Types of radio stories

Training document for KSL NewsRadio employees....
Training document for KSL NewsRadio employees. (Kira Hoffelmeyer/KSL NewsRadio)
(Kira Hoffelmeyer/KSL NewsRadio)

Reader (RDR)

Alternative names: copy, host copy, national reader (NRDR)

Definition: A news script written by a reporter but read by the program host, usually during a newscast. 

Total run time: 15-20 seconds

Example: Democrat Darlene McDonald announced she’s challenging Republican Congressman Burgess Owens for his seat in congress. McDonald is an author and activist. She founded One Utah Project, a non-profit aimed at increasing civic engagement. She previously ran for the Salt Lake County Council and Utah’s 4th District. Both campaigns were unsuccessful.

Money news (MXX)

Alternative names: money

Definition: A reader (RDR) on a money/business news topic

Total run time: 15-20 seconds

Example: Two companies say they’ve now resolved major outages that impacted thousands of customers today. Slack, which provides a workplace messaging platform, and fitness company Peleton both experienced outages that nixed messages.. meetings… and in Peloton’s case, some fitness classes. Neither company is talking about what caused those service problems.

Top Story (TOP, TOP STORY)

Alternative names: Top tease (TOP TEASE, TOP TEAZ)

Definition: A reporter story in two sentences. A voiced story that teases a reporter package, voiced by the reporter doing that story.

Total run time: 10-12 seconds

Example (audio attached, covid test pause top aco)

VERBATIM: The Utah Department of Health is pausing the use of rapid covid tests at state-run sites. They’re concerned the brand of rapid tests they’ve been using are giving a high number of false-negative results. I’m KSL Newsradio’s Aimee Cobabe.

Act (ACT)

Alternative names: Cut (CUT)

Definition: Short excerpt of a recorded interview, normally typically 8 – 20 seconds, with into copy and anchor tag.

Total run time: 30-40 seconds, soundbite length 8-20 seconds

Example (audio attached, UT CENSURE REAX CUT 1): 

Utah’s Republican Party chair is defending the GOP’s decision to censure two members of Congress from their own party. Carsen Jorgensen tells Inside Sources the move to censure Congresswoman Liz Cheney and Congressman Adam Kinzinger…was not just about their disagreements with former President Trump.

 The party voted today…at a meeting right here in Salt Lake.


Alternative names: Debrief (DB)

Definition: A reporter story with an anchor lead and tag. Typically 18-22 seconds of recorded voice. 

Total run time: 30-40 seconds, reporter audio length 15-25 seconds

Example (audio attached, TEACHER LAWSUIT DB KHO):

The part of a bill that would have allowed parents to sue teachers if they were teaching something they didn’t like… is getting an update

KSL Newsradio’s Kira Hoffelmeyer has the story.

The bill… still sits in the Senate Education Committee.

[VERBATIM: That part of the bill… won’t stick. Senator Johnson says he’s taking it out… after getting a lot of pushback… about how there would be a slew of unnecessary lawsuits. The Senator… represents parts of Morgan, Weber, and Summit Counties. The Utah Education Association came out strong against the bill… saying it was one of a series of “continued attacks” on public educations this legislative session.]


Alternative names: Wraparound

Definition: A news script written and read by a reporter that includes an actuality (or two). The reporter’s voice comes before and after the act, “wrapping around” it. Ends on an SOQ/SOC.

Total run time: 45-50 seconds max. Reporter audio length no more than 35 seconds, unless your producer gives you the green light.

Example (audio attached, WASTEWATER WRAP MHA):

Utah has been tracking COVID-19 in wastewater for a while… but now it can be compared directly with other states. KSL News Radio‘s Martha Harris reports.

[VERBATIM: The C-D-C is turning to sewage to get a better picture of COVID-19 nationwide.  Researchers say wastewater data doesn’t rely on access to testing or if people have symptoms. CUT That was Program Lead the C-D-Cs National Wastewater Surveillance System, Dr. Amy Kirby. She says this data provides an early warning if cases are getting high in a community. CUT Kirby says one benefit of this national system is the data is now more comparable between states. Wastewater data isn’t perfect, but she says it can be very helpful when paired with other types of data. Martha Harris, KSL News Radio.]


Alternative names: n/a

Definition:A news script written and read by a reporter that DOES NOT include an actuality, but still ends on an SOQ/SOC.

Total run time: 35-45 seconds, reporter audio length no more than 30 seconds.

Example (audio attached, FOOD PANTRY VOICER- JRU):
Utah Community Action will be closing down two of its food pantries… after clashing with the Utah Food Bank over policy… KSL News Radio’s Jacob Rueda has more.

[VERBATIM: The food pantries in West Valley City and Midvale… will close at the end of this month… after The Utah Food Bank and Utah Community Action… differed on policy regarding information collected from clients… food bank CEO Ginette Bott… tells the salt lake tribune… they require pantries they supply to ask for basic information like a client’s name and number of people to feed in the household… but Utah Community Action CEO Jennifer Godfrey says… her group receives federal grant money… which requires them to ask for additional information… Bott says collecting that additional information jeopardizes their ability to supply those pantries and help people out… Jacob Rueda… KSL News Radio]

Let’s talk about a “reporter package” 

If you’ve been assigned a story, you’re expected to turn a top story tease, a wrap, debrief, and two cuts. Work with your producer if you’re having trouble with audio (then you’d turn a top story tease, voicer, debrief). 


Alternative names: Long-form

Definition: Long-form audio that could be a live interview with a source, reporter, etc.; a series of cuts and copies; a long-form wrap. 

Total run time: For a :15 in-depth, 90 seconds (1.5 minutes). For a :45 in-depth, 150 seconds (2.5 minutes)


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Types of radio stories