What’s in your radio news toolkit?

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Fox News Radio
When Fox News Radio’s Eben Brown arrives at the scene (anywhere), he’s ready to report.
Photo: Fox News Radio

Radio news is a combination of sound, speed and history. The best stories, whether live or recorded, take the listener to the scene of the news and tell a story, using the words of the reporter on the spot, the sound of the news or the words of a journalist.

Network radio reporters, reporters from large markets or broadcasters from small markets have a toolkit they can rely on to bring these stories to life for the listener.

Eben Brown’s voice is familiar to Fox News Radio listeners. Brown is a Miami-based national correspondent. You would expect him to be able to send a report wherever his mission takes him.

“I am responsible for the transport and use of my own equipment. Getting live from anywhere is something that I have often seen as my great strength as a radio reporter. One of my recurring nightmares is being sent to the field and not being able to send line-quality sound back to the original base.

Eben Brown, Fox News Radio
Eben Brown Photo: Fox News Radio

“For me, going live to phone-quality sound is a failure, even if it’s really the only option. With more and more people listening to our product via digital means or even with so many news / broadcasts stations migrating to FM, the sound of a POTS line can be shocking. So when I’m alone in the field, I take with me several options for getting high quality sound, live, in New York City. But it’s not just my mic that I want live. I want to be able to play my own recorded sound.

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Brown rolls with a Comrex Access NX, which allows connections via Ethernet or several cellular paths, and with a second entry, allows him to insert the news with his voice. He is also filing a copy of his live reporting in case the return line to the New York studios drops.

“Nothing is ever 100% foolproof, so filing a backup is always smart. “

It will use workarounds like Zoom or Skype or the smartphone if necessary, but these options will not allow it to insert the news. Recording this reality just got easier, with iOS-based apps like TwistedWave for short recordings. Brown uses TwistedWave, but brings out a digital audio recorder for longer press conferences.

“I would worry too much that a smartphone battery could die if it had to record 30 minutes of a conference. »His choice for microphones: A Shure SM58 and an Electro-Voice RE50.

While smartphone microphones sound great, there’s another reason Brown loves the stick microphone: “Getting close to complete strangers can be intimidating for both parties. I find having a neck pickup with a flag – and a famous network logo – is one way to showcase my good faith.

“If I say I’m a network reporter and try to record them only by holding a smartphone close to their face, they tend to doubt my sincerity or professionalism.

Field production for Brown is handled by a MacBook pro running Adobe Audition.

“Being dependent on Apple means that I can save something on my iPhone and drop the file onto my MacBook Pro. I can drop my own tracks into the MacBook via a microphone connected to IK Multimedia iRig. I can edit in Audition and return finished products to New York City via several non-industry-specific, non-industry-specific file transfer methods.

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He can also use the iPhone to do all of this, using an app called Ferrite, which is a multitrack editor that allows him to record and mix narration, natural sound and current events, and return the finished product. At New York.

John Sylvester, vice president of Fox News Radio, said: “FNR journalists like Brown have been granted remote access to Adobe Audition, Amazon Workspace, Slack, Zoom, iNews for editorial news writing and collection, and VPN access to our ENCO automated audio systems. In addition, we have provided various other tools and software applications.

“What is the most practical”
Michelle Wright reports for WSB radio in Atlanta, which airs on 95.5 FM and 750 AM.

“In my bag I have a laptop equipped with Adobe Audition for editing, a microphone, a Zoom recorder, a headset and a box that connects to the phone to do live remotes, an access point without wire and various charging cables for all of the above. electronics mentioned. And of course, my phone.

“I also still have the old-fashioned pen and journalist’s notebook for taking notes. Back in the Peachtree Street newsroom, NewsBoss software and email are used to process the reports.

KKHJ
This simple field kit helps KKHJ Radio educate its audience in American Samoa. Photo: KKHJ

Six thousand five hundred kilometers away, Joey Cummings is the director of operations for KKHJ (FM) radio in American Samoa.

“We have three full-time journalists. Of course, in a small market everyone is responsible for collecting news. As such, we all use what is most practical and comfortable in the field.

“If we’re trying to capture a speaker at a conference or meeting, we can’t always set up a full-size microphone. In this case we will use a small Sony or Olympus field recorder and slide it onto the table or lectern, ”he said.

“Otherwise, I like the Samson HXD1 wireless microphone. This connects to a small USB receiver. I usually connect it to my iPhone or iPad using the Apple USB to Lightning Adapter. For recording and editing in the field, I really like the TwistedWave Editor app. Best $ 10 I have ever spent on the App Store. Dropbox recovers files from A to B.

Radio World would like to share with readers how other stations and organizations have equipped their news kits to ensure redundancy, efficiency and versatility. Write to us at [email protected] to tell us what tools you use to collect, edit and send audio news. And don’t forget to include a photo of yourself using your gear.

Paul Kaminski, CBT, has been contributing to RW since 1997. He has reported for CBS News Radio, Associated Press, BBC World Service, CBC Radio and American Forces Radio. Twitter: msrpk_com.


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