How to Write Better Radio

shutterstock_408231010Would you pay to watch a movie that had no discernible script or real content? What if it consisted of Megan Fox, Leonardo DiCaprio, Scarlett Johannsson, and Channing Tatum just hanging out in a room? While it may be pleasing to watch, that movie would be a box office failure. Writing good content is crucial to producing good media, especially for radio, where audio content is the only output. This may seem like a challenge since there is no one specific format for radio scripts, however, there are simple guidelines you can follow to write them better.

One thing to keep in mind is that a lot of radio isn’t totally scripted. Then why are you reading this article, you ask? Well, even in those cases, a script is still an integral part of production. The key to writing for radio is sticking to a timeline and keeping it succinct and organized. For music radio, which is generally more informal, it may be more efficient to use short bulletpoints. News and talk radio have a lot more structure, so an outline with notes would be fitting. Highlighting your talking points and keywords for reference is an easy way of ensuring that your show runs smoothly.

Regardless of what format your radio show is, keep it elementary—having a beginning, middle, and end is necessary for any script. A good place to start is by introducing yourself and any co-hosts you may have. Mention any special guests at some point during the start of the show as well, ideally before the first break, and then reintroduce them before their segment. Create a “roadmap” by giving a quick rundown of the show that day that sets up your story and provides context without giving too much away.

An obvious but oft-forgotten aspect of writing for radio is that you’re writing for ears, not eyes. The way that people listen to speech is different from the way they would watch a movie or read a book, and a stiff, forced monologue can sound like nails on a chalkboard. The key is writing a script that sounds natural when spoken aloud. Essentially, skip the academic abstract and write how you would naturally speak. The more natural you sound in narrating your show, the more possible it is for a listeners to connect and engage with you.

The best writers of radio (or basically anything involving dialogue) have a grasp on how real people have conversations and how that can be translated to text. Go to a coffee shop and eavesdrop—yes, this is actually being encouraged—on peoples’ casual conversations. What are they saying? How are they saying it? How do they casually transition from topic to topic? Is anybody taking part in insider trading? Take note of these things as a third party and apply them when writing your script.

One issue with bridging the gap between relaxed, conversational speech and scripted speech is pacing. In regular conversation, we tend to drag our sentences and add embellishments. This doesn’t work when you have an allotted time to cover a certain number of topics. This also applies to natural pauses and breaks in daily speech. In radio, there is little room for conversational lulls—if you run out of things to say, your audience may run out of the patience to listen.

A basic rule for writing a well-paced script is to be as concise as possible. Leave out flowery descriptions and run-on sentences loaded with unnecessary words. Use the active voice and remain in present tense unless you are reporting or discussing past events. Be present, be energetic, and keep your transitions smooth, not abrupt. Radio scripts should be structured, not rigid—by keeping things succinct and to the point, it leaves room for the speaker to expand and add their own commentary. Just make sure there is enough material to work with!

 

The Internet Didn’t Kill the Radio Star

 

It is December 1999. The world is preradio-blogparing for catastrophic doom in the form of technological disaster, also known as Y2K. Even the likes of Time Magazine releases an issue on the inevitable meltdown of society that comes with the meltdown of computers, which were never programmed to denote the year beyond ‘99. Now fast forward a few months. Computers, electricity, communications, and society are all still around, much to our collective relief. The radio is still an incredibly popular medium in which we get our news, listen to our favorite stations, and figure out how to avoid the hour-long wait in traffic along the Midtown Tunnel.

But the times are changing—slowly, but surely, more and more of the ways we consume our news and tunes are moving to the web. In the year 2000, only 2% of the American population listened to online radio. In 2016, a study by Edison Research found that the number had jumped to a whopping 50%, with 136 million unique listeners tuning in every week and 160 million per month. That number is even higher in the UK, with a study conducted by RAJAR (Radio Joint Audience Research) stating that 57% of the UK population tuned in to digital radio every week in the same year.

Internet radio broadcasts and podcasts have literally been taking over the airwaves. This is not to say that radio as we once knew it is dead. Rather, radio streaming is revolutionizing the way we receive news, listen to and curate the music we want to listen to, keep up to date on pop culture, and even how we consume stories—talk radio and fictional programming on the radio have been around since the 1920s and don’t seem to be going anywhere soon. The difference in 2016 is that the listener has a vast amount of freedom in deciding what, when, and where. All the freedom to choose and no limits on where or how often makes for a happy consumer.

