How to set out a radio cue

For the M42MC local government project, your radio cue should be set out as shown in this example – which closely matches the BBC style



The attack on the French magazine Charlie Hebdo prompted a public response on a scale that is rarely seen, and the slogan Je Suis Charlie was taken up around the world – especially by journalists.

Literally, of course, the phrase means “I am Charlie”. But beyond that, what does it really mean? If the attack had been on a London tabloid, would people have taken to the streets and declared, “I am the Daily Mail”? Simon Pipe has been investigating

IN: (fx – chanting) More than a million people
OUT:  to defend the right to offend
DUE:  4′ 55″

BACK ANNO:  Simon Pipe reporting there. And we’ve got pictures from the Paris demonstrations on our website,


The CATCHLINE is a single word used to track the story through the production system. Words such as “kill” or “legal” should be avoided – they may be taken to mean the story should be killed (dropped) or that there is a legal problem with it.

CUE: These are the words a presenter reads to introduce the piece. Note that it must introduce the reporter by name. The example given here is quite long.

IN: The opening words of the piece. The presenter may want to check the opening of the package off-air, just to make sure they have the right piece lined up on the play-out computer; putting in the opening words will reassure them.

FX: is industry shorthand for “effects” (sound effects). Write FX and describe the sound. Then add the opening words if they are audible – they may be the script, part of an interview clip, or words heard within the sound effects, such as shouting.

OUT: Write the last few words. The presenter can listen out for them as the piece is playing so they are ready to start talking straight off the back. The words don’t need to make sense – two or three will do. Again, if the piece ends with FX, say so.

DUR: Duration of the piece. This is vital information, allowing the presenter to “back-time”, starting it so that it ends at the right time – just before the travel news, say. Minutes are written with a single quote mark (4′),  seconds with a double quote mark (15″).

Sometimes you might add a BACK ANNO, giving additional information – such as a link to a web page. It is not essential.

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