard and growing
stronger; c) blending, the combining of two or more sounds at the same
time; d) cutting or switching, the instantaneous and abrupt movement from
one sound source to another; and e) fade in and fade out, the gradual
appearance of a sound, and the reverse.
More detailed descriptions of how production elements are achieved
and utilized may be found in Chapters 2 and 3 of this book.
Audience Orientation
The radio medium permits a subjective as well as objective orientation of the audience. That is, the writer can, through proper designation of
technical elements to be used, take the audience along with a performer or
situation in the radio script. For example, in a public service announcement on safe driving, the audience may be with a character riding in a car.
The car approaches the edge of a cliff. The writer must decide whether to
put the sound of the character's screams and the noise of the car as it
hurtles down the side of the cliff "on mike," thus keeping the audience with
the car, or to fade these sounds into the distance, orienting the audience to
a vantage point at the top of the cliff, watching the character and car falling downward.
Although, as previously indicated, there is little outlet for the play on
radio in this decade, the basic form of dramatic structure applies to other
forms of radio writing, including the oft-used dramatic commercial and
the potentially highly artistic documentary.
Although the genius and inspiration of playwriting cannot be taught,
the proven principles of good dramaturgic technique, which apply to the
structures of all plays, whether written for the stage, television, motion
pictures or radio, can be utilized as tools for the construction and development of effective radio drama.
The writer of radio drama must be as familiar with the basic techniques of playwriting as is the person who writes the Broadway play. He
must remember always that drama is heightened life, not a literal interpretation of it, and that the comparatively short broadcast time alloted to
a single drama on radio requires a special heightening and condensation.
Sources for the play are several: an event or happening, a theme, a character or characters, a background. No matter what the source, however, it is
important to remember that all dramatic action is expressed as manifestations of the needs and purposes of the characters of the play. The characters in a drama are not carbons of real life, but are most effectively
developed from a quintessence of many characters from the actual world.
Perhaps the best continuing dramatic series on radio, "The Eternal Light,"
most effectively illustrates the combining of dramatic form and characters
of real life, approaching what shall be described later as a semi- documentary or fictional documentary form.
The writer who would write plays for radio would do well to concentrate first on the elements of dramaturgy as taught in a course on play writing. For purposes of practical application in the commercial radio field
today, it is sufficient here to note the special dramaturgical characteristics
of radio that are important to the writer who would apply these principles
not necessarily to the play, but to the other forms of writing that are most
often produced.
Foremost, the writer must remember that he is dealing in mental images,
with an "art of the imagination." He is not restricted by unities of time
and place, as is frequently the writer for the theatre. Radio may present
a character in one setting and in a twinkling transport him
and the
to an entirely different one. Radio may move us from a polar
ice cap to the moon to a battlefield to a jungle to the depths of Hades,
creating without restriction the settings for our imaginations. Radio has no
visual limitations and the writer must remember not to restrict his own
imagination by what he can "see." Radio has no physical limitations and
can accommodate a conventional battlefield
or peace conference
tens of thousands
or dozens
of participants, or, within seconds, a
dozen celestial battlefields
or meeting places
with millions of interplanetary participants. No matter how loose the unities of time and place,
however, the unity of action must be inviolate: that is, the dramatic script
must have a consistency and wholeness of purpose and development; each
sequence must be totally integrated with every other sequence, all contributing to the total goal or effect the writer wishes to create.
The radio play must have a plot structure approximating that of the
good play in any medium: exposition, a conflict, complications, a climax
and, if necessary, a resolution. It must have rising action which creates
suspense and holds the interest of the audience. Because of the limitation
of time, exposition may be revealed even as the action unfolds, the conflict
may come at the very opening of the drama, and the play may be limited
to one simple plot line.
Character should be the motivating factor in the drama. Time limitations prevent development of character in great depth, however, and sometimes plot, not character, becomes the motivating force. The characters, in
any event, should be consistent with themselves and appropriate with reality, although heightened from real life. Character is revealed by what a
character does and not principally through what he says; this creates a difficulty in radio, where actions, not descriptions, must be presented through
dialogue and sound. Because too many voices may become confusing to a
radio audience, the writer should limit the number of roles in the play and
the number of characters in any one scene.
Dialogue must be consistent with itself and with the character, appropriate with the situation and the characters, and dramatically heightened.
Because everything on radio is conveyed through dialogue and sound
and silence
dialogue on radio serves to forward the situation, reveal
character and uncover the plot line even more than in other media. The
dialogue should clearly indicate all the action taking place, introduce the
characters and tell who they are and even describe them. But it must
be done subtly and not through trite description of oneself or another
- - -
Exposition is difficult in radio because of the time limitation and because it must be presented solely through dialogue and sound. To solve
this problem, radio drama utilizes a narrator more frequently than do other
Preparation must be valid and presented subtly. The writer must be
sure that the audience is prepared for whatever the character does at the
end of the play. Because of the lack of visual cues, radio frequently requires an overabundance of preparation.
Setting is extremely important in radio, since it must serve as a visual
base for the audience. The writer faces the difficulty of creating visual
images solely through dialogue and sound; on the other hand, he is limited
only by the audience's imagination. The mental picture he creates must be
the right one for the situation; the locale and environment must be believable for the characters and must forward the psychological and aesthetic
purposes of the author as well as the plot of the play. Sound effects and
music are highly important in clarifying movement, setting and action.
Transitions of time and place, and exits and entrances must be clear.
Spot announcements may be commercial or non -commercial materials.
Messages may be of varying lengths. A station break, usually 10 seconds,
may consist entirely of the ID (station identification) or it may have a
2- second ID accompanied by an 8- second announcement. Other announcements within the "break" time may include a public service announcement,
a station "cross- plug" for one of its other programs, a news flash, a service
combining public service information with a sponsor
and, of course, a commercial.
Word counts sometimes may be used to determine time lengths for
25 words;
straight verbal messages. Approximate counts are: 10 seconds
20 seconds
45 words; 30 seconds
65 words; 45 seconds
words; 60 seconds
125 words. Commercials may be inserted within
programs purchased by a sponsor and may be of longer lengths, with a
90- second announcement including about 190 words and a 120-second
message containing about 250 words. Sometimes an entire 5- or 15- minute
segment of programming may consist entirely of a commercial.
Public service announcements ordinarily are given as part of the I.D.
The local radio station usually receives such announcements in a form
already prepared by the writer for the distributing organization.
-- -
- -
The lost Colony's population in 1587 was 118, before it vanished mysteriously. In North Carolina last year, 21,000 persons
died from heart disease -"a Lost Colony of Heart casualties every
hours." The North Carolina Heart Association urges regular
"Health and Heart Checkups" for you. See your physician.
Courtesy of North Carolina Heart Association
Some special service announcements are written for specific programs,
to be inserted at appropriate places in the format. The following illustrates
how the writer not only can go beyond the general spot announcement,
but orient it toward a particular station and locality.
(title and artist)
a record that sold a million copies. Easy listening, too. But here's a figure that's not easy to listen to: Over 1,000,000 American children are seriously emotionally ill. During National Child Guidance Week, the
PTA, in cooperation with the American Child Guidance Foundation,
is holding a special meeting to acquaint you with the problems faced
(town or area)
It's to your benefit to attend. Be
by children in
... learn what you can do to help.
(date and address)
there ...
Prepared for American Child Guidance Foundation, Inc.,
by its agents, Batten, Barton, Durstine & Osborn, Inc.
The public service announcement, although not selling a product,
nevertheless attempts to persuade the listener to support some cause. It
must, in that sense, follow the purposes and techniques of commercial
writing. At the same time, it must be in good taste and appeal to the audience's highest attitudes and feelings.
Commercial Formats
The straight -sell format is a simple, direct statement about the product.
The straight-sell frequently uses a slogan or a gimmick that is repeated for
weeks, months and even years. The educational
a relatively long period
commercial usually uses logical, rather than emotional appeals, and reflects institutional as opposed to product advertising. The testimonial varies
from the endorsement of a product by a celebrity to the asserted use of
the product by ordinary people with whom the audience can most readily
identify. Humor may vary from gentleness to outright satire. Musical commercials have long been popular. From the early jingle, musical com-
mercials have developed in some instances into presentations by entire
orchestras. Dramatizations are very effective, particularly if they can be
incorporated into the action of the program itself. Through the use of the
dramatization the writer can easily apply the five steps of persuasion, described below, by the solving of a problem by one or more of the characters
involved in the action of the commercial.
The physical form of the radio commercial is relatively limited. It may
be either live or recorded (on record, tape or cartridge)
Writing Techniques
At one time the art of persuasion was practiced primarily in speech
making. Today it is effected largely through the writing of broadcast commercials. The relationship between the two can be found in the application
of Aristotle's principles of rhetoric. Aristotle noted three appeals: logical,
ethical and emotional. The three, particularly the last one, emotional, apply
to the writing of commercials today. An emotional appeal is not used to
make one laugh or cry; rather, it plays on the basic needs and wants of the
person or persons to whom it is addressed. Analyze the next few commercials you hear. You will notice that in all probability they will appeal to the
non -intellectual, non -logical aspects of the prospective customer's personality. The automobile commercial, for example, most often appeals to the
need for power and prestige. Most commercials are not so overt, however,
and the good writer uses subtlety in making his appeal. Other basic emotional appeals are self -preservation, love of family, patriotism, good taste,
reputation, religion, loyalty to a group and conformity to public opinion.
In order to use appeals effectively, the writer must know his audience
as intimately as possible. Because the audience of the mass media is so
diverse, accurate analysis is almost impossible. However, depending on the
content of the program in or around which the commercials appear, and
the location and coverage of the station, the writer can come to some conclusions concerning the needs and wants of his audience. Before writing the
commercial, the writer should attempt to determine, as far as possible, the
following about his potential audience: age, sex, size, economic level,
political orientation, primary interests, occupation, fixed attitudes or beliefs,
educational level, knowledge of the product, and geographical concentration.
The five steps in persuasive technique (Dewey's, Borden's, and those
of many recognized authorities who have examined the subject, are similar
in almost all instances) are found in the organization of the well -written
commercial. These steps, in chronological order, are a) getting attention,
b) holding interest, c) creating an impression that a problem of some sort
exists, d) planting an idea of how the problem may be solved, and e) getting
in this instance, the purchase of a product. An analysis of the
script below delineates the five steps of persuasion. First, attention is ob-
tained by the talking of an inanimate object. Interest is held through the
presentation of a conflict: "It's cold out and we're going to try to get
started," and through the sound effect of the hard starting of a motor. The
impression that a problem exists occurs in the above, and is further verified
by the groaning and the statement that the pistons "can't get moving." Bethe subtle
just 30 seconds
cause of the brevity of the commercial
planting of an idea of how the problem may be solved is bypassed for the
direct statement: adding a can of the advertised product. That the product
solves the problem is made clear through the starting of the motor, and is
followed up by the statements designed to get action from the listener:
purchase of the product.
Now hear this... this is Mister Motor talking to
the moving parts in this engine. It's cold out and we're going to try
to get started.
Sounds like groaning among you pistons.
It's so cold
down here we can't get moving.
we'll add a can of Wynn's Friction Proofing.
It makes cars start fast in cold weather... eliminates the need to warm up a cold engine. Let's try again.
Wynn's Friction Proofing makes starting easier, eliminates the need for cold engine waï m up. Guaranteed to satisfy or
your money back!
Courtesy of Wynn's Car Care Products; and
Erwin Wasey, Inc.
The persuasive technique approach varies according to the form of
the commercial and its length. The longer the commercial, the easier it is to
make each step of persuasion more effective. In some forms it is difficult
but it is there. See if you can
to see just how the process is being used
the following examples of diftrace the use of the persuasive technique
ferent commercial formats, one a combination of straight -sell and humor,
and the other the musical form.
And now
Your Gal Thursday
The story of a girl from a little mining town in Rhode Island and
her search for flavor in a coffee that's 97 percent caffein -free.
Yesterday, as Midge was about to leave for her job at the lumberyard, Aunt Mimi had just offered her a cup of coffee. When Midge
said thanks anyway but coffee always made her a little tense, Aunt
Mimi replied that what she needed was a caffein -free coffee. One
that helps you relax and get more fun out of life. In her day, Aunt
Mimi said, those caffein -free coffees didn't have much flavor...
but today, she added, Nestle's DECAF has changed all that. When
she revealed that DECAF puts unexpected flavor in a caffein -free
coffee by taking the caffein out before roasting the flavor in...
Midge, unconvinced, said she'd try it. Now as we join them, Midge
is just going back for a third cup of DECAF's unexpected flavor..
when suddenly the doorbell rings.
Courtesy of Warwick
Legler, Inc.
I loved a lad but he went to sea
And the same kind of thing always happened to me,
My loves would all end just before they'd begin
'Twas because of the state my complexion was in.
Too- ra -la. Too- ra -ly -o
One day I awoke to some wonderful news
Of the
glamorous make -up that cover girls use
The fragrant new make -up Noxzema created
New Cover Girl Make -Up. It's medicated.
Too- ra -la. Too- ra -ly -o.
My Cover Girl
covers my problem so well
That if I have a blemish now no one can tell
The liquid and powder were made to conceal it
And they're good for my skin so they even help heal it.
Too- ra -la. Too- ra -ly -o.
is now true, what a difference it made
Using Cover Girl Make -Up in my own skin shade.
My love
Get Cover Girl Make -Up by Noxzema.
Courtesy of Cover Girl Make -up by Noxzema
It is important for the writer to try to keep the commercial in good
taste. It should be sincere, direct and simple. It should fit the personality
of the performer delivering it. It should be grammatically correct. In persuasion, action words are very effective. Important ideas should be repeated,
usually in different words or phrases unless the writer wishes to present a
slogan. Avoid false claims and superlatives; unfortunately, in some instances
pressures are put upon the writer to write in that manner. Commercials
follow trends and fads, as do program types. For example, in the mid- 1960's
satire, sophisticated humor and the family type commercial were popular.
Any real happening that may have
some instances the radio newswriter has
instances he rewrites the material as it
sources. Writing radio news is basically
news: the five W's
Who, What, When,
cial considerations of the radio medium,
portant modifications in their use.
interest for people is news. In
to gather the material; in most
comes from the newsgathering
the same as writing newspaper
Where and Why
apply. Spehowever, necessitate some im-
On most stations news is obtained from the wire services. Networks
and larger stations use, in addition, special reporters and correspondents.
The writer for a specific program frequently needs only to adapt and rewrite in terms of the format of that news program. In some instances a staff
writer may do no more than prepare a basic format with introduction, ending and transitions, and leave the actual newswriting to a special staff. In
some local stations the writer frequently seeks, writes and delivers the local
news all by himself.
The writer, in utilizing the five W's, must remember that the audience
does not have a chance to go back and re -hear the news, as the newspaper
reader has a chance to re-read. Therefore, broadcast news must be presented concisely, clearly, simply and directly. Transitions between news
segments must be smooth. The material should be thought of in terms of
dramatic action, but at the same time should be scrupulously accurate. The
nature of radio permits presentation of news almost as it happens, something that newspapers cannot do. The broadcaster is entering the home at
all hours of the day, and the selection of material should be in keeping with
the composition of the audience and their actions as far as can be determined by the writer. The criteria in the NAB code concerning the treatment of news provide a good guide for the writer.
Broadcast Types and Content
The 5 -, 10- and 15- minute straight news broadcasts are the most
common. The writer may, however, be required to prepare the same news
material for other broadcast types, including the news analysis, the personal opinion of the news, the news in depth technique and the editorializing approach. The writer should be aware of whether he is really writing
straight news or whether he is coloring or orienting it toward a special purpose. In addition, there are special categories of news broadcasts, such as
financial news, garden news, women's news, campus news and so forth.
