Turning a live event into a podcast: A case study

Sunday, September 10, 2017
Last week, I interviewed my former neighbor, Obama chief strategist David Axelrod, on stage. A sellout crowd of 1,000 people paid to see it, and many more told me they wished they’d been there. So I made arrangements to turn it into a podcast.

Photo: Alexa Rogals, Wednesday Journal
Our hosts at Dominican University, which recorded the event, shared the audio with me. In broad outline, here’s what happened next:
  1. I opened the audio in the free Audacity audio-editing software.
  2. I edited the audio lightly. The mics were too loud in a few instances, and they dropped out in a few other instances. Fortunately, I recorded the whole thing on an iPhone inconspicuously set on the small table between David and me, so I was able to patch the troubled spots with almost-as-good audio. (Can you hear the patches?)
  3. Once the edits were complete, I ran the whole file through Audacity’s Compressor function—raising the soft passages and lowering the loud spots.
  4. I wrote an intro and a close, and recorded them on an iPhone—being careful to isolate my voice by putting a blanket over my head.
  5. I edited those onto the event audio.
  6. I uploaded the completed audio to the free Archive.org website, whose goal is to “provide universal access to all knowledge.”
  7. I embedded the Archive.org audio player on ChicagoPublicSquare.com. (The player’s also embedded at the bottom of this page.)
  8. Then I shared the link widely on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
Do you have an event whose audio would make great listening? Let’s talk.

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