Radio Documentaries Independent Producers

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'Neither length nor audience define radio documentaries. Ideally, a documentary possesses a depth of research or proximity to its subject that distinguishes it from a long feature or enterprise story. Length is not the defining quality; a documentary can last hours or five minutes. Documentaries convey a rich sense of character and detail—or a substantial body of original investigative material—that simply aren’t heard in the majority of public radio news reports.'
- Stephen Smith, NPR​

The aim of this two day course is to provide participants with the resources, storytelling skills and contacts that will enable them to create long form radio documentaries. The course is global in scope and will assist participants in selling their work to broadcasters around the world.

Convened by Colm McNaughton, a multi-award winning radio documentary producer, participants will gain an insight into the stories that broadcasters around the world are looking for.

In addition participants will learn the skills required to produce an eight minute story that can be recorded and uploaded to any broadcaster from anywhere in the world, and learn about working in conflict zones where personal safety on the job and where and how to make story contacts will be highlighted.

Participants will learn:

  • Getting to know radio as a medium
  • Comparing & contrasting literature/film/radio
  • Learning to listen: what is soundscape?
  • The interview technique
  • Technology talk: what is needed to make a radio documentary
  • The recorder, microphone
  • Audio editing gear/software
  • An active imagination
  • Developing a website, finding stories/work, making contacts, uploading files
  • Telling stories
  • What is a story?
  • What sort of stories work well in radio & why?
  • Scriptwriting
  • Working in conflict zones
  • Finding contacts/researching/preparation
  • Safe work practices in conflict zones
  • Ethics
  • Dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder
  • Writing a proposal/selling the complete piece
  • What do Executive Producers want?
  • Developing a global network, ABC (Australia), BBC (UK), CBC (Canada), NPR (USA), RTE (Ireland), Deutsche Wella (Germany), and more

***DISCLAIMER*** AFTRS reserves the right to cancel any course for any reason at any time. In the event of a course being cancelled a full refund of course fees will be provided. If a participant wishes to withdraw from a course, they may do so up to 15 days before the course commences and get a full refund. Cancellations 14 days or less before course commencement will incur a fee. For more information on AFTRS Open's policies, including refund policies, please see our policies page.​


The Australian Film Television Radio and School would like to acknowledge the Traditional Owners, the Bidjigal people and Gadigal people of the Eora Nation, on whose land we meet, work, study and teach. We pay our respects to Elders past and present, and extend our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people from all nations of this land.