The proper organization of the radio news program is at least as
important as is an effective layout for the front page and the placement of
stories on the subsequent pages of a newspaper. No matter what special
organization is used, the writer should be certain that it is clear and logical
and easily understood. News broadcasts are developed around one or a
combination of several major organizational forms. The most commonly
used approach is to put the most important story first and the others in
descending order, as does the newspaper, and to divide the remaining
stories of lesser importance into international, national, state and local
groupings, and into special content areas, such as sports and weather. Sometimes a geographical grouping, in which stories occurring in the same geographical location are put together, is used. Topical groupings (stories with
the same subject area) and size groupings (international down to local)
are sometimes used independently.
The physical format of a news program may vary. It may begin with
the announcer giving the headlines, followed by a commercial, and then
the commentator coming in with the details. It may start with the commentator beginning directly with the news. Radio frequently presents news
roundups, either from various parts of the country or even from various
parts of the world, thus requiring a format suitable not only to the purpose
and content but to the various reporter personalities involved. The following is an example of a 5- minute local news script for a metropolitan area
station, WMAL, Washington, D.C. The script was for a 5 P.M. newscast.
With Congress back on the Hill after an eleven day summer
recess, the legislative forum faces a considerable work -load before the 89th can adjourn. Included on the legislative docket are
numerous proposals of particular interest to the District. WMAL's
Ed Meyer has the report: (AUDIO CARTRIDGE -1:07)
Tomorrow's Democratic primary election in Virginia is expected to capture the interest of a half- million voters. This would
set a record for a primary. Three contests command most interest. The two U.S. Senate seats now held by Harry Byrd, Jr. and A.
Willis Robertson, and the 8th Congressional District where House
Rules Committee Chairman, Howard Smith, is challenged by George
Rawlings. Battling for the Senate seat of veteran A. Willis Robertson is State Senator William Spong of Portsmouth. The other Senate race is between Harry Byrd, Jr. and Armistead Boothe of Alexandria. Both candidates joined today in an appeal to the voters.
In another contest, Virginia's 10th Congressional District,
which includes Arlington, Alexandria, Falls Church and a portion
of Fairfax County, Clive DuVal of McLean and Thomas Woods of
Falls Church seek the nomination to take on Republican Congressman Joel Broyhill in the November general election.
Voters in Fairfax City will also decide two referendum questions on tomorrow's ballot. Both would establish a school system
in Fairfax City apart from that of Fairfax County.
The National Capital Region Transportation Planning Board
today agreed to integrate its functions with the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. Fred Babson, chairman of the
Transportation Board, said the move will make his Board a policy
committee on transportation problems within the Council of Governments.
Two officials of the Congress of Racial Equality in Baltimore
were charged with disorderly conduct today as they demonstrated
at a West Baltimore discount department store. Among those
charged was James Griffin, chairman of CORE in Baltimore. Five
other Negroes were also charged as they attempted to block a
driveway of the store. Two of the demonstrators suffered minor
injuries. They were protesting what they consider to be low wages
paid Negro employees of the department store.
The weather for Metropolitan Washington after this from
Courtesy of WMAL, Washington,
D. C.
The straight sports program is much like the straight news program
except that in sports broadcasting one can use colloquial phrases and technical terms which are familiar to sports fans. Most sports programs are of
the recapitulation type which gives results of contests. The most- importantto-least- important story approach usually is used, presenting the results first
of the most important sport of the particular time of year and gradually
working down to the coming events of the least important sport. Local
sports news is coordinated with national sports news on most local stations.
As with all news broadcasts, however, the most important story, regardless
of the sport or season, is the lead story. The sports feature program is one
in which interviews, anecdotes and background stories on personalities and
events are incorporated.
The live on- the -spot sports broadcast is the most popular form of
sports program and, although essentially a special event, will be mentioned
here. The writer for live sports coverage is concerned with transition continuity, including opening, closing and filler material. This includes information relating to pre -event color and action, statistics, form charts, the
site of the event, the participants and human interest anecdotes. More and
more on- the -spot broadcasters provide their own filler material to accompany their or their partner's live description of the game or contest. Where
this material is prepared by the writer, the writer's function is primarily
that of a researcher, and his script may be little more than an outline
and /or a series of statistics, individual unrelated sentences or short paragraphs.
Special Events
The special event has in the 1960's, possibly as a result of a demand
public and the Federal Communications Commission for more proby
gramming in the public interest, become increasingly significant in broadcasting. The special event is usually under the direction of the News
Department of the station and is essentially something that is taking place
to the community. These
live and is of interest
critical or passing
on- the -spot presentations are similar to live sports coverage in that they are
narrated rather than announced, and the writer must prepare continuity
accordingly. Sometimes interviews or features are taped beforehand for
insertion at the proper time during the reporting of the event. Special events
ordinarily originate independently and include such happenings as parades,
dedications, banquets, awards and the opening of new supermarkets. More
significant kinds of special events, perhaps, are political conventions and
astronaut launchings. The tragic assassination of President John F. Kennedy
in 1963 was covered fully by most radio stations in the country.
Where possible
as in an anticipated special event such as election
the writer must study news stories, press releases, hisnight coverage
torical documents, books, locales and all other material that may be pertinent and helpful to him in preparing opening, closing, transition and filler
material that may be needed by the broadcasters. Because the form of the
special event is extemporaneous, the material, though prepared as fully as
possible, should be simple and sound as though it were ad- libbed. In some
instances, where the coverage is of a special event that does not require
commentary by the broadcaster, the writer needs to prepare only an appropriate opening and closing. The following illustrates continuity that may
be used for a continuing special event that is broadcast more than once.
- -
Good morning.
Good afternoon.
In just a few moments, your city station will bring you the
of the Federal Communications Commission
hearings on network television policies and practices.
The hearings are taking place in the Interstate Commerce Building in Washington, D.C., before the entire Fed-
eral Communications Commission. Chairman Newton
Minow is presiding.
Ashbrook P. Bryant, the Commission's Chief of the
Office of Network Studies, will direct the questioning. We
take you now to Washington, D.C.
That concludes this (morning's) (afternoon's) session
of the FCC hearings on network television policies and
practices. Your city station is bringing you these important broadcasts direct from Washington, D.C., in their
entirety, through the week of February 5th. We are interested in your reaction to these broadcasts. Write, FCC
Hearings, WNYC, New York 7. And join us again (at 1:45)
(tomorrow morning at 10) for the next session.
Courtesy of the Municipal Broadcasting System
Stations WNYC, WNYC -FM, WNYC -TV -New York City.
Coverage in depth of a special event requires considerable preliminary work. Russ Tornabene, Director of News for NBC Radio, states:
"Extensive research goes into the preparation of material to be used as
background for broadcasting special events. For example, the research
document prepared for the 1964 Olympics ran to about 500 pages. The
basic research continuity book for the Gemini 8 coverage in March, 1966,
was about 400 pages long, with special tabbed sections for various categories, such as medicine, biographical material, the space capsule and so
forth. The job of the writer, therefore, in preparing background material
for special events is an important one. In addition, the correspondent doing
the broadcast adds to the basic book with research, interviews and materials
of his own."
Special Features
The special feature differs from the special event in that the former is
planned beforehand and is controlled by the station as a planned program.
In addition, the special feature usually is pre- recorded. The writer prepares
a complete script, much as he would prepare a documentary. Special features usually are short
two to five to 15 minutes in length; the former
for fillers and the latter for full programs of a public service nature. The
subject matter for the special feature varies. Some of the types of programs
include the presentation of the work of a special service group in the community, a story on the operation of the local fire department, an examination of the problems of the school board, a how- to -do-it broadcast, and a
behind -the -scenes broadcast relating to any subject
from raising chickens
to electing public officials. The special feature offers the writer the opportunity to create a program of high artistic quality closely approaching the
documentary. Although the script is of a public service nature, it does not
have to be purely informational or academic. It may include forms of variety
and drama, as well as the more common news and discussion materials.
Special features customarily are oriented around a person or thing or
Although the documentary on the network level has moved, by and
large, from radio to television, occasional first -rate radio documentaries are
being broadcast in the 1960's. Many regional stations have contributed
importantly to the public interest by creating and presenting radio documentaries on controversial and vital subjects, and even small local stations
originate documentaries from time to time on local issues.
The documentary not only combines many of radio's forms, including
news, special events, special features, music and drama, but at its best
makes a signal contribution to public affairs by interpreting the past, anaand sometimes it does all
lyzing the present or anticipating the future
three in a single program.
Type and Form
The documentary falls into what have become three basic classic patterns: the strength and nobility of man in a difficult or hostile environment,
as exemplified by the father of the modern documentary, Robert Flaherty,
in Nanook of the North; the socio- economic -political problems facing society and the ways in which they can be solved, as seen in some of Pare
Lorentz's films of the New Deal era; and the details, artistically expressed,
of seemingly ordinary, everyday existence, as presented by John Grierson
and frequently does
in Night Mail. Any given radio documentary can
combine more than one of these approaches.
Although the documentary is dramatic, it is not a drama in the sense
of the fictional play. It is more or less a faithful representation of a true
story. This is not to say, however, that all documentaries are unimpeachably
true. Editing and narration can make any series of sequences seem other
than what they really are. The semi -documentary or fictional documentary
has achieved a certain degree of popularity, presenting a story based on
fact, but fictionalizing the characters involved in a true event; or changing
the happenings to make the true characters more exciting; or even taking
several situations and characters from life and creating a semi -true composite picture. Some of Norman Corwin's semi- documentaries raised radio
to its highest creative levels. It should be remembered by the writer that
though the documentary essentially deals with the issues, people and events
of the news, it is not a news story, but an exploration behind and beneath
the obvious. It presents not only what happened but, as far as possible, the
reasons for the occurrence, the attitudes and feelings of the people involved,
and the implications and significance not only for some individuals, but for
the whole of society.
Ordinarily, the documentary is put together in the field with tape recorders. Occasionally, a good documentary can be done in the studio with
already existing material and good transitional narration. Interviews and
commentary, as well as the actual voices and sounds of the happenings, are
important elements in the creation and editing of the radio documentary.
Essentially, the documentary contains the real words of real persons
(or their writings, published and unpublished, including letters, especially
if the persons are not living or cannot possibly be reached and there is no
record of their voices) and the sounds of the event. These materials, sometimes seemingly unrelated, must be put together into a dramatic, cohesive
whole and edited in terms of a script.
First, the writer must have an idea. He must determine what subject
of public interest is worthy of documentary treatment. The idea for the
program frequently comes not from the writer, but from the producer. The
writer (and /or his colleagues on the production team) must decide on the
point of view to be presented. Then his real work starts, from thorough
research in libraries, to personal visits to persons and places, to investigations of what audio materials on the subject are already available. When
his research is completed, the writer can begin to prepare a detailed outline.
From his outline he can determine the specific material to be accumulated and selected. After he has heard
perhaps many times
all the
potential program materials, he can prepare a final outline and write his
script. During the process of gathering materials he constantly revises his
outline, as new, unexpected material becomes available and as anticipated
material turns out to be unavailable or unusable. The final script is used for
the selection and organization of the specific materials for the final taping
or editing of the program. It is significant, in terms of the high degree of
coordination and cooperation needed to complete a good documentary, that
in a great many instances the writer also serves as the producer and even
as the director.
Human interest drama is a key to good documentary writing. Even
if you want to present only facts, even if the facts seem stilted and dry,
make them dramatic, develop them in terms of the people involved or, if
the subject is inanimate, in terms of live attributes. The documentary script
is developed in a dramatized fashion: the exploration of character, the
introduction of a conflict (the problem which created the happening that
requires documentary treatment), and the development of this conflict
through complications until a crisis is reached.
A narrator is almost always used in the documentary. Use the narrator judiciously. If he plays too great a role, he may distract from the "live"
material. Avoid the possibility that the program will sound like a series of
taped interviews or lectures. Make the points clear and concise. A narrator
frequently can crisply summarize on- the -spot materials that would otherwise seem long and drawn out.
One of radio's finest documentaries is CBS' Who Killed Michael
Farmer ?, an exploration in depth of a murder, the murderers and their
environment. The beginning of the documentary is presented here, with
analysis of the organizational approach and some of the techniques used.
This is Ed Murrow. Here is how a mother and a father remember
their son Michael Farmer.
E T:
Michael was tall and very good looking. He
had blond hair and blue eyes. Maybe I'm prejudiced as a mother,
but I thought he had a saintly face.
He was always laughing and joking. He was a
very courageous and spirited boy. He was athletic, even though he
walked with a limp from an attack of polio when he was ten years old.
He was an excellent student who had great plans for his future. It's
a hard thing to realize that there is no future any longer.
Michael Farmer died on the night of July 30, 1957. He was fifteen
years old. He was stabbed and beaten to death in a New York City
park. Boys in a teenage street gang were arrested for this crime.
were convicted
Ten gang members
under fifteen years of age
of juvenile delinquency and committed to state training schools.
Seven other boys
fifteen to eighteen
stood trial for first degree
were defended by twenty -seven court -appointed lawyers.
Their trial lasted ninety-three days; ended last Tuesday. This was
the verdict of an all male, blue ribbon jury.
Alvarez and Charles Horton guilty of murder in the
second degree, and we also found Lencio de Leon and Leroy Birch
guilty of manslaughter in the second degree. We found Richard Hills
and George Melendez not guilty because we believe these boys were
forced to go along with the gang the night of the murder. We also
found John McCarthy not guilty because we were convinced, beyond
a reasonable doubt, that this boy was mentally sick and didn't know
what was going on at any time.
We found Louis
It would seem that this case now is closed. All that remains is for
a judge to pass sentence. Under the law, the gang alone is guilty
of the murder of Michael Farmer. But there is more to be said.
More is involved here, than one act of violence, committed on one
summer night. The roots of this crime go back a long ways. In the
you will hear the voices of boys and adults involved in
next hour
the case. This is not a dramatization.
The tragedy first became news on the night of July 30, 1957. At
6:30 on this steaming summer evening in New York City, the
Egyptian Kings and Dragons gang began to assemble. They met
outside a neighborhood hangout
candy story at 152nd Street and
Broadway, in Manhattan's upper West Side. They came from a
twenty-block area . .. from teeming tenements, rooming houses and
housing projects. One of their leaders remembers the number of boys
present this night.
O Columbia Broadcasting System, Inc. 1962. Written and produced by Jay L. McMullen.
A standard method of effectively opening a radio documentary is to select carefully
cut of the mass of taped material several short statements by persons involved and present them immediately in order to get the audience attention and interest as well as to
tell, sharply and concretely what the program is about. This is especially effective here
in the opening statements of Mr. and Mrs. Farmer. The stark nature of the beginning of
the program
it opens cold, no introduction, no music lends force to the opening.
Short opening quotes are not usually sufficient, however, to provide enough background information. The narrator condenses and states in terse terms the necessary additional
material. The type of documentary is suggested close to the beginning. The statement:
But there is more to be said. More is involved here . .. the roots of crime go back a
long ways" indicates the line of development: not only will the event and the people
involved be explored in depth,_but a problem will be presented and solutions will be sought.
We had a lot o' little kids, big kids, we had at least seventy-five
then a lot of 'em had to go home before nine o'clock; we was supposed to leave at nine o'clock but then we changed our plans to ten
o'clock, you know. So I told a lot o' little kids I don't wanna see them
get into trouble, you know, nice guys, so I told them they could go
home. So they went home. That left us with around twenty -one kids.
People sitting on the stoops and garbage cans along this street
watched them
grouped together, talking excitedly. They called
each other by their nicknames: Magician, Big Man, Little King,
Boppo. No one bothered to ask what they were talking about. This
They were talking about what they were going to do and everything.
They were going to fight and everything. But they'd never planned
nothing. They just said we were gonna go to the fight and we were
just gonna get some guys for revenge. They said we ain't gonna let
these Jesters beat up any of our guys no more.
The Jesters are a street gang in an adjoining neighborhood
Washington Heights, where Michael Farmer lived. The two gangs
were feuding. Boys on both sides had been beaten and stabbed.
