This post showcases the expertise of BBC World Service Trust producer Charles Hamilton who has over two decades of experience in the field of development radio.

Hamilton was working in the role of Executive Producer of radio for the BBC World Service Trust in Cambodia when he identified these basic spot categories and points to consider when creating “behavioural change” radio…


• Narrative

• Drama

• Testimonial

• Song


Radio Nkembo, 300' tower, 2500 watt transmitter, Democratic Republic of Congo. Heard by 5mill. everyday

• Economical

• Clear (fast burnout vs. slow burnout)

• Entertaining

• Creative – distinctive?

• Focused idea and thread

• Engaging

• Duration

• Signpost and slogan


• One Message per spot

• Repetition and consistency

• High production values – quality, balance

• Performance

• Call to action

• Convey a benefit

• Real / believable / trustworthy

• Target audience – who?

Radio spots criteria notes – Charles Hamilton, Phnom Penh, Cambodia, Jan. 2006

It’s interesting to note that these production guidelines and criteria reveal numerous similarities with the principles common to commercial production in “western” radio. Each of the attributes that Hamilton lists as ideal spot content for educational spots could be equally applied to commercial production.

Fundamentally, he advocates the use of entertainment as the key element in any successful spot campaign. This, he believes, is vital to ensure optimal delivery of a simple message to a large audience. For maximum impact the message must be clearly focused. As Hamilton puts it: “one message and repeated many times”.

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