MTWRF 09:45 to 11:15AM
Instructor: Chuck Tarver
Room 317 Gore Hall
(302) 831-3593

418 Communication Topics
Radio Programming and Production


 Most course materials will be found on the Web at

 It is recommended that students purchase cassette tapes and/or minidisks to store their audio production.
Available at WVUD. See Alice Roberts in Perkins Student Center room 112.


Class meets Monday, Wednesday and Friday in room 317 Gore Hall. On Tuesday and Thursday, we will meet at WVUD in the basement of the Perkins Student Center Annex.

This course is designed to give you a beginning understanding of radio. While you will have a good understanding of the industry, don’t expect to walk out of class and get a job at a major radio station. Upon completion of this course you will have basic skills that will need sharpening. Sharpen those skills by working at WVUD and seeking internships at area radio stations. Students who signup for time slots on WVUD2 (one two hour shift per week, during Winter Session [5 shifts]) will receive extra credit.

The class is structured to examine four eras of radio and provide a foundation for further study.

The first era is called the “Pioneer era” and dates from the late 1890s through 1926. It began when Marconi received British financing to work on his invention, which later became wireless. It ended with the dawn of Network Broadcasting.

The second era, from 1926 through 1948 is called the “Network era”. It began when NBC, the first radio network, began broadcasting regularly over a dozen stations. It ended in 1948, the year that television’s revenues surpassed radio’s. It is often referred to as “Radio’s Golden Age.

The third era called “The Ascendancy of Television,” runs from 1949, the first year that network radio’s revenues actually declined; until the early 1960s, when radio began to develop formats. During this transitional period, radio attempted to compete directly with TV, airing network dramas, soap operas and other forms of entertainment that television handled better. It was also during this period that early formats developed.

The fourth era, is called “Narrowcasting.” It began during the early 1960s when formats began to fragment and continues today. It is characterized by radio stations’ targeting specific demographic groups.

A fifth era, the result of the Telecommunications Act of 1996 has emerged. This era is characterized by a consolidation of ownership, a return to “network” programming (national syndication) examples include: Rush Limbaugh, Howard Stern, Dr. Laura and the Tom Joyner Morning Show; Internet broadcasting, direct satellite broadcasting, (XM) (Sirius) and a battle for local participation.

Participation in class is crucial and will effect your grade. You are expected to be prepared with the readings and take part in class discussion. In addition radio professionals will be dropping by class. You are expected to ask questions of the quests and share ideas with your classmates. These radio professionals are also a good source of internships.

Expect to work. Radio is fun but it is not easy. Each element of the course is built upon previous elements. Missing one of those building blocks could seriously affect your grade. For example: completing your final project will be rather difficult if you do not know how to operate the board.

Your final grade is based on papers, tests and projects. Tests and papers account for 60% of your grade, production projects for the other 40%.

Winter session moves quickly you have less than five weeks to complete all work. Deadlines in broadcasting are real. Deadlines in this class are also real.

Note: Projects and papers are designed to be complementary. Develop projects while listening to the radio. Borrow (steal) and customize ideas. It’s how those working in the industry do it.

  • Tests

    #1. Friday, January 21, 2005. 10pts.

    #2. Friday, February 4, 2005. (final) 20pts.

  • Papers

    #1. Radio Station Analysis. - This paper is an analysis of an existing radio station’s format. The station may be from the local area or from anywhere in the world* provided you have enough information about the station to conduct a full analysis (i.e. tapes or listening to the station via the World Wide Web). In this assignment include: station call letters, dial position, music, announcing style, format clock (overall or for day part), rotation, use of on-air personalities, promotional package, slogans, stop sets, etc. Analysis should detail how a station meets the needs of its target audience. For example if a station has a format that appeals to teens, do the commercials aired on the station target that audience? Analyses will be shared in class. Minimum 3 pages 10pts. Wednesday, January 19, 2005.
    *If you choose a station from another country be prepared to explain how that country's system of broadcasting differs from the system used in the United States.