There is evidence that this night the gang planned to surprise and
attack any Jesters they could find. They came prepared for a fight.
Some picked a stick and some had got some knives and chains out of
their houses and everything. One had a bayonette. No, a machete.
Holding these weapons they lingered on the corner of a brightly
in the heart of a great city. A police station was one block
away. One gang leader went to a candy store
telephoned the
President of a brother gang
requested guns and cars for the
night's activity
was told: "We can't join you. We have troubles
of our own tonight." Shortly after nine PM, the gang walked to a
nearby park
was followed there by some girl friends. A gang
member, 14 years old, continues the story.
lit street
We went down to the park and sat around for a while. Then we started
drinking and we drank whiskey and wine and we was drunk. Then we
started talkin' about girls. We started sayin' to the girls that If
they get us to bring us some roses an' all that
that if we get
caught to write to us and all this.
hour, Michael Farmer would be dead. The gang prepared to
move out. Some had doubts.
Suspense is an important ingredient of the documentary. But it is not the suspense
of findi : out what is :oin: to ha en. The documenta
is based on fact: we alread
know. The suspense is in learning the motivations the inner feelings, the attitudes of
the persons involved even as the actual event is retold. This is implied in the narrator's
previous speech.
In one
didn't wanna go at first, but they said come on. So then all the big
guys forced me to go. I was scared. I was worried. I realized like
what I was doing I'd probably get in trouble.
They left the park and headed for trouble at about ten PM. They
walked uptown toward the neighborhood of the rival gang
Jesters. They walked in two's and three's to avoid attention. Along
the way, they met, by chance, this boy.
was walkin' uptown with a couple of friends and we ran into Magician
and them there. They asked us if we wanted to go to a fight, and we
said yes. When they asked me if I wanted to go to a fight, I couldn't
say no. I mean I could say no, but for old -times sake, I said yes.
He was a former member of the gang -just went along this night,
within the
"For Old -times Sake." Next stop: Highbridge Park
territory of the Jesters. Michael Farmer lived one block from the
park. In the summer, the Egyptian Kings and Dragons fought the
Jesters at the park swimming pool. This pool is closed at ten PM
but not drained. Boys in the neighborhood frequently slip through a
breach in the gate to swim here late at night. The Egyptian Kings and
Dragons regrouped near the pool. Two gang members continue the
We were waiting over there, in the grass.
Then two guys went down to see if there were a lot of the Jesters
down there. To check. I was kind of nervous; felt kind of cold inside.
They sent three guys around the block. We
walked around the block to see how strong the club was we was gonna
fight. To see if they had lots of guys and what -not. What we saw, they
had lots of big guys. rd say about nineteen, twenty or eighteen, like
that. And we figured it out so we kept on walking around the block.
While their scouts prowled the neighborhood, Michael Farmer and
his friend, sixteen year old Roger McShane, were in Mike Farmer's
listening to rock 'n' roll records. This is Mrs.
We can see the use here of D. W. Griffith's technique of dynamic cutting: switching
back and forth between two or more settings and two or more persons or groups of people
who are following a parallel course in time and in action. The actions of the gang have
been presented in chronological order. Now time is moved back and the actions of Michael
Farmer and Roger McShane will catch up in time and place.
They stayed in his room playin' these new records that they had
bought and Michael came out to the kitchen, just as I asked my husband
what time it was, to set the clock. It was then five after ten. He
asked for a glass of milk and as he walked from the kitchen, he
asked, "I'm going to walk Roger home.' And that was the last time
I saw him.
Both boys had been warned by their parents to stay out of Highbridge
Park at night. But, as they walked along the street on this steaming
July evening, they decided to sneak a swim in the park pool. At this
pool, the Egyptian Kings and Dragons were waiting for their scouts
to return. Here is what happened next; first in the words of Roger
McShane; then in words of the gang members.
It was ten -thirty when we entered the park;
we saw couples on the benches, in the back of the pool, and they all
stared at us, and I guess they must 'ave saw the gang there I don't
think they were fifty or sixty feet away. When we reached the front
of the stairs, we looked up and there was two of their gang members
on top of the stairs. They were two smaller ones, and they had
garrison belts wrapped around their hands. They didn't say nothin'
to us, they looked kind of scared.
I was scared. I knew they were gonna jump
them, an' everythin' and I was scared. When they were comin' up,
they all were separatin' and everything like that.
I saw the main body of the gang slowly walk
out of the bushes, on my right. I turned around fast, to see what
Michael was going to do, and this kid came runnin' at me with the
belts. Then I ran, myself, and told Michael to run.
He couldn't run anyway, cause we were all
said, "You're a Jester," and he said "Yeah,'
and I punched him in the face. And then somebody hit him with a bat
over the head. And then I kept punchin' him. Some of them were too
scared to do anything. They were just standin' there, lookin'.
around him.
So then I
I was watchin' him. I didn't wanna hit him,
at first. Then I kicked him twice. He was layin' on the ground,
lookin' up at us. I kicked him on the jaw, or some place; then I
kicked him in the stomach. That was the least I could do, was kick
I was aimin' to hit him, but I didn't get a
I got scared
chance to hit him. There was so many guys on him
when I saw the knife go into the guy, and I ran right there. After
everybody ran, this guy stayed, and started hittin' him with a machete.
of the gang
pursued Roger McShane.
ran down the hill and there was three more of the gang members
down at the bottom of the hill, in the baseball field; and the kids
chased me down hill, yelling to them to get me.
Members of the gang remember.
Somebody yelled out, "Grab him. He's a
grabbed him. Mission grabbed him, he turned
I was stunned. I
around and stabbed him in the back. I was
he went like that and he
couldn't do nuthin'. And then Mission
he had a switch blade and he said, "you're gonna hit him
with the bat or I'll stab you.' So I just hit him lightly with the bat.
So then they
Mission stabbed him and the guy he
hunched over. He's standin' up and I knock him down. Then he was
down on the ground, everybody was kickin' him, stompin' him,
punchin' him, stabbin' him so he tried to get back up and I knock him
down again. Then the guy stabbed him in the back with a bread knife.
I just went like that, and I stabbed him with the
bread knife. You know, I was drunk so I just stabbed him. (LAUGHS)
He was screamin' like a dog. He was screamin' there. And then I
took the knife out and I told the other guys to run. So I ran and then
the rest of the guys ran with me. They wanted to stay there and keep
on doin' it, so I said, "No, come on. Don't kill the guy.' And we ran.
The guy that stabbed him in the back with the
bread knife, he told me that when he took the knife out o' his back, he
said, "Thank you."
They got up fast right after they stabbed me.
And I just lay there on my stomach and there was five of them as
this other big
they walked away. And as they walked away they
kid came down with a machete or some large knife of some sort, and
he wanted to stab me too with it. And they told him, "No, come on.
We got him. We messed him up already. Come on.' And they took
off up the hill and they all walked up the hill and right after that they
all of 'em turned their heads and looked back at me. I got up and
staggered into the street to get a cab. And I got in a taxi and I asked
him to take me to the Medical Center and get my friend and I blacked
scattered and fled from the park. This boy believes
last gang member who saw Michael Farmer this night.
The gang
he is
While I was runnin' up the footpath, I saw somebody staggering in the
bushes and I just looked and turned around, looked up and kept on
runnin'. I think that was the Farmer boy, he was staggerin' in the
The suspense has been built and a climax reached. The selection and editing of taped
materials to tell the story of the assault and murder are done magnificently. Excerpts from
the taped interviews were selected to follow a chronological pattern and to present the
actions, feelings and attitudes of the gang members in terms of increasing tempo and
violence. Various physical and emotional viewpoints are presented, all relating to one
another and building the suspense into an ultimate explosion. The documentary should be
dramatic. Is there any doubt about the existence of drama in the preceding sequence?
The audience is put into the center of the action, feeling it perhaps even more strongly than
if the incident were fictionalized and presented, as such incidents frequently are, on a
"private -eye' series. Could any line of a play be more dramatic than, in context, "That
was the least I could do, was kick 'im," or "(LAUGHS) He was screamin' like a dog," or
'The guy that stabbed him in the back with the bread knife, he told me that when he took
the knife out o' his back, he said 'Thank you'. "?
... continued home
He left behind a boy nearly dead
went to bed. But then.
of milk
E T:
had a glass
couldn't sleep that night or nuthin' cause I used to fall asleep for about
half an hour. Wake up again during the middle of the night. My
mother said, "What was the matter with you? Looks like something
is wrong." I said, "Nothin'.'
That boy used a baseball bat in the attack. This boy used a bread
First I went to the river to throw my knife away and then I went home.
An' then I couldn't sleep. I was in bed. My mother kept on askin' me
I told her, you know, that I was in the movies.
where was I and I
I knew I
I was worried about them two boys. If they would die
was gonna get caught.
Presbyterian Medical Center, Roger McShane was on the critical
list. Before undergoing major surgery that saved his life, he told
about the attack in Highbridge Park. The official police record reAt
veals what happened next. The speaker: New York City's Deputy
Police Commissioner, Walter Arm.
The remainder of the script, after detailing what happened, deals with actions and
attitudes following the crime, indicating that there is more to the story than overt
events and that the persons involved are not the two dimensional characters of a television fiction series. The script explores motivation and gets behind the problem.
Interviews with experts provide the transition into the establishment of the problem
as one that goes beyond the specific incident and area. After investigating the reasons
for the problem, the documentary explores some possible solutions, those already attempted and those still to come.
It is not necessary to have a network budget and a plethora of personnel to do a good documentary. The following is the first part of an
award -winning documentary put together by students without a budget and
relying heavily on library research and interviews with persons locally available. In this composite of script and verbatim description, the final script is
shown in capitals, and the material in parentheses is that actually recorded
and incorporated into the program with the narration.
(I would like very much to spend my entire life here on the farm
because I feel like being near the land and being near the soil and
seeing the operation of God on this earth is the best place to live and
the best place to work.)
(The common problems shared by almost all national farmers today
and, at the same time, most North Carolina farmers, are these.)
of all, a decline in the income going to the farmer
of -this is particularly for, let us say, the marginal farmer, the
farmer with a small operation in North Carolina and the rest of
the country -the problem of obtaining employment off the farm, that
is, some relatively attractive alternative to continuing an operation
on the farm that is becoming insufficient for feeding, clothing, and
buying shelter for his family.)
(Yes, that was my desire after returning from service, was to go
back to nature and live and raise a family where I felt that I would
enjoy living to the fullest. For several years, on this same amount
of land, I was able to support my family and myself adequately. For
the last year or two, this has been on the decrease. The decline has
been to such extent, that I've had to go into other fields -my wife
helping part time and working.)
(The common problem shared by the North Carolina farmer and by
the national farmer would be, first of all, the condition of agriculture, the relationship of the supply of agricultural commodities to
the demand and, of course, consequently, the price that the farmer
receives which, of course, now is somewhat depressed. The second
major problem is the condition of the rest of the economy as a whole
that is, is it sufficiently good so that the farmer nas some alternatives to continuing his, currently, rather unsatisfactory occupational
pursuit ?)
... IN AN
WUNC, University of North Carolina
"Talks" is an all- inclusive term that covers such diverse program types
as interviews, discussions, quizzes, panel and audience participation shows,
and speeches. Most of these programs do not use complete scripts, partially
because the program is in many cases more or less extemporaneous and
partially because the non -actors who appear on many of these programs
cannot make a script sound ad-libbed as can the professional performer.
Yet, in order to make certain that the program is as good as it can be, the
writer has to prepare each script as thoroughly as possible beforehand. In
most instances he has only to write a detailed routine sheet
that is,
scripts which are written out as fully as possible with as much of the dialogue and description of the action as can be prepared, at the same time
leaving gaps for the non -memorized dialogue or action of the participants.
Frequently, a key phrase or a question or a description of an action or
routine suffices, with the master of ceremonies or principal performer or
participants filling in extemporaneously during the program.
The Interview
The completely prepared interview is too risky because the interviewee, unless he is a professional performer, may sound too stilted and be
embarrassing. The completely ad -lib interview is also too dangerous and
is rarely used except for the man -in- the -street situation. The most frequently used form of script or routine sheet for the interview consists of
carefully and fully prepared questions and, through pre- interviewing, general
lines of answering. The writer of the interview, after research on the subject and on the interviewee, prepares preliminary questions. A pre- interview
conference is held with the interviewee, during which time the preliminary
questions are discussed and anticipated answers are set. On the basis of this
information, the writer can prepare a detailed rundown and routine sheet.
The rundown sheet
used for many types of programs
lists the program segment and the elapsed time for that segment (see page 159 ) ; the
routine sheet
also used for many program types
contains more detailed material, as described earlier.
The interview program may vary from strictly questions and answers
to discussion. In many instances a pre-interview is not possible. In that
case, the producer will try to get the interviewee to the studio before the
program for a rehearsal or at least a warm -up session. In any case, the
writer must at least prepare the opening and closing, introductory material
about the interviewee, and some transition material between program segments for lead-ins and -outs for commercials.
Types. There are three major interview types. The opinion interview
approach, for which the
writer may prepare only an introduction, a question, and follow -up questions. When the opinion interview is with a prominent person, the personality interview may be combined with the opinion type. The information
interview has as its purpose the eliciting of factual material of a public
service nature from relatively unknown or well -known persons. Because the
presentation of information is the object, the routine sheet may be more
detailed than for other types of interviews. The personality interview is
perhaps the most popular kind in radio because of its orientation toward
the human interest or feature story. In all cases, the writer should obtain
full background information on the interviewee, and in addition to the
usual opening, closing, introduction and transition material, should have
ready a series of follow -up and probe questions developed in light of probable answers elicited during the pre- interview. An interview may take place
with one or more interviewees and with one or a panel of interviewers.
The following is an example of the routine sheet -outline script,
omitting the formal opening and closing, prepared and used by Duncan
MacDonald for her 30- minute interview program on WQXR, New York.
is exemplified by the man -in- the -street ad -lib
Twenty years ago the United Nations Charter was signed
in San Francisco. In observance of this anniversary our
guest today is Dr. Rodolphe L. Coigney, Director of the
World Health Organization liaison office with the UN in
New York City.
Dr. Coigney was born and educated in Paris. His career
in international health began in 1944. In 1947 he became
director of health for the International Refugee Organization. In his present post at the UN he represents WHO
the World Health Organization -at Economic and Social
Council meetings, the Committee of the UN General Assembly, and other bodies of the UN.
Dr. Coigney, as one of the 10 specialized agencies of the
UN, what is WHO's specific function?
a) Is it included in the Charter of the UN?
b) Active /passive purpose?
c) Is WHO affected by various crises within UN?
Financial /political?
Your own crises in health?
d) Do you have specific long term goals, or do you respond only to crises in health? Earthquakes /Floods/
How does the work of WHO
tie in with other UN organi-
UNICEF /ILO /Food and Agriculture /UNESCO /International Civil Aviation/International Bank /Reconstruction
and Development /International Monetary Fund/Universal
Postal / International Communications/World Meteorological.
Background of WHO.
a) How started? Switzerland?
b) Headquarters for all international organizations?
How much would the work of WHO differ in a country
medically advanced, such as Sweden, as opposed to developing countries: Africa, Far East?
a) Religious or social taboos?
b) Witch doctors?
c) Birth Control?
Can you give an example of a decision made at Headquarters and then carried out in some remote area of the
What do you consider WHO's greatest success story in
fighting a specific disease: malaria, yaws?
a) Ramifications of disease?
Economic /Disability for work?
Your secretary mentioned on the phone that you were going to Latin America. What specifically takes you there
How does a country get WHO
Matching funds?
are aware of the shortage of doctors and nurses in the
United States. What is the situation world -wide?
a) Do you think Public Health is an important career for
young people? Now? For the future?
