Here you should be able to find all the resources you’ll need for Professor Anne Donohue’s courses at Boston University.

Online Radio Newsroom, JO 435/712,  is a deadline radio newsroom production class.  Students produce a live half hour newscast on the student radio station, WTBU  as well as provide online content and social media content for

Narrative Radio, JO 519, is about longer form story telling with sound and audio slideshows. Student work in often broadcast on professional public radio outlets, such as WBUR in Boston or New Hampshire Public Radio.


How To: Audacity Basics

HELP: drop down = really easy to follow manua

1. Insert SD card into card reader

2. File: Import: Audio, find SD card from card reader
Audio File opens on screen.

3. Tools on top bar:
I = selector tool, drag, cut, copy, paste what you want onto an empty track

(To make a new track, TRACKS: new)

Magnifier = zoom in to make more precise edit.

Two sideways arrows = move selection up and down the timeline

FADES:  This determines professional from novice. USE FADES WITH EVERY EDIT!)
1. Two triangles = fade  or drop/increase volume (to remove dots, drag them right off the timeline and they’ll disappear.

2. OR…..Effect: Utility: fade in, fade out.

Edit: Undo if you don’t like it, try it again

Mute/solo tracks to listen to only one track at a time, or to mute the junk track

LISTEN! Is fade too long, too short. Are levels even between various elements?
When finished, highlight only the selection you want to export.

FILE: export SELECTION: as mp3

Producer Check List

Producer Check List

When you arrive, turn the TV on to CNN and check the following sites for news that might go into the rundown:

AP wire, especially MA DAYBOOK and AP Prime Cuts to see what tape you have.
Boston Globe
Boston Herald
The Boston Channel
The Daily Free Press
BU Today

Put the stories in the order you think they belong on the blackboard.
Weave Student packages into rundown.
Determine which stories (ideally all) you can get tape on: from Prime Cuts, from phone calls, from spot reporter.
Try to spread tape around so there are not big blocks of just newscaster copy.

Job Descriptions


Producer – Week before class: Will communicate with host, field reporters and commentators to find out what stories they are pursuing the week before, and/or assign stories for them to do. Producer will edit all copy done by field reporters and commentators.
Day of Show: Listens to a variety of radio and TV throughout the day to know what tape is available. Reads the papers, BU Today, Free Press and arrives in classroom at 8:30 a.m., checks AP search: DAYBOOK for local events, AP feed for national tape, and posts a rundown in the computer and/or on the blackboard. Rundown will indicate what stories will be covered, who will report them, who will write them, how long they will be, and the source of what tape will be in each story. Producer will assign times to each story. Producer will constantly check wires to make sure we are not missing any breaking news or changes in stories. Should get TV turned on to to CNN. Producer will also DIRECT show – know what goes where /when/ how. Keeps track of time, cues newscaster and engineer. You are responsible for the sound of the show and if it holds together well.

Pre-produced Field Reporter (s) – Work with show producer on story assignment. Produce a one minute piece with two actualities on an item that will not be dated by class time. The piece must be mixed and ready to go BEFORE you arrive in class. Failure to have story mixed by 9 a.m. = a full grade down on that assignment.

Spot Reporter (s) Should come to class prepared with audio recorder CHARGED, SD card and SEVERAL story ideas that you could cover that day. Ultimately it is up to the show producer to assign you to whatever story he or she wants you to cover. Producer will tell you whether to file voicer, wrap, Q&A or just actuality. Be prepared to go out in snow, rain or other man made or natural disaster!!!

Newscaster – In the week BEFORE the show, he or she should produce a two minute Q&A with a newsmaker or interesting person and have it ready to air by 9a.m. day of show.
Newscaster will be up to date on the stories he/she might be called upon
to read. Will write stories. Must obtain correct pronunciation for any words/names they
will read. Will mark scripts for emphasis, will time scripts. Will rehearse aloud and will
edit for readability. Will write accordion page to be read into post and know how
long each line is in order to collapse copy..

Writer – You will write news stories that are assigned by producer,
including tape if assigned by the producer and keeping to the precise time assigned by producer. Will make sure copy is readable for newscaster and that difficult words are spelled out phonetically. YOU SHOULD TRY TO GET TAPE FOR ALL STORIES. Get on the phone EARLY AND OFTEN in order to insure a clip of tape before showtime!

