By Walter Sterling
Talk Show Host
Perhaps you are just starting to broadcast from your home. If so, these findings might be useful.
1. Admit it. I was very surprised to learn that some hosts do not admit that they are broadcasting from home. The reasons for denial are myriad, but usually silly. Radio is theatre of the mind. The moment a host, anchor, DJ admits they are at home, the universe gets bigger and more personal. You get to decorate the house! Today, a host that says they are broadcasting at home establishes an instant connection with the at-home listener and demonstrates prudence in these health-challenged times. Say it.
2. Insist on the simplest transmission link. It’s tempting to go for gadgetry, but gadegtry fails. I use QGOLIVE software or the COMREX BRIC. Both work, both are simple.
3. Work out cues with the board operator before the show.
4. Put a pile of pillows and comforters in front of you. It’s a safe bet that if you hear audio bouncing like crazy on the air, the host is in their house. Accoustics cost a fortune in a radio station (price one square of acoustical tile). Make due with a chair in front of you piled with comforters, pillows, and blankets. Get the chair close to you. You will find, as I do, that it’s an effective sound absorber.
5. Coffee maker and microwave within arm’s reach.
6. The damndest things will cause a buzz. Run them down before air. For me, it’s if I leave the cell phone next to the computer.
7. The channel 3 problem. I pray you don’t have that.
8. If you yell at the board op down the line, you are an a*shole. Don’t do that. Buy the crew their next meal. Thank them for their good job on the air.
9. CALL SCREENER. Some stations have that fancy software that lets the host see the call in real time. Ok that usually crashes. When it does, there are two excellent options. The screener sends you caller information in the SUBJECT line of your email. Each new email from them to you is a call. OR… thanks to James Montague for this, GOOGLE DOCS SPREADSHEET. In real time Google Docs allows a producer to type the names of callers in the spreadsheet and the host
can pick off the next call.
Personally, I prefer to play all drops and production on my show and I do that from QCART. I used to use SOUNDBOARD and prefered that, but “they” stopped supporting it.
As time went on, the thought of doing a show from a station became wearisome.
Walter Sterling hosts “Sterling on Sunday” heard live 10:00 pm to 1:00 am ET on stations such as KMOX, St Louis; KDKA, Pittsburgh; KFBK, Sacramento; KMBZ-FM, Kansas City; and is based at WPHT, Philadelphia. Walter says, “Always use good softener.” www.waltermsterling.com and email firstname.lastname@example.org