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Indepth in Radio
Module 2, Activity 2.4 - Radio Features
Student Page
(teacher lesson for this lesson)


While radio feature and print features give the listeners similar information, but they do it in a very different way. In this lesson, you will look at information on Canadian journalist Barbara Frum, and compare radio features to print features and create your own radio feature.


Task One - In the Field
Radio journalism is a challenging, yet rewarding field. The most exciting part of radio journalism is that the news can be reported almost as it takes place. Because radio journalists don't have to wait for on-air broadcast time or wait to be printed a few days later, radio journalists can assess the situation and give their listeners a vivid and susinct picture of the news taking place.

The most challenging part of radio journalism is that broadcasters must create a picture using words alone while dealing with the unpredictability of often live broadcasts.

An introduction to Canadian broadcaster, Barbara Frum, will help you to see how exciting and challenging radio can be.

Read a few articles and make some jot notes on Barbara Frum. From these you can get a sense of Frum's impact on journalism before listening to her audio clips.

The following are links that give an overview of her rich radio and television experience:
Barbara Frum - The Museum of Broadcast Communications

The Life and Times of Barbara Frum - CBC

Barbara Frum: Pioneering Broadcasting - CBC

Task Two - Featuring Barbara Frum
Once you have some background on Barbara Frum, you will have the chance to listen to three archived radio clips as examples of a radio feature.

stop Before moving to radio features, it is necessary to review the characteristics of writing print features.
Choose three of the following feature stories from CBC's As It Happens. At the time of these features, Frum was co-host of this current events show (1971-1982). While you listen to the three excerpts, take notes on how a radio feature is different from a written feature.

As It Happens - Feature Stories
1. India's 'peaceful' bomb - May 20, 1974
2. Eaton's uncrates the sun - Jan. 18, 1978
3. Where are the Canadian stars - Jan. 19, 1976
4. UFOs and earthquakes - June 4, 1975
5. Boat People: A Refugee Crisis - Oct. 8, 1979

You will be able to
- develop feature writing skills
- recognize what is news
- identify conventions of feature stories
- write effective interview stories
- quote accurately, paraphrase where appropriate, and use appropriate attribution methods
- demonstrate fact-gathering, research, and writing skills necessary for in-depth reporting


- internet access
- series of radio features (CBC Archives)
- access to recording equipment

- radio feature handout
- radio feature evaluation

Task Two - Continued . . .
*Hint -
while listening, pay attention to the format of a radio feature and the types of questions asked by Frum.

After you have listened to three of the features, participate in a discussion about the differences between a written feature and a radio feature.

Live interviews can be very exciting, but they can also create challenges for the journalist. You may want to listen to a few of Frum's most famous, problematic interviews.

'I am a man' - Sept. 10, 1975
Canada's favourite BROAD-caster - March 5, 1979

announcer These illustrate that even a seasoned journalist can come up against a difficult interview.

Interested in hearing how Frum replied to Ballard's comments?
Here are the two letters to Ballard
that she read on her show.
Barbara strikes back - March 6, 1979
Barbara strikes again - March 7, 1979

Task Three - Tell Me a Story
It is time for you to create your own radio feature. Complete the steps on the radio feature handout and hand the final product into your teacher for evaluation.

Last Updated
May 25, 2005

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