Looking to pitch to the Radio Workshop?
We are interested in collaborating with reporters and storytellers from across Africa. We are open to story ideas that explore the lives of young people on the continent between the ages of 18 and 35. We are looking for diverse representations and unique stories that transport us into communities we don’t often hear about in mainstream media. We generally prefer character-driven stories around a social issue like climate change, mental health, LGBTQI+ issues, unemployment,education etc. We are, however, willing to consider any story that is personal, powerful and memorable.
Still keen? Fill out a pitch submission form…
If you’re a new producer looking for a detailed example of what we expect, check out a sample pitch here:
Start by writing “STORY PITCH” in the subject line, followed by a logline. Which might look like:
- STORY PITCH: Cutting edge social media researcher learns new details on how our screen time affects our mental health.
- STORY PITCH: Dance moves and the lawsuit that may bring TikTok down.
- STORY PITCH: A 12 year old girl finds a way for medicines to reach the elderly
- STORY PITCH: When a mother returns for the son she abandoned.
In the body of your pitch, there should be several paragraphs.
In the first paragraph – Provide some bait: write five to seven sentences that get our attention. Example from 1d above “When a mother returns for the son she abandoned”):
Refilwe is contemplating whether he should reconnect with his mother who kicked him out when he came out as gay. Refilwe was homeless for many years after leaving home, but managed to meet a chosen family who he lives with now in the suburbs. Refilwe’s new family supported him to accept his sexuality and to get off drugs after becoming addicted on the street. Refilwe is still resentful towards his birth mother, and made a firm declaration to never rekindle the relationship. But when Refilwe receives a phone call from his mother asking to meet and talk, all the wounds of the past come back to haunt him.
In the 2nd paragraph – Provide a focus sentence: “Someone (main character) does something (action) because (motivation), but (conflict/obstacle)…”
Focus sentence example: Refilwe is a 25 year old gay man living with a chosen family who love and accept him for who he is. The trauma of being kicked out of his house by his mother at age 15 led Refilwe to drug addiction, which took years of support and therapy to overcome. So when Refilwe’s mother shows up wanting to reconnect, Refilwe wonders if the experience will cause him to spiral out of control, or help him to heal the wounds from the past.
End this paragraph with an animating question, for example:
Will Refilwe’s meeting with his mother help him to recover from his past trauma or bring chaos into the stability that he’s worked so hard to achieve?
Then in paragraph 3 – list your major plot points. With Refilwe’s example, the plot points might look like:
2015: Refilwe comes out as gay and his mother kicks him out of the house and he’s all of sudden homeless.
2015 – 2016: Refilwe works as a cleaner in a gay and lesbian club in the city, where he meets a sex worker friend who invites him to move to Johannesburg
2016-2018 Refilwe is a sex worker in Johannesburg and becomes addicted to drugs
2018 -Refilwe goes through a community rehab program where he gets clean and meets friends who invite him to live with them in an apartment downtown
2019 – Refilwe is still clean and gets a job as a peer educator at a LGBTQI+ NGO
2020 – Refilwe gets a promotion and moves into his own place with his boyfriend
2021 – Refilwe is contacted by his mother at his workplace wanting to reunite- his colleagues and boyfriend discourage him against the idea
2021 – Refilwe has his first alcohol binge in 4 years – he calls his mother and agrees to meet her
In Paragraph 4 – answer the question: “Why now?” Why do we want to hear this person’s story now?
In Paragraph 5 – List other possible characters who can give us their take on the story. In Refilwe’s story, it might be:
- Refilwe’s boyfriend
- Colleagues from the gay and lesbian bar in Free State
- Colleagues from the NGO (workplace)
- Refilwe’s previous housemates from rehab
Paragraph 6 – “Listeners will hear…” Indicate what other sound and scenes might be in the story. For our example, we might hear Refilwe leading a workshop on LGBTQI+ rights.
Paragraph 7 – Issues. What are the challenges you might face reporting this story?
Paragraph 8 – The Big Picture. What larger issues beyond this person’s narrative does your story explore?
Paragraph 9 – What else? Any other useful, interesting info gleaned from your research and the pre-interview. For instance, “Refilwe is a good talker who is able to clearly articulate themselves.”
Paragraph 10 – Your take. What draws you to this story? Why are you interested in it?