Steps for story-based farm radio programming – Step 4: Formats and program plan

    | January 19, 2009

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    Broadcasters participating in the African Farm Radio Research Initiative (AFRRI) recently engaged in training to produce story-based radio programming. We’re sharing part of the training materials here in the Radio Resource Bank. Below you’ll find Step 4 of an eight-step guide to story-based farm radio programming, which focuses on choosing a format and developing a program plan.
    – To re-visit Step 1: Topical thinking, click:
    -To re-visit Step 2: Practical research, click:
    -To re-visit Step 3: Focus and story idea, click:

    Once you have a focus and a story idea, decide who your listeners might want to hear from. Consider any number of format options, such as:

    -One-on-one interviews in studio
    -One-on-one in the field, with sound and demonstration
    -Panel discussions
    -Town hall meetings
    -Phone-in / Text-in shows
    -Vox pop
    -Mini documentary
    -Talk tape

    Think about: Who can provide interesting and useful perspectives? Who can move the story forward?

    Once you decide on formats (or treatments) to pursue, draft a plan for your program, outlining what might come first, then next, and what would make a good conclusion. Visualize the entirety of your program. When you return from the field, you can look at what you have and make changes, so there’s no need to feel limited by your plan.

    Example: In Malawi, an AFRRI team created a 27-minute program on storing hybrid maize, using the following formats: women’s group discussion, model farmer interview, local extension worker interview, call out to national agricultural expert, and vox pop. Their plan was to draw on each of these formats, with narration and music.

    Questions: What formats (treatments) would bring out the best story on your issue? What is your overall plan for pursuing these formats within your team? Draw out your vision of the overall program.