Since I’m primarily a radio guy, it was only a matter of time until I got around to this topic. Believe it or not, there is a spot out there on the airwaves for travel writing. National Public Radio and other public program’s like PRI’s “The World” are always looking for commentaries, “audio postcards” or reporting from abroad and other interesting places. (Go to npr.org, type “audio postcard” in the search field, and you’ll get a few hundred examples of successful stories that have aired) And these days, as we all become more dependent and familiar with new technologies, it’s becoming easier to learn the tricks of the trade. I’ve been hearing more and more reports of people rigging up iPods and other common electronic devices for recording. So the technical barrier is not what it used to be. Starting to sound more like something you could do? Read on:
The easiest, most non-technical way to go about integrating radio markets into your writing career is to start by pitching commentaries. No stress about roaming around sticking a microphone in people’s faces, just you and your thoughts. Often times, you can just go into your local public radio station, read your work into their equipment and they’ll send it off to the network or play it on their own air (local stations usually don’t have much to pay commentators, however.)
So where do you pitch your insightful brilliance? Start with the pitch page at the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR is an absolutely wonderful organization worth the $90 a year for membership). On the page, be sure to check out National Public Radio, The World and Weekend America, all good places to pitch commentaries and postcards. Also, if you know your way around a microphone and recorder pretty handily, check out Pulse of the Planet, an ideal market for sound from your travels.
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So what if this sounds like something you could really get in to, but you’re completely terrified of microphones, recorders and couldn’t even figure out how to record something on your VCR? Never fear, some of your favorite public radio personalities have put together a fantastic labor of love called Transom.org, a virtual encyclopedia of everything you would need to know to learn how to be a radio producer. More information can also be found at AIR’s Radio College site. Check it out and let me know how it goes.