Saturday, June 6, 2009

Radio Essay Queen Working To Get You On-Air

My good friend Janis Jaquith has a new, added role at WVTF Public Radio these days and that's good news for those of you who write essays and want to get them on the radio. Janis is, for my money, the best of all the radio essayists I've heard locally or nationally and she is now recruiting writers, coaching them and editing their work for WVTF's news director Rick Mattioni.

Here's what she has to say about it:

I'm trying on a new hat: it's an "essays editor for WVTF" chapeau, and I could use a little help from my friends. My goal is to raise the bar for these local, on-air commentaries, and to breathe new life into this performance art -- one that is unique to National Public Radio and its affiliate stations.

So, if you (or anyone you know) live or work in the WVTF broadcast area, and would like to have your voice reach some 75,000 listeners of "Morning Edition" as they brush their teeth or drive to work, I hope you'll submit an essay. And since solid writing + engaging delivery = great radio, I'll be happy to coach those whose essays are accepted for broadcast in the art of on-air delivery. I can do that in person, or over the phone. Email me, and we'll arrange something.

Additionally, WVTF is making plans to host essay workshops in several locations this summer. I don't have the details yet.
[The arts Council of the Blue Ridge is also sponsoring writing classes monthly and radio essays are on tap in the coming months.]

Part of my task is to recruit good writers from all corners of the WVTF broadcast area, which is huge.
So, if you know writers in other parts of the broadcast area (which includes parts of other states) I hope you'll forward this to them. A map and submission guidelines are on the WVTF website.

We are looking for essays that are rooted in Virginia experience (or North Carolina, or West Virginia experience, for writers in those parts of the broadcast area.) In other words: local color.
Essays should be submitted to news producer Beverly Amsler. If you would like me to have a look at your essay with an eye toward making it radio-ready, you can send it to me for a look-see or an edit before you submit it to Beverly. If you become a regular essayist, you'll likely be asked to sign a contract. Good news: it's writer-friendly, and you keep your copyright.)

Having broadcast something like a hundred of these radio essays over the past decade, including a bunch on national shows, I can tell you that this experience is a whole lot of fun. And if you have a book or Web site or organization you'd like to promote, the announcer can mention it in your bio following your essay. So, what do you say? You wanna be on the radio?

Janis is a pro who will treat your work--and you--with respect. She's a fine writing teacher, a better writer and you'll thoroughly enjoy working with her. I recommend this entire enterprise. One thing to remember: never sign away your rights to your work unless you're being paid. Some day you might want to turn your essays into a book and you'd have to get permission from somebody who might be as writer-friendly as Janis.

One more thing, there is no payment associated with these essays. Like so much having to do with writing, we write because we love it, not because it is lucrative.

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