How to make great radio on a shoestring budget using Audioboo and Airtime Pro.
Technology is opening up broadcast to a new wave of radio producers and presenters. Audioboo’s Kate Arkless Gray (of RadioKate.com and SpaceKate.com) takes us through the revolution and shows how new online services like Airtime Pro and Audioboo open up the spectrum to everyone.
Times they are a-changing, and you know what? It's brilliant. It's a really exciting time to be a content creator if you're prepared to embrace the future.
Gone are the days when radio was the sole preserve of large public broadcasters like the BBC. You don't need expensive hardware and proprietary radio automation systems to be a broadcaster these days. Technology is evolving so you no longer need to wrestle with a cumbersome satellite kit to send your dispatches back to the studio, nor do you have to be a computer whizz to make your mark on the internet.
The best bit is, you don't even need to be rich! Here's a small guide on how you can use a free service like Audioboo and cloud-hosted open source software like Airtime Pro to create a full operational radio newsroom on a shoestring budget.
So don't get stuck in the past – see how new technology can help you!
Take advantage of new tools
BEFORE: Big broadcasters ruled the airwaves
NOW: The proliferation of the internet means there's space for everyone. Services like Airtime Pro allow you to set up a 24 hour broadcast station in minutes, while a free service like Audioboo lets you record or upload your content to the internet and share it with the world.
Be first with the story
BEFORE: (True story) Peer out of window, while feeling unwell and notice a Cambridge college is on fire. Dash out with minidisc recorder and snag the first interview with the incident commander. Ignore illness to run a mile up a hill to the radio studio and physically hand them the disc hoping you'll still have the scoop.
NOW: No need to handover a hard copy of the interview disc, you can share your audio quickly and simply online. Recording in a digital format means there's no need to waste time dubbing things off tapes. Airtime Pro's easy scheduling then lets you add the new audio into your news show and the scoop is yours!
Get audio to the newsroom fast
BEFORE: Expensive satellite kits needed to send audio back from the field (so long as you could find a clear place to set up and lock onto a signal!)
NOW: Simply use the free Audioboo app on your smartphone to record interviews, reports or ambient sound, then click publish and watch as it uploads via 3G or wifi to be picked up by the newsroom and scheduled as part of your automated Airtime Pro broadcast.
Give audio a life after broadcast
BEFORE: Radio was broadcast and then your hard work was lost into the ether.
NOW: Audio can be stored and shared online so that radio gems or packages you've spent ages working on can be shared on social media platforms and enjoyed way past the original date of broadcast.
Use social media to further your reach
BEFORE: You collected lots of interesting material, more that you needed for the three minute package you'd been commissioned to do. Despite thinking you should do more with it, maybe start a podcast, you didn't know how to get your audio onto the internet, without paying lots of money.
NOW: Why let good audio go to waste? With tools like Audioboo you can upload audio to your account, share it with social media sites like Facebook and Twitter, and embed it in your blog. You can also submit it to iTunes, and it really is as easy as clicking "upload". Podcasting does not have to be painful. Use this new technology to drive visitor's to your stations website and stream!
Five tips for a better 'boo
If any of that sounds good to you then read on! I'm going to share some top tips in making the most of your audio.
Firstly, sign up for a free account with Audioboo and have a play! You'll get three minutes of recording time per boo, and an unlimited number of boos. (Our Plus and Pro services give you longer record times and a host of other features aimed at broadcasters.) You can record or upload via the website (audioboo.fm) or use our free app to record from your phone.
1. Personalise your account. With all your station's social media assets you must always make sure that it is clear to the audience that it's an offical account, and not someone pretending to be you (this is also important to ensure your brand integrity).
2. Create rich content. Add a photo, catchy headline and tags to your Audioboo to give context and increase the chances it will be found. If you're using Audioboo on a smartphone you can also enable geolocation, which means it is easy to plot your content on a map.
3. Share, share, share! Once you've made content that's worth shouting about, shout about it! Perhaps it's a great clip from a live programme that you want to share on Twitter and Facebook, or maybe it's an exclusive interview. Whatever that gem is, make sure people know about it! You can use our free embeddable players to include audio on your website, (eg include it in news stories) set your account to auto-post to Twitter, Facebook and more to spread the word.
4. Paint a picture. When you're out on location, take note of the sounds you can hear. Why wait until you're back at the studio to tell the story? Use our phone app to record a report in situ (without the worry of calling attention to yourself with a broadcast mic) and capture some of those incredible sounds.
5. Training. To be a great radio reporter takes practice. The more you get in the habit of telling stories, conducting interviews, painting pictures with your words, the better. Once your trainees have been taught the basics, encourage them to record stories, practice "as-live" pieces and on-the-scene reporting with the world as their audience. The feedback and practice will help them grow.