Tip of the Week - 2016 11 17: The Format Plan

An announcer presenting a radio programme, is in reality, a human relating to humans. It is a communication relationship. However, for a live radio programme to be effective enough to build that relationship, there needs to be structure. Yes, you have to…plan.

Your programme needs to have what I call a ‘Format Plan’ to stick to. This is a template list of what you will do, and when you will do it. Of course, what you actually say will change day by day, depending on what is happening in the world. However, a format plan will tell you roughly where in your programme the voice breaks are, and what each one is there for. For example:
• General continuity with a bit of info/chat
• A serious piece of announcer show prep
• A competition
• A live report or an interview

shutterstock_115126702Setting up the format plan for your programme is an important job. It will dictate how your programme will sound. Of course, the goal of the format plan is to give listeners what they want and need at that particular time of day (ie: how much talk, music, and information). The format plan may even be slightly different for each day of the week (for example – ‘Police Report’ Mondays only).

Work with your Programme Director or Station Manager to develop your format plan. Then, once it is finalised, it becomes your preparation guide. As an announcer, your job is to follow the plan, and fill the gaps with fresh topics or information each day. But if you have a format plan to work to, half the work is already done!

Is the format plan set in concrete? Do you have to follow it exactly, no matter what? Not always. Some days you will have to change things around a bit, because…well, stuff happens. Having a slightly flexible plan is a hundred times better than no plan at all!

You can see an example of a Format Plan here.

Go and plan…and happy broadcasting.

James
Online Radio Training School


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Added: Thursday, November 17th, 2016
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