Basic Broadcasting Terminologies

So last Monday I had to take an exam for my Broadcast News class.  Once I completed it, I thought an introduction to some of the vocabulary used in that class (and in the business for that matter) would make for a good blog entry.  Let’s get started with some terminology that is typically referred to in field reporting.

“VO” stands for “voiceover.”  This refers to an anchor or reporter’s voice being played during a piece of field video.  That, of course, is one of the most typical and most important elements of a TV newscast.  The viewers and listeners of your broadcast will need to have the story explained to them through audio, so the VO is extremely important.

“SOT” stands for “sound on tape.”  This day in age, there are many media outlets that no longer use videotape, but you probably knew that already because the times they are a-changin’.  Anyway, SOT refers to an interview sound bite played in a news story.  It is commonly followed by a VO, hence the term VO/SOT: a voiceover followed by a sound bite from an interview.

“PKG” is an abbreviation for the term “package.”  A package is a story put together by a field reporter which consists of a combination of field video, natural sound from the video, a VO, a SOT and a stand-up shot where the reporter stands in front of the camera for a sound bite of his or her own.  And of course a good reporter ends their package by identifying their name and station or network and sometimes where they are reporting from.

“NAT” is short for “natural sound.”  In most field videos and packages, the natural sound from the raw footage will be left in the video.  While most times the anchor or reporter will talk over the NAT sound, there are times when the NAT sound itself will play for a couple of seconds to add to the story.

If you’ve ever watched a newscast with the closed captioning on your TV, you’ve probably seen this terminology before without knowing what it means.  In the past, the closed captions on many local newscasts contained the exact same script as the teleprompters inside the studio, which use all these abbreviations and acronyms on a regular basis.  (Although I think at least some of the local stations I’m familiar with might have gotten rid of some of those abbreviations on their captions in recent years, I’m actually not 100 percent sure.)

So that ends the first part of my blogs on broadcast terminologies.  There will be more to come in future blogs!  And if anyone has any questions about anything I post on this blog, don’t be afraid to leave me a comment!


About thebroadcastdiaries

I am a senior at Bowling Green State University majoring in Broadcast Journalism. I have had experiences in broadcasting starting in high school, continuing on into college and interning at a local radio station in Akron. My goal for this blog is to explain the broadcasting business to the average reader as I continue to study and pursue my broadcasting career.
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