Courtesy of Duncan MacDonald,
radio commentator on WQXR -the
radio station of The New York
Discussion Programs
Discussion programs, which are aimed toward an exchange of opinions and information, should not be confused with the interview, in which
the purpose is to elicit and not to exchange. The writer of the discussion
program has to walk a thin line between too much and not enough preparation. It is not possible to write a complete script, partially because the
participants frequently cannot know exactly what specific material is to be
presented at any given time. On the other hand, a complete lack of preparation would likely result in a program in which the participants would
ramble and would present the moderator with the impossible task of getting
someplace without anyone knowing where he or they were going. A detailed discussion outline distributed to all participants some time prior to
the program and altered as they respond to it, also before the program
date, is the most effective kind of script. In addition, the writer should prepare opening and closing material, introductions of the participants, and
general summaries for the moderator, based on the outline.
There are several types of discussion programs. The panel discussion
is the
not to be confused with the quiz -type or interview -type panel
most often used and the most
people in a more or less formal exchange
with the participants having done as much or as little background preparation as they desired. A moderator attempts to keep the discussion on the
track and frequently summarizes. The routine sheet consists of the moderator's opening remarks, the introduction of the panel members, a statement
of the problem by the moderator, a flexible outline of the topics to be discussed and developed, and the closing. The symposium, now infrequent,
but once made famous by the long-running "Town Meeting of the Air"
radio series, is more structured, with participants given equal time for opening statements and closing summaries, questions from the audience occupying a center portion of the program, and the subject a highly controversial
one, with clearly opposing opinions represented among the participants.
Group discussion, where the participants come to mutually agreeable solutions to the problem, and the formal debate are rarely heard on radio.
The following is the beginning and end of a script- routine sheet prepared for a panel discussion program. Note the use of sub -topics to reinforce the discussion of the principal question. The script repeats the
"principal question- subtopics" outline four times.
"The Berlin Crisis"
Thursday, 7 -8 P.M.
(OPEN COLD) West Berlin -to be or not to be? This
question has been reiterated thousands of times by the peoples of the world. With the
erection of physical barricades between the Eastern and Western zones of Berlin, conflict
between the East and West German regimes has become one on which may very well hang
the future of the entire world.
This is your Moderator, George Hall, welcoming you to another "Carolina
All of us are by now fearfully aware of the critical importance of West
Berlin. Most of us recognize that the East Berlin limitations on inter -city travel and the
West Berlin opposition to negotiation with and recognition of the East have created an
impasse that demands a response from both sides. What is that response to be-not only
that of the West and of the United States, but that of the Communist East and of the Soviet
Union? How will the choice of a course of action determine not only the fate of both
Berlins, but of mankind? Are there any areas of compromise that would be satisfactory
to all parties?
This evening, with the aid of our guests, we will attempt to seek answers
to these questions.
Dr. Charles B. Robson is a professor of Political Science at the University
of North Carolina and an authority on Germany. Dr. Robson teaches in the fields of German government and in modern political theory. He recently spent a year in Germany
studying that country's political affairs. Good evening, Dr. Robson.
MODERATOR: Dr. Leopold B. Koziebrodzki is an associate professor of Economics and
History at the University of North Carolina. His special field is Russian foreign relations
in the twentieth century, and he has observed first -hand governmental policies of eastern
European countries in relation to the Soviet Union. Good evening, Dr. Koziebrodzki.
MODERATOR: Dr. Samuel Shepard Jones is Burton Craige Professor of Political Science
at the University of North Carolina. His area of specialization is United States foreign
policy and international politics. He has served as cultural attache with the U.S. State
Department, and has lectured before the National War College. Good evening, Dr. Jones.
I'd like to remind you gentlemen, and our listeners, that questions are
encouraged from our listening audience. Any one having a question, for any or all of our
panel mem5ers, is invited to phone the WUNC studios at 942 -3172. Your question will
be taped and played back for our panel to answer at the first opportunity. The number,
again, is 942 -3172.
Now, gentlemen, with the East German government having seized the
political offensiv', it seems as if the next step is up to the West. In view of the growing
power and influence of the small and uncommitted countries in the United Nations, what
concessions, if any, should the West be prepared to make in the interest of peace in
Berlin? Dr. Jones, would you start the discussion on this matter?
Berlin to be a free city under U.N. jurisdiction, as proposed by Soviet Union?
2. Limited recognition of East German government?
Demilitarization of West Berlin, with most Western troops withdrawn?
4. Eventual admission of East Germany into U.N.?
END OF THE PROGRAM, SKIP TO FOLLOWING:) Of all of the possibilities discussed
on the program, which, if any, do you think have the most chance of acceptance?
Possible concessions by West.
2. Attitudes and actions of East Germany and the East.
Attitudes and actions of West Germany.
4. Future of Berlin.
5. Chances of war.
MODERATOR: (AT 1 -MINUTE MARK) Dr. Charles Robson, Dr. Leopold Koziebrodzki,
and Dr. Shepard Jones of the University of North Carolina, we thank you for being our
guests this evening on this "Carolina Roundtable" discussion of the possible solutions to
the Berlin problem.
MODERATOR: We thank you all for listening, and invite you to join us next week at this
same time when "Carolina Roundtable's" guests,
, and
will discuss
This has been a presentation of WUNC, the FM radio station of the
Department of Radio, Television and Motion Pictures, in the Communication Center of the
University of North Carolina. Continuity was written by Gilbert File, and the program was
directed by Reno Bailey. Your moderator has been George Hall.
Quiz, Panel and Audience Participation Shows
These mainstays of radio in the pre -and post -World War II years have
virtually all migrated to television. A few of these programs are heard,
however, on networks; local and regional stations occasionally develop their
own programs along these lines. The goal in these formats is for someone
to solve a problem, stump an expert, or successfully perform some feat that
is somehow embarrassing and humorous at the same time. The writer does
not create a full script; but because these shows communicate an extemporaneous quality, he does work up a routine sheet. Since the program
must seem spontaneous, yet professional in quality, as much material must
be prepared beforehand as possible. As far as the non -professional participants are concerned, the material cannot be in dialogue form. The detailed
routine sheet should consist of the opening and closing, the introductions
of the participants, the presumably ad- libbed gags, the questions and similar
material, and the transitions between program segments. The writer tries
to find a "gimmick" which will involve the audience in the proceedings,
such as being phoned to share in a prize.
Inasmuch as most speeches are prepared outside the station, the staff
writer usually has no concern with them except for the opening and closing of the station's part of the program. In some instances, usually on the
local level, speakers unfamiliar with radio's time requirements may have to
be advised how and where to trim their speeches so that they are not cut
off before they finish. In other instances it may be necessary to help the
speaker rewrite in terms of legal, FCC or station policy concerning statements made over the air.
Perhaps one of the most potentially successful program types for radio
which has not been exploited as fully as it might be is the so-called women's
program. Although there are many programs which attract primarily women
listeners because of the time of the day they are presented, the term
"women's program" as used here refers to the presentation which carries
content that is of interest primarily to women, regardless of the time of day
it is heard.
The greatest opportunity for the writer of women's programs is on
the local station level. The content of women's programs ranges from announcements of club meetings to advice on interior decoration to examinations of juvenile delinquency. Such programs are particularly effective on
small, independent stations where matters of a social and civic nature are
of more personal interest than in the larger community. The local women's
show usually concentrates on local news, local fashions, local personalities,
and local social and civic events and problems. The program can make an
important educational contribution because of, rather than in spite of, its
limited coverage. Many such shows have reinforced civic campaigns of interest to the housewife, such as promoting higher budgets for the schools or
improvements in municipal services.
At the same time, the women's program has unlimited commercial
possibilities. In a format which includes a number of subject areas such as
fashions, food, personal grooming and interior decoration, there need be no
dearth of advertisers. A sponsor most often may be found for the portion
of the program dealing with his particular product or service. The program
is usually written in a magazine format to accommodate these sponsorship
potentials. Programs dealing with just one subject, such as gardening or
cooking, often require a single sponsor for the entire time period. The
writer of the women's show on the local station usually is the same person
who conducts the program. The writer's work varies, with
the content of the particular portion of the program dictating the extent to
which a brief routine sheet or a detailed script should be prepared. In any
event, the program should be informal and chatty, although it should never
condescend or talk down to its audience. Many other forms of programming can be brought in, including the interview, the special feature, the
panel discussion, and even a live musical presentation. The more listeners
who can participate in the program
even if only by phoning in questions
to the guest expert
the more effectively an audience can be built.
almost exMusic comprises the bulk of radio programming today
clusively on what
records, transcriptions
music for program content
non -network time to music shows.
Music Types and Formats
In recent years the prepared script for the disc jockey show has virtually disappeared, especially for the pop program. Some disc jockeys can
grab a batch of records at the last minute and somehow spontaneously
organize them into a program with continuity, but such a haphazard procedure usually is reflected in the final result. This means, then, that even
without a formal script, organic unity must somehow be created for the
that is, a central theme, a focal point around which all
music program
the material is organized and from which the program grows and develops.
Even without the traditional script, preparation must be made. On good
stations, such preparation, equivalent to actually writing a script, is arduous and time consuming. On page 175, Harold Green, program director for
WMAL, Washington, D.C., details the kind of preparation required by his
announcers, including the gathering and development of material to be used
as continuity on the disc jockey show.
The central theme of the music program may be oriented around an
event, a type of music, a holiday, a composer's birthday, a visit to town by
anything that can give the show unity. Clear trana rock and roll star
sitions should be developed from number to number so that the program
builds, moving from a good opening selection through careful variation to
avoid boring repetition, until a high point is reached at the climax of the
There are various kinds of D.J. programs, ranging from rock and roll
to classical music, and including popular programs oriented around a personality, around a type of music and around a subject, special types such
as folk songs or jazz, including variations on the latter from "New Orleans"
to "cool," and other kinds such as marching bands and novelty combos.
Two examples of central themes in classical programs are illustrated in the
following opening statements from scripts. In each case, of course, the full
continuity expounds on the themes in detail.
ANNCR: The three greatest masters of the Viennese classical school are Ludwig von Beethoven, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart
and Franz Joseph Hayden. Today we will hear works by each of
these three masters.
ANNCR: Today's program is devoted to musical works that
deal with the supernatural. One of the three selections is from an
opera, one is a suite from a ballet, and the third is a symphonic
poem, later used for a ballet.
Reprinted by Permission of Radio
Corporation of America (RCA
Victor Records Division.)
It is important to get variety into the music program, notwithstanding
the fact that in many popular disc jockey shows the teen -age audience may
seem to appreciate only the same seemingly repetitious sound and incomprehensible lyric. Be conscious of the ever-changing fads and fancies of the
young D.J. audience. The disc jockey, in great degree, molds and determines the tastes in popular music. In the classical program the writer must
be more of an "expert" than in the pop music show. The classical music
audience expects more than cursory introduction and closing notes, and
appreciates analysis on a mature level. The writer cannot simply say "This
is the finest example of chamber music written in the 19th century." He
should give the reasons why.
Continuity should not play down to what one thinks may be a low
level of taste, either in the popular or classical program. The D.J.- producerwriter must analyze the potential audience, and though he gives the listeners
what will interest them, he should nevertheless present the best of that type
of music. He must adhere to the purpose of the given program; the audience tunes in because it likes that particular format, which may be for
relaxation, for education, for dancing or for any number of other purposes.
This suggests an adherence to a single type of music. Although there are
exceptions, the mixing of Beethoven and "bop" or of "rock and roll" with
string quartets is not likely the most effective way of building an audience.
Continuity should be fresh. In most disc jockey programs continuity
sometimes seems to be limited to phrases where orchestras always "render"
and singers always give "vocal renditions of," where pianists always play
"on the 88" or are given to "impromptu meanderings," and where songs
and singers are interminably "ever- popular" and "scintillating." If it is
impossible to think of something new and fresh and not trite, the best style
is to keep it simple. Because music itself makes up the bulk of the program
content, continuity is comparatively short. Learn how much continuity is
needed by first outlining the program and noting the time of each musical
selection to be played. Rundown sheets, such as the following, are commonly used.
THE JIM LOWE SHOW, AUGUST 28, 10:10 -10:30 A.M.
OFFTIME: 29:55
Courtesy of WNBC-AM /FM, New York
that is, non -record
music programs and variety shows have
all but completely disappeared from radio. Where they do exist, the writer
usually orients them to a type of performance such as a vocalist or a twin piano team or a novelty group or an orchestra. Writing the live program is
essentially the same as writing the D.J. show, except that in the live situation the writer can include material that reflects the events of a variety program by inserting live personalities in the dialogue portion of the script.
One of the interesting experiments of post-television radio has been
the magazine format, in which a continuous stream of different kinds of
music, news, interviews, discussions, human interest, features,
sports, special events, skits, and a voluminously interspersed series of comis presented over a given, extended time period. This format
seems oriented toward the person on- the -go, the listener who may be occupied primarily in other things and who will listen with one ear most of the
time and with both ears some of the time and who can be held with a wellproduced, interesting variety of short program segments.
The writer's job is two -fold: research and organization. He must prepare a routine sheet which clearly delineates the time length for each
presentation and which accurately schedules the commercial announcements. He must provide accurate background material for introduction to
the differing sections of the program, and sometimes writes complete script
material where a prepared and rehearsed segment is used at the pilot studio.
Other scripting is done by local people in the "field," for most of the
material on the program is usually "remote." Perhaps the most difficult job
is total arrangement of the program, over many hours, to provide both continuity and variety in subject matter and length at the same time.
Probably the most successful of such programs has been the National
Broadcasting Company's Monitor. Examine the following excerpt from
one of its routine sheets (more akin to the "rundown" sheet described earlier) and the accompanying script for the same time period.
10 :45 :20
laughter -:03)
10 :48:00
10 :48:05
10 :49:40
(0 :05)
210 sneak 12
(45) 1,2,3 -
10 :51 :45
10 :51 :50
10 :52 :00
10 :53:00
10:53 :05
10 :55:35
10 :55:40
10:56 :15
10 :58:25
(45) runs (2:50)
(0 :30)
Once again, it's MONITOR... Gene Rayburn, your
host... and the next order of business is... "MONITOR, ONSTAGE!"
... Star
performances, recorded live, at leading thea-
tres, nightclubs, and concert halls throughout the
Our stars right now are Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks
as a beatnick artist. The scene: a coffee house.
... And that was Carl Reiner and Mel Brooks.
Next... a
MONITOR TIP... for the housewife. Going
to a group activity with the children this weekend?
Why not take a large shopping bag along and stow all
the caps, mittens, and scarves in it as they're removed. When it's time to leave, there'll be no frantic
last- minute panic search for missing articles. Listen
for useful information on MONITOR TIPS...throughout every weekend. Here's another tip:
Jack Jones sings for the "In" crowd. That's not an
editorial comment, but the title of Jack Jones' latest
album. And this is one of the high-flying songs from
it: "One, Two, Three."
MONITOR'S "Ring Around The World" ... a closeup
of people and events both at home and abroad. "President Johnson's week leading up to his decision for the
Hawaiian Conference on Vietnam." That story, in one
minute, from Ray Scherer, NBC NEWS, White House
1:58 (FADES)
... brought
to you by STATE FARM MUTUAL, the
world's largest car insurance company.
Ray Scherer, NBC NEWS, White House Cor-
.... WHITE
"Ring Around The World" ... another in our weekend
series of closeups of people and events in other coun-
here's Jonathan Winters for LUDEN'S:
credit the Ramsey Lewis Trio for that arrangement of "A Hard Day's Night." Credit NBC with
the best and most complete coverage of the news
around the nation and the world. For proof of that
claim, just stay tuned now for NBC-MONITOR News
On The Hour ... coming up, immediately. This is Gene
You can
Courtesy of NBC Radio Network.
Allen, Louise C., Audrey B. Lyscomb,
and John C. Prigmore, Radio and Television Continuity Writing. New York:
Pitman, 1962.
Barnouw, Erik, Handbook of Radio Writing. Boston: Little, Brown, 1947.
