BEST PRACTICES and START-UP INFORMATION
Follow the link for a print version of these instructions.
Should you syndicate your show? First answer these three questions:
- Would your show (or a significant part of it) be of interest to a nationwide audience?
- Are you willing to put in an extra 15-30 minutes per show preparing it for a national audience?
- Are you willing to have a show ready rain or shine, regardless of fund drives at your station, vacations, holidays, illness, sabbaticals…you get the picture…this includes having about 3 “evergreens” (can be played anytime) to fill in, if you cannot produce a show?
- If “yes” to all three, consider syndication! We appreciate your sharing your talent and work. Below are the best practices that will help get your radio content the listeners it deserves, as well as help keep Audioport.org well organized.
Are you already uploading your show to Audioport? Please answer this question.
- Are you consciously intending to share your show with a national audience?
- If not, please check the box “Make visible in my workroom only.” Audioport is intended for national content-sharing only. It is not the tool you should be using to share content with your local engineer, program director, or aggregator.
- If so, please ensure that you follow the guidelines below.
CONSIDER YOUR AUDIENCE:
The 200+ managers of Pacifica affiliate stations across the country expect the shows in Audioport to be make sense to their listening audience.
- Eliminate all mention of other shows or hosts on your station.
- Eliminate all day / time-of-day tags (“this morning”, “today, Friday”). Realize that programmers may choose to air on a different time or day.
- Remove local underwriting
- Remove mentions of local events.
- If your shows are of regional interest (e.g., Midwest), it helps to indicate the region of interest in the program description.
- If your shows are a mixture of local and national, consider planning your show so that all local content is scheduled to be at the same time each show, so it can be edited out easily.
CONSIDER the QUALITY:
Many factors go into making a show of high quality, too many to enumerate. But here are a few critical ones for radio content on Audioport:
- Concise but descriptive show title.
- Concise but descriptive tag line (“a show about ____”; “bringing you __ every week.”
- Frequent re-introduction of show title (every 15 min), your name as host, your guest, description of guest’s expertise or relevance.
- Reliability in terms of content. Your show is what you say it is, in the title and Audioport show description.
Consistency is what station programmers look for the most:
- Post shows of exactly the same length (to the second) every week. Note: 1-hour shows must be no longer than 58:00 minutes. Half-hour shows must be no longer than 29:00 minutes. Modular shows should ideally be no longer than 4:00 minutes.
- Post shows in the same place every week (if it is a weekly series, don’t post it as a “special” or “interview” just because you think that this week’s content or interview is especially good). (If you wish, you can re-post it in one of those areas but your usual category will be the necessary post).
- Post at the advertised frequency, i.e. monthly, weekly, every-other-weekly, etc.
- Post to Audioport on the same day at the same time, every time..
Your failure to abide by the following rules makes stations and Pacifica vulnerable to FCC and IRS penalties, including fines and station closure. This is serious.
- No legal station IDs in work uploaded to audio. By naming your local station, you are effectively mis-identifying the station that subscribes to your work. This is more than an annoyance to that station’s listeners, it is an FCC violation. (You may say, e.g., “Coming to you from the studios of WHYR in Baton Rouge, this X show” but may not say“This is X show on WHYR….”
- It is recommended, that you eliminate all underwriting mentions. Generally, underwriters have not paid to have mentions on many stations around the country and the stations airing your show see their own air time as valuable property. If your underwriter or grantee is paying you for national attention, it is not illegal to acknowledge their sponsorship but be aware some stations will pass your show by. Out of courtesy to stations, and to keep them feeling friendly towards you, please indicate in program notes any underwriting credits in the program.
- NO FCC VIOLATIONS:- absolutely– i.e., “forbidden words,” graphic (sexual) imagery, payola, plugola, political endorsements.
- Absolutely no NO FUND DRIVE or FUND RAISING content of any sort
- Again, plan to create “Evergreen” show, i.e., a new or rerun show that is not dated in any way by season or topic, that can substitute for your show when you are otherwise occupied with your station’s fund drive, or sick, etc.
UPLOADING YOUR SHOW
Preparing the audio:
- We recommend but do not require mono format, since some stations broadcast in mono and shows in stereo run the risk of coming out as half-broadcasts on the air.
- The shows should be at least 128-bit-rate.
- Some producers are breaking each hour into two 30-min segments. This is not necessary or desirable. It clutters up Audioport.
