Category Archives: AudioAssignments

There goes the last DJ

I agreed to give a mini-workshop on podcasting on Wednesday, to force myself to learn more about Audacity. Creating a bumper for DS106 Radio seemed like a good way to get started, and it’s a manageable amount of work for a 20-minute demonstration.

Here’s the thing, followed by how I made it:

First, I wanted to know what I’d be saying. The old Outer Limits opening came to mind – “we control the horizontal, we control the vertical.” That speaks a little to the “own your tools” ethos of DS106.

But if “we” control it, that suggests that “you” (the listener) doesn’t. And that doesn’t sound very DS106 at all. ┬áSo I rewrote it, for a participatory audio culture, to be “Radio DS106 – You control the gain; you control the Auto-Tune.”

Then I went hunting for an audio track to mix in. A search for “sci-fi” on CCMixter┬áturned up a track called “Space Station Melody” by a member called Gurdonark. (For a 15-second bump on a non-profit radio station, you could probably make a fair use argument for whatever you wanted to sample… but it’s also a chance for me to model searching for Creative Commons-licensed material for my faculty.)

It’s kind of funny, come to think of it… the futuristic pinging of Space Station Melody is more reminiscent of the pizzicato opening of The Twilight Zone than the dramatic strings and horns of The Outer Limits.

Anyway, I recorded into Audacity, imported the Space Station Melody MP3, and arranged the voice track to the point in the music where I wanted it to start. I brought the volume of the music down a hair while I was talking with the Envelope tool, and used the Fade Out filter to get out. (And then trimmed off the end of the music.)

I owe a link of thanks to Nicky Memita for her post on this assignment, which was quite useful as I navigated Audacity’s imposing list of filters and effects.