Please be advised that my technological skills are at the Computer 101 Remedial level. So, my use and understanding of the terminology is minimal. Keep this in mind when, and if responding to this query. Furthermore, I believe that I have checked the “tips”, “tutorials” and “documentation” for information/answers before posting.

I have been a dj on college radio playing '50s vocal group harmony music (aka doo wop) for many years. However, for a variety of reasons, I am exploring the possibility of switching to an online radio station that will allow me to continue using the current format. But I must first submit an audition CD with sample music that would be played. This requires playing a set of music (usually three songs) followed by audio providing the discography (group name, song title, label and year) on the songs played.

I would like to use Audacity to perform this task on my PC. If this is a possibility:

  1. What equipment is necessary to attempt this task?

  2. Can you provide a step-by-step tutorial (Is one already available anywhere?) I can follow to complete this task.

Thank you for your time and cooperation. I welcome any suggestions, recommendations or links that might assist me in consummating this project.

Les Taylor

Radio programs are often produced “off-line”. That is, all of the necessary recording and production is performed before the show. With this approach tasks are frequently performed out of chronological order - for example you may script and record all of the talking parts and add the music tracks later. This is a very different way of working than “live” radio.

For “Live” radio, the equipment list is much greater than for “off-line” production.
Audacity cannot do “live” production on its own and would need a lot of help because it is not designed for “live” work.
For “off-line” production you don’t need much to get started. Basically just a computer, microphone and sound card (or USB mic), headphones, and most importantly a place to record that is quiet and has good acoustics (generally you would want the room to reflect sound as little as possible because echoes and reverberation cannot be removed). Studio monitor speakers are a big advantage, but decent headphones are enough to get started and are a lot less expensive than monitor speakers.

Note that there are limits to what you can do with USB microphones - in particular you can only use one USB mic at a time, so if you want to interview people then a conventional microphone, mixing desk and sound card would be much better. Also, if you want to be able to hear your own voice through your headphones while you record, then a USB microphone must have a headphone socket built into the microphone (otherwise your voice will be delayed and sound like a very distracting echo).

The “off-line” production method is basically the same as making a podcast. See here for more information:

I have been a dj on college radio

So you drove to the station, sat in a chair in front of a microphone and you or a board op mixed your voice with the music, right? The part of this that most people ignore is that you’re probably sitting in a quiet, sound-proofed room even if it may not look like you are.

That’s the part difficult to do at home. You can do a passable podcast with a laptop built-in microphone, a musical CD or two, and some good editing skills but you can’t do it in a room with echoes like your kitchen or interference like your dog or the neighbor’s TV. If you live in a noisy place long enough, your head automatically tunes out noises like that, but they’re immediately obvious when you try to record a podcast.

Even worse, there’s a mistaken assumption that Audacity can “filter all that out” in post production editing. We can’t. Bubbles the dog and “As The World Turns” are now permanent performers in your show.

That’s not to say running your own actual microphone is a walk in the glades, either. Your studio microphone is probably managed so that you don’t have plosive “P” popping or other vocal artifacts like this:

This person is too close to the microphone and his podcast will always sound like a kid with a “Mr. Microphone” instead of a professionally done show.

This person tried to record a product promo segment at home.

This clip will always sound like a suburban kitchen. There’s no good way to fix that.

That and the need to avoid quiet microphone noise (Sssssss) and digital overload. Running your own microphone means nailing down all the variables and problems that your studio nailed down ages ago.

It can be done. People produce perfectly enjoyable podcasts all the time. Some of them lucked out, and some of them did the homework and designed their system to work right out of the gate.

I like this one. I get bored trying to catch non-existent technical problems and just settle down to listen to the show.

This week: “There are lots of balls to play with at your local gym.”


I have been a dj on college radio playing '50s vocal group harmony music (aka doo wop) for many years.

Do you have an [u]Aircheck[/u]? Or does the radio station archive the broadcasts?

I assume you already have digital copies of the music on your computer, so it’s just a matter of recording your voice and putting it all together?

With practice, you can string-together a series of crossfaded songs faster than you can play them. I think I could put-together a 3-hour radio show in less than an hour* if the announcements were pre-recorded… I’ve made several crossfaded mix CDs this way (without any announcements/voiceover). You don’t have to listen to the whole song, just the crossfades (as long as you are confident the song is OK).

Audacity can record your voice and help you create or edit final production, but you’ll need different software to burn the CD. I use [u]ImgBurn[/u]. And, by making a [u]Cue Sheet[/u], you can make a CD with track numbers to a single WAV fie that has crossfaded music and voiceover.


  • Don’t tell anybody, but I usually use a different audio editor that I’m more familiar with, so it would take me a little longer with Audacity. :wink:

Most of the time audition “tapes” consist of your voice and very abbreviated songs – usually five to ten seconds or less. The idea is to highlight your acting chops. Nobody is interested in three minutes of “Electric Light Orchestra” on a demo submission. Your mileage may vary. Consult your local listings.


I usually use a different audio editor that I’m more familiar with

Which is?