Unlike traditional or ‘terrestrial’ radio, internet radio services like the ones offered by Primcast can be accessed globally and across all web-enabled devices at any time. Live broadcasts can be archived by the broadcaster and streamed by the listener at their leisure. This mobility and ease of access makes it apparent why half of America is getting their radio fix online, and beyond that, proves that radio is here to stay. In fact, the average listener in 2016 tunes in to up to 21 hours of live radio per week.

Consider the popularity of “Welcome to Night Vale”, a twice-monthly science fiction podcast that can be streamed on TuneIn, which works in tandem with Primcast’s servers. It is so popular, in fact, that it surpassed NPR’s “This American Life” to become the most downloaded podcast on iTunes, achieving more than 150,000 downloads in a single week. It is arguable that this format of sci-fi longform storytelling has not gotten this much attention since Orson Welles’ broadcast of “The War of the Worlds” in 1938, during which distressed listeners thought they were listening to a real, apocalyptic news broadcast. Thankfully, neither Y2K nor this imagined apocalypse were able to wipe out the radio as a medium for storytelling, especially not with the internet around.

For the majority of people, however, the radio is how we listen to music. Whether it’s listening to the songs and genres we already love or discovering something new, music has been keeping us tuned in for almost as long as radio has been around. In the past few years, however, listening to music on the web has undergone a major facelift. Over 50 million people subscribe to some sort of music streaming service. This kind of streaming, which is tangentially different from traditional radio, has become massively popular because consumers crave highly personalized content with which they feel they are curating their own ‘brand’. The same thing applies on a broader spectrum for businesses and hospitality services, which can build a brand with dedicated, global, and accessible broadcasting.

Listing your online radio station on iTunes radio

If you want to have many listeners for your online radio station you will definitely need to submit your radio station to iTunes for inclusion into their station listing. Even though many people try to do this and gain the much needed exposure, very few actually manage to get a listing on iTunes. For the best change to get your radio station accepted into iTunes you need to follow the below guidelines.

Before we get to the actual steps you need to take in order to get your station listed, you need to be mindful of the increased expenses that come with more listeners. While a listing in iTunes will definitely bring you more listeners, you can also expect to be required to pay extra for the listener slots but also for licensing fees and other expenses.

An important thing to notice when submitting your station for inclusion into iTunes is that your stream needs to broadcast at a birtrate of at least 128 kbps. Your station can list only one bitrate and one genre so make sure you get everything right from the start. Also, stations that use other than their name to be listed higher in the directory or even to get listed twice will automatically get rejected.

When it comes to adding, editing or troubleshooting your listing you need to keep to the following guidelines:

Your emails must have one of the subject lines from below:

a) Station submission: (station name)

b) Station update: (station name)

c) Other inquiry: (brief description of the issue)

If you have multiple stations listed in iTunes then you can send information concerning one or all of them in the same email. However, make sure to attach the needed information in MSWord or Pages when submitting information for more than 3 radio stations.

It is sensible that iTunes will only accept radio inclusion requests only from the contact they have on file or from the radio station owner. Therefore listeners, friends and auxiliary station personnel cannot make requests on behalf of a radio station.

When submitting your request for radio station inclusion make sure to provide all the requested information. This means you need to write the following:

  • Your iTunes Store login account or email address

  • Your legitimate radio station name

  • The City/State or Country of origin

  • The language your radio station is broadcasting in

  • The type of audio stream (whether it is MP3, AAC or AAC+)

  • Station genre (you are only allowed one genre per radio station)

  • Include the address of your radio station’s website

  • Provide a short description for your radio station

  • Contact details such as name, phone number and email address

  • Include the bitrate you are streaming at (you are only allowed to include one bitrate per radio station)

  • You will also need to provide the radio tation URL or IP (again, only one per radio station)

When requesting an update for you radio station you will also need to provide some information. Therefore, your request needs to contain the following information:

  • The radio station name (same as it is written in iTunes)

  • The name, phone number and email of the contact person

  • Write specifically the update you would like to make for your radio station. Attention: do not resubmit information that is remaining unchanged.

Before sending your submission request to iTunes you need to ensure that your radio station works properly in iTunes. To do this you need to open iTunes, select ‘Opend Audio Stream’ from the Advanced menu and from there enter your audio stream URL.

