4

Writing for the ear

Writing words to be heard by the ear is quite different from words to be read by the eye. The layout of sentences, their order and construction has to be thought through in order to be totally clear and unambiguous at their first hearing. The listener does not have the possibility of re-hearing something. It must make sense first time, and this places a special responsibility on the radio writer. So whether we are writing a 15-minute talk, a one-minute voice piece or a cue to a recorded interview, the basic ‘rules’ of radio writing – and the pitfalls – need to be simply stated.

Who are you talking to?

The listener comes first. Decide who it is you are talking to. Is this for a specialist audience – like children, doctors ...

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