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So, you want to write for American Radio Theater?

First thing to know: It is American Radio Theater's policy not to accept or consider creative ideas, suggestions, or materials apart from submission by an entertainment attorney or a recognized (by us) literary agent. We hope you will understand that it is the intent of this policy to avoid the possibility of any future misunderstandings if your ideas are similar to those we or our associates have in development now, or have developed independently. You may be surprised how often this can happen! Therefore, we must regretfully request that you do not send us any creative materials such as stories, character ideas, treatments, screenplays, books or original artwork ("Unsolicited Submissions"). Your entertainment attorney or literary agent may, however, contact us by email or by telephone to discuss possible submissions. We will not take phone calls or answer emails from writers directly if we have no formal or contractual relationship with the writer. This means we won't talk to writers we don't know; we will only talk to their attorney or agent. Further:

Clcik to download a PDF brochure about the Chicago Radio Theater.
Click to download an American
Radio Theater brochure.

  1. If you submit any Unsolicited Submissions to American Radio Theater of any kind via email, facsimile, mail or otherwise, they will be treated as non-confidential and shall be deemed, and shall remain, the property of American Radio Theater. So... don't send us any Unsolicited Submissions.

  2. Without limitation of the foregoing, American Radio Theater shall exclusively own all now known or hereafter existing rights to the Unsolicited Submissions of every kind and nature, in perpetuity, throughout the universe and American Radio Theater shall be entitled to unrestricted use of the Unsolicited Submissions for any purpose whatsoever, commercial or otherwise, without compensation, credit or any other rights to the provider of the Unsolicited Submissions.

  3. If applicable law restricts or limits the foregoing provisions of this paragraph, you agree, without limitation of the foregoing, that in no event shall American Radio Theater's liability with respect to the Unsolicited Submissions exceed the minimum amount payable for the writing of equivalent material under the Writers Guild of America Minimum Basic Agreement then in effect.

  4. Any controversy or claim arising out of our receipt of Unsolicited Submissions will be settled by arbitration in Los Angeles, California, or New York, New York, before a single arbitrator appointed by the American Arbitration Association. The prevailing party in any such arbitration has the right to recover its reasonable attorneys' fees and costs from the other party.

Second thing to know: If you are hired to write for the American Radio Theater, or if your entertainment attorney or literary agent is approved by us to submit your material (following points 1-4, above), you must follow our templates and formatting guidelines. To make your job of writing for the American Radio Theater easier, we have a free American Radio Theater script template for you. All scripts must, without exception, be prepared and submitted using our template. If you won't bother to create or submit your script in our template, please don't bother to submit it. It will not be read, even if your submission has been approved in advance. Clear enough?

Third thing to know: don't bother to spend the money to purchase a professional writing program like Final Draft or Screenwriter for preparing a script for the American Radio Theater, even though these programs are very good at what they do. Our Executive Producer is a working screenwriter, and although he uses Screenwriter to prepare his screenplays, he doesn't use it to prepare his radio scripts. That's because we at American Radio Theater want to encourage new talent to write for radio, and new talent usually cannot afford to pay for any fancy writing software. We recommend plain old Microsoft Word. If you are using MS Word from Office 2007 or 2010, be sure to save it in the MS Word 1997 or 2003 format (*.doc), and not in the Microsoft Word 2007 or 2010 formats (*.docm, *.docx, etc.)

If you want to see an actual American Radio Theater script and not just a blank template (the pilot for the Ellery Queen series on the American Radio Theater), then click here for the MS Word file or click here for the PDF file. If you want to see any of the other scripts in DOC format, call us toll-free at 1-866-792-6728 and we'll talk about what you need, why you need it, script placement availabilities, etc.

Before You Write... Contact Us

Most of our scripts are prepared months before production, with the entire story line planned out weeks in advance. If you write your script without talking to us first, that's called a "spec" script, and we seldom purchase spec scripts. There are a number of reasons for that: One, we intend to honor Writers Guild (WGA) rules which prohibit soliciting spec scripts from WGA writers; and two, a spec writer usually doesn't know where we've taken the story line for our programs. How can s/he possibly know where we're going with our characters and stories merely by listening to our programs? By the time the program has aired, the story line is moving on to someplace else.

But if you insist on writing a spec script (not recommended, unless you are trying to show us that you've got what it takes to write a radio drama), then when you are ready to submit your writing sample, have your entertainment attorney or your literary agent attach it to an email sent to our submissions email address (don't you send it to us yourself): submissions@AmericanRadioTheater.com.

By submitting a spec script or any other story ideas or program ideas without our prior written consent, you are acknowledging that we may have a similar idea in development and that you have waived all rights to future compensation by us for your material, per our policy set forth above. Do not, ever, submit material to the American Radio Theater without having your entertainment attorney or your literary agent contact us first. Dare we repeat this: You must have your story ideas and scripts submitted by a literary agent or an entertainment attorney. We always return agent and attorney calls about new materials submissions promptly, usually the same day and sometimes within an hour or two of getting the call. Materials sent to us apart from an attorney or agent can take weeks for us to get to and will be dealt with according to our policy as set forth above, so... if you want to seriously be considered as a writer for the American Radio Theater, then use an agent or an entertainment attorney. If you do not have a literary agent, you might find one here.

Sample Scripts

You can download a sample American Radio Theater script: click here for the MS Word file or click here for the PDF file.


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