What is a Radio Package?

A radio package combines the reporter’s voice with other audio elements, such as soundbites, actuality, natural sound and — occasionally — music.

They are an opportunity for reporters to be really creative in the way they tell a story.

They are also normally longer than other story treatments — two or even three minutes in duration, depending on the programme/station.

Listen to these packages. Notice how the reporters combine the various audio elements to tell a story.

Global Pandemic
London Walk
This package was made by JOMEC MAJ Broadcast student @alicia_pocock – the script is below.

When you are producing your first radio package, remember how we did the traffic story, with its vox pops. It started with natural sound of traffic, then we heard your voice and the natural sound gradually faded underneath. Then we heard the vox pops.

Follow this formula, though obviously you are more likely to have a clip than vox pops.

Another way to help yourself make your first package is to transcribe one that’s been made by somebody else.

Transcribe a radio package
Create a two column Word document. Call the left hand column “Sounds” and right hand column “Script.” Pick a package and transcribe it in full, making a note of all the different audio elements in the left hand column.

And finally… if you think things are tough, spare a thought for what it was like when I started in radio. You had to record everything using a UHER, which was big, bulky and heavy.

A UHER on display at BBC Wales

The audio was recorded onto quarter inch tape.

A 1/4 inch tape reel

When you got back to the newsroom you had to edit the tape using white pencils or chalk (to put marks on the tape) and razor blades. When your hands got a bit shaky (e.g. five minutes before deadline) it was quite an operation. Life is easier now.