What Makes a Story Great

“Good radio, like good theater, is a collection of scenes that interweave voices and sounds through monologues and dialogues and soundscapes. And beneath it all is the poetry that gets us closer to that elusive heartbeat we call truth.” – Dmae Roberts from Reality Radio Telling True Stories.

Whether it’s good radio, good theatre or good digital projects on many platforms, the key to any good story comes down to a strong narrative structure and standout characters. If you are talking about radio, you can add sonic richness to the list. If you are talking about online content, you also have to add visual richness.

Good stories have a strong narrative structure which takes the audience on a journey. A good way to start your planning across platforms is to tease the story out by brainstorming or mind mapping on some paper. You might have the main story branching out into side stories. You might have the opportunity to drill down further into stories about individual characters. This will get you started with a range of possible content to come out of your project.

Even if your show is live, think about all of the possibilities with regards to experts, artists and musicians as characters. Think about music genres or issues. Tease out the stories and what form the content could take. For example, you are doing an interview on a particular topic or with a particular band. Do you have photos? are you going to write an article or a facebook post about the issue? Can you go deeper by adding a side story? Is there a possiblity of a microvideo with your guest?

It may help to look at an example:

Death Sex money


Death Sex and Money is a WYNC radio program. In this particular episode which is illustrated above, the program looked at New Orleans ten years after Hurricane Katrina by focusing on five people (the characters). The project included beautifully recorded audio, wonderful photos with text quotes, short videos for social media with quotes and short articles on a program page. The platforms for the program included on air, the station’s website, Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. there were behind-the-scenes photo stories as well.

 {loadmodule mod_raxo_allmode,Story Hub}

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