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Freelance Reporter Explains How Radio Is Made

Cyrus Farivar in his home studio (from his flickr stream).

Cyrus Farivar in his home studio (from his flickr stream).

Cyrus Farivar is a freelance radio journalist who files stories for programs like PRI’s the World and NPR’s Morning Edition. On his blog he recently posted a breezy and clear explanation of his process for pitching, recording and editing a radio news piece.

As someone who produces an independent weekly radio program on the cheap, I was surprised to learn that Farivar uses the same method for some phone interviews that I do–Skype and software that records the Skype audio:

I use Skype for all my radio-related calls and Audio Hijack Pro to record the sound, which conveniently splits it up into two tracks. Sometimes, many of my interview subjects are tech-savvy and have Skype installed themselves, which can sound quite good.

Since I have access to a studio at WNUR and prefer to do live interviews whenever possible, these days I only use the Skype method when I have to work from home or otherwise can’t make it into the studio.

I appreciate it when media makers take a moment to pull back the curtain and reveal the methods and tools they use to create their magic. I’m certain most public radio listeners never imagine that the reporter they’re hearing is standing in his closet to record his voice tracks like Farivar does. That’s the amazing thing about radio. Because it really is the theater of the mind created only with sound, you don’t need sophisticated production tricks like you would need for TV. All you need is a microphone and a really good story.


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