Neal Augenstein

Broadcasting pro: Change or die

In Uncategorized on October 27, 2014 at 5:32 pm

Change is hard – it’s harder in the world of broadcasting.

With radio and television bosses expecting employees to do more with fewer resources, reluctance to experiment with new technologies and methods of storytelling is no longer an option, says Holland Cooke, whose years of being a radio consultant has morphed to “leveraging talk radio and Internet.”

“Tech is evolving so rapidly now, ‘We’ve never done it that way before’ is pretty much a reason to try it,” says Cooke. “We should do it because we’ve never done it that way before.”

Cooke was the operations manager at WTOP for 7 years, before I joined the station in 1997.

He remembers when a line item for budgets included “batteries for cassette recorders,” and when bulky bag phones were cutting edge technology.

In traditional broadcast industries, many veterans prefer to stick with what they know. Cooke says that practically guarantees those dinosaurs will become extinct.

“I love going to the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas every year,” says Cooke. “It’s culturally different from the broadcast industry where there’s comfort in the familiar, and best practices that we rely on because they’re time tested old school practices.”

Yet, to be competitive, digital news organizations have to keep changing, even as they’re learning how to incorporate the newest technology.

“At CES, everything that was shiny and new a year earlier is now obsolete – and that’s the point,” says Cooke. “We want to make it smaller, and smarter, and faster, and pleasant surprise, often it’s less expensive.”

No playbook to follow

Cooke says experimenting with consumer-grade phones and tablets and inexpensive applications is far more cost-effective than buying expensive hardware.

“I find some of the tips and hacks on your website real ingenious,  and there’s a community about all this, where we enjoy passing advice back and forth,” says Cooke.

Unlike past years where new technologies went in search of customers, “It’s really the other way around – technology scrambling to keep up with the ways that we need devices to enable us,” says Cooke.

Despite the expectation that journalists be comfortable with creating content on mobile devices, few news organizations teach employees the tips, techniques, and strategies.

“There ought to be more training of the kind that you do,” says Cooke. “You did a lot of on the job training yourself, and I think the experience you have to share is real valuable.”

Cooke encourages the next generation of journalists to maximize and market their familiarity with mobile devices.

“If you want to get hired, present yourself to the digital immigrants – the baby boomers who are radio station managers – as a digital native,” says Cooke.

“College age kids today grew up manipulating this stuff and frankly, folks our age need them to help us translate what we do to that new platform. So I think it’s very opportune to hire young, because there’s a skill set that goes along with that generation.”

How to post a Voddio report to audioBoom

In Uncategorized on October 6, 2014 at 5:20 pm

It’s official:  audioBoom replaces SoundCloud in my must-have #iphonereporting apps.

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There was only one #iphonereporting function that was keeping SoundCloud’s mobile app on my phone — the ability to upload and share a fully-produced report that I’d edited in Vericorder’s Voddio app.

After SoundCloud’s decision to make it nearly impossible to create and share mobile content simply, I went looking for a replacement app for the times a reporter has to provide a series of multi-media posts, using only a mobile device.

An example might be twice-hourly reports from a protest, where the reporter’s voice and natural sound can paint a vivid picture.

I’ve been very impressed by audioBoom, which used to be known as Audioboo.

audioBoom does all the things that a reporter with SoundCloud used to be able to do: record a basic voicer in-app, trim front and back, add a photo, and share quickly.

One problem — audioBoom’s app doesn’t have a way to upload audio from other apps.

Yet, it turns out audioBoom has an excellent workaround.

The reporter can post to his or her audioBoom account by emailing the audio file to a specific address, which will post the report to the journalist’s audioBoom account.

It takes a few steps to configure:

Start by sending a blank email to boomail@audioboo.fm

audioBoom’s Lance Paterson had to help me through the rest of the set-up, because I’d inadvertently set up three accounts (I know, I know….)

After configuring the account once,  and with the Audioboo Submission address in your Contacts, emailing the report to that address will result in it posting to your audioBoom account.

Once it’s posted in the account, sharing by Twitter, Facebook, and email is easy.

It’d be great if audioBoom could contact Vericorder to make posting a one-touch snap — hint, hint.

Let me know if you have any questions.

Amazon Fire records audio better than iPhone 5

In Uncategorized on July 29, 2014 at 5:42 pm

 

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The new Amazon Fire isn’t ready to replace the Apple iPhone in my #iphonereporting bag of tricks, but audio recorded in the built-in microphone of the Fire surpasses the iPhone 5.

In a basic A-B test, the Fire sounds richer than the iPhone.

The Fire does not have a built-in audio recording app (like VoiceMemo for iPhone) so I used the free Easy Voice Recorder app on the Fire and Voddio on the iPhone.

 

The Amazon Fire is only available on AT&T, which provided me a device to test.

Earlier, I found the Samsung S5 sounds better than the iPhone, and I’d give the edge to the S5 over Fire, too.

Unfortunately, since I still haven’t found an intuitive Android multi-track editing app for Fire’s operating system it would be difficult to do a fully-produced report in the field.

Let me know what you think.

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