After producing several of them since 2008 for myself and clients, I recently launched a brand new online radio show (SpeakCastilian) which is also syndicated as a podcast to all of the most important platforms and apps. In addition to creating the show’s logo, podcast artwork with the proper specs, website, branded RSS feed, recording and editing the first episode, one key asset I create for almost all new shows are the prerecorded audio elements. Those usually include the audio opening, bumpers/stingers and closing. For decades, I have favored creating openings where a female voice interacts with a male voice, since it seems to keep the audience more attentive. This article is to share the production process of those prerecorded assets, including the writing of the script, choosing/purchasing/licensing background music, choosing and hiring voice talent and editing all of the assets to have them available. This audio production process is nearly identical to ones I have produced for TV shows and for interactive phone systems, aka IVR (Interactive Voice Response) where I have also combined female and male voices, where the original recording is always at 48 kHz (see 48kHzAlliance.com).
Writing the script
Since this type of a short script is often to be shared with other people for comments… and later to send to the hired narrators actually do their respective performance, I generally write this type of short script with Google Docs. Depending on the particular case, I sometimes separate the voice for each narrator in different columns, and/or have a column for comments about how I would like a particular sentence to be performed. Google Docs (part of Google Drive) thrives in its collaborative capabilities without the nonsense and confusion of multiple versions of a file sent via email, which also tend to fill up everyone’s drive unnecessarily. However, for those collaborators who absolutely demand to receive a file, Google Docs certainly allows exporting and emailing a PDF or Microsoft Word document of it, despite the associated inefficiencies covered earlier.
In other cases (when I am really not sure which voice will read each line until I get to the editing stage), I send the full script to both of them, so I can decide later which of the best sentence (or even sub-sentence) to have each read by each one. In the case of (SpeakCastilian), I did the latter.
Choosing, contracting/purchasing and licensing the background music
Whether you decide to have a custom background music composed by a composer and performed by a musician… or you purchase it from a stock audio vendor, it’s essential to do so with all of the rights for the type of medium where the show is going to be broadcast, both now and in the future. So far, I have only purchased them from stock audio vendors.
Choosing and hiring the voice talent
If you are brand new to this, then you will probably invest at least an hour listening to samples from voice talent in your desired demographics to find the ideal voice(s) for your particular project. After you have been doing it for years (or decades in my case), you will likely already have voices of several voice talent in your own brain, and can typecast for the particular project… and then hope that your ideal voice talent is still available.
Although I am from the United States, I have done more production in the Castilian language than in English, so I personally know many more voice talent who specialize in Castilian than in English. However, even though the particular very recent project I am covering in this article (SpeakCastilian) is indeed primarily in English, fortunately, I had the two ideal female and male voices typecast in my mind. In this case, at least one of them needed to be able to pronounce a couple of specific words natively in Castilian in the opening of the show, even though it’s mainly in English.
For the opening’s female voice, I chose Debra Ball. Even though we have never met in person so far, I had hired her for a prior project about two years ago and have her voice in my mental database. I was delighted to discover that Debra was again available for this project. Debra Ball has been a television host, voice talent and travel expert for over 20 years. When I once asked her whether she happened to be the great granddaughter of Lucille Ball, she simply responded with a “LOL”, so I suppose that she is not.
For the opening’s male voice, I chose the Emmy-award winning Memo Sauceda, whom I do know personally and who has been a guest both on my CapicúaFM show (in Castilian) in this episode, as well as having been on BeyondPodcasting (in English) in these episodes and on TuRadioGlobal. Memo was able to perform very well in English (his second language) while properly pronouncing a few words and names in Castilian.
Of course, I requested both Debra and Memo to record and send me the raw WAV files at 48 kHz audio sampling frequency (see 48kHzAlliance.com) and fortunately both did.
In addition to Debra’s and Memo’s voices for the opening, within the episode, I also used the voice of Spaniard singer, voiceover talent and linguist María Esnoz for some key words played within episode 1,
whom you may have met in my recent article The making of a indie bilingual parody song from 3 locations (illustrated above). This song is also played in the first episode of SpeakCastilian, embedded ahead in this article.
Editing in Hindenburg Journalist Pro
If you have been reading my articles for the past few years, you know that my favorite multitrack audio editor for audio storytelling is Hindenburg Journalist Pro, which is why I have covered it in so many prior articles.
In addition to using Hindenburg Journalist Pro to edit the opening of SpeakCastilian, I also used it to edit the first episode, as you’ll be able to hear embedded ahead.
First episode of SpeakCastilian
Below you’ll be able to hear the first episode of SpeakCastilian. In most of my shows, I follow the format of:
- Main body (which may include commercial spots and bumpers/stingers)
So when you play episode 1, you’ll first hear the tease (only about 2 seconds in this case) followed by the opening. For the first few episodes, I plan to leave the opening as is. After that, I may shorten it.
I believe that the prerecorded elements in any show is just as important as the variable content of each episode. I hope this article about the production process of those prerecorded assets has helped you. I have produced many online radio shows and podcasts and would love to help you too, with any or all aspect, from the initial consulting, production, CombinedHosting or wide distribution and syndication.
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Some of the other manufacturers listed above have contracted Tépper and/or TecnoTur LLC to carry out consulting and/or translations/localizations/transcreations. Many of the manufacturers listed above have sent Allan Tépper review units and NFR copies for review, including Accusonus and Hindenburg. So far, none of the manufacturers listed above is/are sponsors of the TecnoTur, BeyondPodcasting, CapicúaFM , SpeakCastilian or TuSaludSecreta programs, although they are welcome to do so, and some are, may be (or may have been) sponsors of ProVideo Coalition magazine. Some links to third parties listed in this article and/or on this web page may indirectly benefit TecnoTur LLC via affiliate programs. Allan Tépper’s opinions are his own. Allan Tépper is not liable for misuse or misunderstanding of information he shares.