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Title: How%20to%20write%20programme%20descriptions%20for%20Radio%204


1
How to write programme descriptions for Radio 4
2
How to write drama programme descriptions for
Radio 4
  • Things to remember
  • Everything in your descriptions can be seen by
    the public (7 days before TX) including
    formatting and CAPITALS.
  • The audience only ever see (a) the programme
    title and (b) one of your 3 programme
    descriptions. They need to be selfstanding
    texts.
  • Descriptions need to sell your programme so
    remember to include presenter, writer and/or
    talent if relevant.
  • The programme description will remain on the
    Radio 4 website and will generate the metadata to
    enable people to search for your programme.

3
Who reads your descriptions
  • MCA information for press release
  • Red Bee Press (RT PA) listings etc
  • Red Bee PIPS iPlayer and web
  • Red Bee EPGs

4
Deadlines Print (RT Press Association)
  • To hit the print deadline for Radio Times you
    need your title and descriptions entered and
    approved in Proteus by at least 3 weeks before
    transmission.
  • To be exact - because Radio Times compiles a
    whole week at a time - you need to have them
    entered and approved in Proteus by the Tuesday of
    the week 3 weeks before transmission.
  • Press outlets are open to updates until the
    online deadline opens up.

5
Deadlines
  • Promotion deadline (including trails) Five Weeks
    prior to tx. (For a short series eg Book of the
    Week, if you do not have the information for
    each episode at this point just fill in the first
    form. But make sure you make amendments/ add info
    for all the episodes to meet the print deadline 2
    weeks later.

6
Deadlines Online - EPGs, Digital Platforms,
websites
  • The publishing day for EPG and online is 8 days
    before transmission.
  • Anything entered into Proteus and approved before
    that date will be sent to EPGs and online.
  • Digital platforms are updated continuously until
    one week after TX. Publishing delays mean it
    takes up to three hours before a change in
    Proteus appears on a webpage.

7
Writing Programme Descriptions
  • STOP thinking promo notes, billings and trails
    Now you need to supply programme descriptions of
    3 different lengths.
  • You might find it easier to write the medium
    description first. Then sub it down to form the
    short description.
  • Add more detail and the producers name for the
    long description (plus cast list and music
    details if required).

8
Programme descriptions Short description (90)
  • Appears next to the title on 'lists' of
    programmes such as EPGs.
  • A pithy summary of your programme. It needs to
    sell it to listeners so include talent / writers
    / presenters if relevant.
  • It should describe the episode only.
  • Dont just put the subtitle/episode title as your
    short description.

9
Short Description - 'lists' of programmes
10
Programme descriptions Medium description (180)
  • Provides information for people listening through
    their TVs or the pop out iPlayer.
  • Expand on the short description - include the
    same key information and add detail.
  • Include the presenters name (but not the
    producers name)

11
Medium Description iPlayer console
12
Programme descriptions Long description (1800)
  • Appears unedited on the Radio 4 website and is
    used for press information and trails.
  • Despite the name, it doesnt need to be long it
    just needs to provide more detail. Think of it as
    like a book blurb without the hype. For books and
    dramas avoid plot spoilers.
  • It is self-standing so include the same
    information as in the medium description. (You
    can just start with the medium description and
    then add another paragraph giving more detail)
  • Aim for an information-rich description of the
    themes / people / places / stories your programme
    is about. And provide more detail about
    talent/writers if relevant.
  • Use short sentences and avoid too many commas.
    Remember it is web/print copy not a radio script
    so write appropriately. Dont copy and paste the
    top of your script or the original proposal
    summary.

13
Programme descriptions Long description
  • No Spoilers! - don't give away the plot.
  • For series for the first episode include a
    series description as well as an episode specific
    description. For the remaining episodes just
    include episode-specific information, add series
    info if that would help with the context.
  • For dramas include your cast list possibly
    music details.
  • If you want to include a producer/director credit
    end with the producer's name as follows
    Producer (name)
  • Check your descriptions before submitting.
    Spelling errors/misspelt names will look
    embarrassing on the website.

14
Programme descriptions Long description - iPlayer
15
Programme descriptions Long description -
/programmes
16
General Formatting Advice Cast Lists
  • Cast Lists should be laid out as follows
  • Character Name .. Actor Name (Name, space, five
    dots, space, Name)
  • Jill Archer ..... Patricia Greene Kenton
    Archer ..... Richard Attlee David Archer .....
    Timothy Bentinck
  • If you want other credits to be published place
    them under the cast list and lay them out as
    shown below
  • Incidental music composed by Steve Faux.
  • Written by Caroline Harrington Directed by
    Rosemary Watts
  • Producer Julia Durbin Editor Vanessa Whitburn

17
General Formatting Advice Cast Lists example
18
General Formatting Advice Paragraphs
  • Separate your paragraphs with TWO line spaces (so
    there's a blank line between paragraphs on the
    website).

