How to record radio show with music + mic breaks

I’m trying to keep my college radio station going through COVID. We’re online-only, so instead of a live stream, we’re going to do 2-hour shows that are accessable from our web site, hosted by Mixcloud. Because most of our DJs don’t have access to our (or any) recording studio, I’d like for everyone to be able to just play music from their iTunes (we can’t legally play music streamed from Spotify/YouTube, it has to be music we own in some format) or an external device (phone/CD player), and add mic breaks with either a USB mic or the computer’s built-in mic.

This seems to be impossible. I’ve tried Soundflower; it lets you record music playing on your computer, but you can’t actually hear it while you do that, so there’s no way to tell when the song is ending! And you can’t add another input, so you can’t add mic breaks.

The only way I can see to do this is to edit each individual piece of the show together — convert songs to AIFF, record mic breaks, mix it all together. Which is effective, but it doesn’t really feel like you’re “on the air.” Does anyone know of a way we can play music on a computer, talk into a microphone, and come out of it with a complete audio file in Audacity?

you can’t actually hear it while you do that

You can.

Make iTunes or the system sound play to Soundflower instead of speaker or headphones. Make Soundflower play to Audacity. Set Audacity Playthrough On. Make Audacity play to the system playback service where you plug your headphones.

There is another software package in that series like “SoundFlowerPot” or something like that which makes it easier to manage that juggling act. But that does work. I use it that way.

Set your phone up on a roll of paper towels and use that to capture your voice.

Simple Mix the two tracks later.

That’s using equipment everybody is likely to have. If you can wrangle two computers, record your voice on the second one.

You are not in a fuzzy-warm position. Search through the forum for all the problems people have trying to home-record podcasts and audiobooks. You are marching cats. Flynwill on the forum is trying to contact the KUSC DJ that has hum in his home microphone.


Here’s some advice on capturing streaming audio (including playback from iTunes) on a Mac:

The companion to Soundflower that helps control what you hear is called Soundflowerbed.

– Bill

Just joined the forum and liking this post and reply. I want to do the same for pre-records for a weekly radio show I host on a community station. My music source is from Spotify - no licence issues since we are duly licensed permitted. I want to record music, add talk and interviews + station jingles. I am PC user, not technically minded and am happy to invest in ‘plug and play’ solution. Any advice or tips welcome - make it as idiot proof as possible
Regards, Mahmood

My music source is from Spotify - no licence issues since we are duly licensed permitted.

And that line right there is the reason there is no pre-baked solution. How many people hold valid Spotify licenses? Tiny bunch? So that is the audience for your production application. Nobody is going to get rich doing that, there’s no massive audience, so there is no attraction for developers or programmers.

You can totally do it through post production editing. That’s a ton of labor, but it does work and anybody can do it with practice. Record your live voice, all the pieces one right after the other with silent holes where everything else goes. Yes, that means you have to plan the whole podcast ahead of time. You don’t have to leave the right timing between voices. You can fix that in post.

Collect the music you want to use and make sure you have the rights, display permissions, etc. Do Not use MP3. Stick with WAV or other perfect quality format MP3 doesn’t edit well.

Record the interviews as separate sound clips. It is strongly recommended that you let Skype or Zoom do that on their servers. Do Not try to do it at home. Doing it at home is a career move.

Put it all together and post it on your favorite server or file manager. That’s when you make the MP3.

Piece o’ cake.


Record your live voice, all the pieces one right after

I make that sound so easy, but that’s the step that stings voice-over artists and audiobook readers. Nobody wants to listen to a small child recording in the kitchen. Even if you are a small child. Nobody is going to waste their time listening to someone with fewer experiences and less smarts than they have.

I did do something like what you want, but I did it in hardware (coffee optional).

The computer on the right is for Skype/Zoom. No option. They take over the computer while they work and you can’t stop it.

The computer on the left is playing music to the mixer and recording the composite in Audacity. I think that’s everything you wanted. You have to be really good at cueing music and playing it at the exact same time you’re talking and there are restrictions. You can’t go from a voice intro with stinger directly to a song. That’s two songs at once and my system would only do one at a time.

That’s also two older Macs with stereo connections in and out. So the connection to the mixer is a couple of cables.

We had a joke that we had the perfect podcast. We spent the whole thing planning the next podcast. “Are you free Tuesday?”