Materials required: Large sized recipe cards (aka Host Prompt Cards).
On the first day of my broadcast writing class, I hand out a Phonetic Pronouncers Sheet. This is the basic standard for broadcasters to use in helping the announcer pronounce difficult words or names (i.e., Mario Kryzowyz, would be spelled out as (MAR-ee-o KRIZ-o-witts).
I hand out one large recipe card. At the top of the recipe card I ask them to write the name of a talk-show they would love to appear on and the host’s name.
I give them 15 minutes to write an introduction for themselves on a regular piece of paper (rough draft) as they imagine where they will be in their Broadcast career 10 years from now. They do not include their name yet. They write in the third person, mentioning all their awards, and accomplishments. They transfer/print this information onto the recipe card. Finally, at the bottom of the recipe card I have the students write their full name and use the Phonetic Pronouncers for their first and /or last names, if their name is not easy to recognize or pronounce. They need to print neatly as they will not be reading their own card.
I gather up all the cards and ask for a student to volunteer to be the first talk-show host. That person comes up to the podium at the front of the class and draws a recipe card from me.
Now that person is the host of the talk-show listed at the top of the card and must introduce the first guest based on the bio info provided. Using the pronouncers at the bottom of the card they would say something like, “So please welcome the talented (respected, controversial,) …” or “All the way from New York, let’s hear it for…”
The guest comes up to the podium, always to hearty audience applause, and carries on with a short (1 minute) interview with the host regarding their fabulous career.
This introduction to Broadcast Writing serves on many levels. First, the students must immediately think about their future. Next, they begin writing in Broadcast Style. Finally, they learn a little bit about each other and how to pronounce their names. As an instructor, I can immediately identify the students’ goals and dreams (large and small). This also helps me to gently address the misconceptions many students have about the industry and their immediate expectations for fame and fortune upon graduation.
I do not mark this exercise, but there are some guidelines prior to beginning: speak clearly with enthusiasm for your guest, I must be able to hear every word from the back of the class, and they must thank the guests at the end and wish them continued success in their careers.
Works like a charm.
— Cheryl D, Faculty, Radio & Television, Northern Alberta Institute of Technology, CN