How to Do a Radio Show

A detailed discussion of the major components of a radio show & a hands on look at producing feature stories that can be used on your show and to share with other IMC radio shows.
affiliate: Houston IMC, Radio KPFT 90.1

link to Radio KPFT 90.1

Houston Independent Media Center Radio
Mondays on 90.1 FM, kpft or 6:30 - 7pm
a workgroup of the himc collective online at

Every Monday, we put together a half hour radio show that includes headlines, feature stories, music bumps and announcements of upcoming events. Our show covers topics that meet the mission of our organization - the Houston Independent Media Center (himc). himc is a community based organization committed to using media production and distribution as a tool for promoting social and economic justice. It is our goal to give voice to those people under-represented in the mainstream media. With an emphasis on local issues, we seek connections to global systems. We intended to illuminate and analyze issues that are affected by the increasing corporate domination of society and the subsequent erosion of democracy and equal protection under the law. We serve to develop the arts, culture, entertainment, education, forums and conferences. We seek to generate alternatives to the current biases inherent in profit based and corporate media and to contribute to the development of an equitable and sustainable society.

What can I do as a himc Radio Show volunteer?

You can write stories, conduct interviews, edit audio, produce and coordinate the show, and read information live on the air. You can volunteer each week, once a month, or whenever you have a good idea and time to help. Participants in our radio show stay in touch via an email listserve.

What is a headline?

A headline is read live on the air by the show's anchors. When read aloud, a headline should be no longer than 1 minute long. When typed, a headline is usually as long as one paragraph. Any Independent Media Center website can offer great material for a headline. You can look at other sites, find a good story, and summarize that information as a headline.

What is a feature story?

Feature stories are the longer reports that make up the bulk of the show. They average in length from 3 minutes to 10 minutes, and include a variety of formats: live interview (in the studio, over the phone), pre-recorded interview (in studio, in field, over the phone), pre-recorded audio story, downloaded audio story from other independent media sources. Feature portions of the show can also feature a poem or spoken word performance. When you propose a feature, you need to note who you will be interviewing as sources, and what will be the length of your report. Often you will need to include a brief introduction for the anchor to read before the report. This introduction prepares the listener for what they're about to hear.

What is a music bump?

Often we seperate the radio show's segments with 30 second music breaks. These 'music bumps' can be portions of a random song, but they can also include a part of a song with lyrics that relate to information being covered in a headline or feature.

What is an announcement?

Right before we read the credits at the end of the show and thank everyone who contributed, we read 1-5 announcements of upcoming events. The average announcement explains what an event is, and then includes the who, what, when, where, why details. Each announcement should be 30 seconds to one minute long when read aloud.

What would I do as a producer for the show?

We produce our shows collectively, but often one person will coordinate all of our efforts coming together by keeping track of what headline and feature stories have been proposed and completed. Then, the producer will enter these stories into a spreadsheet and create a 'rundown' to be used by the authors and the engineer. Often, the producer will check in with reporters throughout the week to make sure their stories are getting finished and to see if anyone needs help or has had a change of plans. Often, the producer will encourage people to write specific headlines on timely stories, and check to see if anyone has a creative idea for a music bump.

What's my first step to getting involved with the radio show?

First, you'll want to observe the radio show in action - come to KPFT around 6pm on Monday night. You'll meet the volunteers and they may even ask you to read a headline or an announcement on the air. Stick after the show and attend our meeting at 7pm so you can ask questions and share ideas. Then, you should subscribe to our listserve. There, you can send in headlines you've written, and suggest stories you'd like to cover. Ask about when the next training is for how to use the recording and editing equipment. You can check out a minidisc recorder from KPFT Local News, and you can do interviews on the computer at the HIMC office or at KPFT. Ask how to sign up to check out and use these facilities.

SUBSCRIBE to the HIMC radio listserve here:
Contact us:

no censorship radio

-- AaronCouch - 15 Feb 2005
-- BradleY - 3 March 2005 - added link to audio as well as text and .pdf of the houston imc radio handout
Topic attachments
I Attachment Action Size Date Who Comment
kpft-himc-radio1.pdfpdf kpft-himc-radio1.pdf manage 1 MB 03 Mar 2005 - 18:51 UnknownUser front side of handout
kpft-himc-radio2.pdfpdf kpft-himc-radio2.pdf manage 2 MB 03 Mar 2005 - 18:54 UnknownUser back side of handout
Topic revision: r5 - 03 Mar 2005, BradleY
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