We had massive feedback  to our latest post about Australian Imaging Legend Matt Nikolic. One comment came from Ben Wasley, who writes the scripts for Fox FM in Melbourne. Besides from writing scripts for legendary imaging guys, he hosts various shows and writes the copy for them. Fortunately, Ben was so kind to had the time to share his secrets in an unbelievable detailled post, so you can check each step and get better in creative script writing for radio. Check out Ben’s example scripts and Matt’s amazing audio and learn from one of Australia’s top copy writers. More about Ben? Check his amazing bio, see below.

Copy Writing The OZZI way – ENTER Ben!

It’s safe to say the process of writing promos for radio is different for everyone. I haven’t had any proper lessons when it comes to writing for radio (is there even a course for that?) so most of what I’ve learnt has come from writing them and refining my skills over time. I’ve also been lucky enough to be born with enough testicular ability to use my voice for promos, so reading other people’s scripts over the years has helped change the way I approach writing too. You gradually realise what’s important and what isn’t.

I personally think that the one thing that needs to be a focus is keeping it simple and to the point. While those of us in radio spend most of the day obsessing about every single detail, the average listener takes very little notice and as a result, radio is very background for them. So with that in mind, I think it’s imperative to give them just the facts, you want to deliver enough information to capture their interest and encourage them to keep listening, stick around or come back.

As promos generally start a commercial break, and commercial breaks are generally when your audience will get an itchy trigger finger and start surfing the dial, I think it’s essential to try and capture your audience’s attention as early as possible. So with that in mind I think the best way to approach every writing job is to look at what is the one essential thing you want to tell your audience? So for instance, with our current promotion ‘FOXFM’s Car Full of Stars’ what needs to be pushed is the fact you can win a brand new car just by identifying the 5 celebrity voices.

Obviously the promo had to include the audio of the 5 celebs you have to identify, the type of car on offer, plus a brief explain of how you win it. My approach was to mess around with the concept of 5 world famous celebs being pushed inside a brand new car for the giveaway and the negotiations we had to go through in order to get that to happen. The end result was the below…

THE FOX TOOK ONE SEXY NEW HYUNDAI IX35 (EYE X THIRTY FIVE)

(CAR REV SFX, CUTE HORN BEEP, ETC)

AND INTRODUCED IT TO 5 WORLD FAMOUS CELEBS

THEN AFTER EXTENSIVE CONTRACTUAL NEGOTIATIONS AND A RATHER HEATED DEBATE

ABOUT WHO WAS GOING TO RIDE SHOTGUN, WE ACTUALLY MANAGED TO CONVINCE ALL OF

THEM TO CLIMB INSIDE TO CREATE…FOXFM’S CAR FULL OF STARS

(INSERT AUDIO OF 5 CELEBRITY GRABS)

IDENTIFY EVERY SINGLE STAR – WIN YOURSELF A BRAND NEW CAR

FOXFM’S CAR FULL OF STARS – 5 STARS STAND BETWEEN YOU AND A BRAND NEW HYUNDAI

IX35 (EYE X THIRTY FIVE) – GET THE KEYS, WHEN YOU GET TO WORK / THIS MORNING /

TOMORROW MORNING / MONDAY MORNING / FROM 9 ON 1019 THE FOX

Before explaining the whole Promo, here’s the matching audio created by Matt Nikolic:

You’ll notice that rather than spell out the whole listen weekdays between 9 and 4 during every 50 minute hit blitz and call 13 10 60 when you hear the cue to call and give us the full names of the celebs in the correct order to win the car, I’ve reduced it to the simple slug of

IDENTIFY EVERY SINGLE STAR – WIN YOURSELF A BRAND NEW CAR

The formatics of the competition can be explained by the announcers on air, our priority has to be giving the listener enough information to make them want to listen in and try and win the car. I also threw in things like

5 STARS STAND BETWEEN YOU AND A BRAND NEW HYUNDAI IX35

and

GET THE KEYS, WHEN YOU GET TO WORK

through every single promo, so you’re practically brainwashing the key points over and over again, so hopefully those key points will get through all the clutter of the listeners day to day. They instantly know they could win when they get to work and all they have to do is get past these 5 celebs to get themselves a car, which makes it sound way easier than it actually is. We repeated that theme through the updated promos too.

5 STARS STAND BETWEEN YOU AND A BRAND NEW HYUNDAI IX35 (EYE X THIRTY FIVE)

(INSERT AUDIO OF 5 CELEBRITY GRABS)

AND THE GUESSES KEEP ON COMING WITH FOXFM’S CAR FULL OF STARS

(LISTENER REVEALS)

MELBOURNE’S ALREADY EXPOSED FOUR STARS

ONLY ONE MORE STAR LEFT

IDENTIFY EVERY SINGLE STAR – WIN YOURSELF A BRAND NEW CAR

FOXFM’S CAR FULL OF STARS – GET THE KEYS, WHEN YOU GET TO WORK / THIS MORNING / TOMORROW

MORNING

/ MONDAY MORNING / FROM 9 ON 1019 THE FOX

And here’s the audio for this script:

Plus as a VO session generally is a one off, especially if you’re hiring a voice outside of your usual
imaging voices, I like to write a few extra lines that can be thrown into the promos should they be
needed…

EXTRA PROMO LINES:

TIME IS RUNNING OUT

WE’RE SO CLOSE TO A WINNER YOU CAN TASTE IT

GET EXTRA CLUES / WITH / ON / THE MATT AND JO SHOW

THE KEYS TO YOUR NEW RIDE ARE WAITING

You’ll notice by listening to the attached audio that Matt Nikolic added the line about being so close you can taste it and that time is running out, which help build the tension and create a sense of urgency. The more options you give your production department to work with, the more they can create as the promotion continues and keep things sounding fresh.

