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A Talk Show Host Nerd’s Adventure in Expedient Remote Broadcasting

| February 4, 2013

By Ethan Bearman
Talk Show Host
Genesis Communications Network
KSCO, Santa Cruz


bearmanwriterSANTA CRUZ — What happens when you mix a nerd and talk radio broadcaster who loves politics and current events?

During the presidential election last fall I saw many posts on Twitter, Facebook, and blogs all over the web sharing international opinions regarding our vote. And I thought, “How do I tap into that information in a manner that is different from everybody else?”

Go to where those opinions are originating.

I have always been drawn to the United Kingdom, that stiff upper lip country that gave birth to our great nation. I had spent some time there in the late 1990s with a global software company and loved it. From the pubs and pints to the fish and chips, peacockish hats on Ladies’ Day at Royal Ascot, and the all-around affable Brits…what’s not to love?

I booked a flight for Thanksgiving, naturally, and coordinated an interview in the Houses of Parliament with The Times of London political reporter, Laura Pitel. I also wanted some “man on the street” input as well. So, how to pull this off?

I already have all kinds of luggable technology: MacBook Pro, Audacity, Blue Yeti microphone, and international power adapter. But none of that was appealing since I was going to have to go through crazy tight security to get in to meet Ms. Pitel. I already do my shows using only an iPad for notes and one sheet of paper with my clock. There must be a way, I thought to myself.

Indeed there is.

I quickly ordered an Apogee MiC which plugs directly into the iPad, is small enough to fit in my pocket with a mini-tripod, and has a studio quality cardioid condenser microphone capsule. Add to that a virtual trip to the Apple App Store and a massive download of GarageBand. Voila! I had a high quality, portable rig that was barely larger than the iPad itself.

I played with the setup for an hour or two before taking off just to make sure it worked. And work beautifully it did. I spent an engaging hour with Ms. Pitel about 50 feet from guards armed with fully automatic weapons, getting high quality audio recorded, while capturing both the interview I wanted and the appropriate, NPR style background sounds of the coffee and tea being prepared nearby.

GarageBand allowed quick and easy editing in the hotel room. Then off for the man on the street interviews to balance out the professional views of a reporter. And one more set of edits with an export to iTunes and out to high bitrate mp3 files for playback during my live show.

Yes, you too can leverage easy to use, relatively inexpensive, reasonably small, quality, modern technology to travel and do a show.

What if I had done a live show?  I worked with my engineers at KSCO to use a simple $10 SIP client software package for connecting via the internet with the G.722 HD codec to our Comrex ACCESS box back at the station as well.

Piece of cake. When will you try?


Ethan Bearman is a talk show host (and nerd) at KSCO, Santa Cruz in addition to hosting a national weekend program syndicated by GCN.  He can be reach by email at ethan@ethanbearman.com or phoned at 831-531-7131. Meet Ethan Bearman at TALKERS New York 2013 on Thursday, June 6.

Category: Advice