- On the other hand, if your show is two hours, it should be broken into two 1-hour (58-min) segments. This allows the station using your show time to put in an ID at the top of the hour. Label them differently, e.g. “Part 1” and “Part 2” and upload them as two different entries so aggregators will find both of them.
- Make promos for your show as a stand-alone series. If you put the promos on the show pages, you will confuse automation systems and they are as likely to air the promo as the show instead of the real thing.
Loading the audio:
- If your show has a name, like The Wayback Machine, and it appears on a regular basis, then it is a series. You click “Add a new series” in the second box. This series will now be associated with your log-in address.
- In the TITLE box, you describe the content of this week’s (or this day’s, or this month’s show). It may just be today’s date. It may be a topic like ”The Gold Standard.”
- Audioport will automatically combine your series title and show title: e.g. “The Wayback Machine: The Gold Standard.” It uses boldface, which is what programmers look for.
- PROGRAM TYPE: Use “monthly” for monthly and twice-monthly shows. Use “weekly” for consistent weekly shows. Use “interview” only for stand-alone interviews not related to a show. Use “commentary” only for short opinion pieces. Use “special” only for one-time broadcasts.
- SUBTITLE: The “subtitle” field should be used rarely.
- TOPICS: Under “Topics” you have about a dozen folders with sub-folders and sub-sub-folders. We have done our best revising this tree. Try to select 3 to 6 topics. The topics you pick on the first upload automatically come up for your next upload. Nonetheless, please try to edit the topics to fit your show. Otherwise, search-by-topic results in meaningless clutter.
- SUMMARY: One- or two-sentence hard-hitting summary of this edition of the show.
- CREDITS: Very important, especially for music shows. Be sure to include your intro/outro music.
- PROGRAM NOTES: Start with one-sentence description of your show’s mission (i.e., your tag line). Notes to programmers like “musical interlude from 29:30 to 30:30 to allow for station ID” or reassurances like “All station IDs and local references have been removed” are helpful. Include your email address, if it’s not the same as your Audioport log-in. Then include any websites, background or additional information you would like to.
- RELEASE DATE: This is important! If you decide you want to go to the studio and produce, e.g., two shows in your weekly series, please date them one week apart. That way, show 2 won’t appear on Audioport until the following week. This decreases clutter on Audioport and makes it easier for programmers to locate the shows their looking for.
- BEFORE YOU TURN THE PAGE, ask yourself: should I check the box at the top, “Make visible in my workroom only”?
- In general, note that when people search by the search box with the “go” button, the system looks at words in your descriptive text. That’s a good reason for adding descriptive text.
- NEXT PAGE: If your show is not a series, then please label it with a name where Audioport provides that option. The field does not allow spaces. If your upload is a series, Audioport automatically labels it.
PROMOTING YOUR SHOW
- You can introduce your show and post weekly updates via our “pacifica-announce” list-serv. Program directors subscribe and will see your announcement. To join: contact Ursula at Ursula@pacifica.org.
- The Bad news & the Good News: Bad news: Even if you have a great show and consistency, you will likely have to upload regularly for about half a year before you will see results. That’s how long it takes for radio stations to integrate a new show. During the first “dry” period, you will have to still show consistency even if you don’t get great results – be assured that program Directors who are considering taking your show, are checking to see if you are consistent. Good news: Audioport is a highly active web site with a network driving people to it and a good show consistently uploaded will get picked up and gain a following with time..
- In Audioport, your show pages have a “stat” box (bottom right) showing number of downloads, which is a pretty accurate way to tell how many stations are airing your show. You can see a list of emails of who downloaded your show at the page bottom when you are logged in. “Unknown” downloads are also real and indicate stations automating (podcasting) their download.
- Audioport reaches all stations in Pacifica Network. There are approximately 200 stations, currently. You can find a list of Pacifica affiliates who can access your program through Audioport.org at http://pacificanetwork.org/?page_id=49. Links to their web sites are given, for contact information. The best way to get on airwaves is direct phone calls.
- To post promos for your show, create a separate series for the promos. If you put the promos on the show pages, you will confuse automation systems and they are as likely to air the promo as the show instead of the real thing.
- Radio stations look for consistency above all else. Many use automation systems, which do not have the flexibility a human would have to compensate if the show is not there on schedule or an irregular length. If you want stations to take your show:The show must go on the same day and time, have a consistent length (usually 29 minutes or 58 minutes), and have consistent sound and content quality.
- Short and explicit titles and descriptions – that tell what the show is about – will promote your show best in Audioport. Poetic names are awesome but you may pay a price when people don’t understand what your show is.