The Linda Gage Memorial Award


This page reprints articles related to radio training.

UK Press Gazette - 24 July 1998
Hayes attacks standards of student radio journalists
Scripting, voice production and structure of radio material have come under attack from the judges of the Linda Gage Memorial Award for student radio journalists. The criticisms echo those of college tuition made by Independent Radio stations executives (Press Gazette, 10July).

Broadcaster Brian Hayes said on behalf of his fellow judge, broadcaster and lecturer Lawrie Douglas: "You may have a very important story, but unless listeners can understand clearly and easily what is being said, that story is valueless. More attention should be paid to writing the script. It should be brief, clear and use logic to carry the story forward. Grammar should not be ignored. Before a script is recorded, it should be read aloud several times, until the reader feels comfortable with it."

Hayes added that student journalists should learn how to vary the pace of their delivery, use strategically placed pauses, edit tightly and keep the topic in mind, not wander off the main lines of the story. They must learn how to tell a story and not just read a script, he said.

UK Press Gazette - 10 July 1998

Colleges fail to give broadcast students proper voice training
Voice trainer hits out at educational institutions which fail to tell journalists they are not good enough

Colleges which train broadcast journalists have been accused of sometimes giving them virtually no voice training and failing to remedy voice defects. They also fail to tell students that their delivery is so bad that they will never get radio or TV jobs. Training standards came under fire at a conference of IR programme heads during the summer congress of the Commercial Radio Companies Association.

Guest speaker Kate Lee, a former actress who trains voices for GWR, Essex Radio and other IR and ITV companies, listens to broadcasts and demo tapes from job-seekers and holds training sessions. She told Press Gazette, "I hear voices which are dull, flat and expressionless reading to the next full stop rather than reading for sense. It's difficult for the audience to get a flavour of what they're saying as opposed to just the words. It can make journalists' copy sound quite dreary. They read but they don't communicate."

As director of programming at Lincs FM, which has won licences for three new stations, Jane Hill is deluged with demo tapes from would-be employees. She complained of "fairly strained or shouting voices with the particular habit of emphasising the last words of sentences as if they're all trying to imitate Howard Hughes of Capital." Hill has much respect for this award-winning journalist but does not want all her newsreaders sounding like him. She said: "I want a clear, normal voice with the rudiments of good projection as if talking one-to-one, and the ability to stress the right words."

Bob McCreadie, programme controller at Orchard FM, recently recruited a journalist who had had virtually no voice training. He has received newsreading demo tapes from people with speech impediments, lack of pitch, an inability to deliver the news with authority, at the right pace or with correct emphasis, and who sound as if they don't understand what they are reading. Journalists may have excellent writing skills and knowledge of the law, but McCreadie said: "However well they've written a piece they must be able to deliver it clearly and with authority."

Lee and Hill are upset that broadcasting students pay fees to colleges for two years, perhaps ending up in debt, yet never get told "lose your speech defect or look for some other job." McCreadie said colleges seemed to assume that journalists could complete their training on the job when they joined a station. However, Lee says they do not have the resources to do this. She asked: "Do colleges appreciate the reality of commercial radio now when stations have very small newsrooms working at a high pace, or do they think they still have the manning levels of 10 years ago?"


 Return to Home Page