It usually takes up to 5 business days to hear back from iTunes. Always be sure to respect the guidelines or they may even ban your radio station without the possibility of every including it in iTunes again.

Author : Lucian Paun

Automate your online radio station using Auto DJ software

Whether you are looking to build your very first online radio station or you are looking to automate the one you already have, Auto DJ is the service you can’t do without. If you didn’t already know, Auto DJ is an online radio automation software that you can attach to any SHOUTcast hosting account.

Auto DJ brings many benefits to any radio station. The most important benefit that radio station owners will gain access to is the complete automation feature. This means that radio owners will no longer need to stay at their computers in order to stream online. As a radio station owner you will not even need to leave your computer on the whole time you are streaming. So if for nothing else, by attaching an Auto DJ account to your radio hosting you will be saving on your electrical bill.

Auto DJ will also allow you to create playlists and schedule them however you see fit. This way you can have total control over what and when your online radio station will stream. You can even control your radio station from your mobile device since the Auto DJ can be accessed from the web-based control panel.

So to sum it all up, by attaching an Auto DJ account to your online radio you will be saving on your electrical bill, have complete control over your radio station (what and when something is going to play in you radio station), radio station automation and seamlessly switching between a live source and your playlists.

Promote your online business using online radio

One of the most overlooked promotion methods for online businesses nowadays is with the help of online radio. Having your own online radio station could perfectly complement your business. Even though there are thousands of online stations right now, there is a growing demand for even more diversified radio stations that people are just waiting to listen to.

There are many benefits to having your own online radio station. The best thing about being a radio station owner is that people will begin to trust you more and see you as an authority in your field. Giving a human face to your business is just about the best thing you can do in today’s online environment where trust is a major issue. If you show people that you are a real person who cares about your business and your customers then more people will buy from you instead of your competition.

Many people who buy online spend a great deal of time doing research on the product or service they are interested in. You have a good opportunity to provide detailed information about what you are selling to your customers with an online radio station. The more informed your potential customers will be the more sales you could potentially make.

There are countless other benefits that come with owning an online radio station. However, even though building your own radio station is quite an easy task, there is still the matter of choosing an audio streaming provider to host your radio station.

You could host the radio station yourself but using an audio streaming provider would be the better option. First of all, you won’t need to deal with managing and configuring the server for hosting the radio station. A specialized service would offer customer support that you wouldn’t be able to find anywhere else. Another advantage is that you don’t need to own any equipment other than a PC connected to the internet.

There are many online companies providing audio streaming hosting services so how will you know which one will offer you the best deal? There are several factors you will need to consider when looking for the right audio streaming provider. The first thing you will need to look for is the quality of the services. You can determine for yourself if the quality of the provider is good or not so good by actually trying their services. Most companies will have trial or demo accounts where you can test for yourself. If they don’t offer trial or demo accounts you can ask their customer support staff to create a test account for you but if they won’t do that then you should look for another audio streaming company.

Another very important aspect is the customer support. If you are going to have a respectable online radio station then you need to have very responsive, skilled support from the audio streaming provider. You wouldn’t want to have your station stop broadcasting during an important live transmission and not to have anyone you can call to have your problem solved in a timely manner.

Price is also important when it comes to audio streaming. Even though you may find ‘too good to be true’ deals, you need to consider the fact that those deals may in fact be too good to be true. There are now many online audio streaming providers and you need to be careful when choosing the one you will be working with. Although you may need to pay a bit more, the price difference will totally be worth it for the return in service quality you will be benefiting from.

Having an online radio station for your business could really improve your online presence and the trust your customers have in you. By interacting with your potential customers and giving the information about your product or service, you will have a better chance of selling to them.

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Just how useful is the Auto DJ software?

If you are new to radio hosting online then you may not have heard of Auto DJ. So what exactly is Auto DJ? This software is very useful because it allows you to keep your radio station streaming non-stop without you having to be at the computer. You don’t even have to keep your computer running while the Auto DJ software has started playing.

The best thing about Auto DJ is that it is very simple to use. To start streaming automatically on your radio station you simply have to start the Auto DJ software and the music files that you have uploaded onto the Auto DJ server will start playing automatically. You will also need to create playlists if you want the music files to play in a specific order.

If you want to have a live show or if you like streaming music yourself then you can still do this by simply shutting off the Auto DJ. Once you are done streaming live then you can simply start Auto DJ back on and your listeners will never even know that you are no longer streaming the music.

