Guide to editing classic podcast episodes for radio broadcast on the Freedom Feens

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FeenzEditClassic(This is the kind of stuff I do all day every day for the Feens, for free. Like writing this tech doc for co-hosts. Like editing 50 Ben Stone episodes. So please donate if you can.)

Nick and CJ:

OK, First, please only edit your best-sounding episodes with the best content. Don’t bother with interviews done over a cell phone that sound like crap. Don’t bother with stuff that isn’t up to Feens standards. And please don’t bother with interviews with someone who hems and haws and stammers or sounds boring, even if the audio is good.

Non-interviews are best, but if you have interview shows that have good audio and good content and good delivery from the other person, that can work.

Out of a few hundred episodes of Bad Quaker, I only edited 50 for radio. Your ratio may be better, Ben was figuring out how to do audio before I met him and taught him, and a lot of his first many podcasts didn’t sound good.

Second, THERE CAN BE NO CUSSING. zero. There really isn’t a full inclusive list of words you can’t say, but basically it’s “Don’t include anything that you wouldn’t say to your square 80 year old grandma.”

Obviously, you can’t use “Carlin’s 7 words”, i.e. Shit, Piss, Fuck, Cunt, Cocksucker, Motherfucker, Tits, but also don’t include “goddamn” “faggot” “nigger”(I can type that now instead of “The N-word”, since I found out from my DNA test I’m part black) and “tranny.” Not that y’all say any of this on your show, but I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention this. I don’t want FCC fines (which can be six figures), and more likely, I don’t wanna get kicked off stations or kicked off GCN and radio.

Ben Stone NEVER cussed on his show, so I didn’t even have to listen to every second when editing. You’re mileage may vary. Don’t get me kicked off radio.

I included a censor beep at the end of those liner files I sent you. You can replace any cussing with that if you need to. (If it won’t work to just cut it out completely, with the entire short section the cussing is in cut. That is really what you should do if there’s cussing. Implied cussing can even get us kicked off stations. Most station owners are VERY conservative right-wing Christians.)

Also, don’t include for broadcast anything that denigrates any hosts on our network (including Alex Jones). Because doing that can get me kicked off the network, even if it’s you doing it, not me. If I allow it, I’m responsible for it. And obviously, don’t have any slander.

TECHNICAL ISSUES
Shows edited from saved WAVs are going to sound better than if all you have is an MP3. If you want to keep getting your shows on radio for a long time, you might consider saving your good episodes as WAVs, not just as MP3s. I have a hard drive specifically for saving WAVs of Feens episodes, I have WAVs of all 900+ episodes. This is nearly a terabyte. I started keeping them like this even before we got on radio. I did it in case someone at some point comes up with a better file format than MP3, and it gets wide adoption, then I could auto-re-encode all my episodes.

If all you have is MP3s, that will work. But I’d highly recommend saving the WAVs of the good episodes going forth.

Talk radio is broadcast in Mono. So if you provide WAVs to me, Mono is fine, this will be half the file size of stereo. FTPing even one whole episode of WAVs takes over an hour.

If you provide MP3s to me, it doesn’t matter, stereo MP3s are the same file size as mono MP3s, all other things the same.

Since Nick has spotty Internets, I’m assuming he’ll be providing MP3s for me to send to GCN. 256 K will be much better sounding than 128 K, and will not be nearly as big as WAVs.

That’s joint stereo, 256k bit rate, 16-bit bit depth, 44.1k sampling rate.

If you can send me WAVs, CJ, they should be Mono, 16-bit, 44.1k sampling rate.

Both these criteria (for WAV and for MP3 export) should be the default of Audacity if you haven’t changed it. I’ll let you know when you FTP me your first sample test. And I’ll provide you with my FTP upload credentials for the Feens drop box when you’re ready. (The drop box is for Feens collaborators only, and you can only upload, there are no permissions to delete anything.)

GCN (and all broadcast radio) REQUIRES FILES OF A SPECIFIC VOLUME AND LENGTH:

Volume:
Volume is basically all one volume, and normalized to -10Db. Here’s a screenshot of un-normalized audio (on the left), and the exact same audio I’ve normalized for broadcast (on the right.):

normal

Here’s some even more extreme normalizing, which is perfect, and how I like it and how GCN likes it, but it can be difficult to do without getting distortion. It’s easy in SoundForge, but hard in Audacity:

extream normal

I also normalize like this for Feens MP3s, which is why our show is so loud and of an even volume. You basically want it as loud (and even) as possible without distorting at all.

SoundForge is a much better program than audacity.

In Audacity, go to Effect / Normalize, and set to 0 dB. (I use -10Db in SoundForge, but it measures Db differently than Audacity. You may have to experiment in Audacity to get it right.)

Search “normalize” on this page:
http://feenphone.com/?page_id=1123

I wrote a little more about it there.

You’ll want to normalize your talk stuff, but don’t need to normalize the In and Out liners, I already normalized them.

