In my college days I did a blues radio show for three years with my roommate. Grinnell College, in the middle of an Iowa corn field, had a radio station that could be heard for maybe five miles in any given direction. Our first time slot was from midnight to 3 a.m.; a time slot I think we even picked, or at least one from which we did not exclude ourselves for consideration.
Three years later, as we graduated, we found between the two of us we had recorded almost all of each of the shows we put together. We bought blank cassettes, 60 or 90 minutes to a side, and made sure to slide to the remote tape deck in the corner when we heard the “ca-chunk” of the machine as it ran out of tape, missing 20 seconds of the show as we turned the tape over and pressed the record button again.
It was the experience that introduced me to radio and, more than 20 years later, helped give me the courage to go back on air with “Oh Oberlin.”
I’m not playing blues music now, except as emergency fill in such as when, three weeks ago I struggled with the WOBC phone system during my tribute show to Everett Tyree. Now, I am talking to Oberlin residents about their experiences, and I have this blog, and I have the ability to digitally record the shows so they can be loaded to YouTube for sharing again and again ….. when everything works out right.
And for four out of five shows, it has.
I have this computer set up and I open the “Listen Live” window on WOBC’s website before I leave for the show. I use the program Audacity to record it, meaning that I also have to open that program and press the record button before leaving for the station. Doing those two things has, four out of five times, left me with an audio file that I convert ultimately into a file type OK for posting on YouTube.
The cassette recording wasn’t much simpler than that, but my lower expectation for what I would do with the recording afterward made whatever failure less critical.
Yesterday, after two Saturdays off while Oberlin College was closed for spring break, I had Oberlin City Councilwoman Sharon Pearson on the show to talk about community benefits agreements. I left home with the two programs running necessary to record the show. It might have been a rather academic show compared to others, but we ended up driving at the importance of civic engagement. There can never be enough of that.
Arriving home, though, I found the recording had stopped minutes before my show had even started. So there will be no recording of the show on YouTube this week, and I am looking for advice on how to build a better mousetrap.
I am open to ideas for recording and am not afraid of technology if it means trying something new. I would even enjoy running the show as a podcast, sitting in front of the computer and WATCHING IT RECORD as I go, then playing it during my slot on WOBC. There’s a price for that, buying space on WordPress.com, to host those files, but I’m not against it if it’s a good solution.
I’m open to your feedback and will fill in links on this post later.
Pete, what are you using for a phone? It’s very possible you can find something that will record on your cell phone while you’re in the studio that will save you the worry about something at home turning off and on while your not present to monitor it. Most programs can be forced to save to a SD card if you don’t have enough room.