Posts Tagged ‘ audio ’

Trial Radio Piece: What Happens to the Foliage in Fall?

Here’s another practice work sample 🙂

Fall in Potsdam
Intro: The leaves turn brown, there’s no denying fall any longer. Could be a very pretty scene, if it wasn’t for all the foliage on the streets and sidewalks. That can be pretty annoying. So I went out in Potsdam to find out what happens to all the foliage. Continue reading

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How to prepare yourself for your first radio story (with Resources)

Getting Radio Active

Ever wondered why they call it "sound bite"?

Ever wondered why they call it “sound bite”?

There are various reasons people get annoyed by me, but the one I am most proud of: I ask too many questions.

I can’t help it, I’m  curious. I want to know how things work, why people do what they do the way they do it. Or sometimes just: what they do!

Do you know how radio news production works?  Continue reading

Small and Cozy Beats Commercialized

Seattle’s Coffee Culture Examined

Coffee makes Seattle go - but Seattlelitles like it cozy. ©pc britz

Coffee makes Seattle go - but Seattlelitles like it cozy. ©pc britz

For my latest audio story, I have explored Seattle’s coffee culture.
My goal was initially to tell the story of struggling coffee shops in the economic situation. While I worked on the story the focus shifted. I found it more interesting to focus on the the different kinds of coffee culture (global-commercial v. local-communal) and to show why people prefer “The Local” over Starbucks.

Continue reading

Getting Ready for the Future: Introduction to Digital Audio and Photo

Mark Briggs breaks modern news reporting down to the basics

Journalism 2.0 is a book for “old” journos who want to get their foot in the door of the digital world, but also for youngsters (like me), who are growing up in the digital age and want to use these tools on their way into the professional world. He introduces his readers to new forms of news gathering as well as producing.

In Chapter 7, he focuses on Digital Audio and podcasts, giving an introduction into the variety of recorders and editing programs. He also gives general hints on what you might want to avoid when recording or how you get most out of your recording.

Know your digital equipment to get the story out as fast as possible! ©pc britz

Know your digital equipment to get the story out as fast as possible! ©pc britz


In Chapter 8, Briggs introduces Digital Photography and photo management. As a photographer, this chapter feels inadequate to me. On the other hand, all the other chapters are equally short, which makes me question how much I am missing on the blogging and audio (or video, Chapter 9). This is a reminder that the book is just an introduction to all these fields.

One thing I take away from Chapter 8: Gimp is a free online program supposed to work like PhotoShop. I will have to check that out.

What Makes a Good Audio Story?

Usually, I can hardly get myself to listen to audio stories at all. I have heard too many radio shows with boring and monotone interviews. Unlike a text, you can’t skip a few pages of radio and although podcasts have made this possible, I am still having a hard time on it.

Edited May 12th 2013: A lot has happened since. Most important: I discovered NPR Radio, especially “This American Life,” an incredible radio show / podcast that is capturing, vivid and a great insight to American culture!

I have found three stories revolving around Mexico that I consider to be good audio stories. Let’s see what makes a good podcast:

This podcast was created by two Mexican girls at the Youth Radio LA and deals with life at the US-Mexican border. The piece is not only varied, but it actively indludes and refers to sounds that were recorded. It uses both natural and ambient sound to give an idea of the border life.

The Independent‘s very excited travel editor Simon Calder reports from his trip through the Yucatan and Mayan culture and makes it an adventure to listen. He describes the ancient ruins with their “crumbling limestones” and gives a very vivid image. Besides his very enthusiastic voice-over he uses natural sounds such as drums for a ceremony and water splashing when he is on a boat. He also has interviews (unfortunately NONE of them are originally in Spanish) and uses ambient sounds.
One issue I have on this story: I have been to Chichén Itza where Calder goes. When he talks about the great pyramid, he claims to stand right in front of it. In the background we hear the sound of jungle birds that we have heard earlier. However, there are no trees close enough to the pyramid that could have these birds. I suspect he has recorded those around the Cenote and then put them under the pyramid part, because it made it sound more exotic.

My last example of a good podcast is not a “story” as one would expect it. It is really only an interview of a band called Blind Pilot – two guys from Oregon who took a bike tour down to Mexico. However – and this is incredible considering my low patience with audio interviews – it is not a boring. It makes the interview quite a story in itself. What is nice about “Hugging the Highway” is for one that the bands own songs play sometimes in the foreground, sometimes in the background and establish a very relaxed mood that allows you to listen to the music if you get tired of the talk and then catches you back at some point. The other thing is – once again – the engaging voice of the narrator.

Bottom Line:
A good audio story is hard for me to find both on radio and the internet.
Stories that are pleasant to listen to often use music or pleasant ambient to establish a mood.
The narrators are enthusiastic and engaging.
Most of the times, interviews are fairly short giving rather a variety of statements than soliloquies.
As for natural sounds, they are hard to find, but can enhance the ambient sounds by giving more authenticity to the scene.