Types of Radio Stories

Host Reader (Reader): A news script written by reporter but read by program host, usually during a newscast. Alt: copy, host copy

Spot: A recorded news story during a newscast written and spoken by a reporter. It has no actualities but does require a host intro. Alt: Voicer

Two-Way: A conversation on-air between host and reporter, usually scripted by the reporter.

ROSR: (pron: rose-err) Radio On Scene Report, in which a reporter delivers a story by standing on location with the sounds of the place audible behind him/her.

Host reader w/tape: News script read by host but written by reporter that includes an actuality or Ambi. Distinct from a wrap. Alt: cut & copy, cut/copy, tape & copy, cut & script

Wrap (Wraparound): A news script written and read by a reporter that includes an actuality. The reporter’s voice comes before and after the act, “wrapping around” it. Like spot w/ actuality.

Feature: A longer, more in depth report that includes actualities, tracks (narration) and usually sound of some sort, including ambi. Typically 2 minutes or longer.

Vox-Pop: No narration. Several actualities from different people mixed together. Used often to convey reaction from average people to a news story or event. Alt: MOS (Man On the Street)

Know your audio elements

Actuality (Acts, Ax): Short excerpt of recorded interview you will use in your radio story. Normally typically 8 – 20 seconds. Alt: Voice cut, cut. (In TV: bite, soundbite)

Ambient Sound (Ambi): Recorded sound of environment in which an event or interview takes place. Used in mix under acts and tracks. Alt: Natural sound, nat sound, room tone.

Button: A short (5 – 30 seconds) of music that serves as a transition between programming, often before commercial breaks or between segments. Alt/Similar: Zipper, Curtain, Bumper 

Sound Bed (Music Bed, Ambi Bed): A track of audio that is layered under narration or program audio so the audience hears a reporter speaking over sound of an event he is not at anymore, or a host talking over music.

Tracks: (1) Reporter narration for a spot, wrap or feature. (2) Can also refer to the horizontal rows where sound files are displayed in your digital audio editing software. (3) As a verb, to record your narration.

Field Recording

Off Mic: #BadAudio Sound soft and distant because the source is not close enough to the mic.

Overmodulated: #BadAudio Happens when recording levels are too loud. Voices sound distorted or garbled. Similar: Hot. Levels are hot when too loud.

Plosive: #BadAudio Distortion caused by air hitting the microphone do to incorrect mic placement. Happens on sounds like P and B.

Mono/Stereo: Audio is mono if it has only one track. Stereo if there are two tracks, a left and a right. Most recordings are in mono for radio reporting. Recording in stereo requires a stereo mic or input, files will be twice as large.

In the Studio / Edit Booth.

Equalizing (EQing, EQ): Changing the sound of audio by adding (amplifying) or reducing (attenuating) specific frequencies in the audible spectrum.

Hybrid (Telephone Hybrid): Device used to record phone interviews (in studio & voice booth).

Mix: Organizing and combining actualities with Ambi and tracks to make one smooth new track. Typically done with digital audio editing software, or a Sound Board.

Mix Minus: Shorthand for “the audio mix, minus oneself.” Required during ISDN interviews and phoners, this mix allows a remote source to hear the conversation but not the delay of their own voice coming back to them.

Mult-Box: Used for press conferences, this device allows many reporters to plug directly into the main mix, usually near the sound board rather than the actual person speaking.

Render = Mixdown = Bounce = Mix Different editing programs have different names for the final process of consolidating all the components of a radio story into one file.

Sound Board (the Board): The main hub of the audio chain, this device is used by a sound engineer to control multiple streams of audio at once, including volume, EQ, and Mix Minus.

Tape Synch: An phone interview where someone is with the source recording that end of the conversation with a mic, then sends the audio to the reporter to combine with reporter’s recording of himself. Distinct from a phoner or ISDN interview. Alt: Double Ender

Making a Show (or Newscast)

Billboard: Usually the first 59 seconds of a show w/theme music, when a host briefly promotes what’s to come in the program. Designed to keep audience listening.

Remote: An interview, broadcast or report where audio comes in from another location.

In cue (IC): First words of a piece of recorded audio written out in a script. Helps a host know how to introduce tape.

Outcue (OC): Last words of a piece of recorded audio written out in a script.

ISDN: Integrated Switched Digital Network (a “backronym from German). Special equipment that connects two radio studios over a high-fidelity telephone line. Used for remote interviews.

Phoner: Phone interview recorded using a hybrid. Poor quality compared to tape-sync or ISDN.

Rundown: Document with the basic information about order, length and content of programming. Usually includes story summaries, tape used, contributors, breaks. Similar: Clock


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