Steps for story-based farm radio programming – Step 7: Adjusting the focus

    | February 9, 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 7 of an eight-step guide to story-based farm radio programming, which looks at how to adjust the focus of your program.
    To re-visit the first four steps, visit the following:
    -Step 1: Topical thinking
    -Step 2: Practical research
    -Step 3: Focus and story idea
    -Step 4: Formats and program plan
    -Step 5: Interviewing and well-crafted questions
    -Step 6: Getting a good recording

    When you return from recording, review what you heard in the field. What did you get on tape? What did you discover? What is the story really about?

    Adjust the focus of your program to ensure you give listeners a reason to stay tuned. A program focus is the goal of the show. It is what the producer wants the audience to get from it.
    Remember, even when working on a program series, you need a focus – some underlying theme that keeps the audience wanting to listen. If the series is just a collection of things with no relationship to one another, then there is no reason to keep listening. When you develop your final focus, think about all possible listeners and what they would get out of the program.
    In Malawi, a team of broadcasters participating in the training noticed that a theme ran through their field interviews. The theme was protection –how protection of hybrid maize is like protection of any other valuable thing. They heard a was a view that, if farmers could fully protect their maize, the people of Malawi would not be hungry. So, they focused their final program on ways to protect (in Chichewa language: “care for”) their hybrid maize as a way to prevent hunger.
    With a clear focus for the program, you are ready to develop an outline, or a detailed script, of the show. Step 8 – the next and final step of our process – will help you to do that.

    What theme will hold your program together? What will keep listeners listening? What will they get from it?