Engineer.. You will check all studio equipment and microphones LONG BEFORE air time to make sure everything is in working order. You will make sure field reports are CUED and ready to go; will be familiar with CHANGES AND SLUGS on show format and run the board for the live newscast. You will pull actualities from feed sources (AP) and mix reports produced by spot reporters. YOU MUST RECORD CLASS NEWSCAST.
Commentator. Will write a 1:00 opinion essay, ending with “…and that’s my opinion” on a topic of interest to our BU audience. These should be controversial issues in the news, not just how irritating gum chewing or flip flops are (both of which were done last year). Commentary should be backed up with real facts and figures to bolster your opinion

Sports. The week before, he or she should produce a sports related story to include in the sportscast, profiling a team, athlete, event. Will write and deliver sportscast. Will work with producerto find actualities to include in sportscast.


To get a pre-taped soundbite (actuality) or reporter package (wrap, voicer, or Q&A) :

1. Go to a computer work station in the audio lab or WTBU.
2. Open Safari or Firefox
3. go to http://www.AP
4. user name: bupc (lower case)
5. password: bu (lower case)
6. You will see a list of cuts you can download
7. Select the cut you want and under “action” hit #3.
8. clicking it will stream sound so you can listen and make sure its what you want
9. if you want to download it to Protools, hold down the control key and click #3 under action
10. click download linked file
11. save it to the desktop
12. Open Protools
13. Under File menu, hit “import audio to track”
14. Go to desktop, select file.
15. Menu will ask you to click “convert file, click that.
16. When that is done, it will ask you to choose a folder and hit choose.
17. File should appear as a protools track.

How to: Record a Phone Call using Gentner

Using the Radio Board for Phone Calls/ Interviews

1) Use the studio telephone to dial out or receive in a phone call at the number listed

a. In this audio lab, the number is (617) 353-5111

2) When you are ready to record the conversation, begin rolling your recording device (Minidisc, Cassette, Computer).

3) Press “ON” using the white Gentner, under “Hybrid 1.” This will route the phone call through the radio board, and disconnect the headset. The Gentner light should turn green.

4) On the board, turn on channel 7, and raise the level labeled “PHONE.”

5) Make sure the “audition” button above the mic 1 fader is down

6) Using a microphone and Headphones, turn on Studio Mic 1 and adjust your volume to speak to the caller.

7) When the caller is ready to record, turn off the microphone so there is no feedback or ambient noise recorded on tape.

8) When finished, you can talk to the caller using the handset, by pressing “OFF” on the Gentner, which will reactivate the phone and keypad.

9) Stop all recording devices and edit to eliminate unwanted audio

NOTE: The long distance code to make phone calls outside the (617) Area code is 48595

This means that to make a long distance call, you should dial 9-1-the long distance number THEN 48595

Radio Terms

Ax, actualilty, clip, cut = Sound from the interviewEE
Tracks, narration, track, links = Voice of reporter
Ambi, nat sot, raw, wild sound = Sound from the scene
Reader = copy that newscaster reads (no reporter)
Voicer = a reporter story without tape insert
Wrap = a reporter story WITH actuality/tape insert
In cue = first words of a story or soundbite
Outcue = last words of a story or soundbite
Kicker = cute or odd story to end the show/newscast
Mos, voxpop = man on the street, voice of the people

Writing Tips

1. Write to the audio when possible, but don’t be too literal, let sound
tell the story.

2. Use short declaritive sentences. This helps with clarity for your audience as well as with your ability to deliver material easily in your narration. Underline important words and phrases for emphasis. Find natural places in copy to catch your breath.

3. Leave room for natural sound, punctuate the story with ambient sound if its a serious, somber story, or let sound jump out  and grab you if its a fast paced story. Sound should tell the story more than the reporter track. LESS OF YOU, MORE OF THEM.

4. Be inventive with word choice and language. Use a thesaraus.  But don’t talk in jargon of a specific trade (sports, business, medicine). Make sure your audience understands the language you use.  Make it CONVERSATIONAL.

5. Write into sound bites, set them up in a seamless way in the text. “Mary Smith is concerned about the MCAS” versus, “Mary Smith had this to say”.

6. Connect the dots. Hold your listener’s hand and walk them through the material in a clear, simple, organized  fashion.

7. Write visually, avoid numbers, i.e., as long as a football field, not 100 yards.

8. Active voice, present tense in the lead. First sentence must grab the listener and draw them into the story. It must sound fresh, newsworthy and interesting.