Crews, Albert, Professional Radio Writing. Boston: Houghton -Mifflin, 1946.
Field, Stanley, Television and Radio Writing. Boston: Houghton -Mifflin, 1958.
Broad coverage of the many areas of
broadcast media writing. Principally
devoted to the drama.
Hilliard, Robert L., Writing for Television
and Radio. New York: Hastings House,
Second Ed., Updated, 1967. Comprehensive analyses and examples of non dramatic forms of mass media writing.
Section on the play based on new concepts of dramaturgy.
Siller, Bob, Ted White, and Hal Terkel,
Television and Radio News. New York:
Macmillan, 1960. Basic techniques of
network and station operations with
various news forms.
Professor of Radio, Television and Motion Pictures,
University of North Carolina
Professor Wynn has taught at the University of North Carolina since
1938, except for the years 1942 -1946, when he produced films as a civilian
for the United States Army and later as a Lieutenant in the Naval Reserve.
During the World War II period he worked with several of the major
motion picture companies in Hollywood and had an opportunity to study
first hand the educational uses of the mass media by the armed forces.
Professor Wynn received the A.B. degree from Augustana College
and the M.A. degree from Northwestern University. Until 1942 he taught
in the Department of Dramatic Art at the University of North Carolina
and introduced courses in radio into its curriculum. His radio work included the producing and directing of two thirteen-week series of Carolina
Playmaker plays for the Mutual Broadcasting System network. In 1945, as
a result of Professor Wynn's proposal, the University established a Communication Center for the purposes of bringing together radio, television,
motion pictures and photography in order to extend education more effectively to the people of the State. In 1947 he proposed the establishment of
a new academic department, that of Radio (subsequently Radio, Television
and Motion Pictures), and was appointed the Department's first chairman.
He served as Director of the Communication Center and Chairman of the
Department of Radio, Television and Motion Pictures until his resignation
from administrative duties in 1963. He continues to teach as a full professor. He has taught all phases of the mass media, including speech and performance.
During the formative years of educational television, Professor Wynn
acted as a consultant to the Joint Committee on Educational Television and
later served several terms as a member of the Board of Directors of the
National Association of Educational Broadcasters. In North Carolina he
was Executive Director of the Educational Communication Study Commission under Governor Kerr Scott, and Executive Secretary of the Educational Television and Radio Commission under Governor William Umstead.
Professor Wynn is an experienced performer. In addition to extensive work
in university theatre and summer stock, he has acted major roles in outdoor
dramas, The Lost Colony, Unto These Hills, and The Legend of Daniel
Boone. His 40 years of radio performing experience includes the narration,
in the 1960's, of nationally distributed recordings by Erwyn Productions,
his own company.
RADIO communicates by speech and sound. The human voice,
assisted by sounds and music, creates the illusion of reality, fantasy or
varying aspects of either for an audience that cannot see. The radio performer may create any character or situation within the scope of the lismature, resonant voice with careful speech may
tener's imagination
establish the image of a strong, generous patriarch; a dramatic scene enhanced by the music and sound of the orient and in the dialect of the
country may produce a mental picture of setting and mores oriental and
magnificent. There is no limit to the imagination of man. He is led by voice,
sound and music to envision what the radio artist creates. This limitless
aspect of radio applies to speeches, commercials, dramas or any broadcast
in which the imagination of the listener is free to soar. Radio fertilizes an
aspect of mankind far beyond the cold reality of seeing things as they are
the possibility of achieving perfection inevitably present in the human
Speech encompasses all aspects of the voice in speaking; sound includes both music (for mood, atmosphere and entertainment) and effects
(for setting a scene, establishing perspective and pinpointing an emotional
reaction). Of these the speaking voice is by far the most important and
What are the performance opportunities in radio today? There is a
need for superior announcers, disc jockeys, on- the -air salesmen, news reporters and analysts, interviewers, moderators for panel, roundtable and
discussion programs, masters of ceremonies, narrators, actors
for commercials
and sports broadcasters. In all of these positions there
is a general pattern of performance required, reflecting a sound mastery of
the fundamentals of voice and diction. It is imperative, therefore, that a
knowledge of voice and diction precedes an application of the special techniques for various forms of performance.
A full, strong voice is supported by the whole person: his mental emotional attitude toward what he is reading or speaking, his entire nervous
system, and the muscles which control his breathing. Voice is not just one
part of the performer, or an isolated factor; it represents the entire performer and is the product of his physical self times his mental -emotional
self, plus the performance of the organs that produce it. The voice can be
made more effective through attention to those muscular functions that
cause it to be weak, metallic, harsh, husky, breathy or nasal in quality and
to those mental -emotional attitudes of personality which cause it to be
raspy, melancholy or cold in tone. The muscles which initiate the tone, the
state of mind and feelings which determine the nature of it, and those organs which amplify and color it must function together with precision,
accuracy and ease. They are responsible for the basic fundamentals of
voice: attitude, breathing, phonation, resonance, and variety.
Attitude. Voice is affected by the nature of thinking and feeling. The
performer knows from experience that temporary states of mind, such as
excitement, fear or anger, affect the nervous system, the emotions and, consequently, the voice. The nature of one's disposition and attitudes governs
tones of voice. Experiences and the intensity of one's reaction to them always register in the quality of a voice. Contrast the voice of the person who
is embittered or beaten with the one who assumes a hopeful attitude; the
known "crank" with the unassuming person; the conceited man with the
humble one. Their attitudes are reflected, colored and illustrated by their
tones of voice. Voice, then, is the channel through which the nature of character, attitudes and emotions are communicated.
Breathing. Breath is the control for voice and speech. Its power is located in the central abdominal region
the upper abdomen and the lower
chest. Central control in breathing results in clarity of tone and the ability
to produce sensitive variations in volume and intensity. There can be no
effective speech performance without controlled breathing. This is especially
true for radio, since the performer speaks close to the microphone where
every nuance of the voice and speech is amplified.
Breathing is a basic biological function for sustaining life. Its control
producing voice and continuous speech. Knowledge of how the
functions to produce voice and to support and control
understanding of phonation, resonance and articulait provides
of the lower rib structure, which encases the
tion. Although the
for inhalation and exhalation of ordiresponsible
lungs and heart, may be
nary breathing, a quick and adequate supply of air for energy and control
in continuous speaking is governed by the muscles of the diaphragm and
upper abdomen. The diaphragm, the convex structure of muscles and tendons in the concave surface below the lungs, forms a partition between the
chest and abdominal cavities. These muscles are attached to the sternum
(breast bone), the lower ribs and the spinal column in such a way as to give
a forward -diagonal thrust when they are contracted. The muscles of the
upper abdomen, primarily responsible for the strength and control of an
out -going speech breath, are located in the triangle described by the sternum
(as apex) and the right and left lower side rib areas. These muscles must
relax as the diaphragm contracts (pulls down) in order to provide for expansion. The intestinal fullness of the abdominal cavity will impede if not
obliterate the forward- downward pull of the diaphragm if this forward relaxation of the upper abdomen does not take place.
The spinal column is the only skeletal connection between the bony
structure of the upper body and that of the lower. The ability to stand, walk
and sit easily and without tension depends upon the weight balance relationship between the upper and lower body as adjusted by the flexible spinal
column. The key to this balance and adjustment is the pelvic basin, the
bony, basin -like structure of the hips. The pelvic basin may tip forward,
backward or to the sides. The spinal column and upper body adjust to this
"tipping" in order to maintain a balance of weight. When the pelvic basin
is tipped to the front, the whole weight of the viscera is thrown forward
against the abdominal wall, straining, if not preventing controlled breathing;
the natural curve of the spine is also exaggerated in order to maintain balance. When the pelvic basin is tipped toward the back, the muscles of the
abdomen become loose and cramped; the spine loses its natural curve, and
arches forward into a "C." Good standing and sitting posture for all purposes is dependent upon keeping the pelvic basin at "even keel," the upper
body at ease and the shoulders relaxed in a downward position.
Phonation. Vocal tones are initiated in the larynx by the breath stream
passing over approximated vocal folds (cords), causing them to vibrate.
This process is called phonation. The larynx, in which is located the sound producing vibrators of the voice, is a skeletal structure of resilient cartilages
resting on top of the wind pipe (trachea) and suspended from the base of
the tongue. The length and thickness of the vocal folds vary from person to
person; in men, they are about an inch long; in women, a little shorter and
thinner. These physical differences account in general for variations in pitch
is vital for
level between the sexes. Variations in pitch and loudness while speaking
take place within the vocal folds by means of changes in their length, thickness and span of vibration. When the folds lengthen and thin, the pitch rises;
when they shorten and thicken, the pitch falls; and when their span of vibration increases or decreases, the volume rises or falls.
In the production of vocal tone, the throat, mouth and nose should be
open channels, free of unnecessary tension. The muscles of the throat are
often tense in order to communicate intense emotions such as fear, anger,
or hate; but the throat must never be closed or squeezed shut. The throat
should be open, the muscles responding normally to thoughts and feelings.
If all passages are open and free of unnecessary tension and squeezing, the
mouth, nose and, particularly, the throat amplify and give emotional meaning to the vocal tone.
Functionally, faulty tones such as huskiness, stridency, hoarseness,
breathiness and throatiness are the result of poor breath control, a squeezed
throat or both. Controlled breathing and an open, functionally relaxed
throat are always essential to effective voice production. In radio, no mistake
goes unnoticed.
Resonance. Initial vocal tones are weak and colorless. They must be
amplified to be heard and given color (quality or timbre) for richness and
to communicate emotional meaning. Vocal tone amplification and changes
in quality take place within the resonators of the human voice. The process
is called resonance.
In the amplification of any initial musical tone, including that of the
human voice, there may be two types of resonance: "sounding board" and
cavity. A tuning fork held free cannot be heard with ease except at close
range. When its stem is touched to a table top, however, the tone may be
heard throughout the room; the whole table is set to vibrating in "sympathy"
with the exact number of vibrations of the fork. The tone is amplified because the size of the vibrator has been increased. The quality of the
amplified tone will change from table to table depending upon the size and
composition of the table. This is an example of "sounding board" resonance. The violin is another. When the vibrating tuning fork is held inside
one end of an open pipe and the hand cupped over that end, its tone will be
amplified and projected through the open end. The encased air column is
set to vibrating sympathetically and the concentration resulting from enclosure produces amplification. Again, the quality of the tone will vary from
pipe to pipe, depending upon its diameter, length, shape, openings and internal texture. This is an example of cavity resonance. The clarinet is another.
All vibrators, including the human vocal folds, vibrate as a whole and
in harmonic segments ad infinitum. The vibration of the whole produces the
fundamental tone; the segmented vibrations produce harmonics, partials or
overtones. Depending upon those factors already mentioned, resonators will
select particular overtones for emphasis. Thus, one violin produces a richer
tone than another; one clarinet is thinner in tone than another; and one voice
is metallic while another is mellow and full.
For cavity resonance, the more open and softer textured the resonators,
the greater the emphasis upon the lower, richer overtones (those next in
number of vibrations per second to the fundamental); and the smaller and
more tense the resonators, the greater the emphasis upon the higher, thinner,
less pleasant overtones (those farthest away from the fundamental). Since,
in the human voice, tone quality is established primarily in the throat, this
principle means that an open, functionally relaxed, flexible throat will emphasize richer overtones; a tense, squeezed, inflexible throat will emphasize
thinner overtones.
There are three principle cavity resonators of the voice: the throat,
the mouth, and the nose. All are located above the vibrators. The mouth is
most variable; the nose most invariable. Below the vibrators are the invariable trachea and bronchial tubes, cavity resonators which, according to their
size, openness and health, may emphasize certain overtones. Since these are
fixed and untrainable, the only control over them is to keep them healthy
and free of infection. The bones, cartilages and muscles of the chest, neck
and head are "sounding boards" of the human voice. They vibrate in varying degrees during speech and influence both amplification of tone and
selection of overtones. They, too, must be kept healthy and free of infection.
The throat must be kept open, free of unnecessary tension, and with
sufficient flexibility to respond to any shade or degree of feeling. A healthy
throat is capable of responding to any emotion which the performer feels
or attitude he possesses. It should lengthen, narrow and change the texture
of its muscle walls in response to feelings, but it must never be closed. Just
as a muted cornet or reversed megaphone diminishes projection, so does a
closed throat.
The sounds "m," "n" and "ng" are resonated in the mouth, nose and
bony structure of the head. Adequate resonance of these sounds adds musical body to the spoken word; too much produces nasality; too little, denasality. Balance of nasal -head resonance depends upon a healthy, open
nasal passage and a free -functioning soft palate. A lazy soft palate, one
which is slow in opening and closing the nasal passage, causes too much
nasal resonance or nasality. When the nasal passages are clogged with
swelling from a cold, an allergic condition or by growths, the result is too
little nasal resonance or denasality.
All vowels and diphthongs are shaped, given their recognized tone
quality in the mouth by means of particular sets of jaw, tongue and lip positions. The tone quality of "AH" is different from that of "AW," for instance. For "AH" the jaw is open, the lips are relaxed on the teeth and the
tongue is flat and forward. For "AW," on the other hand, the jaw is open,
the lips openly rounded and the tongue slightly arched toward the back of
the mouth. Accuracy in shaping every vowel and diphthong is vital to correct and precise speech. A regional dialect, for example, is mainly due to
incorrect shaping and production of certain vowels and diphthongs. Amplified vocal tone is finally projected to the listener through mouth resonance. If the jaw is held rigid and closed or the tongue bunched toward the
back of the throat, no matter how open and flexible the throat resonator
may be, the final projected tone will be impeded and squeezed. Jaw openness and flexibility and tongue forwardness and mobility are essential to
the strength and richness of the final projected tone.
Balanced resonance requires a careful blending of throat, mouth and
nose resonance. Without it the voice is inefficient and frequently disturbing.
With a lazy soft palate, for instance, the whole tone may become nasal;
when the throat is squeezed and inflexible, the tone seems thin, high -pitched
and harsh; or, if the tongue is bunched toward the back of the throat, the
projected tone sounds flat and thick. Normally, balanced resonance is
achieved when the throat and jaw are functionally relaxed, flexible and
never closed, and when the soft palate performs accurately its role of opening for the sounds of "m," "n" and "ng" and closing for all other sounds.
Variety. The radio performer must possess a voice which adapts
easily to the mood, meaning and excitement of his assignment. No matter
what the situation or copy, the performer must communicate to his listeners
that he believes in what he is doing and possesses a natural excitement for
it. All meanings must be clear. Monotony should never mar a natural vitality of the communication. All subtle changes in mood and feeling, dictated
by the words and the situation, should occur as easily as they do in a conversation with a close friend. Such changes in mood, meaning and excitement appear most naturally in the voice when they are actually present,
when they are felt by the announcer or actor.
The human voice with speech is capable of reflecting every conceivable shade of mood and meaning. Variations in vocal pitch, time, force
and quality make this possible. Speech without thoughtful variation communicates only a shade of the full mood and meaning, and it may be
monotonous and inaccurate. The performer must feel a mood and know a
meaning if it is to be reflected in his voice with sincerity.
Pitch. Pitch inflections (glides) are of three kinds: upward, downward, and circumflex (curved upward, downward, or upward and downward in either direction) . An upward inflection communicates uncertainty,
question or partial expression with more to follow. A downward inflection
reflects certainty, definiteness or authority. A circumflex provides an ironic,
sarcastic, double or uncertain meaning. For instance, the word "really"
inflected upward asks a question, inflected downward communicates understanding, and inflected with a curved circumflex (depending upon direction and lilt) provides any one of several ironic, sarcastic or double implications.
The vocal step or leap is a sudden change in key or pitch level either
upward or downward. It is used to tell of a shift in subject, to make an item
or series stand out or to place a phrase in apposition. For example, "The
boys slithered off their sleds in all directions. You saw it, didn't you, Joe?
