Peculiar style when narrating radio news


Rodero, E. (2013). Peculiar styles when narrating the news: The intonation of radio news bulletins. Estudios del Mensaje Periodístico, vol. 19, (1), 519-532, Editorial Complutense Facultad de Ciencias de la Información.


The voice is one of the radio news reader’s most important resources when conveying messages. Controlling the voice, through the proper use of prosodic features as the main tool for transmitting the explicit content of a text, provides a referential framework. It is also instrumental in conveying the sense of the text as well as its affective dimension. Ultimately, therefore, it affects the impression forming process of the listener. Therefore, the objective of this study is to contribute to the prosodic characterisation of radio news by identifying the prosodic resources used. The results show that radio news bulletins can be characterised by a wealth of circumflex contours, regular use of the pitch contour or accent and constant stress on the emphatic accent. Although these resources can guide the discursive understanding of the listener at specific moments during speech, their repeated use can lead to counterproductive effects for comprehension and attention.

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Significance of the project

Radio is the only medium of communication that emphasizes the prosodic configuration employed in presentations. In the absence of images that can complete the meaning of a message, radio depends solely on sound and the voice of the presenter to broadcast information. Moreover, if we consider that the radio news format offers greater complexity in how information is processed by the listener, the transmission of a multitude of information over a short time highlights the importance of the communicator properly using prosodic traits, including intonation and stress. The results of this study should encourage newscasters and radio broadcasting stations to reflect on the prosodic traits employed in the communication of their radio news bulletins, if they truly wish to favour the attention and understanding of their listeners.

Goals of the Project

The objective of this study is to conduct a prosodic characterisation of radio news bulletins by investigating intonation and accent.

Main Results

The results of this study show that the presentation of radio broadcasting news can be characterised by an abundance of circumflex contours, a regularity in the use of pitch contours, and a constant emphatic accent stress. This supposes a marked pitch uniformity and a regularity in the emphatic accent stress, especially on accessory words, which is manifested in both the configuration of the circumflex contour and in the pitch frequencies and intervals that delimit the boundaries for this contour. Given that these data were produced independent of the radio stations analysed and the gender of the newscasters examined, our study supports the conclusion that there is a particular style in narrating or telling the news on the radio.

Additional Information

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