I write part-time for a local radio station, work that produces a small, but steady income.
I write 15 public service announcements (PSAs) monthly from my home computer, publicity for plays, concerts and other coming events, information collected from local colleges, universities, theatre groups, display ads, and from countless press releases mailed to the station that were written for newspapers, not radio.
My biggest challenge is condensing such information into exact 30- or 60-second PSA “Event Calendars,” about 70 and 140 words, respectively.
“Tight” writing and editing are required. Every word counts in using “an economy of words” to write interesting and conversational PSAs that fit the station’s format.
After writing a spot, I read it aloud several times for clarity, pacing, and timing. I’m a retired broadcaster, so I record the PSAs in my computer, then forward them via the Internet to the radio station, where they’re “downloaded” and aired. (A good microphone and “Freeware” recording program for PC or Mac computers are needed.)
Maintaining an on-air connection with the community has led to service-club speaking engagements and book sales.
However, if you’re not an announcer, your PSAs (double spaced) may be e-mailed to the station, and recorded there by an announcer.
My writing schedule for radio is flexible, not too demanding, and doesn’t interfere with my writing of westerns and detective stories.
Stations’ needs vary, but, if you’re interested in writing for radio, write some sample PSAs, and arrange to meet with the general manager of a local station. You might also pitch writing commercials, history features, gardening tips, or–if you’re interested in a bigger financial reward–news, part-time.
You’ll make some money, have fun, meet great people, still have time to write “The Great American Novel,” or maybe begin a new writing career.
Jim Williams is available at (805) 961-8559, or online at bigjimwilliams2 – at – cox.net.