Brian Terhorst on Creating A Radio Show From Home
Written by Steve Baker on May 1, 2020
KVMR recently published an article about how our various broadcasters are producing radio shows from home. We thought it would be nice to get a closer look at what some of these brilliant DJs have been going through to make this all happen.
Host & Producer, Harmony Ridge (Alt. Thursdays, 2-4pm)
Broadcaster Since 1992
Former General Manager, KVMR (1996-2006)
Q: Let us know if this is a first for you?
A: I’ve just finished producing my second remote program. I’m using my home PC laptop equipped with Audacity digital editing software. I’m also using an integrated USB headset and microphone which reduces ambient noise.
Q: Why did you want to produce your own show for KVMR?
A: Prior to this experience, I had very limited experience with digital editing. I had only used Audacity to trim recorded interviews or cut them into segments to use on the air. I have long wanted to learn how to use the program more extensively. So this experience has afforded me that opportunity.
Q: Did you find it easy, hard or both?
A: It took me about 8-10 hours to record and edit my first two-hour show. But I’m kind of a detail freak. So I did retakes and spent a lot of time messing around with features. I viewed it as a learning experience. My second two-hour show took me about four hours since I was able to use what I’d learned the first time.
Q: What was the most difficult part?
A: I wouldn’t characterize the learning process as difficult. It was challenging. After messing around with Audacity for an hour or two, I figured out the basic operations. The most challenging parts of the process were learning how to cross-fade – where I fade out a song as it’s ending and simultaneously fade up the next track. Also, it took some work to figure out how to fade down an instrumental track and superimpose my vocal segments (e.g., back-announcing) over top of that. I found an online manual for Audacity that gave me the basic principles. And then I just had to noodle around with it until I got the hang of it.
A: Planning and producing my program is one of the greatest joys of my life. I’ve been doing radio for almost thirty years and I look forward to those two hours in the studio from the minute I leave until the minute I return. I was very impressed with the one archive program that was aired when the shelter-in-place orders first went into effect. But I was aching to do an original show again. I was totally up for the challenge.
A: When I heard my first home-produced program on the air, I was really very proud of my work. While I was creating it and editing it, I was scrutinizing it through my headset. I’m a perfectionist and also pretty self-critical so I could hear all of my mistakes when I was working on it. But when it aired on KVMR and I wasn’t focused on the details, I thought it came out very smooth. I’m sure most listeners didn’t hear the little imperfections that I did.
A: Producing from home has been a wonderful learning experience. I love the regular experience of producing radio live in the KVMR studios. I typically go in an hour early and set up all my files and get mentally prepared for each show. And there is that thrill of playing music, opening the mic, and doing a live show knowing that anything can happen. But that said, producing from home has allowed me a much greater degree of control over the final product. If I stumble on my back-announcing, I can do a retake or edit out mistakes. I love to use cross-fading when I’m doing a music show – where one song seamlessly fades into the next. Producing at home allows me to perfect those cross-overs to the tiniest detail. In the two shows I’ve done from home, there have been some segues where I’ve spent a half hour getting it just the way I want it. You just can’t do that when you’re producing a live show. Yeah, I know. I’m a total audiophile!
I have no doubt that, when we begin to ease back into the world, I will be using what I have learned producing at home and integrating those skills into my live shows at KVMR. I think this process has made me a much better … and better-skilled … broadcaster.