Listen to the Six

There are so many radio news programmes and podcasts you can listen to. So much choice. It can be difficult to know where to start.

Here’s a tip: have a listen to the Six O’Clock News on Radio 4.

It’s more like a bulletin, than a programme as it doesn’t have a “personality” or a dedicated presenter with a big ego. But it’s half an hour long, rather than just five or ten minutes, so there’s more depth and detail.

It’s a great summary of what has happened around the world during the day so far.

The writing is really clear and it’s a good place to hear radio packages.

And it’s been on the air since 1931 — so it must be doing something right.

Listen carefully at the start. The sound of the bells from Big Ben is live* (there’s a microphone in the tower) so you can sometimes hear birds tweeting, or traffic noise from hundreds of feet below.

Still need convincing? Look here.

* Or at least it was, before the repair works started on Big Ben.

Activity: A great way to improve your broadcast writing is to transcribe. Make yourself a coffee and slowly write down every word that is broadcast on one edition of the Six O’Clock News. Include everything — the presenter links, the soundbites, the reporters’ scripts. Once you see what good writing looks like on the page it will be a little easier for you to do yourself.