Human Rights Radio Resources
- Audacity – Audacity is a free audio editing software. While it lacks some of the pro features and handy shortcuts of more advanced programs, Audacity is more than satisfactory for the production of good radio pieces. You can download the software for Windows, Mac or Linux here. For an Audacity cheat sheet click here or, for a more in-depth tutorial, click here.
- Pro Tools – Pro Tools is (as the name suggests) professional, industry-standard audio editing software. Pretty much anything that one hopes to do with digital sound recording and editing software can be done with Pro Tools. Downsides to Pro Tools are price (the cheapest, student edition is $250) and a relatively steep learning curve, although there are plenty of online tutorials available for free. You can browse the different editions of Pro Tools here. For Pro Tools tutorials click here.
- Hindenburg – Hindenburg is an audio editing software designed specifically for the production of ‘sound narratives’ and thus lends itself perfectly to radio work. Hindenburg starts at $90 but a free trial version is available here. More information and tutorials can be found here.
- Reaper – Reaper is a highly customizable audio editing platform and, at only $60, offers another alternative to Pro Tools. Those who use it speak incredibly highly of it. However, Reaper takes a while to get the hang of and is thus recommended to those patient enough to spend time with it. The free trial can be downloaded here. For more information click here.
- Freesound – Freesound is a crowd-sourced database of creative- commons licensed sound files. More than 170,000 sounds are available for stream and download.
- Free Music Archive – Free Music Archive is, as the name suggests, a database of free music. ‘Every mp3 you discover on The Free Music Archive is pre-cleared for certain types of uses that would otherwise be prohibited by copyright laws that were not designed for the digital era.’ This is a great site for finding music that you can use in radio pieces without breaching copyright laws.
- Find Sounds – Find Sounds is an online sound database with a focus on sound effects. Ranging from the sound of a bicycle to a wolf’s howl, this is a great resource for adding color to a sound narrative.
- British Library Sound Archive – The British Library Sound Archive offers access to thousands of sound files ranging from oral histories to environment & nature recordings.
Radio Production Tutorials:
- Field Recording:
For a wide range of tutorials ranging from editing and mixing to microphones and audio gear, click here.
- Transom – Transom is an online community of independent radio producers. There is an open call for radio content and, if selected, pieces will be published online and broadcast on a number of radio stations throughout the US. Additionally, Transom shares written content, generally focused on radio production. For an example, click here.
- Public Radio Exchange – Public Radio Exchange (PRX) is an online marketplace for distribution, review, and licensing of public radio programming. PRX is also a growing social network and community of listeners, producers, and stations collaborating to reshape public radio.
- StoryCorps – StoryCorps is an independent nonprofit whose mission is to provide people of all backgrounds and beliefs with the opportunity to record, share, and preserve the stories of their lives.
- Fresh Air – Though Fresh Air has been categorized as a “talk show,” it hardly fits the mold. Its 1994 Peabody Award citation credits Fresh Air with “probing questions, revelatory interviews and unusual insights.” And a variety of top publications count Terry Gross among the country’s leading interviewers. The show gives interviews as much time as needed, and complements them with comments from well-known critics and commentators.
- The Hidden World of Girls – Stories of coming of age, rituals and rites of passage, secret identities—of women who crossed a line, blazed a trail, changed the tide.
- Long Haul – “Our work is distinguished by the voices of Americans telling their own stories, in their own words. And when we choose a story, we’re really in it for the long haul: we spend months, sometimes years, getting to know our characters. It’s painstaking, and sometimes we think we’re a little crazy to spend as long as we do on things — but we hope the work you’ll find here on our site demonstrates the love and care we put into our narrative craft.”
- Mapping Main Street – Mapping Main Street is a collaborative documentary media project that creates a new map of the country through stories, photos and videos recorded on actual Main Streets. The goal is to document all of the more than 10,000 streets named Main in the United States.
Radio Documentary Literature:
Susan Douglas, Listening In: Radio and the American Imagination (Minneapolis, MN; London: University of Minnesota Press, 2004).
David K. Dunaway, “Radio and the Public Use of Oral History,” Oral History: an Interdisciplinary Anthology, eds. David K. Dunaway and Willa K. Baum (Nashville: American Association for State and Local History, 1984), 333-46.
Steve Feld, Donald Brenneis, “Doing Anthropology in Sound” American Ethnologist, Vol 31, No. 4 (Nov., 2004) – http://www.jstor.org/stable/4098863
Steven High, “Telling Stores: A Reflection on Oral History and New Media” Oral History, Vol 38, No. 1 (Spring 2010) – www.jstor.org/stable/40650320
Stephen Smith, “Living History,” in Reality Radio: Telling True Stories in Sound, eds. John Biewen and Alexa Dilworth (Chapel Hill: [Durham, N.C.]: University of North Carolina Press; In association with the Center for Documentary Studies, Duke University, 2010)