Wednesday, 8 October 2014

How to write for Radio Drama

1. Radio is based in oral tradition Radio appeals to the imagination of the listeners.. A good radio writer knows how to tap into the imaginations of the listeners by creating strong word pictures, engaging characters, and action-filled events.  Radio can cross time and space without limit, he can  move through time freely and create environments without restriction,   Radio is a personal medium. Although it can reach millions of listeners at the same time.

The Strengths and Limitations of Radio
Radio, like every other communication medium, has its own characteristics, strengths, and  limitations. Writing a radio serial for social development does require an understanding of the following fundamentals of learning, especially adult learning, since most dramas for social change are created for adult audiences.

1. Relevance. People, particularly adults, learn best when they see that the information offered is relevant to their own lives. Listeners who identify themselves with role-model characters in the drama are more likely to be motivated to learn and to change.

2. Appropriate pacing. Radio programe when it is delivered at a pace appropriate to the learners, keeping them involved and stimulated without overwhelming them. Careful evaluation of audience reaction to the pilot programs can help radio writers ensure that the pace with which information is delivered is appropriate to the audience.

3. Incremental learning. Learning is almost always incremental, that is, certain basic steps are mastered before more complex steps can be understood and practiced. Similarly,it is impossible to control the spread of malaria without understanding, first, that a certain type of mosquito carries the disease and, second, how to control the mosquitos. In motivating changes in individual behavior
and social norms, it is important to understand current levels of knowledge and attitudes in the community. Only with this understanding will the writer know what style of program to create,
where to focus the instruction, and how to adjust that focus as the serial drama progresses.

4. Distributed learning. Different people learn in different ways. Some learn from direct instruction, while others learn better by observing and copying the behavior of peers. Some absorb information after only one exposure, while others need to hear and see it a number of times before fully accepting it. “Distributed learning” is the term educators use to describe the process of presenting the same information in several different ways over time (de Fossard et al. 1993).

Characteristics of Radio
1. The total experience of radio is received by the ear alone. This is in contrast to the multisensory perception of everyday life. The writer therefore must remember to fill in details that, in real life, would be provided by
the listeners’ other senses, such as vision or smell. The writer must create scripts that allow listeners to imagine what they are hearing.
2. Listeners are accustomed to using radio as a background to their lives, without paying full attention to what is being broadcast. When radio is used to motivate positive social change, the writer must be sure to attract and
hold the listeners’ full attention, and to encourage listening literacy
3. Radio offers great opportunities for the use of sound effects and music. The good radio writer, however, uses these aids judiciously, recognizing that overuse of sound can be more destructive than constructive on radio. Successful radio drama depends more on powerful dialogue and strong emotional attraction than on added noise. 4 Radio can be used to teach many things, but  there are some areas where it falls short. For
example, it would be difficult for a doctor to learn how to remove an appendix just by listening to a radio program. To overcome such difficulties, the writer should recommend support materials in other media
(such as print) if the subject cannot be dealt with adequately through radio alone.
5. A radio story or message is heard only once. The radio cannot be rewound like an audio cassette or turned back like the pages of a book. The radio writer, therefore, must ensure clarity, simplicity, and repetition in the
delivery of important messages or educationalinformation.

6. Radio is a one-way medium. Audio directors, actors, and program  designers cannot receive immediate feedback from listeners during a broadcast
How to write for radio drama
1. Allow the audience to get to know a few characters well especially the major character of the main plot and the central uniting character before introducing the message.

2. Attract the listeners’ attention at the beginning of each episode. Because so many listeners use radio as “background,” the writer should start each scene,particularly the first scene in each episode, with a hook, that is, a dramatic action or statement that grabs the listener’s attention

3. Avoid overloading the serial with the message. Keep the message brief and subtle. It is one
Guideline that, a ratio of 25 percent message to 75 percent story in each episode.

4. Repeat the important parts of the message. Use the multi-plot nature of the serial format to bring in the message repeatedly, in different ways with different characters. This allows listeners who were not paying full attention the first time to hear the message on another occasion.
5. Offer the audience ways to respond to or interact with the program. There are a number of ways in which listeners canbecome involved in the program. Listeners can respond orally, for example, with physical activities, or in writing.


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