9. Avoid long meandering prepositional phrases, especially in lead. Subject-verb-object.

10. Eliminate unnecessary words. Be ruthless.

Rewriting to improve Delivery:
Shorter sentences.
Becoming an actor, talker, story teller, projecting voice, articulation, emphasis, UNDERSCORE important words AND phrases. Use ELIPSES, SLASH MARKS for breathing, pause. Make punctuation seem seamless. Lots of air up from the bottom of lungs. Animated. Stand up. Move hands. Relax.

Recording Tips

Common Recording Problems rev. 1/’07

BROKEN EQUIPMENT> always check to make sure equipment is working before you leave BU equipment shop. You do not want to schlep to an interview, set up and find out, oops, you don’t have working equipment. THIS IS THE NUMBER ONE PROBLEM STUDENTS ENCOUNTER AND ITS ENTIRELY AVOIDABLE.

BATTERIES> always make sure batteries are charged and/or you have fresh supply of batteries with you in case yours die in the field.

They will bob and weave in and away from the mic and drop the mic as they get tired.

LEVELS. Especially on the Zoom recorders, make sure menu is programmed to correct mic input. Watch the levels, get in close.

BAD MIC CABLE CONNECTION> make sure all your cables are securely connected. If audio drops out abruptly and completely, or intermittently drops out, its probably a loose cable.

MIC HANDLING> be sure cables are not swinging around hitting the deck or the surrounding area. Keep cables tightly held in your hand or in the bag.

“MMM, uh-hah, hmm,” KEEP YOUR MOUTH SILENT during the interview. Everytime you sniffle, cough, clear your throat, or grunt, the mic will pick it up and permanently make it part of your interview. Get in the habit of nodding your head, not saying, “yeah, uh-huh, yeah, uh-huh”

LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION > After tape is rolling, get person to identify himself on tape, tell you the weather, then stop and check to make sure that recorded. Listen for strange room tones, buzzing from flourescent lights, clicks and beeps from computers and phones. MOVE TO A QUIETER LOCATION if necessary.

RECORD ROOM TONE after interview is complete. one minute of no one talking, just room noises. Will help with later editing.

Record ambience after interview is done in quiet location and mix two together later.

PAUSE between questions and answers so that you don’t “step” on a soundbite. Leave plenty of pad on the end after your last answer.

Don’t drop the minidisc or move it suddenly. You could erase everything you’ve recorded.

MICRPHONES (omni, uni, shot gun, lav) wind screens,

WEAR HEADPHONES. You hear what is going into the mic, not what is being recorded onto the tape.

AVOID PAUSE BUTTON. It’ll sound fine in your headphones, but tape is not rolling

How To: TASCAM Audio Recorder

How To: Tascam DR-1 Audio Recorder

(This is a quick how-to. If you need more detailed functionality, there is a link to the owner’s manual to the right under “links”.)

You will need an SD memory card to record audio onto. This recorder can take 64MB-2GB or 4GB-32GB SDHC cards. The other audio recorders require a 2GB or smaller, so if you aren’t sure which recorder you will be able to get out of the equipment depot, buy the 2GB card to be safe.

1.Insert the SD card on the side of the deck.
2.Make sure battery is charged. If not, charge via USB into your computer (or buy a charger).
3.Plug in headphones (adjust volume on side “output volume +/-”.
4.Plug in external microphone (internal mic causes too much distracting handling noise). We will use the Mic 2 input on the bottom side of the deck. (You can also plug into the top with a smaller mic cord – and adjust to mic 1 input, but we will not be using that option).
5.Power ON, on left hand side. Keep pressing until screen lights up.
6.Let the deck know what mic source you are using: the large black wheel shuttles between mic 1 and 2 and Line. We will use MIC 2 external, (unless you are at a press conference or great debate using a mult box, and then it is LINE in).
7.Check the levels before recording: Hit record/pause and red light will blink. There is an “input” volume control wheel on the right side of the deck, running from 0-10. There is not “right” level, it depends on the environment and the effect you want to create. For a typical interview, adjust so that audio levels L/R are going about half way across the display screen. If they are peaking, the “peak” red light will flash. You want to avoid peaking at all costs because that audio will be distorted and useless. Better to err on the side of low levels that can be boosted later in post production.
8.To begin recording, once you have the levels you want, hit RECORD again and light will stay red and counter will start counting.
9.To PAUSE, hit REC/Pause. To Stop, hit Stop/Home
10.To Delete a file: Menu/Browse/Delete and hit the play arrow button on the big black wheel.
11.To Playback: hit the play arrow button on the big black wheel. PB control can alter the speed of playback.

When you are finished recording, you will turn deck off, then remove SD card and insert card into card reader to import into computer for editing.