19
Paragraphs example (no spaces) -
http//www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00s50lz
20
Paragraphs example (spaces) - http//www.bbc.co.uk
/programmes/b00rz5vt
21
General Formatting Advice CAPITAL LETTERS
  • Never use CAPITAL LETTERS for emphasis.
  • We find it harder to read capital letters as they
    have less distinctive features than lower case
    letters.
  • When writers put important info in capitals we
    tend to skip it.

22
General Formatting Advice CAPITAL LETTERS
23
General Formatting Advice Characters
  • Dont use accents or foreign characters, as some
    platforms cant display them. Use the nearest
    English equivalent. For example, use e instead of
    é.

24
Donts
  • Dont make your long description too long
  • The marketing team only need c.200 words which
    accurately describe your programme anything more
    is a waste of effort on your part.

25
Too long
26
Donts
  • Dont put your brand title (e.g. Book of the
    Week) in the long description. It will
    automatically be provided to all platforms by
    Proteus.

27
Things to remember
  • Don't repeat the 'Brand' title in the
    episode/series title

28
Donts
  • Dont enter the programme TX details in the long
    description e.g. day, date, repeat, or time
    this information is provided automatically.
  • Join us this afternoon at two fifteen for our
    afternoon play
  • (rpt)

29
Donts
  • Dont include time-specific references
  • next month
  • this week
  • Next week will look at
  • It wont make sense on the website. Especially
    post TX, and when the page becomes an archive
    page.

30
Donts
  • Dont include references to episode numbers
  • In this final episode, we witness gunshots
  • In five episodes for
  • In show 1 of 4
  • Part 2 the shocking truth
  • The episode number and total are already
    published on the webpage under More Details.
    Also, where no text based title is available Red
    Bee will assign a default episode title, e.g.
    Episode 1.

31
Donts
  • Dont use these words in your long description.
  • PROMO NOTE
  • NOTES
  • DESCRIPTION
  • BILLINGS
  • These terms mean nothing to the audience.

32
Episode titles
  • Production Users can now edit the public-facing
    programme title via the Episode Title field in
    Proteus.

33
Episode titles
  • The episode title no longer needs to be in the
    programme description.

34
Editing episode titles
  • To edit the Episode Title log on to Proteus as
    normal, find the episode you want to edit, click
    on Core Details and then click on the Edit
    button
  • Fill in the Episode Title and click on Save.

35
Episode titles Google
  • A good Episode Title adds another layer of
    information. Anyone searching Google for a guest
    or subject will be much more likely to find your
    programme if you include the subject or guests
    name in the Episode Title than if you only have
    it in the description.

36
Episode titles Google
37
Episode titles Google
38
Episode titles Google
39
Episode titles Google
40
No episode title?
  • If you don't edit the Episode Title either the
    TX date (05/05/2010) or the episode number
    (Episode 3) will appear.
  • If that's what you want you don't have to enter
    an Episode Title at all.

41
No episode title Episode 1 (A series with total
number of episodes broadcast)
42
No episode title TX Date (An ongoing Brand -
without a total number of episodes)
43
Things to remember Consider your potential
audience
  • What will they be searching for?
  • What would make them want to listen to your show?
  • Get those words into the title.

44
Consider your potential audience (example)
45
Consider your potential audience (example)
46
Things to remember Be as short as possible
  • Be as short as possible the Episode Title will
    appear on a number of different platforms, some
    of which will cut off after 34 characters. Let
    your short, medium and long Programme
    Descriptions cover the detail.

47
Things to remember Be consistent
  • Either edit all your programme titles
    consistently, or only edit the Episode Title when
    you want a particular episode to really stand out
    from the rest.

48
Consistent episode titles example
49
Stand out episode title example
50
Things to remember
  • Anything longer than 34 characters will be cut
    short on some platforms

51
Things to remember Magazine programmes
  • Always include the lead item, consider how to
    separate items.

52
Things to remember
  • For most short series and documentaries a
    descriptive Episode Title will be beneficial. but
    a clever cryptic title will not.

53
Proteus
  • Descriptions need to be APPROVED

54
Proteus
  • Repeats need to be APPROVED and COPIED

55
Drama Description long description In a nutshell
  • Author
  • Brief overview
  • Episode specific description
  • Cast list
  • Music
  • Production team
  • Production company (if independent)

56
Best Practice examples
57
Programme descriptions Best Practice - Single
Drama example (The Loop)

58
Programme descriptions Short Description (The
Loop)

59
Programme descriptions Medium Description (The
Loop)
60
Programme descriptions Long Description (The Loop)
61
Metadata ACP team
  • For further information or guidance please speak
    to your relevant Metadata ACP
  • Radio 1, 1xtra, Asian Network - Hina Siddiq
  • Radio 2, 6music Joe Sandford
  • Radio 3 Georgie Robinson,
  • Radio 4, Radio 7 Mark Fallon,
  • Radio 5 Live Paul Harris
  • Or view the Proteus User Guides at
    http//home.gateway.bbc.co.uk/proteus/manuals.htm

62
END
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