Radio Chatter Contest | Penana
Radio Chatter Contest
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Submission Closed
Radio Chatter Contest
Jay Ellis
Judging: Creator's Pick
Prompt Entries Comments (37)


I want you to tell me an exciting tale through radio chatter only. Write your story as if you were transcribing a recorded audio log of a radio conversation. Don't feel limited to just police or military radio chatter, although those are more than welcome. It can be EMS, fire fighter, secret service, security, aircraft, boat, hiker, or even trucker conversations. Be unique and creative! No word limits. The winner will be determined by who writes the most authentic-sounding and exciting story. More details, rules, and an example below.


So, I think this is going to be a fun one. I came up with the idea for this contest while performing research on a current chapter I'm writing. I needed to know how to write proper radio chatter for police officers, and one of the ways I researched this was by actually listening to an hour long recording of a radio conversation over a police scanner. I was surprised by how engaged I was with it. It was strangely interesting and I was able to follow the series of events quite well. That's when I decided that this would make a very unique, but entertaining way to tell a story. That's what I want from you guys and gals.

How to Write Your Story:

Like I said in the prompt, I want you to write your story as if you were actually transcribing a recorded audio log. If you're unfamiliar with how to write in the style of an audio transcript, this site (https://www.w3.org/WAI/media/av/transcribing/) is a great resource for tips on how to do it. To help, I will also write below an example of the formatting I'm looking for.


 Officer Martin: (gunshots in background) Adam-230 to Dispatch. I have shots fired on 51st Street and Lincoln [unintelligible]. Requesting backup.

Dispatch: Copy Adam-230. Shots fired at 51st Street and Lincoln Drive. All available units to respond to scene.

Officer Douglas: Adam-235, copy. In route.

Officer Michaels: Adam-237, copy as well. In route.


- In regards to using 10-codes, I realize that this may be very tempting to some of you to incorporate. Keep in mind, however, if you decide to go this route, that not all readers will know what the 10-codes mean. Another issue comes from the fact that 10-codes can mean different things depending on the country, state, profession, and department. If you decide to use 10-codes, please make sure that the context of the dialogue properly informs the reader of what's actually being said.

- Remember that in most instances (regarding official professions), use of personal names is prohibited over radios for safety reasons. Instead, most people have assigned call signs. The great news is that there really isn't any wrong way to come up with a call sign as the method of determining one also changes based on country, state, profession, and department. If you need a little help, in a lot of cases, call signs are a mixture of letters and numbers that represent the person's assigned location, shift, rank, job, or badge number (depending on profession). Try not to get too bogged down by this.

- If your character needs to spell something, remember that they would probably use the NATO Phonetic Alphabet. Don't know the NATO Phonetic Alphabet? No problem! Here's a site that provides it: https://www.worldometers.info/languages/nato-phonetic-alphabet/

- Sexual content is strictly prohibited and will be removed.

- I realize cursing will probably be a thing some of you will want to include. Try not to go overboard with it. Instead, try to use it more for accentuating impactful moments. If there is a lot of harsh language, you must provide a warning at the top of your story to respect other readers.

- Violence - or explanations of violence - is allowed, but you must also provide a warning at the top of your story if it is graphic in nature. Once again, this is to respect readers who may not want to read that kind of content.

- Be civil with your comments on other writer's works. No arguing. Critiques are always welcome, but remember to be constructive and also provide positive feedback in addition to your proposed corrections. Those who violate this rule, will have their comments removed.

- Try to proofread your work before submitting. Remember that this is a chance to showcase your writing ability. This contest will run for a month, which should give you plenty of time to polish your writing.

- Lastly, have fun! :)

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