Making Documentaries for Radio

Prepared by veteran producer Jack Perkins, this series of tutorials is for anyone interested in making audio documentaries. They include guidance in the technical, practical and philosophical approaches to working with audio, including field recording, scripting, interviewing techniques and the marriage of sound and word.

Field recordingField Recording

Using portable recorders to gather material outside the confines of the studio, or the restrictions of the landline or cell phone.

Scripting thumbScripting

Planning, creating flow, types of script, moving from place to place, common pitfalls and much more.

Sound ScriptThe Marriage Of Sound And Word

It's potentially a marriage made in heaven but the relationship between sound and the scripted word, can be an uneasy one.

Oral History Annie CrummerThe Human Interest And Oral History Interview

This segment, written by Alwyn Owen and Jack Perkins, has been extracted from their book Speaking for Ourselves published by Penguin in 1986.


Audio from all of the tutorials on one page, and downloads of the tutorials in PDF format.

Jack Perkins ran the Spectrum radio documentary unit in Radio New Zealand, chalking up fifty years of work on 12 January 2009. Radio New Zealand National celebrated by preparing a series of highlights from his remarkable decades-long record of documentary-making. He retired from Radio New Zealand on 21 August 2015.