Oh, it was a terrifying sight!"
Time. Changes in the rate of speech and the use of pauses while
speaking are essential to understanding. Normal speech rate varies from 90
to 135 words per minute. A constant of any rate produces monotony. In
general, rate variations reflect the importance of the subject matter. Important aspects are slowed; less important ones may be speeded.
The vocal pause is an oral punctuation mark. It makes possible the
separation of thoughts and segments of thoughts. Without the vocal pause,
meaning would be jumbled and difficult (frequently impossible) to follow.
The vocal pause also provides a time for replenishing one's breath naturally
and unobtrusively.
Force. Variations in the force (volume and /or intensity) of the voice
provide a further dimension for vocal emphasis. A louder or more intense
and slower passage is made more important than a quieter and faster one.
Upon occasion, however, for reason of contrast, a quiet statement following a longer and highly intense one will be heightened in importance. Extended sameness of volume or intensity will cause monotony.
Vocal force combines with a form of time (duration) in producing
another most essential means of achieving emphasis. The correct pronunciation of a word results from this combined emphasis upon an appropriate
syllable or syllables. The intended meaning of a phrase or sentence is made
clear by giving more time and force to a particular word or words. This
form of emphasis is called stressing or pointing. For example, "Jerry announces at the local station" may communicate the following several meanings depending upon which word is stressed: Jerry announces at the local
station (Jerry, not Ralph); Jerry announces at the local station (announcing is his specialty); Jerry announces at the local station (he is there
physically) ; Jerry announces at the local station (the most important station) ; Jerry announces at the local station (not the regional station) ; Jerry
announces at the local station (not at the local ball park) .
Quality. Thoughtful variations of pitch, rate and force in large part
make intellectual meanings clear. Variations in the quality (or timbre) of
the vocal tone communicate variations in mood, attitude and feeling. The
performer should possess the desired feeling, mood or attitude in order best
to communicate it. Otherwise, insincerity may result. Such desirable personality characteristics as warmth, vitality and believability are communicated by radio entirely through tonal qualities of the voice. Coldness, fear,
boredom and insincerity may likewise be projected if these are the attitudes
and feelings of the performer. In radio, every subtle shade of feeling is
transmitted by voice and voice alone. The performer must not only possess
such feelings but develop a highly flexible vocal instrument capable of
communicating them.
Voice is the controlled sound of speech. Speech is the articulation of
this sound into units and words and the blending of words into phrases and
Vowels, diphthongs and consonants. Vowels and diphthongs, the resonant sounds of speech, carry the tone of the word; the consonants, the
obstructed sounds, give it frame. In the English language there are 15 separate vowel sounds, 5 major diphthongs and 27 consonants, 10 of which
are voiceless. Recognition and accurate use of these is essential for easy
articulation, correct pronunciation and smooth blending.
It is important for the radio performer to develop a full and flexible
command of all vowel and consonant sounds. A course in voice and speech
in which there is application of the voice requirements and standards stated
in this chapter is essential for all potential radio performers.
The organs of articulation. Speech is produced by the action of the
articulators: the tongue, the lips, the soft palate, and the jaw, with the
teeth, gums, hard palate and upper throat as anchors. Of these, the tongue
does the most work. The function of the articulators is to shape the vowels
and diphthongs, articulate the consonants and blend them all into conventional patterns of pronunciation. Each sound has a particular and precise
shaping or position which may become modified as it blends with other
sounds in syllables, words and phrases. Distinctness and accuracy depend
upon correct shaping of each vowel and diphthong, precise articulation of
each consonant and easy blending of all sounds.
The moving articulators
tongue, lips, jaw and soft palate
be flexible, mobile and free of restricting tension. During speech the tongue
is in continuous movement from one sound to another with its back, middle,
tip and sides playing separate but related roles in the shaping and blending
of sounds. During one minute of moderately paced speech the tongue may
take as many as 200 separate positions. The tongue is an integrated set of
many muscles. It can be trained, as any other healthy muscle of the body,
to perform with precision, accuracy and mobility.
The lips as constrictor muscles extend and vary the opening of the
mouth. For the back vowels, variations in lip opening and extension are
required. The lips, too, may be trained to be accurate and precise. The
same is true of the jaw, which must vary in its openness among sounds, and
of the soft palate, which must be open for "m," "n" and "ng" and closed
for all other sounds.
Pronunciation. For the correct pronunciation of any word, a particular
syllable is given major stress. In polysyllabic words, one or more additional
syllables may be given minor stress. For instance, "hotel" and "idea" must
be pronounced with the accent or stress on the second syllable. In the word
"inseparable" (five syllables) there is also only one stress. For "inarticulatory" (seven syllables), however, there are two stresses, one major and
one minor. Some words have one major and two minor stresses: "autobiographic." Occasionally a word will have two major stresses: "backbone."
Spoken languages are always in the process of growth and change. A
pronunciation acceptable 15 years ago may be second choice or incorrect
today. Such changes are brought about by those men and women in the
public view who use the language day in and day out. The only sure guide
to correct pronunciation is a current edition of a standard dictionary or
pronunciation handbook. There is no excuse for a performer being incorrect. Frequently a word may have more than one acceptable pronunciation.
Shifting from one correct pronunciation to another, however, is poor practice and, particularly in announcing, gives the impression of uncertainty.
Microphone Techniques
The microphone is the radio performer's technical means of cornmunication with the audience. Correct use of the microphone is vital to the
effectiveness of a performance. Microphones have various directional patterns or characteristics: non -directional microphones pick up sound with
equal intensity around their full circumference; bi- directionals on two (opposite) sides; and uni- directionals pick up from one direction only. Chapter 2 of this book includes an analysis of microphone characteristics that
the performer needs to know.
General usage. For virtually all performers, the following principles
need to be understood and effectively put into practice:
1. Speak in a normal, conversational voice, neither too quiet nor too
loud. For such average volume the speaker should be approximately the
distance of two stretched hands from the microphone. A weak voice will
need to be a little closer, a stronger voice farther away. It is good practice
to have the control engineer check the performer's volume "level" to determine his proper microphone distance. Balance among voices is essential
when several people are using the same microphone. The director or control engineer will fix distances from the microphone for proper balance.
2. Never puff or blast directly into a microphone. A disturbing, explosive sound may result. This is especially true if a bi-directional, ribbon
or velocity microphone is being used.
3. Maintain effective microphone distance. Moving toward and away
from a microphone will produce noticeable variations in volume.
4. Handle scripts noiselessly. Be certain the pages are unstapled and
in order. A good procedure is to read to the bottom of one page, meanwhile
quietly sliding it to expose the first few lines of the next page. When the
new page is begun, either drop the completed page to the floor or carefully
move it in a large sweeping motion to the back of the script. Heavy, soft
paper produces the least noise, thin paper, such as onionskin, the most.
Special acting techniques
1. To give the illusion of moving into a conversation, start speaking
five to seven feet away from the microphone and, still talking, move into
the fixed distance position; to give the illusion of leaving, move away from
the microphone while still talking.
2. The illusion of one person speaking to a second from another room
may be created by the distant person speaking five to ten feet off mike.
Both performers should raise volume slightly.
3. Actors may vary their distances from the microphone in accordance with the mood and intensity of the scene. For instance, a whispered
love scene plays best three to four inches from the microphone, while an
intense political speech may need to be as much as several feet away.
4. Know the standard hand signals, used by the director and other
production staff members. They are illustrated on pages 80 and 81.
5. The five basic microphone positions, on mike, off mike, fading on
or coming on, fading off or going off, and behind an obstruction are defined
on page 126.
The professional performer, through analysis and rehearsal, knows
exactly what he is going to do before he goes on the air. In addition to
interpretation, mood, technique and relationships to other performers, he
envisions his audience. He visualizes it as a small audience, seldom larger
than two or three in any one place, frequently just a single person. He
"sees" his audience where they are: in the study, in the kitchen, in the
family room, in the bedroom, in an automobile. He knows to whom he is
speaking: the teenage boy or girl, the housewife at her work, the salesman
driving from one town to the next, the sports fan, the father interested in
trading cars.
In a real sense, all radio performers are actors, using the actor's tools
and techniques in whatever mode of on- the -air presentation they are engaged. It is appropriate, therefore, to consider the needs and potentials of
the actor as a base for all other forms of radio performance.
The Actor
Acting is an art, and as such requires extensive study for adequate
understanding. However, certain basic principles and suggestions which
may be helpful can be presented here. Acting demands control of the mind,
the feelings, the body and the voice. Such control comes only from practice
and experience under sensitive guidance. The only way to learn to act is
to act!
The mind. Every character to be acted, no matter how few lines he
may have to speak, must be analyzed. This is an intellectual process and
should take place prior to rehearsal, if at all possible, and always after
conferring with the director who must see that the script has unity and
who will have visualized the kind of characterization he wants. Certainly, it
is permissible and desirable for the actor to evolve a concept of character
which is different from that of the director, but these must be melded and
agreed upon by both. The director is always the final authority.
What takes place during this analysis? First, a clear mental picture of
the character to be acted must be established: What is his function in the
script? What is his relationship to other characters? How does he feel?
What is his general mood and attitude? What does he look like? How does
he walk, stand and sit? What is the sound of his voice? Is it resonant, high
pitched, strident or nasal? Is his speech slow, rapid, hesitant or monotonous?
Does he have a dialect? When these factors are determined and clearly in
mind, the actor is ready to develop his role, to transfer these definitions
into actuality.
The feelings and attitude. An actor may understand how a character
feels and what his general attitude is, but to communicate feelings and
attitude is often difficult. Since the voice responds naturally to actual, real
feelings, the best approach is for the actor to feel anger, pity, remorse, love
or any of the varying shades of these and other emotions. Lines spoken
with real feelings present will usually result in the vocal communication of
the feelings. Many trials and much experimentation may be necessary alone
and with the use of a tape recorder before the desired effect begins to show.
The body. When an actor is seen, his body conveys a significant part
of his characterization: the strength of his stride; the movement of his head
or mouth when he speaks; the quick or slow movements of his fingers and
hands; habits such as touching his ear lobe when nervous. The use of the
body is, strangely, no less important for the radio actor. True, he is
"chained" to a microphone. But if a scene takes place while two people
are walking down a gravel path, actual walking in place at the microphone
will better establish the illusion of walking. When one climbs a ladder or
lifts a heavy stone, there is a sound of strain in the voice. This must be
duplicated at the microphone. Twiddling the lobe of an ear, although it
cannot be seen, will help emotionally to establish nervousness. In a covert
way, the body must be used at the microphone to assist the voice in communicating the illusion of reality.
The voice. For radio, voice and speech alone communicate a character to the listener. There may be shuffling footsteps or other recognizable
sounds made through movement of the body; the intellect and emotions,
too, come into play to produce a full and well- rounded character. But it is
voice and speech that communicate, that build in the mind's eye of the
non -seeing audience an image of how this "real" person speaking to them
thinks, feels, acts, reacts and moves. For this kind of real communication,
a radio actor's voice must be versatile, sensitive and completely under his
control. The fundamentals of voice and speech must be automatic with him.
Rehearsal. For theatre, television and the motion picture, an actor
memorizes his lines and normally has adequate time for rehearsal and the
development of his characterization. Once rehearsals begin, a half -hour
radio play, for example, is frequently completed and taped or aired in four
hours or less. Of course, a radio actor reads his lines from a script, but his
characterization must come to life in the brief time of the rehearsal period.
Every moment at a radio play rehearsal must count. During this period
the play is read once or more with the cast and director sitting around a
table. Voice quality, speech rate and intonation, general characterization,
even dialects are established and tentatively set at the table rehearsal. The
next rehearsals are on microphone. The director usually will set the actors'
positions, placement, and approaching and leaving the microphone at the
first "mike" rehearsal. During these rehearsals the character must come to
life: inflections, voice quality, dialect, tempo and all subtle aspects of interplay with other characters are firmly established. The director must now
concern himself with coordinating the final production. He has time for
only quick suggestions and will expect them to be adopted immediately.
In a real sense the actor is on his own with responsibility for maintaining
his role as it was established.
Radio acting requires quick judgments, the ability to respond instantly
to direction, and firm control of body, feelings and voice. Such attributes
come only from experience and intensive practice.
The Straight Announcer
This performer may be required from time to time to handle almost
every radio- speech assignment at a station. As a straight announcer, he
must be prepared to introduce speakers, announce classical and popular
music programs, read commercials of all types, prepare and conduct interviews, present the news, deliver public service announcements, make station
breaks and report on the weather, perhaps do color or even play -by-play
for local athletic events, and even serve as master of ceremonies for special
broadcasts such as the local beauty contest finals. On the spur of the moment he may be asked to extemporize the narration of an event which is
immediate news but may in several hours have lost its importance and
The straight announcer must be versatile, adaptable, quick- thinking
and indefatigable. Vocally, he should possess variety, honest vitality and an
ability to adapt quickly to the mood of the copy or the situation. Intellectually, he should have a vocabulary and a facility for its use that will bring
to mind and tongue the appropriate word for the occasion. The straight
announcer is really all announcers in one. Today it is mainly in the smaller
radio stations that such a man may be found or, more often, needed.
Usually, in larger stations the varied announcing responsibilities are divided
among a staff of announcers, taking advantage of and building special
talents and abilities.
Harold Green, program director of radio station WMAL, Washington, D.C., offers an excellent analysis of the requirements for a good anan analysis which applies to the other categories of announcing
in succeeding sections of this chapter, including the disc jockey, salesman,
newscaster and so forth. Mr. Green writes:
The day of the "limited" announcer is about over. Just a beautiful
voice, or just a snappy, witty, or attractive personality, is not enough for
today's successful radio station. All the tricks, gimmicks, formats, points of
view have been tried in one form or another. Some are quite successful in a
limited way. The danger that the individual suffers is the strong possibility
that he will remain submerged or anonymous. This is particularly true in a
station that depends strongly on a particular "format." We feel that the stations that matter in the community don't limit themselves to a format, or other
gimmick. The key is community involvement ... information with a purpose
that will continu. and a continuity of sound (in music and personality)
the audience that particular station has cultivated.
ally serve
and please
This type station requires a special person as an air personality. He may
possess one of the unique abilities: voice, humor, style, wit, intelligence .. .
any one of which is a big help ... but he must have a think -box as well as
voice box. He must be truly interested in his community. He must be completely alert to the world around him. He reads at least two newspapers every
day, reads three or more quality magazines every week. He is probably taking a course or two at one of the universities. He has a natural, and genuine,
interest in people. He realizes that he is in a highly sophisticated communications business ... and he'd better have something to communicate.
Our announcers go on the air each day with a thick folder of clippings,
personal observations, letters from listeners, and tears from all the news and
sports wires.
By the time a man actually goes on the air each day, he is fully briefed
on all that is happening that is significant in the news, in sports, special
events in the community, special broadcasts of more than routine interest
scheduled for that day and week, or anything else that amounts to information with a purpose. He has spent a minimum of two hours in the music
library. Generally, each day's music preparation time amounts to approximately 50% of air time. A 4 -hour program requires about two hours to prepare musically. This is for one who is thoroughly familiar with the library.
Otherwise, it becomes a 1:1 ratio, or even longer. This is because the music
list must reflect variety and balance: up -tempo music, boy vocal, lush orchestral, girl vocal, combo or variety, group vocal, and back around again. Spe-
cialty, novelty, or other types that break the pattern must be showcased by
the DJ. There must be a reason for playing these "extras," and it must be
It is safe to say that when a man does a smooth, informative, professional 4 -hour show
one that teased the imagination, and piqued the curiosity
he did an equal four hours of preparation. If he doesn't, he'll know
it in about an hour, I'll know it in about an hour and a half, and the listener
will know it before noon the next day. Without preparation, background,
genuine interest in the world around him, and diligent attention to getting
informed and staying informed, a broadcaster sinks instantly into mediocrity. He is then relying on tricks ... he is ordinary ... he is short- changing
his audience. He won't last long.
