Mixing different formats makes for great radio

By Chante  Schatz

Radio like any other form of journalism, has a certain guidelines which it follows to make content relevant. What happens when the format is switched up?

Brandon Oelofse, a writer and creative director at the Radio Netherlands Training Centre, closed the master class sessions at the Radio Days Africa conference with creative ways on engaging with formats to make radio better.

Brandon Oelofse presenting the final Master Class at Radio Days Africa.

Brandon Oelofse presenting the final Master Class at Radio Days Africa.

Oelofse’s strategy included mixing formats up to producing stories that become more relevant and unique. “We can’t go with the same blunt instrument and expect to be more innovative”, says Oelefse. He added that flipping the script will allow content to be more unique on a boring radio program.

The master class started off with audience participation, as Oelofse encouraged them to discuss the different formats before revealing them. Interestingly, the audience was not far off from the basic formats of radio.

Some of Oelofse’s ten formats included, actuality, montage, discussion, drama, testimony, amongst more formats which are all important elements that make radio what it is today. However, Oelofse argues that if one constantly sticks to the script of the formats, the content cannot be unique.

With the help of the audience, Oelofse demonstrated how the formats can be mixed up by detailing them with different elements.

An example of switching these up came when he looked at the format of drama. Dating was set out as one of the elements of drama. Another format that was used was ‘game’ which had the element of rules. By creatively mixing these up, Oelofse, suggested that a political dating game could be created between politicians. Through this, a new unique and fun method of understanding both politicians and content is then created.

Oelofse discussed that being creative with formats in this way not only keeps people guessing, but it also invites a new way of making stories relevant.



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