Peter Skinner was the Senior Producer for Radio Current Affairs for CBC North in the Northwest Territories and Radio Network Producer for Performance and Current Affairs for CBC North. A former sketch-revue comedian and bar-band drummer with many (deservedly) forgotten combos, Peter began his radio career in 1979 as a technician at CFCF Radio in Montreal. He worked as a radio host (at CJSB in Ottawa), open-line host (at CJAD in Montreal and CBL’s Radio Noon in Toronto), associate producer (at CBC Radio’s Open House and CBC-TV’s Man Alive), network producer (as founding producer of CBC Radio’s Tapestry) and in management (Program Director for the Canadian Forces Radio & TV Network at CFB Baden-Soellingen in West Germany and as Radio Program Manager for CBC North in the NWT and Managing Editor for CBC North). The worst job he ever had was in a ski-pole manufacturing plant, where he lasted for two 13-hour overnight shifts before quitting to become a sound man for another (deservedly) forgotten bar band.
YOU ARE READY FOR RADIO!
Audacity tutorials – Google Audacity tutorials – there are tons
COPY – The news reader reading a script (20-35 seconds)
SCRIPT / CLIP – A short script and sound clip (30-45 seconds)
RANT – Only the reporter talking. They rely on their notes to create a script that tells the details of a story. (50 sec – 1:10 min)
ACTUALITY – Captured background sound that sets a scene.
VOICER – Your assignment. Telling a complete story with a script and clips, clearly and concisely in approx. 1 minute 30 seconds.
ROLES: Reporter gathers information and creates the story. The reporter also write an intro that the news reader reads. The producer ‘vets’ the story (reviews and improves the story). Nothing goes on air unvetted. There should always be a second set of ears and eyes.
Is used primarily in longer current affairs pieces.
Talking to the source ahead to gain information before doing the actual interview.
It can also be called the research interview.
Do some research in advance. You need an understanding of the subject to know what kind of questions to ask.
The purpose of the pre-interview is to learn the story: who, what, where, when, how? But don’t ask ‘why’ just yet.
It is the place where you make sure your information is accurate, and the person and their role are correctly identified.
The purpose of the final interview is to get the guest to tell the story. That’s where the “why” question becomes central. ‘Why’ leads to motivation, reaction and emotion – the heart of the story.
There are three types of sentences.
If you write a sentence that has a conjunction in the middle (and, but, if, etc.), then it is too long. Break it up.
If you have a sentence that triggers a second thought (hoping, then, because, etc), then make two sentences instead.
Don’t use a conjunction in the middle of a sentence. It indicates you are linking two thoughts. Avoid it at all costs.
Find an active verb that has action and direction to it.
Not: She was sick. (‘to be’ – a state of being – is the weakest verb in the English language).
But: She was lying on the floor coughing.
Active voice establishes accountability.
Example: Seven kindergartens were closed in 2022 (passive).
The Ministry of Education closed seven kindergartens (active).
Don’t use anything you wouldn’t say in conversation. Don’t write things that you wouldn’t say.
Example: You would not say, “I’m a Yellowknife man.” You would say, “I’m from Yellowknife.”
The Chief initialed an MOU to establish an AIP.
Spell it out:
Wrong: This happened back in 1985.
Right: This happened in 1985.
Wrong: This residence was a safe haven.
Right: This residence was a haven.
Wrong: close proximity, first ever (should be close, first)
Example: think outside the box
Don’t use tired phrases. Find a simple, clear different way to write it.