To get started it's always best to look at some examples of radio broadcast scripts. The script is the beginning point to a broadcast. While many of the radio stations we listen to today are live, there are many components that are written in script form. This is especially true of the broadcasts done in years past. Some great examples of radio scripts can be found on the Internet. One particular site that we found helpful is as follows
This site contains some actual scripts for radio broadcasts. two we would recommend are:
The Shadow "The Ghost Walks Again"
1938 "War of the Worlds"
After viewing some scripts, a couple of things should become clear. First, the ambience of the show needs to be created. In creating this it is imperative that you establish the setting using the sounds you would hear during the time period and place. This helps to give the listeners a clear image of what is going on before the voices even begin.
Once the ambience is established the next part written in the script are the lines of speech. These lines are typically numbered. They can be numbered in a variety of ways. A common way is to number the lines by character. Another way is to number each line of speech regardless of who is speaking. No matter how the lines are numbered, the speech itself is usually indented from the character's names. This way whatever is to be read or spoken can be easily identified. It also must be written in a font that is easy to read. Most dialogue is left up to the director and actors to decide how it should be read; however, anything the writer feels should be emphasized would be underlined. Be sure that the speech does not run over to the next page. It's best to place the character's entire lines on the next page rather than to split it up.
Any special effects or directions that need to be included are done in all capital letters. This way it is easy to discern between speech and effects. Any music added works the same way.
The sounds we hear in radio are related to dialogue, sound effects, music and silence. Yes! Silence can create an incredible image in someone's mind. Remember that sometimes what is left unsaid can be quite impacting, depending on the story line. All sound effects used in radio should be sued only when necessary. Often, too much of one sound can actually turn a listener off. You should only include those sounds that will make your story incredible and leave those sounds out that aren't absolutely necessary to the story line. Although real sounds may convince the listener than synthesized ones, the synthesized sounds are used more often. The trick is to make those unreal sounds sound like they re authentic.
Most experts in the radio broadcast field suggest that you make and record the effects ahead of time. This tends to give you more choice and control over the sounds used.
Music follows the same type of guidelines as sound effects. The real difference is that sound effects are usually used as create action, so they typically come first. Music, on the other hand, is used to create a reaction to something, so it is most often used after the fact. "Music is the straightest path to the emotional centers of the mind" (www.greatnorthernaudio.com). It is the music that makes the dialogue and other sounds work in the end.
The different sound effects are listed in the table below
| Ambiances ||Gives a sense of setting: the where and the when.|
| Discrete (spot) Effects ||These are sound effects that are brief and can be made with the mouth, hands, or small noisemakers.|
| Wallas ||These are noises from crowds of people.|
| Dialogue|| A character's voice is the most common kind of sound. The inflections in a character's speech, his/her attitude or tone, and even the pitch of a voice all give the listener a better sense of what is going on.|
| Silence ||Silence can be louder than any other sound effect used, when it is used appropriately or in the right spot. This is an extremely dramatic sound effect.|
There are certainly other tools that broadcasting stations use to create just the right sounds to give their listeners the best pictures imaginable; however, these are often not available to the novice. These include using an equalizer. The equalizer helps to enhance a sound and give it just the right tone. A pitch control is used to change the speed of the sound by slowing it or speeding it up. This is done through digital software. Worldizing is also used. It plays back sound on speakers and allows users to alter the texture of the sounds. Digital Sampling can change the sound effects as well. This allows a sound to be recorded as "computer-readable numbers, rather than analog symbols." (www.greatnorthernaudio.com) Using a computer the sound can be changed based on the numbers it reads.
Below is a script written by the authors of this site to better give you an idea of how to write your own radio broadcast.
- Narrator: One day on the planet Bob a tragedy occurred. The evil villain Professor Bad Guy had taken King Billy Bob Joe hostage. The next day Prince Maxamillion discovered his father was gone.
- Max: Oh, no! My father is gone. I must save him!
- Narrator: Max called upon his mentor and friend Sodium Chloride (who in reality was the super hero, Salt)
- Max: Sodium, my father was kidnapped. Will you help me save him?
- S.C.: Of course, Maxamillion. Let's get started right now.
- Max: O.K.
- Narrator: They got into the Obliviator (the family war ship) and Socidum started it up. SOUND OF VEHICLE STARTING
- Max: Where will we look first?
- S.C.: Well everybody knows that Professor B.G.'s hideout is on the planet Webster. DUN DUN DUN
- Max: Good idea, let's start there.
- Narrator: As they approached the planet Webster (which was home to the extremely smart, Deadly Venomous Space Monkeys) they decided to land on the nearby moon, Encyclopedia, because if they had landed on Webster they would have gotten caught. As they looked for an information center Max saw an old lady being robbed.
- Max: Look that old lady is being robbed.
- Narrator: Then Sodium Chloride ran into the nearest port-a-john and changed into his Salt costume. Then he left and flew up into the sky.
- Old Person 1: Look up in the sky!
- Old Person 2: It's a bird!
- Old Person 3: It's a plane!
- Old Person 4: It's a sheep in a flying saucer!
- Old Person 5: No! It's Salt!
- Narrator: To be continued...