The Disc Jockey
The disc jockey program, which occupies a large portion of the small
station schedule and serves as a personality or special audience program
in the larger station, requires special talents. It is a one -man program which,
in simple essence, introduces, talks about and plays popular music recordings with announcements, occasional interviews and commercials interspersed. There is much more required, however, for its success. The disc
jockey should have a keen, vital sense of humor with a talent for meaningful comment and not just unrelated patter. Superior disc jockeys develop
individual program formats and styles of delivery which become their trademarks. Such styles evolve from creative experiment based on the personality
of the announcer and quite often with a selected segment of the audience.
The On- the-air Salesman
American commercial radio exists through the selling power of the
medium. Announcers persuade listeners to buy the product or subscribe to
the service. These commercial messages group themselves into several
types; "punch"
in which the style is vital, intense and emotional for purposes of a quick sale; "institutional"
in which a straightforward, more
reserved style is usually employed to create an image of the business organization and develop goodwill toward it; and "personality"
in which
the known and popular style of a particular announcer is appropriate to the
product being advertised. The announcer must be able to adapt to each
type with sincerity. As the spokesman for the sponsor he must believe in
the product for its potential customer.
There are also varying forms of commercials: the "ad lib," in which
the product and talks about it conversationally and with complete ease; the "straight," which is read from written copy with which the
announcer should thoroughly familiarize himself; the "dual or multiple
voice," in which the selling is shared by two or more announcers who are
acquainted with the product; the "jingle," which titillates the ear with an
intriguing verse set to music; and the "dramatic," in which a scene is quickly
set, a dramatic twist is established, and focus is emphatically placed on the
product. All commercials require vocal variety, vitality and an ability to
establish mood and believability.
The News Reporter
In addition to his vocal talents, anyone who broadcasts the news
should possess background qualifications in some depth: he should be
college educated in the liberal tradition with specialization in political science, radio -journalism and history, with a vital interest in current events;
he should know how to edit the news with a disciplined knowledge of what
is newsworthy; and he should be able to communicate his own resulting
confidence to his listeners.
A station newscaster has access to the news wire services, but they
should be only the beginning for him. Responsibility resides with the individual newscaster and his station, not with the wire services. Careful judgment, knowledge and responsibility must always be present in editing the
news and delivering it to those many listeners who depend on radio for
accurate and rapid reporting. The news wire services provide a serious
temptation to the busy station announcer to rip the news from the teletype
and read it "cold." What happens? Mispronunciations, misreadings, inclusion of items of unimportance to the region, and failure to communicate
the meaning of the news. The responsible newscaster must prepare the
newscast, editing it when necessary, reading it for meaning, rehearsing it
aloud for proper phrasing and tempo, and determining the correct pronunciation for any unfamiliar words and names of persons and places. In delivery the newscaster should communicate with quiet vitality, warmth, ease
and authority.
For the news analyst, who interprets the news, a greater amount of
preparation is obviously required, a wealthier background of knowledge
and experience is desirable, and a more highly developed vocal maturity is
essential. His success is dependent upon his audience following, and his
responsibility in forming public opinion is grave.
The Sportscaster
Normally, sportscasting is a specialized position in radio. The director
of sports at a station is responsible for all programming in the sports area:
play -by -play broadcasts of athletic events; the color or descriptive matter
about the game, the teams, the fans and visiting celebrities before and after
the game and during normal and special intervals; interviews at the time
of the game; and sports news and interviews at the studio. The sportscaster
(often the director of sports at the smaller station) usually has a "color"
man with him at athletic events for relief and variety.
The sportscaster must know in depth the events he broadcasts and
the terminology peculiar to the sport. He should be completely familiar
with the rules but must avoid any on-the -air disagreement with the judgments of the officials. He must possess a talent for extemporary speech in
which the appropriate words flow easily and rapidly, allowing him to describe the action as it is happening. This allows for little or no hesitation,
and even when action is temporarily halted, the sportscaster
as the eyes
of the listener
must continue to describe what is happening. Normally a
station sportscaster follows a "home" or special team and should memorize the names and numbers of players before the season opens. The
names and numbers of visiting team members may be procured prior to
the contest and should be memorized before game time. For the complex
team sports and for those which involve many players, such as football,
the sportscaster will employ a "spotter" and a "spotting board" to assist
him in identifying substitutions and players involved in a particular action.
One who is interested in sportscasting should observe at length a capable
and experienced sportscaster at work. Should one wish to change from
straight announcing to sportscasting, a fine opportunity to gain experience
would be to do "color" with a good play -by -play sportscaster and eventually relieve him during a broadcast as the situation permits.
The "color" man is extremely important. Play -by -play work demands
absolute attention; relief is necessary. The "color" man is responsible for
the pre- and post -game introductions and summations and for filling the
natural breaks for innings, halves, time -outs and official delays. His job is
to set the mood of the occasion and to fill the allotted time with pertinent
information which will interest the listener. This may include announcements of the line-ups, information about the team or individual players,
appropriate comments about surroundings, special occurrences and statistics, and interviews with visiting guests and sports figures. Often he has
the full responsibility for delivery of the commercials.
Both men must bring to sportscasting an exciting, varied, vital and
believable style of delivery.
The Interviewer
An interviewer must be at ease, knowledgeable, vitally interested in
the work of the person being interviewed, and professional in the conduct
of his interview. The principal types of interviews are personality, opinion,
and information. Basically, an interview follows a question- answer format
with an introduction, a main segment or body of information, and a conclusion. In style of performance it must be natural, straightforward, and
The interviewer should find out as much as he can about the interviewee and his field, have a conference or pre-interview with him, if possible, and prepare a detailed question and answer outline. More questions
should be planned than seem necessary for the length of the program, for
it is poor practice to complete an interview with air time remaining. In
planning, the interviewer should organize his material to rise to an informational climax and fall briefly into a wrap -up conclusion, making it necessary to refer to his notes as infrequently as possible on the air.
During the show -time, a feeling of casual spontaneity should exist, a
give and take between the interviewer and his guest, with the interviewer
taking the responsibility of keeping the program moving in a conversational
but vital atmosphere.
The Panel or Roundtable Moderator
A panel or roundtable program is comprised of a moderator and several participants. The subject is usually controversial but may be simply
informational. The moderator introduces the subject and the participants,
often identifying the viewpoint of each panel member. During the program
he guides and paces the discussion, avoiding serious digressions from the
central theme and working for a balanced presentation of the material. A
good moderator must be well- informed on the subject, adept in asking
appropriate questions, and gifted in expressing himself extemporaneously.
At the close of the program he summarizes the salient points of the discussion.
The Master of Ceremonies
Occasionally an announcer must serve as a master of ceremonies, or
m.c., for a high school rally, for a "meet the candidate" public forum, or
in a variety of public situations where speech continuity must be provided
in the mood of the gathering. A master of ceremonies should possess a
sense of humor, be able to adapt quickly to the mood of the situation, know
how to keep the program moving with variety and vitality, and be especially talented in picking up cues and taking advantage of what occurs. He
should develop an extemporaneous or "ad lib" style of his own.
The Narrator
For regular radio program fare, narration is the running, descriptive
presentation of an actual event, such as a parade, a funeral cortege, or a
four -alarm fire; for radio drama it is the expository passages which set the
scenes and tie them together; and for the documentary it is the commentary
which links and underscores the actual events and gives them meaning.
The first is extemporized, the latter two are read. The narrator is a combination of both announcer and actor, for he must not only make his listeners "see" but also feel. He describes the actual event or scene and sets
the mood. His voice must be vital, varied and highly sensitive to the emotional implications of his material.
The Outside Speaker
Many lay citizens perform as speakers or interviewees. If they are
accomplished speakers, but lacking in radio experience, there is little to
advise except in the use of the microphone. For the totally inexperienced,
however, the following principles should be helpful.
1. Know and follow the suggestions on microphone use.
2. Outline the speech, giving it an introduction, a main body of information and a conclusion. Write out the speech from the outline, using
simple, concrete words that create pictures. Read the speech aloud, timing
it accurately with a stop watch. Cut or add to it until it fits the exact, allotted time segment.
3. Rehearse the speech aloud several times, possibly using a recorder
for self- criticism. Work for a natural, conversational quality. Remember
that any given audience will be a small one, one to three people at each
receiver. Speak to them, not as from a platform, but with as much ease,
naturalness, vitality and quiet enthusiasm as in talking directly to the same
small group.
4. An interviewee will be briefed by the interviewer and the questions
to be asked will be agreed upon prior to the broadcast. Approach the
actual program with as much ease as possible, remembering that the area
to be discussed is your field. Speak conversationally, but with natural enthusiasm, answering the questions fully without launching into a lengthy
speech. If interruptions by the interviewer occur from time to time, take
them in stride, helping always to make the program what it should be
a vital conversation. Be acquainted with the basic signals and microphone
Radios, often two or more, are tuned in regularly in most American
homes. Millions of automobiles are equipped with radios. In the late 1960's
about 6,000 radio stations were operating throughout the United States,
with the number steadily increasing. There is a large radio audience, a
growing radio industry and a need, therefore, for competent men and
women to staff these stations and to supply them with regular and public
service program material. The voice of radio
the performer and what he
does on the air
is radio's most important single element. A listener
tunes in or tunes out because of the performer and his program. What are
the performer's opportunities?
The basic jobs have been discussed under PERFORMANCE TYPES.
Advertising Agencies
A variety of materials, including commercials, jingles, dramatic vignettes, public service spots, speeches and political announcements, are
written, produced and recorded by advertising agencies for distribution
locally, regionally and nationally. Most cities of 50,000 residents and larger
support at least one advertising agency. They employ superior announcing,
acting and singing talent, usually on a free -lance basis.
Religious Centers
Most religious denominations operate national and sometimes regional
radio and television centers. Religious plays, daily devotionals, spot announcements and other religiously oriented programs are produced at these
centers. Many programs feature ministers and lay religious leaders, but
announcers, singers, narrators and actors are also in demand.
Public Service Agencies
Public service agencies in the areas of health and welfare operate
national, regional and often local offices. Such agencies must inform the
public of their work; they need support. For this purpose they use modern
media of communication, including radio. Stations and artists donate much
time and talent to public service agencies, but frequently there are opportunities within the agencies for paid employment.
The Handicapped
The disc jockey and often the radio announcer sit as they speak and
operate the turntables and control board. For those who are blind, radio
offers a real opportunity. The blind person can learn by touch; the immobilized need not move from his seat.
If you choose radio as a career, choose it wholeheartedly. Work hard.
Continue to grow. Never be satisfied with less than your best. Perfect your
voice and speech and learn to adapt yourself to any kind of radio-speech
assignment. Radio as a medium is expanding and offers many opportunities
for the talented performer who is prepared.
Anderson, Virgil, Training the Speaking
Voice. New York: Oxford University
Press, 1955. Speech oriented, this book
provides background in the physical
and physiological bases of speech and
presents exercises for developing tonal
quality and for gaining variety and expressiveness. An excellent book in all
areas of voice and speech.
Barnhart, Lyle, Radio and Television Announcing. Englewood Cliffs, New Jersey: Prentice -Hall, Inc., 1953. Includes
many exercises and drills which need to
be carried out under competent supervision and instruction. Particularly helpful is a pronouncing guide to geographical names in the news, plus definitions
and pronunciations of numerous musical terms.
Duerr, Edwin, Radio and Television Acting
Criticisms, Theory and Practice.
New York: Rinehart and Company,
1950. Primarily designed for classroom
work, this book emphasizes radio acting
and contains very helpful lists of selected
readings on the various subjects dis-
Henneke, Ben and Edward Dumit, The
Announcer's Handbook. New York:
Rinehart and Company, 1958. This updated version of the earlier Radio Announcer's Handbook uses some material
from television and features more than
200 pages of exercises and vocabulary
drills, with attention paid to the pronunciation of foreign terms and English
words derived from foreign languages.
Hyde, Stuart, Television and Radio Announcing. Boston: Houghton Mifflin
Company, 1959. With the first half of
the book devoted to all phases of announcing, including technical problems
and FCC regulations, and the second
half devoted to practice material, this
book is extremely helpful to the beginning student. Also contains the International Phonetic Alphabet and a valuable chapter on the disc jockey.
Kaufman, William I., ed., How to Announce for Radio and Television. New
York: Hastings House, Publishers, Inc.,
1956. A compact work containing the
experiences and suggestions of 12 leading announcers in the field, offering the
practical essentials for successful announcing.
Kingson, W., R. Cowgill and R. Levy,
Broadcasting Television and Radio. New
York: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1955. Introduces the reader to all phases of radio
and television broadcasting, with important emphasis given to performance
for the two media.
Lewis, Bruce, The Technique of Television Announcing. New York: Hastings
House, Publishers, Inc., 1966. "This is
the first volume that treats the functions, the skills, the art and the responsibilities of the announcer in a comprehensive manner." (From the Foreword
by J. Robert Myers, Vice President,
NBC International.)
Acetate recordings, 60
Acting techniques, 172 -74
Actuality program, 109
Ad lib commercial, 176
Advertising, 110; FCC rules for, 15;
see also Commercials
Advertising agencies, 111 -12, 180 -81
American Broadcasting Company, 16,
82, 83, 94
Amplitude modulation, 17, 48, 49, 87,
88, 125
Anchorman, 97
Announcement, 129; defined, 27; pub-
ing, 127
Audience participation, 153
Audition switch, 56, 57
Automated radio stations, 48
Automated tape equipment, 64, 65
Barnouw, Erik, 86
"Beeper" phone reports, 100
Bi- directional microphone, 54, 171
Blending of sounds, 126
Blocks, cognate, in radio programming,
lic service, 129, 130
Bloxom, Russ, 99
Board, control, 55 -58, 68, 69
Breathing, controlled, 164 -65, 166
Bridge program, 31
Brinkley, David, 100
British Broadcasting Corporation, 83
Broadcasting, radio, see Radio broadcasting
Announcer, 16, 38, 78, 111, 174 -76,
181; description of job of, 40, 111,
Antenna, 45
Armstrong, Edwin H., 17, 47
Attending responses, 24, 25
Attention -attractants, 23, 33
Audience orientation, and radio writ183
Bulk population, 27, 34; defined, 26
Call letters, 17, 28
Canadian Broadcasting Corporation,
Capacitor (condenser) microphone, 51,
Cross -fade, 114, 126
Cross -programming, 32
Cueing, 60 -61, 79, 85, 113
Cultural transmission, in communication, 23, 33
Currie, Bill, 102
Cutting of sound, 126
Carrier wave, 45
Cartridge, for records, 59
Cartridge tape recorder, 62, 64, 65
Censorship, question of, 15, 124
Character, in radio drama, 128
Chief engineer, description of job of,
Classical music, 156
"Color" man, 102, 178
Columbia Broadcasting System, 11,
16, 47, 91, 94, 96, 97, 141
Commentaries, radio, 105
Commericals, 110, 111, 112, 113, 129;
FCC rules for, 15; formats of, 13031, 176 -77; and on- the -air salesmen,
176 -77; writing techniques for, 13133
Communication: defined, 21; mass, 2325; social functions of, 23; see also
Radio broadcasting; Radio programming
Communications Act (1934), 13, 14,
15, 16; amendments of, 15-16
Communiqué 30
The News at Ten,
Condenser (capacitor) microphone,
51, 54
Conference(s), 78, 89; evaluation, 82
Consensus, widest possible, 25, 26, 27,
Contests, programming, 90 -91
Continuity writer, 78, 89, 90
Control board, 55 -58, 68, 69
Control room, 79, 86
Coolidge, Calvin, 11, 12
Copywriter, description of job of, 4142
Corwin, Norman, 139
Counter-placement, of program, 32
Debate, radio, 108, 153
DeForest, Lee, 11
DeLaune, Gary, 99
Delayed release, 35
Demagnetizer, 66
Department of Commerce, 12
Dialogue, in radio drama, 128
Dill -White Radio Act (1927), 12
Dimension, 91
Director: news, see News director; producer, see Producer -director; program, see Program director; sports,
101, 102 ,103, 177
Disc jockey, 16, 23, 28, 87, 88, 89,
155, 156, 157, 176, 181; see also
Musical programs
Discs, see Records
Discussion program, 104, 105, 108 -09,
152-53, 179
Documentary, 104, 105, 109 -10, 179;
writing, 139 -49
Drama, radio, 83 -86, 127 -29, 179
Dramatization, in commercial, 131,
Dual- channel boards, 58
Dubbing, 113
Duncan, Gene, 104
Duncan, Glen, 98, 99
Dynamic (pressure) microphone, 51.
