the facts necessary for the release to be understood and
include all administrative information, such as points of
contact and release numbers.
Stations will not accept or use sloppy copy. Your
broadcast releases should be error-free. Since broadcast
copy is designed to be read aloud, it should not appear
to be cluttered. Make sure there is sufficient white space,
and always type your script double-spaced. Double-
spaced copy is not only easier to read but it also provides
space for additional information the announcer might
want to insert.
UPPERCASE VS. LOWERCASE STYLE
Broadcast copy can be written (typed) in all capital
letters or uppercase and lowercase. There are merits for
each style. We are used to reading in uppercase and
lowercase, and the patterns of words are easier to
distinguish. If both uppercase and lowercase are used,
you can also use caps for emphasis. However, the wire
services use all caps and the all-capital treatment would
conform to that style. Your job is to determine the best
style for your releases and use it. Sticking to one style
only, within the context of a story, also is important. Be
When typing broadcast copy, you should set your
typewriter/printer margin for an average of 60 spaces
per line. This will give you about 10 words per line and
will aid you in quickly determining how much copy you
have written or need to write. Two to four lines will equal
about 10 seconds of copy. Seven to eight lines will yield
approximately 30 seconds, and 14 to 16 lines will
average about 60 seconds.
Since the size of the print influences readability,
your releases should be in 10- or 12-point type.
Timing in newscasts is also very important. Many
radio stations run a five-minute newscast on the hour.
By the time all the spots, jingles and introductions are
weeded out, there is precious little time for news. Tenor
15 seconds in story length can make a difference in
whether or not your release will be aired. Your release
should be timed, and the time required to read your
release should be indicated on the release.
The average announcer reads at a rate of 2 1/2 words
per second. Simple multiplication shows a 10-second
release averages 25 words and a 60-second story
averages 150 words. Remember we are referring to
an average announcer; naturally, there are many
variables. Radio DJs usually read faster than radio
newscasters, and radio newscasters usually read faster
than television newscasters.
Do not indent sentences in broadcast copy. It is a
waste of space when writing on only half a page.
Paragraphing is not used in broadcast writing, since the
treatment of a topic can usually be handled in one
paragraph anyway. Always set margins flush-left, so
your copy will appear as one block.
Consequently, you should not hyphenate or divide
a word at the end of a line. If the whole word does not
fit, simply drop down to the next line. Likewise, do not
split a sentence between pages in your broadcast story.
It makes it difficult for the announcer to maintain
If your broadcast story is more than one page,
number the pages consecutively. For example, if your
copy is three pages long, number the first page 1 of 3,
and the last page 3 of 3. Write page numbers in the upper
left-hand corner of the page.
When a story takes more than one page, center the
word (MORE) under the manuscript portion at the end
of each continued page.
Indicate the end of your broadcast copy by centering
three number symbols (###) under your manuscript
FOR BROADCAST RELEASES
LEARNING OBJECTIVE: Identify the
administrative information required on
broadcast scripts released to the media.
For obvious reasons, it is necessary for you to
identify yourself and your organization on broadcast
releases. You should also include a telephone number in
case the civilian broadcaster needs to ask any questions
relative to the story.