CHAPTER 8

Content: Keep It Simple and Direct

In 1946, the then producers of the BBC told me of their “routine.” They said: “First you must say what you are going to talk about, secondly you must talk about it, and then you must say what you talked about.” That was a prescription for a non-broadcast, if ever there was such a thing. Because I discovered very early on that broadcasting is the control of suspense. No matter what you’re talking about—gardening, economics, murder—you’re telling a story. Every sentence should lead to the next sentence. If you say a dull sentence, people have a right to switch off.

—Alistair Cooke, Broadcaster of “Letter from America” on BBC Radio for 58 years

There is a huge amount of research on what works and does ...

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