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Want to start your own radio show?  Well, you're going to need an agent, a lawyer and a big contract.  Just kidding!  With new online radio platforms, all you need to get started are a few basics.  Oh, and co-hosts aren't a bad idea.

***Scroll down for an On Topic radio show discussing this diary***

First of all, some of you are probably wondering why you would want a radio show at all.  There are several compelling reasons to add audio, and particularly radio shows, to your content:

  • Some topics are better suited to the radio format.  Got a great interview lined up on a topic you would like to diary?  Well, if you set up the interview as a show, you can diary the topic and allow readers who want to go more in-depth on the topic access to the actual audio.  You can even set up call in shows and allow readers to pose questions to your guest directly.
  • It's nice to have a voice sometimes.  A lot of writing is story telling, and being able to provide a first hand account or source, or even just your own commentary can be powerful.
  • It can add a greater depth to your diary--especially since most readers will only look at so much text before they move on.  Providing a radio link with more discussion on the topic can break up the information and allow those who want to hear more a different way of accessing your information.
  • Reach new audiences.  Especially when it comes to organizations and issues advocacy, a radio show or in-depth interview can be a great way to reach new audiences and even keep your current supporters up to date on the projects you are working on.  Call in shows mean the dialog can run both ways.
  • Why not? It's essentially FREE, and as I will show you, pretty easy to boot.

Getting Started

There are several ways to get started in putting together your own radio show.  First is deciding what platform you are going to use to record.  A radio show is simply an audio file or a podcast (unless you have some hot distribution deal, in which case, maybe YOU should be writing this), so this means recording is the biggest factor in which approach you take.

Anyway you can make a podcast, you can make a radio show. There are numerous audio recording programs you can download, Mac Books often come with recording software, or you can even record Skype calls.  The challenge is if you want more than one person on the recording (which I hope you do) and whether you will be dealing with feeding in calls.  For the sound engineers among us, no problem! But for the rest of us, there are sites that offer a means of circumventing this problem and I highly recommend using them to get started.

BlogTalkRadio.com is the site thereisnospoon, clammyc and I currently use.  It employs a recording platform that run via phone.  You sign up, schedule a show and they give you a number to call into via landline, cell phone, or skype and it records a digital audio file for you and hosts it on the their site.  You can link to it from your own site like we did for a time (politicalnexus.blogspot.com) or use their host page as your main site.  And you can pull links for your most recent show and embed them in your diaries.

Pretty simple.  Now for the tricky part: actually creating the shows.

The difficult part is putting it all together: live radio means you don't have to deal with pesky editing, but it also means you need to do more planning so you don't have dead air time.

So when you put together a show, you should consider several things:

  1. How long should my show be?  And how much content do I need to cover that amount of time?
  1. Will I have a co-host?  Different guests?
  1. How often will I produce my show?
  1. What do I want my show to be about?
  1. Have I come up with a show intro and show close I can use?
  1. Do I have copyright free music I can use as an intro to my show?

Our shows are typically 15-20 minutes when it comes to a single topic like our FrameWork shows, and 30-60 minutes for our in-depth interviews with Congressional Candidates or On-Topic shows.  Our call in show Don't Hijack My Thread is 60 minutes.

We typically plan out five topics for Don't Hijack My Thread--but we rarely get through them all!  For our shorter shows, we started out with five or so questions but we largely abandoned structuring our shows too much once we got used to the format.

In my opinion, one of the most important things you can do is not talk those last few seconds before your show goes live!  If you have a clean intro to your show and a solid beginning it sets a good tone, even if you flub some of the other parts.  

Transcripts of shows are something we get commonly requests for, especially since many cannot listen to audio at work, but we gave up on being able to provide them since they simply took too long to compile.  

In terms of promoting a show, the best way to go about it is to compile the email addresses of people that you think might be interested, and send them

  • the link to the show for downloading
  • the phone number to dial in (if you want to take callers)
  • the topics and details of the show

Any more questions?  Just post them in the comments and we'll be answering them over the course of the next 24 hours. Also, any of you audio geeks who have expertise in sound engineering, equipment, etc.  please share your thoughts as well.  And of course, I am the first to admit there are many more knowledgeable than myself, so pipe up!  

A radio show discussing the topics of this diary can be found here: On Topic Kossacks Under 35: How to Start Your Online Radio Show  We just taped it but it the audio should be available soon so please check back if there are problems.

Also here is a link to a previous interview we did with Kath25 herself about the Kossacks Under 35 series

Kossacks Under 35 is a weekly diary series designed to create a community
within DailyKos that focuses on young people. Our overall goals are to
work on increasing young voters' Democratic majority, and to raise
awareness about issues that particularly affect young people, with a
potential eye to policy solutions. Kossacks of all ages are welcome to
participate (and do!), but the overall framework of each diary will
likely be on or from a younger person's perspective. If you would like
more information or want to contribute a diary, please email kath25 at kossacksunder35 (at) gmail dot com

Originally posted to theKK on Thu Mar 27, 2008 at 06:02 PM PDT.

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