Tip of the Week - 2016 04 05: Talk to the Ear - Not the Eye!

Guess What? The eye and the ear are different! We all know this already. Right?

But, answer this question: Why do so many radio announcers insist on reading articles straight from newspapers, magazines or web pages? It just sounds bad. Why? Because it was written for the eye, not the ear.

Don’t believe me? Read a newspaper article aloud, and listen to yourself. Do you speak to your best friend like that? Do you use those words? Would you put it that way?

Sure, your listeners enjoy your announcer content. And you already know what sort of content they like to hear. But, radio is not a printed medium. It’s an aural medium. You need to present information for the ear, not the eye.

So, here’s my tip of the week.

  • Take the article, and read it. Get familiar with it. Understand it.
  • Think about it for a moment. Mull on it.
  • Then, put the paper away, and tell it to someone else – off the cuff, in your own words.

How did it go? How did they react? Does it need to be shortened? Does any part of it need more explanation?

  • Then, script it out. And read it aloud as you type it. Make sure it sounds conversational, and not read. Make sure it sounds like you – write it as YOU would say it. Don’t be afraid of starting a sentence with ‘but’ or ‘and.’ Replace words like ‘purchase’ with words like ‘buy.’
  • Think about emphasis, inflection, emotion and pauses. Remember, like it or not, you are telling a story.
  • Then, when you are in the studio, just before you read your script, do a practice read. See how it sounds, and make any last minute adjustments.
  • When that microphone goes on, enjoy telling this to your friend, the listener – whether it be a funny story, an opinion piece or the weather.

Too much work? Did it take too long? You’re an announcer…this is what you do. This my friend, is called show preparation.

Go to it, enjoy it, and happy broadcasting. God bless you.

James


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Added: Tuesday, April 5th, 2016
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  1. Thanks James, I find this very interesting as I do the station IDs and some voice tracks.