If you already have a SHOUTcast or IceCast account then you can buy Auto DJ separately and attach it to your audio streaming platform. Many companies are now offering SHOUTcast plans together with Auto DJ so if you are just starting out in online radio then you may want to take a look at their offers. However, before actually paying for Auto DJ and/or SHOUTcast services you should first check and see just how good a company’s audio streaming services are and if they have good customer support that you can rely on.

Auto DJ is probably the best thing you can get for your online radio station. Not only will this amazing software save you a lot of time that you can use to do anything else but it will also help your online radio station keep its audience happy and even bring in more fans. There is no doubt that Auto DJ is a worthy investment and for what it costs nowadays there is really no reason why you shouldn’t get it for your online radio station.

If you are looking for a good Auto DJ account then Primcast offers very reliable and affordable Auto DJ plans. You can find out more about our services by going to http://www.primcast.com/autodj

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Simple facts about SHOUTcast

There are a number of protocols that can be applied to stream or broadcast media across the internet. In order to address the inconsistencies of data transfers you will need these specific protocols. In order to guarantee high quality viewing or listening experience the delivery of the content has to be specific and in the proper sequential manner. Thus, SHOUTcast hosting would probably be preferred for effective multimedia streaming.

SHOUTcast hosting can be looked at as a different type of web hosting. It primarily serves as server software used for streaming media. The company that came up with this piece of software is called Nullsoft. What the server does is to enable the broadcasting of digital or audio content to and from media player software using the MP3 or HE-AAC format. This is also how specialists and amateurs create internet radios.

It is a cross-platform and free application software. You can therefore easily implement and operate this software on multiple computer platforms. Apart from that, it is also available for utilizing at an optional fee or no cost.

A little bit about SHOUTcast’s history and usage

The first server dates back from 1999. “I Can Yell” is the original name of the streaming protocol which now uses metadata tags and responses starting with the abbreviation “ICY”. The domains of the protocol were registered before Nullsoft, the developer of the software. Nullsoft changed the protocol’s name to SHOUTcast, the prefix ‘ICY’ nevertheless still persists in the protocol spec.

The software’s main purpose is to generate audio broadcasts or to listen to them. With such a useful and quite inexpensive piece of software program, internet broadcasting stations started to appear all over the place. This has made it possible for many experts and enthusiasts to build their own broadcasting stations much less costly than if they were to set up a standard FM radio station or an AM broadcasting station.

How is it designed?

What basically happens is a network protocol is used by SHOUTcast’s client-server each component in order to communicate. The audio data and metadata such as station name and song titles are intermingled by this protocol. Web page data is distributed over the internet by using the hypertext transport protocol as a transport protocol.

Over the years SHOUTcast has known a remarkable increase in popularity. If you intend to set up your own radio station then there is really no better solution than using SHOUTcast. Whether you want to set up a big or a modest radio station, SHOUTcast will make it easy for you to do so.

Primcast offers some very reliable SHOUTcast hosting plans. If you would like to find out more about this services then please head on to http://primcast.com/shoutcast

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Who needs Auto DJ?

If you are planning to build your own online radio station then you should definitely consider getting an Auto DJ account as well. Auto DJ is revolutionary software that you can use along with your audio streaming software. The name, Auto DJ is pretty self-explanatory of what it does. After you load your music files on the Auto DJ server you then have the possibility to have it auto play songs even if your streaming computer isn’t on. This means hands-off radio streaming 24/7.

Just imagine how easy it could be maintaining your audience’s interest in your online radio station if you are using Auto DJ. You can create playlists with your favorite music and you can even place commercials in between songs. The best thing about Auto DJ is that you can pause it and start it back again whenever you want and your listeners will not even be able to tell the difference. You can still hold your live shows the same as before Auto DJ. All you are required to do is to push a button and the Auto DJ is stopped. Then after your live show is over you needn’t do much more than start the Auto DJ software again.

Nowadays almost every online radio station is using Auto DJ. This should also be an option for you if you don’t want to sit in front of your computer all day. Just think about it: with Auto DJ you will have more time for yourself to do other things and your audience will be able to listen to your radio station 24/7.

If Auto DJ sounds like something that you would like to have for your radio station then please visit our website at http://www.primcast.com/autodj to find out more details about our offer. We also offer SHOUTcast hosting plans. SHOUTcast is a software for hosting online radio stations.

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