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RAB Research Archive

Writing radio inside the box



Every kind of writing assignment has its limitations. We can refer to these limitations as the dimensions of the box. With radio commercials, you have the immediate dimensions of 10, 15, 30 or 60 seconds. We’re more used to writing within these boundaries of time.

Of course, creating a radio commercial has as its prime goal to get the attention of the listener, intrigue, excite, interest and motivate her/him to take action, not just to entertain, inform, or stimulate for its own sake.

But what about the other boundaries of that box? What about budget, or the limitations of time, or available talent? Sometimes the assignments with the tightest or smallest box cause us to delve more deeply into our creativity, and can be the most rewarding.

Oftentimes, the limitations of talent, time and budget can be the same limitations. It takes longer to produce a piece with multiple actors, music drops, and sound effects. This time factor very often translates into a money boundary. So the projects with the tightest budgets are often those with the same limitations as those with the tightest time frames.

How many creative ways can you write a monologue? How many interesting ways can you write a commercial with no music or sound effects? How about with very few words? Consider one that focuses on a very specific segment of a client’s customer benefit or a very narrow segment of the audience.

Try boxing yourself in even more than usual and see if that doesn’t get you to create something out of the box.

Source: Radio creative consultant Jeffrey Hedquist





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