How do I record radio interviews over the phone?


I am soon to undertake some radio interviews but they will need to be done over the phone. Does anyone know the best way of going about this please?

The audio needs to be suitable for broadcast and so as clear as possible. They won’t be live and so it’s just for pre-record and then editing and playing out at a later date.

I have heard of two options. 1 is that I use my Zoom H4n and buy a mic splitter and plug the headphones into one and an external mic into the other. Would this work? And does anyone have any more information on how it would work? I think I would need to buy an external mic too! Any tips on a good one around £100

OR I could do it through Skype (I’ve been told). Again, does anyone know how I would do this? I have no idea at all on this one.

All advice welcome. Thank you very much.

Recording from Skype can be tricky because Skype aggressively manages the sound system. Fortunately there are programs that are specifically designed to record from Skype.
“Pamela” is a non-free commercial Skype recorder with a good reputation.
Skype Call Recorder is free and open source, but I’ve only tried it on Linux. It worked well for me.
There are others.

Either of the two top Pamela licenses for Windows Skype are the answer. They will produce two independent audio tracks, you on one and the guest on the other (split recording) suitable for filtering, effects and production mixing as needed. Programs that smash both voices on one track can’t do that. If the guest is low volume or fuzzy with those, that’s life.

The two bottom licenses are not suitable for pro use.


Live recording is something you have to grow into. This American Life radio show has posted how they do their interviews, multiple ones every day.

Never use the term “microphone splitter.” Ever. Computer microphones can create distortion and low level if you try that and broadcast microphones get low level and noisy – some stop working, some can become damaged.

If you have an H4, can can use the two XLR connections on the bottom for the guest and for you. People generally skip the one for you because you can dub your own voice in later. The guest voice is precious and valuable.

This American Life uses long-distance shotgun microphones in hand-held configuration. It’s very unconventional, but it works stunningly well. They rarely lose an interview.

Haven’t tried this myself, but I would suggest hooking up the telephone with a line splitter as Jack suggests and using Garageband to simultaneously record the telephone call, and yourself with a mic. You can then mix the channels, adjusting the levels / balance as required.

I found my illustrations for the Olympus microphone. The computer on the left is a PC and has a Mic-In. the computer on the right is a Mac with no Mic-In, so I used a Startech headset ICUSBAUDIO adapter.

You put the device in your ear and make the phone call on top of it. It will record both sides in one sound file. It doesn’t split the voices.

That’s the desperation method if you can’t get your Skype and Pamela licenses or anything else to work right.

Recording a phone call is harder than you think it should be. If you’re using a standard Land-Line, I’ve never found one of those cheap “voice couplers” to work right. I have two or three and I gave up.

If you do get another technique to work, write back.


to simultaneously record the telephone call, and yourself with a mic.

No for two reasons. The instant you do anything to the raw phone line, it throws off the balance and it starts humming and generating noise. All my voice taps did that. The problem is not to record you, the problem is to record the guest at the far end. This technique will give you “You” in high quality from the microphone and “You” distorted from the phone tap. The Guest will be a very low level ghost in the recording.

No, we can’t fix that with an Audacity filter.