Pick Better Sound Bites

For the love of good television, please start spending more time picking bites that matter instead of ones that will fill 15 seconds. I am going to start with sports people because that’s the subject I know best.

Sports people: Why are we still airing bites saying things like “We are just going to take it one game at a time.”…”It’s a new season now. We are all zero and zero.”…”We aren’t thinking about that HUGE game next week, we are worried about Southwestnorthsouth State.” ????


This is awful. It tells me nothing. It teaches me nothing, and you are wasting your viewer’s time. Not to mention, you are being lazy.

The coach didn’t say anything? What were you doing at the time, looking at Pinterest? Ask better questions to get better answers.

This goes for news too. Don’t just air a bite because you were planning on a VOSOT. I am certain you can find better use for that :15. Isn’t that what weather people are for? (I kid because I love)

Make sound bites count. Put them in the newscast for a purpose and not just to fill time. A bite about a fundraiser telling me how much money was raised is not useful. The anchor can tell me that. Have a bite tell me how big a deal this is for the charity and how much it will help. Have the bite add some emotion to the story.

Put a bite in a newscast/sportscast with a plan. What do you want the bite to accomplish? How will it add to the story? What questions can you ask to get the right kind of bite?

Have a solo anchor and simply looking to break up the reads? Think about a NAT sound pop instead. Be creative!

Bad bites are bad television. Ask better questions to get better answers and make sure what you are putting on the air is worth :15.

3 thoughts on “Pick Better Sound Bites

  1. Also to my producer friends…use love of good television use sound bites in teases! It a) cuts down on what you have to write (I mean we are all about saving time here) b) it breaks up the monotony especially in the mornings when people are listening and not necessarily watching. They hear someone talking and turn to see what’s going on. c) it’s good for you! It gives you a better understanding of your story and why it’s in your newscast. If you can’t tease it…in some way, why is it even there?


  2. “If you don’t touch any emotions in your story, then what is your story?” — Bob Dotson

    I’ve always felt like sound bites create the emotion. Let that be your guide when picking which bites to use.


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