The Cheat Sheet - February 1996

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by Flip Michaels

SURF THE NET!

Yeah, yeah. You've heard it before but I'll say it again: SURF THE NET! What are waiting for? "I'm downloading audio samples, converting them to AIIF file formats, and upgrading the quality to 44.1 kHz...using them in promos on KISS 108," says self-described 'Radio Production Type' Jeff Berlin, WXKS-FM/Boston. "KISS 108 is giving away a trip to LA for a taping of Friends. Need to make a promo. Lo and behold, a Web site (from Buffalo) with several dozen very funny drop-ins from said TV show! No need to watch TV! (Of course, as you would point out, there are licensing issues to be concerned about. I'll steal a sample of Friends only because it's being used to promote the show directly.) I once downloaded some great, weird industrial jolts from a Web site in Ireland. I then e-mailed the site, complimenting them on their work and asked permission to use them, knowing they were creators of the sounds."

surf-the-netOkay, so that's just one jaded opinion, right? Wrong. Prod-Pro "Tuna" Jon Rose, WBYR-FM, Fort Wayne, IN, surfs several times a week: "Checking out sites from Dick Orkin, David Lawrence, and other radio pros." He adds, "It helps inject another aspect of creativity into this feeble grey matter of mine."

Tom Anthony of WJQI/WFOG, Norfolk, VA, works for a company which has yet to take a step into the realm of digital production. "I learned how to do digital editing on a shareware program I downloaded to my home computer free from my on-line service. If you think your job will always simply involve audio on the air...better check out where audio is going on the net." Wow! He did it on his own budget, his own time! Now it's a personal investment. "On a free-lance note, I sent my voice-over rate card out this week to a few old friends and clients around the country. You guessed it, e-mail! The best part is that when the GM has a computer question, he asks me first. I don't always know the answers...but I would much rather be asked first than not considered computer savvy!"

Do you feel technologically inadequate at meetings? Do your techie friends point and laugh at you? Then get access to the Net. "The Internet puts a vast library of sounds at your fingertips. Usually, the quality is marginal, but converting the sample rate to 44.1 kHz can really enhance the sound. I use SoundDesigner II from Digidesign to do the job," adds Jeff in Boston. Tom in Norfolk typed in his e-mail reply to me: "First off, I'm being quoted in a highly respected national magazine because I was on your list of production professionals with e-mail addresses. Let's not overlook the obvious." Very true, indeed. E-mail is still by far the most popular use of the Internet. For example, to get the weekly scoop from the NAB, just e-mail them your full name and electronic address to: online@nab.org and you'll get the latest on the NAB like how they have just joined with the Century Council, Boys and Girls Clubs of America, as well as other national groups and thirty-eight members of Congress to support "Ready or Not: Talking with Kids about Alcohol." To obtain the PSA...you'll need only hit the reply button. It's that easy!

"I'm composing dozens of eloquent responses to mail I've been getting from people I previously only heard once a year in the form of a Christmas card," says Jeff. "The novelty has worn off a bit, and I now approach the Internet as a practical form of communication." Enough said.

THE AUDIOBAHN HAS ARRIVED!

Just as the Net grows, so does the list of ISDN users worldwide. ISDN-what? (Check out next month's Cheat Sheet). For those of you who do use it, your Zephyr can be on the latest e-mail list of broadcasters and sound studios with dial-up audio. Each addressee has agreed to be listed so as to be called when you need a facility for newsfeeds, remotes, audio transfers...you get the idea. All services are optional, and the fees are negotiated between the parties involved. Jay Rose's Digital Playroom (a commercial/promo facility in Boston) maintains the list as a public service to the radio community. There's no charge to be on it, just e-mail Jay at jerose@dplay.com for more information and he'll get you in the loop.

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