Writing and preparing materials for a broadcast outlet require a special perspective. A public relations practitioner should study media outlet format and submit material suitable to it. Radio news releases are sound based and every radio must be written so that it can easily be read by an announcer and clearly understood by a listener.
1. In terms of the format of a radio news release there are several major differences between a radio release and a news release prepared for print media. The timing is vital, because broadcasters must fit their messages into a rigid time frame that is measured down to the second. In a radio release, a more conversational style is used, and the emphasis is on strong short sentences.
Audio news releases or features in broadcast style can be mailed or faxed to radio stations for announcers to read, the most common and effective approach is to send the radio station a recording of the new announcement.
2. The format of an ANR is 60 seconds, including a soundbite of 20 seconds or less. It is advisable to accompany any sound tape with a complete script of the tape. This enables the news director to judge the value of the tape without listening to it.
Public service announcements are another category of material that public relations writers prepare for radio stations. PSA is an unpaid announcement that promotes the programs of government or nonprofit agencies or that serves the public interest. As part of their responsibility to serve the public interest, radio and TV stations provide airtime to charitable and civic organizations, although there is no legal requirement that they do so.
3. The format of PSAs, like radio news releases, are usually written in uppercase and double-spaced. The most popular length, according to a survey of stations conducted by Atlanta-based New Generation, are PSAs between 15 and 30 seconds in length. The standard practice is to submit multiple PSAs on the same subject in various lengths. The idea is to give the station announcer flexibility in using a particular length to fill a particular time slot throughout the day.