So You Wanna Be A Radio Star?

OpenYourEars.ca is a generous, interesting project Tod has started:

Are you a Canadian writer? If so, you qualify to have your story featured here and produced for you for free as a podcast — no strings whatsoever!

If this podcast ever becomes a CBC radio show, you will be contacted to seek your permission to broadcast your story. You can always say no. If you give your permission, you will be paid for your story.

It takes a lot of work to produce a quality podcast or radio piece. Curing What Doesn’t Ail You is an excellent example of Tod’s work. Ask Phillip, who doesn’t even have the professional equipment Tod probably has. Getting Snipped: the Podcast is a good example of Phillip’s work, I think. Phillip?

Now, to write a story…

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2 Responses to So You Wanna Be A Radio Star?

  1. Phillip says:

    “Getting Snipped” was fun and frustrating to make. I decided to record Jody’s ‘getting snipped’ experience, but I didn’t have a portable mini-disc recorder, so I just used the built-in mic on my DV camcorder — which is actually not a bad mic. There was no planning involved. I decided to do it at the last minute and just recorded everything. I wanted to get as many sounds as I could. I don’t know how to interview people, but even if I did, Jody was hardly what you’d call forthcoming. I couldn’t get anything out of him. That was frustrating. Someone who actually TALKS can make the interview, the short doc, the podcast, whatever. Jody didn’t talk, so that sucked. Caitlyn, on the other hand, was great. She wasn’t too interested in answering my questions, and I didn’t have enough time to get good tape of her, but she was nevertheless the best part of the whole thing. What I really wanted to do was go into the doctor’s office with Jody during ‘the procedure.’ Now THAT would have clinched it. But Jody said no. I could have just given him the camera recording already, and all he would have had to do was sit the camera down somewhere pointed in his general direction and then forget about it. That would have given me great tape. But nope. So I really didn’t have a whole lot to work with, and I personally didn’t have much of a story to tell. But just for the fun of it, as an exercise, I went home and transferred the audio into my PC, then began to edit and mix things together using a ‘borrowed’ copy of CoolEdit Pro (now called Adobe Audition), which I’d never used before, nor had any training on. I also recorded some narration. Editing and mixing using CoolEdit was the fun part. Frustrating again because I knew I didn’t really have anything, but if you listen carefully to the podcast, you might notice that it’s packed with sounds. Train sounds, hospital sounds, family sounds, exterior and interior sounds. All that was carefully chosen, timed, edited and mixed in. Creating that soundscape was fun. And that’s about all I got out of it. I wouldn’t do anything like that again unless I knew I had a good chance of pulling something together, and I would have to have it planned out as much as possible while still leaving room for spontaneous moments. Now, if I just had an idea…

    Recording a podcast worth listening to takes a lot of work. Having some good recording equipment on hand helps, as does I’m sure willing and forthcoming participants — if it requires the participation of others. But I think the best podcasts come from people who are simply natural at it. No slick radio personalities, but just real personalities. THAT’s what comes out on tape, what makes the tape. Get someone with personality, and they could be talking about strange names they read in the phonebook, and you’ll have good tape. Whenever I’m forced to go to the mall to go to the movies, for instance, which is not too often, I go to a sandwich place in the food court first. And I always take a seat with my sandwich behind these old guys who must hang out in the food court all day, because they’re always there whenever I go to the movies. I sit behind these guys, I would say in their 70s and 80s, eat my sandwhich and listen to them talk. And I’m telling you, man, these old men from Newfoundland sure know how to tell a story. And again, it doesn’t matter what they’re talking about; everything they say is a story, packed with character and personality. I’d love to stick a tape recorder on the table with those guys over lunch sometime. I’d get enough to make 20 podcasts. Personality goes a long way. And having something to say. I don’t much of either of those, so I doubt I’ll posting any podcasts anytime soon.

    Still, some of the best podcasts just sort of happen. You record something but you don’t consciously do it as a podcast. Deliberately recording a podcast is no fun. Or at least sometimes that how it goes. It certainly is with me. If I’m putting together something that requires a lot of editing and mixing, then, yeah, some level of planning doesn’t hurt. But if I just want to record something off the floor requiring no post-production or editing, then NO PLAN IS A GOOD PLAN. Winging it makes it real. Or at least sometimes that’s how it goes.

    Anyway, I’ve gone on long enough. Jody can post this comment as a seperate post if he wants to. See ya.

  2. Phillip says:

    I just listened to the “Getting Snipped” podcast. I can’t stand it. I was trying too hard to sound like someone on the CBC. The resulting narration is sounds completely unnatural to me. Blah.

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