Radio Voyeurs

A way to take advantage of radio, the one-to-one medium, is to create a commercial where each member of the radio audience feels as if they’re eavesdropping on a conversation, event or discussion without the participants knowing it. This creates an intimacy and a bond with the listener that can't be achieved with any other medium. The most successful radio creators have honed this technique to perfection.

Listeners could be overhearing phone conversations or voice mail messages. You might dramatize letters being written, email messages, or diary entries. It might be someone talking to herself, recounting a past conversation, reminiscing about an event from her childhood or planning for the future.

You could create a scene where the audience has superior knowledge or information that the characters don’t. You might write one where the characters think they’re acting in secret, but of course the radio audience is witness to the event. When you give the listener access to the hidden “camera” or microphone, you have enticed them to become involved.

It’s often more effective if the commercial brings the listener in mid-conversation. As you develop a commercial, your first paragraph or two really become the back-story for the scene that will take place in the 60 or 30 second audio frame. Try tossing out those opening paragraphs and see if that doesn’t give your story more focus.

Of course, all the elements of conflict, character development, tension and release that you’d find in a good play should be included. Then you’ll effectively entertain and sell that audience, one person at a time.

Jeffrey Hedquist. Email Jeffrey at

(Article printed from ARIA Connect - the online resource for radio sales professionals:

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