LENGTHS:
Each two-hour show is 8 segments. These are the EXACT lengths they need to be:

(Hour One):
Segment 1: 12 minutes and 59 seconds
Segment 2: 5 minutes and 59 seconds
Segment 3: 12 minutes and 59 seconds
Segment 4: 5 minutes and 49 seconds

(Hour Two):
Segment 5: 12 minutes and 59 seconds
Segment 6: 5 minutes and 59 seconds
Segment 7: 12 minutes and 59 seconds
Segment 8: 5 minutes and 49 seconds

They CANNOT be any shorter than that, even by 1/1000th of a second. They can be a little over, but shouldn’t be more than 1/10th of a second over.

Each segment should open with one of those “In” liners and close with one of those “Out” liners. I wouldn’t bother randomizing them, I’d just go right through the file for each segment. i.e, copy the first one in the file into the first segment, the second one in the file into the second segment, for both In and Out. When you run out, start over.

Cut out any b.s. that isn’t timely or doesn’t advance the flow of the show. With Ben Stone, I did leave in his “This Ben Stone and this is Bad Quaker podcast number 86, the date is January 6, 2013.”

But then I’d chop out what followed, the five to ten minutes where he’d give announcements, talk about his web forum (which no longer even exists), talk about upcoming events etc. That stuff is going to be boring to people listening on the radio. After the In intro, leave a half second or a second of empty space, then jump right in.

Don’t be afraid of space between an intro and the podcast, or between the podcast and the outro. A half second to a second is good, but don’t go over two seconds. And remember, on radio, six seconds of space literally sets off alarms at the studio and at some radio stations, so NEVER do that.

TIME COMPRESSION
To get the segments to fit the exact time, I’d often do software time compression.

In Audacity it’s Effect / Change Tempo.

This changes the length of the file, but not the pitch. Though too much will make it sound unnatural. What is “too much” depends on the file, but it’s usually plus or minus 10 % to 20 %. Your mileage may vary.

Usually I chop in an intro, chop in some talk, chop in an outro for a segment, then get it close to the correct length, with the segment ending with something that sounds like a natural stopping point.

Then I time compress to get it very close to the correct length, then add or remove fractions of a second of silence at the start and end to get it the perfect length.

Don’t worry about ending a show sort of in the middle of a story or whatever, that kinda works on radio because people listen while driving or whatever and often don’t hear a whole show. If you end in the middle of a podcast, just pick it up in the same place with the next one you edit. This is basically just about getting more liberty into the ears of people who would likely never find us on the Internet.

FILE NAMES
They should have no spaces and should follow this convention:
Feens-AnYak-Sun-Jul-10-Segement-1.mp3
Feens-AnYak-Sun-Jul-10-Segement-2. mp3
Feens-AnYak-Sun-Jul-10-Segement-3. mp3
etc.

Or
Feens-CJ-Sun-Jul-10-Segement-1.wav
Feens-CJ-Sun-Jul-10-Segement-2.wav
Feens-CJ-Sun-Jul-10-Segement-3.wav
etc.

Here’s what the file names of one of my episodes of Ben’s show looks like edited:

episode file names

Once we get these shows sounding good and properly edited, I’ll have y’all divvy up as many dates as you want, and you’ll have set dates for them like that. You can do as much or as few as you want, but will need to stick to what you agree to. Two shows a month each would be perfect, if you can swing that. More would be stellar, and even one a month would be helpful. But two a month would be great.

If you want to edit some that are not for a set date, we can work with that too. The file names would be like this:

Feens-CJ-Anytime1-Segement-1.wav
Feens-CJ-Anytime1-Segement-2.wav
Feens-CJ-Anytime1-Segement-3.wav
etc.

or
Feens-AnYak-Anytime1-Segement-1.mp3
Feens-AnYak-Anytime1-Segement-2.mp3
Feens-AnYak-Anytime1-Segement-3.mp3
etc.

….with the “Anytime1” being unique for that show, and the next “anytime” episode you produce would be “Anytime2”, etc.

I’d use ’em when needed, and I’d change the file names to a specific date before I upload them to GCN.

THE THE PLAN
If either of you really start kicking ass with this and consistently producing perfect files, I’d give you the info to upload to GCN yourself. But until then, I’d have you upload to me, I’ll check them, then upload myself to GCN and let them know.

Here’s a list of stations we’re currently on.

Your episodes will air on radio sometimes on Saturday, and sometimes on Sunday. They will also simulcast on LRN and on GCN streaming.

GOING FORTH
So basically what y’all should next do is produce one short segment, like a segment two, and let me know when you have it. I’ll give you the drop box FTP info and check it and we’ll proceed from there.

Thank you for your service!

Worms.

MWD

1 response to "Guide to editing classic podcast episodes for radio broadcast on the Freedom Feens"

  1. By: Dave Posted: December 11, 2016

    What version of Sound Forge are you using in this and the 20-min Audio guide?

    The normalize menu I have does not have all the options as yours. Also if I set it to normalize to -10db it seems to have the opposite effect that yours shows in the visual wave. It lowers all the volume and cuts off the lounder parts instead of raising the lower volume.

    Thanks for your service.

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