    #2. Dream Format Proposal. - This paper is to be done in conjunction with your final class project. If you work in a group, each person’s work must be readily apparent. This is your chance to dream. Choose any market in the country. Design a format which includes: Station call letters, dial position, music, announcing style, format clock (overall or for specific day part), rotation, use of on-air personalities, promotional package, slogans, stop sets, etc. Substantiate your format choice with information from SRDS, Broadcasting & Cable Yearbook, Duncan Market Report, The M Street Radio Directory, etc. You must be able to prove that your “Dream Format” would work in your chosen market. For example: Is there a format void in the market? Are you anticipating a new trend? Is the format currently successful in another market with similar demographics? Is your target audience poorly served by a station with a similar format? You must identify your competition and outline how you will counter-program them. Minimum 8 pages 20pts. Friday February 4, 2005.

  • Projects

    #1. Commercial/PSA package. - Produce a 60sec. and a 30sec. spot package using the theme of your choice. The commercial or public service announcement may be for a fictitious product or service or for an actual organization, product or company. The 60sec. And 30sec. spots should demonstrate your ability to produce a spot for the same client in each of these formats. Typed script and tapes/minidisks must be submitted. 15pts. Thursday, January 20, 2005.

    #2. Format Proposal Aircheck - Produce an aircheck tape for your “dream format.” Tape should include: Station ID, dial position, music, promotional package, slogans, jingles, announcing style, commercials/PSAs/promos, promotional package, slogans, stop sets, etc. The aircheck should be telescoped. Do not play full versions of musical selections. This project should complement your “dream proposal paper”. Commercials/PSA’s produced for the earlier assignment may be used. Should be submitted on cassette e or minidisks. Length 10 minutes to 30 minutes. 25pts. Friday, February 4, 2005.

  • Speaker Roster

    Pete Booker

    President and General Manager

    Delmarva Broadcasting WDEL/WSTW


    January 5, 2005

    Tony Q Owner and Manager QC Communications WJKS Kiss 101.7FM
    WFAI Faith 1510
    Wednesday January 12, 2005

    Pete tri Dish

    LPFM Activist

    Prometheus Radio Project


    January 19, 2005

    Joe Puglise Vice President and Market Manager Clear Channel Delaware WRDX, WDOV, WDSD, WWTX, WILM Wednesday January 26, 2005

    Allan Loudell

    Program Manager



    February 2, 2005


  • WEEK #1 (Pioneers)
    Class Intro/ Empire of the Air part I reading Radio Pioneers start reading
    consolidation study
    (chapters 1 and 2)
    4Studio day/WVUD Reading: Begin process of familiarizing yourself with the glossary .
    5 Guest: Pete Booker, President and General Manager, Delmarva Broadcasting WDEL/ WSTW Reading: Types of Stations, Station Classes, Ownership, Hughes, minority ownership Media Giants How many stations can one corporation own?
    6 Studio day/WVUD Reading: Continue process of familiarizing yourself with the glossary .
    7 Empire of the Air part II reading ("Golden Age") Networks and early programs
  • WEEK #2 (Broadcasting: Basic Concepts)
    10 Reading Elements of formats consolidation study, Basic Concepts  Changing energy.(chapter 3)
    Studio day/WVUD
    12 Guest:
    Tony Q Owner and Manager QC Communications WJKS/WFAI
    Studio day/WVUD
    Reading Early format development

  • WEEK #3 (Formats)
    Martin Luther King Holiday (class will not meet) consolidation study (chapter 4)
    18 Studio day/WVUD reading Formats: Beautiful Music, Contemporary Hit Radio, MOR
    19 Guest: Pete tri Dish LPFM activist from the Prometheus Radio Project Paper #1
    Studio day/WVUD Project #1 (commercials/PSAs & scripts due) reading tape editing
    21 Midterm Test #1
  • WEEK #4 (Formats, cont.)
    Reading Adult Contemporary, Urban, AOR/Classic Rock, consolidation study
    (chapter 5)
    Studio day/WVUD
    26 Guest: Joe Puglise Vice President and Market Manager Clear Channel Delaware, WRDX, WDOV, WDSD, WWTX, WILM
    27 Studio day/WVUD
    28 Reading Newstalk, Classical, Country, Public

  • WEEK #5 (Tools, Trends)
    Ratings reading ratings, references, onlinetrades, consolidation RAB ratings terms
    (chapter 6), Howard Stern article, Radio's In Crowd


    1 Final Studio day/WVUD
    2 Guest: Allan Loudell, Program Director WILM
    3 Review
    for final.
    4 Test #2/ Paper #2/ Project #2