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How to make a radio show, the basics

So you want to make a show for radio, and probably for CKBJ-FM. Or maybe you’re just here from a google search. I hope it’s helpful to you too.

Hosting. The first thing to consider is that radio is theatre of the mind. You first ingredient is having the ability to paint pictures with words. If you think you can’t do that easily on your own, go find someone who can. Perhaps you host your show together. I’ll tell you a secret. It’s easier to have someone to talk to than going it alone anyway. So that’s the first thing, get good people to host. The magic starts with those people.

Production. This isn’t the technical stuff. It’s more in the administrative end really. It’s creative too. You need to plan your shows. You need to create an outline for each show. Create a list of discussion topics. In some cases, fully write out some segments that may need to read exactly. If you need guests, you need to book them and work out any details require to have them participate properly. And scheduling everything, that’s the producer’s job too. Producers can also be hosts. These aren’t necessarily separate things at all.

Engineering. There are wires man. Lots of wires and stuff. You need to be at least a little bit comfortable with computers and cables and such things. It’s not too hard to sort out these details. We can help, and we’ll have some specific guidelines that kinda have to be shown in person, but let’s go through the basics right now. Generally, it starts with a microphone for each person. Until you have some experience, it’s probably a great idea to just plan to have two people at a maximum. That level of equipment is pretty reasonable to manage, and fairly inexpensive. The type of microphone is pretty key. Almost always, you want broadcast or stage dynamic microphones. Never buy a condenser microphone. Don’t let anyone talk you into that. You’ll also want a small sound interface that plugs into a computer. And you’ll want a computer. And you’ll need a few odds n ends like cables, microphone stands, pop filters. The needed software is available for free.

Basic starter set of gear for up to 2 people:

Behringer XM8500 Dynamic Microphones x 2. (You could spend way more on microphones, believe me. But this is all you need to start).

A wind screen can be used a sort of pop filter. You know those black foamy things on the end of a microphone? I’m not going to link one, cuz I used an old sock balled over the end for years. Amazon has lots of colours if you really want to buy one.

A usb sound input device with microphone preamps and xlr inputs for 2 mics.

XLR male to female cable x 2. Gotta plug in those mics!

Mic stands x 2. Don’t get one that sits on your desk. It sounds awful.

You need a computer. Almost any computer will do fine. You probably have one.

Starter recording software is free.

Buy the above and you won’t go wrong. There are plenty of options on the specifics, but before you make a purchase, please check with us that the gear is suitable.

With all those things in place, you’re just about ready to go. We need one more thing. A place to do this! We can’t provide studio space. Out studio really only fits one person, and it’s busy being a radio station. You won’t be doing the show live, cuz hey, that’s really really hard. We need to fix all the things we mess up afterwards. So we record a show, and then later edit the show to remove all the booboos and restarts and such. Where you record needs to be reasonably quiet, and not boxy. We want a cozy room, with big bookshelves, heavy curtains, that kinda thing. Do you have one of those rooms with all kinds of stuff stored in it? PERFECT!

If you have all those things in place, or need help with one of them, give us a call. We’ll run through what you need. We’ll go over your show outlines to make sure they cover all the bases. What you’ll do now is record a few shows at once. Not necessarily the same day, but let’s say over a weekend. We’ll ask you to submit 6 shows at a time. We want them in a bundle like that for scheduling and promotional reasons. The last thing we want to do is promote a show you don’t get to us on time. We’ll start with a bundle of six, because as you go, you may find you want to change the format around a little. You’ll have a chance to back to the first one and adjust it to the new format. Or maybe you’ll want to go back and fix something. Do them in a batch, and that whole batch will sound better.