BY TY STOCKTON
I got my start in writing by way of the newspaper business because I was told more than once that I had a face for radio but a voice for newspaper.
But these days, radio isn’t simply an aural medium. Most radio stations now have an Internet-based component, and the more you can provide for that side of the business, the more valuable you’ll be to the people who pay the bills.
Even if you’re not working for a station with a website, you can jazz up your offerings simply by posting your shows on your own website, along with adding photos to give your visitors more reasons to come back and see you again.
If you use a blog editor like WordPress, it’s easy to include both sound files and photos in your posts. I write a short teaser on my blog post to get the readers interested in hearing the radio program each day. I then hyperlink the audio file to the words “today’s show” in the teaser, so a reader can easily click and listen to the show. My show’s only two minutes long, so it doesn’t keep visitors chained to their computers for a long time. If you have a longer show, consider several teasers that draw readers in to short segments from your show.
Once in a while, I add a photo to spice things up. I really should add a photo for every post, but I don’t have enough good photos to do that without putting up substandard images. I think it’s important to use high-quality pictures that illustrate, rather than decorate. If you don’t have a good picture that truly fits the subject of your post, don’t use one at all.
Other radio bloggers use videos in their posts, and that can be even more compelling. If you have a good webcam and record in a clean, orderly room or studio, you might even consider videoing yourself recording your show and using pieces of that video in your webcast. You can mix video of yourself (and your guests) talking into the microphones with B-roll of whatever you’re talking about.
For instance, I do auto reviews a couple times a month. I started recording footage from the front seat of the four-wheel-drives I test, as I take them over the forest road I use as a test track. I also have a coworker record from the outside of the vehicle as I take it over particularly nasty patches of that forest road. I haven’t perfected the format yet, but I plan to mix this footage with a few still shots of the vehicle in front of scenic backdrops. This will give website visitors a virtual tour of the vehicle while I’m telling them about the strengths and weaknesses of the vehicles I test.
Again, adding video to Web posts is easy if you’re using WordPress or a similar content management system. All you need to do is click the “Add Media” button and then drag and drop the file into the post.
It takes far longer to tech the photos or edit the video than it does to add the media, once it’s been edited, to the site. I use Adobe Photoshop Lightroom and Adobe Photoshop to process my photos, and I’m learning how to use Adobe Premier Pro to edit the video.
If you, like me, are somewhat lacking in photo editing skills, pick up “The Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 4 Book for Digital Photographers” by Scott Kelby, available at KelbyTraining.com. For Photoshop and Premier, the books in the Adobe Revealed series — “Adobe Photoshop CS5 Revealed” by Elizabeth Eisner Reding and “The Video Collection Revealed: Adobe Premiere Pro, After Effects, Soundbooth and Encore CS5” by Debra Keller — are excellent tutorials and references.
There’s a bit of a learning curve with any photo or video editing, but the added content you’ll give website visitors will make the effort well worth your while. Besides, you’ll eventually give yourself another marketable skill. I’ve finally gotten to the point where I think my photos are worthy of posting, and someday I might feel as confident with my videos.
Good luck, and if you get stuck, don’t be afraid to reach out to other OWAA members who already have the skills you’re trying to master. ◊
BY TY STOCKTON