Radio Broadcast / Podcast – Planning and Producing

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Introduction:

Using a radio interview situation pupils will compare and contrast the opinions of peers to those of a politician or local decision maker. They will use a current event such as the refugee crisis as the mainstay of the debate. It is also possible to bring this activity into the Entrepreneur Activity by interviewing someone in the business community. This will allow an enrichment of the interview part of that task. Pupils will have the opportunity to visit and/or work with a local radio station. It may also be preferable to adapt the current class theme to use this form of presentation e.g. in a history lesson, the task could be to create a podcast to a student’s hero from the past or in a science lesson, students could address their podcasts to their favorite scientist.

Their resulting work will be made available as a podcast here.

Recording Software:

We recommend Audacity software for the recording of your podcast but there are many other options, including the excellent Garage Band. Instructions for using Audacity can be found here:

Using Audacity to create a Podcast – PDF

Using Audacity to create a Podcast – MSWord

Using Audacity to create a Podcast – Pages

Considerations:

  • Emerging technologies increase opportunities for individuals to publish their work and ideas.
  • Online publishing requires responsible, ethical behaviour.
  • Once something is published online, there is a strong possibility it cannot be retracted, even if the author deletes it.

Planning

In general, the format of a podcast is:

  • Welcome Message – Greet your listener and identify the name and purpose of your podcast.
  • Theme Music – A short piece of music could help set the tone for your podcast.
  • Preview – Tell listeners what to expect from your podcast.
  • Feature – The main content of the show.
  • Conclusion – The closing of your podcast. Outro music.

How to Plan Your Podcast:

Before you get started with your podcast, you need to make a few decisions.

  1. Listen to podcasts
    What makes them great and not so good?
    What are interesting topics and what will the world be interested in?
  2. Determine your goal. What’s the topic of your podcast?
    News report
    Poetry recital
    Excursion report
    Interview
    What curriculum outcomes will be satisfied?
  3. What’s the format of your podcast?
    Will the students be working individually or in groups?
    What segments do you want to do (e.g. tip of the day, reviews, breaking news, interviews etc.)?
    Weekly? Monthly?
    Will you just be talking or will you play music as well?
  4. How long will each episode be?
    Your podcast should be as long as it needs to be – make it long enough to serve its purpose, but not so long that you will bore or lose your listener. Usually between 3 minutes – 5minutes at most.
  5. How often are you going to release new shows?

Before recording, it’s a good idea to:

  • write an outline
  • collect any information you plan on using
  • create a folder and put all the audio clips you need in the one place on your computer.

Preproduction

Students need to keep their audience in mind:

  • Who will listen to the podcast?
  • Is it everyone in the school?
  • Is it parents?
  • Is it students in another class or of another age?

Determining who exactly the audience is should help focus the podcast.

The podcast will need a name. The more creative, the better!

In preproduction, you must also decide upon the format for the podcast:

  • Who will actually be heard in the recording?
  • Should you have a host? Multiple hosts? Multiple speakers?
  • What segments do you plan for the show?

Sample ideas and uses for a podcast:

  • Weekly classroom news broadcast
  • Document a field trip
  • Record a class discussion
  • Share book reviews
  • Conduct interviews
  • Review curricular content

When planning, consider the length of your podcast. This will be based on your content and audience. Keep podcasts to between 3 – 5 minutes.

If your podcast is involving an entire classroom of students, the teacher should find ways to involve everyone in preproduction. Some teachers have everyone pair up in class. The pairs all write segments. Then the pairs present the segments to the entire class. The teacher and students then select which segments should be included in the podcast. This way everyone is involved, the podcast gets the best segments, and the recording will be an appropriate length.

It’s really helpful for students to practice what they are going to say out loud to others.

Tips about writing podcasts:

  • Writing narration for a podcast is really about writing words for the ear. Use short sentences, but vary their length. Stick to one idea per sentence when possible. Make each new idea flow logically out of the previous one. Make sure your audio flows.
  • Check everything you write by reading it aloud. A sentence might look just fine on paper, but it could read awkwardly in the studio. Always check what you’ve written by reading to yourself aloud or preferable to someone else.
  • Write conversationally as if you were speaking to the one individual listening to you.
  • Use contractions and an informal tone. Don’t be afraid to use fragments or end your sentences with a preposition.
  • Make sure that all text can be easily understood and read aloud. The best way to test audio scripts is to read them out loud before attempting to record them.
  • Write everything the way someone would say it, not the way someone would read it. Write out symbols and abbreviations so the voice over talent will know what was meant to be read.
  • With numbers, write out one through nine. Use numerals for 10 through 999. Write out words like thousand and million. Use the appropriate combination of names and numerals for numbers like 22 million.
  • Write out names for symbols. When recording the audio, “dollars” is easier to read than $.
  • If an acronym or an abbreviation appears in a script, make sure that the full name appears first.
  • Audio scripts allow injection of personality into programs. Since the narrator is an actual person, writers can use inclusive terms like “we” or “our”, creating the illusion that the narrator is viewing the program along with the user. This makes the program much more alive and less dry. Such qualities always help to put the user at ease. Using the method, the narrator can act as an actual guide.

Podcast Script Templates

Podcast Script Template – MSWord

Podcast Script Template – Pages

Producing

Recording

If students have practiced what they are going to say, recording will be a much quicker process.

It’s best if students record short portions of audio at a time. Students then have less chance of messing up what they intend to say. When the portions are played right after another, the listener won’t realise that some things were recorded separately.

Record the introduction last for a couple of reasons:

  • First, recording last allows you to introduce exactly what will be in the podcast because it has already been recorded.
  • Second, students have had practice in front of the microphone and are more comfortable. They’ll record a much better introduction, and after all, the introduction should hook the listeners!

Postproduction

After recording, it’s time to edit the audio. You may not have recorded the audio in order, so the first priority is to make sure all audio is arranged properly. Also, clips can be trimmed to delete any unnecessary pauses or interruptions.

Music and sound effects can be added in postproduction. Audacity users cannot compose music within the software. If you use music, be sure it is “podsafe.”  Podsafe music is the term for music that can be legally used in a podcast and freely distributed online for others to download.

Refer to the music site bookmarks attached. Remember to give the artist credit for the music, if possible.

Once the recording is exactly as you want it, export the file as an MP3, making sure that the Tag ID information is entered (this describes the podcast).

Publishing

There are several different ways of publishing your podcasts:

  • The simplest way is to simply link to an audio file (mp3) from a web page
  • For other users to access your podcasts the podcast needs to be published on the internet.

Your teacher will advise you on this.

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