Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll
Blood, Sweat & Fun
By Ken Deutsch
Here’s a fun fact: each episode of Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll takes more than 40 hours to put together! That equates to about one hour of work for each minute of a podcast episode. In simplified terms, here’s our basic production flow, a process that is constantly going on as several shows are in various stages of production at any one time.
Choosing Program Themes
Radio Dave usually originates the show concepts, as each podcast has a unifying theme. However, suggestions come in frequently from listeners around the world, as well as our spouses, families, and friends – and occasionally from me, too!
Once he has the idea for a show he searches his music archives looking for the perfect records and stories to fit the topic. Radio Dave owns hundreds of thousands of albums, singles, CDs and electronic files from which to choose, and he also has an extensive collection of books about music. Often he finds that information supplied by a source is inaccurate, so he has to double-check every item to make sure that what goes into the final script is factual. (His day job is law professor – go figure.)
From that point a script is written, again by “RD the DJ,” and he sends it to me to look over and make suggestions, some of which he actually takes! He also sends me the music he wants to use that is technically less than perfect. I own audio editing software (Izotope RX-5) that can remove scratches from records, fix equalization, and get rid of distortion and background noise. Even though we often spotlight obscure music on the podcast, we want it to sound as good as possible. Thank goodness for the Internet because it allows us to cooperatively edit scripts, share music files, and communicate show ideas rapidly.
Recording The Show
Now it’s time to make that script come alive, and that’s done in Radio Dave’s recording studios in Longboat Key or Chicago, depending on where he is at the time. He voices his scripts through a microphone designed especially for podcasts, recording his tracks into Audacity, a popular software package.
Of course when anyone reads a script, there are good takes (which need to be kept) and bad takes (which are edited out). After the basic editing is done on his computer, Radio Dave will ship me the edited voice segments using a free online service called WeTransfer (www.WeTransfer.com). I will then process them to make sure the voice is a consistent level throughout the show, and I can also remove clicks, pops and “plosives,” which are the sounds you hear when someone says a “B” or “P” too close to the microphone. I then ship the processed voice tracks back to Radio Dave and he adds the music montages, sound effects and jingles in the right spots.
Launching Each Show Into Cyberspace
Now the show is coming together. But it’s still not on the Internet yet in a form that you can download. It still must be converted from a WAV file to a 320 Kbps bit rate MP3, and then ultimately to a 128 Kbps bit rate MP3. And there’s still more to do. Each program must be encoded with “ID3 tags” [a/k/a metadata]. This adds the title and detailed description of the specific show, the R&RNR logo graphic, and various other information that podcast directories require. Next, each program is uploaded to the R&SRNR page at our RSS (“really simple synication”) provider, Libsyn (www.Libsyn.com), so it can be transmitted to the podcast directories that feature R&SRNR. This involves filling out additional information for Libsyn and adding the R&SRNR graphic again – a process that’s similar to the “ID3” tagging mentioned earlier. At last, the show is good to go, and the schedule for the RSS release world-wide is set. As R&SRNR continues to evolve, we’ve adopted a schedule of new shows on the 1st and 15th of every month.
We’re Playin’ What You’re Sayin’
So from a few rough ideas to a final show ready for downloading, Rare & Scratchy Rock ‘N Roll has completed the journey, and it’s ready for you to enjoy. We appreciate all our listeners and remind you that we would love to hear from you! You can be a part of the process by emailing us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.