I also try and avoid starting a promo with the same sentence every time, even if the body of the promo is different in each one, if you start every promo exactly the same way, each time it plays your audience will assume it’s the same promo and it has the potential to be ignored. For the Car Full of Stars promos each promo starts differently…

PROMO 1:

THE FOX TOOK ONE SEXY NEW HYUNDAI IX35 (EYE X THIRTY FIVE)

(CAR REV SFX, CUTE HORN BEEP, ETC)

AND INTRODUCED IT TO 5 WORLD FAMOUS CELEBS

THEN AFTER EXTENSIVE CONTRACTUAL NEGOTIATIONS AND A RATHER HEATED DEBATE

ABOUT WHO WAS GOING TO RIDE SHOTGUN, WE ACTUALLY MANAGED TO CONVINCE ALL OF

THEM TO CLIMB INSIDE TO CREATE…FOXFM’S CAR FULL OF STARS

PROMO 2:

AT THE START OF 2011, THE FOX BEGAN NEGOTIATIONS FOR ONE OF MELBOURNE’S

MOST LOVED EVENTS, DAY IN, DAY OUT, WE HANDED OUT EVERYTHING FROM AIR KISSES,

TO THE SORT OF ANTICS YOU’D EXPECT IN A CELEBRITY SEX TAPE, AND WE DID IT ALL JUST

SO WE COULD BUTTER UP FIVE OF THE WORLDS HOTTEST CELEBS FOR YOUR BENEFIT.

NOW, WE CAN CONFIRM THE RUMOURS ARE TRUE – FOXFM’S CAR FULL OF STARS IS BACK

(INSERT AUDIO OF 5 CELEBRITY GRABS)

PROMO 3:

THE LIFE OF A CELEBRITY DOESN’T OFFER MUCH IN THE WAY OF DOWN TIME, IN BETWEEN

BACK TO BACK PRESS CONFERENCES, PREMIERES, RED CARPET EVENTS AND THE MAD DASH

TO ESCAPE THE PAPPARAZZI, THEY’LL OCCASIONALLY FIND THEMSELVES ALL ALONE…WHICH

IS WHEN WE STEPPED IN, NOW, 5 OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST NAMES ARE INSIDE A BRAND

NEW HYUNDAI IX35 (EYE X THIRTY FIVE) FOXFM’S CAR FULL OF STARS IS BACK

(INSERT AUDIO OF 5 CELEBRITY GRABS)

PROMO 4 (CELEB REVEALED):

AT THE FOX WE’VE GOT 5 OF THE WORLD’S BIGGEST CELEBS UNDER LOCK AND KEY

INSIDE A BRAND NEW HYUNDAI IX35 (EYE X THIRTY FIVE)

(INSERT AUDIO OF 5 CELEBRITY GRABS)

PROMO 5 (CELEB REVEALED):

5 STARS STAND BETWEEN YOU AND A BRAND NEW HYUNDAI IX35 (EYE X THIRTY FIVE)

AND THE GUESSES KEEP ON COMING WITH FOXFM’S CAR FULL OF STARS

(INSERT AUDIO OF 5 CELEBRITY GRABS)

PROMO 6 (CELEB REVEALED):

ONLY / 5 / 4 / 3/ 2 / STARS STAND / ONLY 1 STAR STANDS / BETWEEN YOU AND A BRAND

NEW HYUNDAI IX35 (EYE X THIRTY FIVE)

(INSERT AUDIO OF 5 CELEBRITY GRABS)

I also don’t put a lot of direction in my promos, mostly because I’m fortunate enough to work with some of the greatest production guys on the planet, so I know that regardless of what I give them they will make it come to life perfectly. So next time you sit down to write your promos, try and look for ways you can trim them, what can you take out that isn’t essential, how little can you say while still getting the point across and if you were hearing it for the first time would you understand it. Remind yourself that your audience has the radio on in the background , how am I going to cut through all that noise and grab their attention and if I heard this would it make me wanna tune in.

Thanks to Ben for sharing his wisdom and experience with us.


About Ben:

Ben Wasley started working in radio in 1989, his school years were spent doing anything drama related and when thoughts of countless auditions failed to stir his emotions he decided that sending cassettes to far away radio stations might be easier. His first job saw him packing his bags for the north west of Western Australia where he worked in mining towns like Karratha and Port Hedland. After 3 and a half years of that he made the move to the cosmopolitan mecca that is Surfers Paradise working at KROQ-FM and SEA-FM. From there it was off to Perth for a 7 year stint which included a top rating night show on both Triple M and PMFM 92.9 as Bad Boy Ben. In September 2000 he made the move to Melbourne to work with FOX-FM covering various shifts and producing the top rating, nationally syndicated “Saturday Morning Rove” program with Rove McManus, Peter Helliar and Corinne Grant. He stayed on board when the show became “Rove Live Radio” and then moved onto “The Arvo” with Judith Lucy and Peter Helliar as “The Boy in the Booth” and on “Pete’s Show” with Peter Helliar. In 2006 Ben moved to B105 to anchor the new breakfast show with Gabby, Mike and Stav. Early in 2007 he made the move back to Melbourne to take on the role of Hamish and Andy’s button pusher as “Giggling Ben”. Currently you’ll hear Ben’s voice across Southern Cross Austereo’s Today network as a network voiceover artist, he also hosts The Australian Top 20 Countdown with Ella Hooper from Killing Heidi and The Verses, writes promos and sweepers and steps in to do a shift or two when anyone goes on holidays or gets sick.

  1. Giggling Ben gives good words! Always! Best voiceover down-under too.

  2. This is such amazing insight into the genius brain of Mr Ben Wasley. Loved it.

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