52, 54
Echo, devices for obtaining, 67
Editing and splicing tape, 66, 110
Editorial, radio, 105
Educational commercial, 130
Educational radio, 18 -19, 106
Ellis, E. I., 87
Engineer, 38, 40, 41, 79, 85
Entertainment programs, 23, 33, 8293; public service, 92 -93
Equalizer for turntable, 60
"Eternal Light, The," 127
Evaluation conference, 82
Exposition, in radio drama, 129
Fades, 114, 126
FCC (Federal Communications Commission), 137; and broadcast licenses, 13 -15, 69, 70; creation of,
13; documents published by, 19;
rules and policies of, 13 -17, 18, 19,
27, 28
Feature programs, 104 -10, 137, 138
Federal Communications Commission,
see FCC
Federal Radio Commission, 12
Federal Trade Commission, 15
Feedback, 58; defined, 22; negative,
22; positive, 22, 25
Filters, 67, 114
Flaherty, Robert, 139
Force, vocal, 169
Fraud, and U. S. Criminal Code, 16
Freberg, Stan, 123
Free speech, and FCC, 15
Frequency modulation, 17 -18, 19, 47,
48, 49, 68, 87, 88, 125
Gemini space mission, radio coverage
of, 94
General manager, description of job
of, 39
Germany, radio drama in, 83
Gobo, 114
Grand Ole Op'ry, 92
Green, Harold, 155; quoted, 175
Grierson, John, 139
Group discussion, 153
Hahn, Jerry, 99
Hall, George L., 20
Hand signals, 79, 80-82
Handicapped, the, and opportunities in
radio, 181
"Hard" news, 94
Hawes, William, 74
Headphone jack, 56, 57, 58
Heatter, Gabriel, 76
Hertz, Heinrich, 11
Hicks, Bill, 99
High fidelity, 49, 54
Hightower, Bill, 99
Hilliard, Robert L., 122
Horizontal relationships, in radio programming, 28
House Party, 92
Humor, in commercial, 130
Information interview, 151, 178
Informational radio program, 94 -113
Input switch, 56, 57
Intensity, stimulus, 23, 33
Intercom, 79
International broadcasting, 19
Interview program, 104, 105, 107 -08,
150 -51, 178 -79
Introduction to Modern Broadcasting,
Jingle, for commercial, 176
KBVU, Bellevue, Washington, 104
KDKA, Pittsburgh, 11, 94
Kennedy, John F., news gathered on
assassination of, 98 -99, 137
KFJZ, Fort Worth, 103
KGVL, Greenville, Texas, 96
KLIF, Dallas, 98, 99
KOHO, Hawaii, 88
KOLE, Port Arthur, Texas, 104
KXOL, Fort Worth, 98
KYW, Chicago, 11
KZOO, Hawaii, 88
Labelling, of recordings, 66
"Lavalier" microphone, 51
Lawton, Sherman, 87
Lecture, radio, 105, 106
License requirements, 13 -15, 69, 70
Linkletter, Art, 89, 92
Live broadcasting, 82
Log: program, 16, 28, 29, 46, 70, 72,
89, 95; technical, 16, 46, 70, 72
Long, Joe, 98, 99
Lorentz, Pare, 139
Lotteries, and U. S. Criminal Code, 16
Loudspeaker, 45, 58
Morgan, Edward P., 100
Murrow, Edward R., 100
Musical commercial, 130 -31
Musical programs, 87 -90, 114, 126,
155 -57; see also Disc jockey
Mutual Broadcasting System, 16
Narrator, 179
National Association of Broadcasters
(NAB), 27, 125, 134
National Broadcasting Company, 11,
16, 47, 91, 94, 138, 160
MacDonald, Duncan, 151
McLendon, Gordon, 94, 98
McLendon Broadcasting Corporation,
94, 96
Magnetic tape recorders, see Tape recorders
Management of radio station, 35 -41;
and job descriptions, 39 -42; Program
Department of, 35, 48; staff organization of, 38
Marconi, Guglielmo, 11
Marker program, 31
Mass communication, 23 -25
Master of ceremonies, 179
Master gain control, 56, 57
Maxwell, James Clerk, 11
Meanings, as responses to symbols, 22
Microphones, 45, 46, 47, 50-55, 56,
113; directional characteristics of,
171; and noise, 114; performance
techniques for, 114, 171 -72; and
radio writing, 126; stand for, 54 -55;
types of, 51 -54, 171
Minority groups, 26, 27
Moderator of discussion program, 108,
National Radio Conferences, 12
Neal, Bruce, 98, 99
Negative feedback, 22
Negro market, 88
"Netalert" interrupt programs, CBS
Radio's, 96
Networks, 46, 153; and FCC, 16
News, 94-113; assembling, 99-100;
gathering, 97 -98; "hard," 94; organization of, 135; and planning
newscast, 96 -97; presenting, 100 -01,
134; sources of, 134; of special
events, 137, 138; sports, 101 -03,
136; types of, 134; writing, 134, 137
News analyst, 177
News director, 99, 101; duties of, 101;
as producer, 96, 97
News reporter, 177
Nichols, Roy, 98
Non -directional microphone, 54, 171
Obscenity, and U. S. Criminal Code,
Opinion interview, 151, 178
Output switch, 56, 57
109, 153, 179
Monitor, 91, 158 -161
Monitor gain control, 57, 58
Monopolizing, in radio programming,
Mood and purpose, in radio programming, 78
Moore, Gary, 89
Pacifica Foundation, 12
Panel discussion, 153, 179
Participating program, 32
Pauley, Robert R., 83
Payola, 15
Performance opportunities, 163 -64,
180 -81
Performance techniques, 114, 171 -72
Performance types, 172 -80
Personalities, 88, 89
Personality interview, 151, 178
Persuasive technique, in writing commercial, 131, 132, 133
Phonation, 165 -66
Pick -up arm, 58, 59
Pitch, and voice, 168 -69
Placement, of program, 31 -32, 54 -55
Plot structure, of radio drama, 128
Political broadcasts, 105; FCC rules
Project 60, 109
Pronunciation, 170 -71
Public interest, broadcast stations licensed to serve, 13 -15
Public service agencies, 181
Public service announcement, 129, 130
Public service entertainment programs,
for, 15, 16, 105
Pop music, 156
Positive feedback, 22, 25
Potentiometer, 55, 56, 79
Poulsen, Valdemar, 61
Power structure, of social hierarchy,
26, 27, 34
Preparation, in radio drama, 129
Prescription, in communication, 23, 33
Pressure (dynamic) microphone, 51,
52, 54
Producer-director, 90, 93, 106, 107,
109; and contests, programming of,
90; description of job of, 39 -40; of
interview, 107; and public service
Quiz program, 15, 23, 91, 153
entertainment programs, 93
Production, 75, 76, 78, 83, 85, 88 -90;
basic functions of, 78 -79; conferences for, 78, 89
Production specialist, description of
job of, 40 -41
Program Department, of radio station,
35, 38
Program director, 76, 77, 78, 79, 82,
83, 109, 111; and contests, programming of, 90; description of job of,
39; hand signals used by, 79, 80-82;
as producer of musical programs,
87 -89; and rehearsal, 84, 85, 86;
techniques used by, 113 -114
Program length, 27 -28
Program log, 16, 28, 29, 46, 70, 72,
89, 95
Programming, radio, see Radio programming
92 -93
Purpose and mood, in radio programming, 78
Radio Acts (1912 and 1927), 12
Radio broadcasting: AM, 17, 48, 49,
87, 88, 125; educational, 18 -19, 106;
equipment for, 50 -68; FCC rules
and policies for, 13 -17, 18, 19, 27,
28; FM, 17 -18, 19, 47, 48, 49, 68,
87, 88, 125; international, 19; license requirements for, 13-15, 69,
70; live, 82; mass communication
in, 23 -25, 26, 27; remote, 52, 68 -69;
of special events, 137, 138; stereo,
60, 62; and television, changes
brought by, 47, 48; timing in, 7879; see also Communication; Radio
programming; Radio stations
Radio Code, The, 125
Radio magazine, 157 -158
Radio programming: attention- attractants in, 23, 33; in blocks, cognate,
31; conferences for, 78, 89; of contests, 90 -91; and counter -placement,
32; definitions of, 21 -27; of discussions, 104, 105, 108-09, 152 -53,
179; of documentary, 104, 105, 10910, 179; of entertainment, see Entertainment programs; feedback in,
22; figures in, roles of, 34; formats
of, 33; frequency relationship in,
28; horizontal relationships in, 28;
informational, 94 -113; of interviews,
104, 105, 107 -08, 150 -51, 178 -79;
and juxtapositions, 28, 31; and man-
agement, see Management; and mass
communication, 23 -25, 26, 27; mood
and purpose in, 78; of music, 87-90,
114, 126, 155-57; of news, see
News; origins of, 34-35; pacing of,
34; and placement, 31 -32, 54 -55;
preliminary planning for, 83 -84;
purpose and mood in, 78; redundancy in, 22; and release, 35; repetition in, 22; revision in, 22; and
social functions of communication,
23; of sports events, 101 -03, 136;
of talks, 104, 105 -09, 150 -54; "team"
in, 38, 89-90, 93; techniques for, 2735; value according to content of,
34; variety, 91 -92; vertical relationships in, 28; of weather news, 10304; see also Communication; Radio
broadcasting; Radio stations
Radio sets, number of, 10
Radio stations: AM, classes of, 17;
automated, 48; FM, classes of, 18;
management of, 35 -41; number of,
10, 45; see also Communication;
Radio broadcasting; Radio programming
Radiotelephone license, 69
Randall, Porter, 103
Reacting responses, 24-25
Reception, qualities of, 49 -50
Record changer, 59
Records, phonograph, 58, 59 -61, 87,
88, 89, 155; handling, 61
Redundancy, in radio programming,
Reels, 64, 66
Rehearsal, 78, 83, 174; dress, 85; offmike, 84, 86, 93; on -mike, 84 -85,
93, 107
Reinsch, J. Leonard, 87
Release, of radio program, 35
Religious centers, 181
Remote broadcast, 181
Remote pickup radio transmitter, 68
Repetition, in radio programming, 22
Resonance, of voice, 166 -68
Responses: attending, 24, 25; as be-
havior elicited by symbols, 22; reacting, 24 -25
Reverberation devices, 67
Revision, in radio programming, 22
Ribbon (velocity) microphone, 51, 52,
53, 54, 171
"Rip and read," 97
Roosevelt, Franklin D., fireside chats
of, 10
Routine sheet, 150, 151 -52, 153, 157
Sales manager, description of job of,
Salesman: description of job of, 41;
on -the -air, 176 -77
Scooping, 32
Script, radio, see Writing
Script marking, 114
Script rattle, 114
Segue, 114, 126
Semi-documentary, 109, 139
Setting, in radio drama, 129
Ship Act (1910), 12
Showmanship, 33
Signals, hand, 79, 80-82
"Sneak out," 114
Soap opera, 86
Sound effects, 111, 114; equipment
for, 67; and radio writing, 126
Sound truck, 114
Speaker, outside, 105, 153 -54, 179 -80
Special events program, 137, 138
Special features program, 138
Speech: changes of rate in, 169; and
command of vowel and consonant
sounds, 170; pauses in, 169; produced by organs of articulation,
170; and pronunciation, 170 -71; see
also Voice
Splicing and editing tape, 66, 110
Sponsored program, 32, 110, 111
Sportscaster, 177 -78
Sports director, 101, 102, 103, 117
Sports programs, 101 -03, 136
Spot, see Announcement
Spotting board, 102, 178
"Stab," 114
Station break, 28, 129
Station identification, 129
Status groups, 25, 26
Stereo broadcasting, 60, 62
Stimulus intensity, 23, 33
"Stinger," 114
Storage, of recordings, 66, 67
Storer Broadcasting Company, 90
Straight announcer, 174 -76
Straight -sell commercial, 130, 176
Styli, for records, 59
Subculture, defined, 26
Submaster gain control, 56, 57
Surveillance, in communication, 23, 33
Sustaining announcement, 32, 33
Switch: audition, 56, 57; input, 56, 57;
output, 56, 57
Symbols: defined, 21 -22; and format,
33; as psychological triggers, 23, 33;
reception of, 22-23
Symposium, 153
Talent, as producer, 88 -89
Talk-back provisions, in control board,
Talk programs, 104, 105 -09, 150 -54
Tape recorders, 61 -67; cartridge, 62,
64, 65; console -mounted, 62, 63;
introduction of, 47, 61; portable, 62,
63; stereo, 62; and studio mounting,
62, 63; tapes for, 64; types of, 62
Technical log, 16, 46, 70, 72
Teletype machine, 100
Television, changes in radio broadcasting brought by, 47, 48
Testimonial, 130
Theatre S (ABC Radio Network), 82
Thomas, Lowell, 100
Thompson, Clarence M., quoted, 112
Time charges, 16
Tornabene, Russ, 99, 138
"Town Meeting of the Air," 153
Traffic board, 28, 30
Traffic specialist, description of job of,
Transistor radio, 17, 47, 49
Transmission, difficulties in, 48-49
Transmitter, 45, 46; remote pickup
radio, 68
Transmitter control, 69 -72; and license
requirements, 69; operation of, 69 -70
Triggers, psychological, and symbols,
23, 33
Turntables, 58 -59, 60
Uni -directional microphone, 52 -171
Upham, Donald B., 44
Vacuum tube, 55; patented by DeForest, 11
Variety, 87
Variety programs, 91 -92
Velocity (ribbon) microphone, 51, 52,
53, 54, 171
Vertical relationships, in radio programming, 28
Voice: of actor, 173-74; affected by
performer's attitude, 164; and controlled breathing, 164 -65, 166; force
of, variations in, 169; and microphone tehniques, 114, 171; and phonation, 165 -66; and pitch, 168 -69;
quality of, 169 -70; resonance of,
166 -68; variations in, 168; see also
Voice of America, 19
Volume meter, 56, 57, 113
WABC, New York, 11
Walker, Bob, 98
WBT, Charlotte, 109
WBZ, Springfield, Massachusetts, 11
WEAF, New York, 11
Weather program, 103 -04
WFBM, Indianapolis, 87
WGY, Schenectady, 11
WHA, Madison, 94
Who Killed Michael Farmer?, 141 f.
Widest-possible -consensus, 25, 26, 27,
WINS, New York, 94, 95
WMAL, Washington, D.C., 135, 155,
WNAC, Boston, 11
WNUS, Chicago, 94
Women's programs, 154
World News Roundup, 97
WQXR, New York, 151
Writing, 123-58; and audience orientation, 127; and basic production
elements, 126; of commercials, 13133; of discussion programs, 152,
153; of documentary, 139 -49; of
drama, 127-29; of interview, 15051; news, 134, 137; and radio magazine, 157 -58; for special events program, 137, 138; for special features
program, 138; of women's programs,
WSB, Atlanta, 87
WSM -FM, Nashville, 18
WSOC, Charlotte, 102
WTOP, Washington, D.C., 92
WUNC, Chapel Hill, 86, 99
WWJ, Detroit, 94
Wynn, Earl R., 162
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