During this current Coronavirus pandemic, many presenters are having to get to grips with voicetracking their show.
You might find you’re being asked to record shows for multiple stations, or even record links on the go while the show is live.
Believe it or not, my first role in radio was working as a producer for a voicetracked show. Because of that, I perfected a few good tricks to make the show sound as live as possible.
If you’ve got any tips or tricks you fancy sharing with the industry that I missed, tweet them to me @ProdJamie, so I can share them!
Keep It Current
It can be really easy to record five shows for the week from home and know you’ve got nothing else to do, but this will not sound the same, no matter how much you’ve convinced yourself it will.
Try to get into the habit of recording shows on the same day they are to be broadcast. In the current climate, it is so important to have all the facts and stay ahead of the curve.
Recording the same day allows you to keep up with the various trends, like people drawing rainbow pictures for their windows, or what happened in the latest Joe Wicks workout.
Try To Have Some Callers
This can not only be technically quite tricky, but from a content point of view hard too, but it makes a huge difference.
Callers bring a show to life, and if you’re prerecorded, it can be the difference between someone casting it aside as background noise and someone actually listening.
During the show I worked on, the presenter did a show on another station, so he would repurpose the calls. Famously the On Air With Ryan Seacrest show has done this on a large-scale for years.
UK radio has been a bit slow on this, but that could be down to many networked shows being live and across one brand anyway.
Voicetrack Don’t Record
Every mainstream community or commercial playout software has the ability to voicetrack now, but I have seen many presenters still recording dry links and dropping them in.
If you have the ability to properly voicetrack a show, and hear all the music and production, then please do it.
Your show will sound completely different when you’re able to adjust your tone, pace and gravitas to match the songs and production in the music log.
When recording dry links, it’s very tricky to judge things like the speed at which you do a link, if the intro is building, hard, soft, loud, quiet.
Do Your Local Research
The beauty of voicetracking means that you might be able to do a show on a station miles away from where you live. You might not have ever been to the area your show is going out across.
It seems obvious, but if you’ve just undertaken some cover work during the pandemic for a TSA you don’t know, research it.
Find out the key towns/cities, how you pronounce them, which roads are the key traffic arteries, are there any local landmarks, famous stars from the area?
The more local content you can drop it, the more everyone wins. You sound great on-air, the listener is none the wiser you’re miles away, and the station goes ‘wow they were good, lets use them again for cover work’.
Update As You Go
If you’re recording lots of shows for different stations, try to update as you go across the day. It can be really tempting to finish the last link and assume the show is done.
Save yourself a few leftover links dotted across the show with some ‘updatable’ links about things like the weather report, local sports scores, chart positions etc.
Jump in each day and just record those specific links with the relevant info, that way you can keep the shows sounding as up to date as possible.
For example, if you know a celebrity has a big announcement halfway through one of your shows, don’t just record a few links mentioning ‘xxx has a big announcement in an hour’.
Rerecord the links as you go mentioning that big news. Don’t just save it and mentioning the next day.
Voicetracking is easy so long as you keep things relevant, up to date and simple. Don’t over complicate things and stick to the basics.
Extra Tips And Tricks
‘be loose to be tight’ – advice I got from the amazing @r_banks voice tracking that’s too perfect is a giveaway. Stay loose and real.— Colin Kelly (@colinkelly) April 14, 2020
Listen to your show as it goes out – gauge if the tone feels right for what’s going on in your market at that time. Adjust and repeat.— Chris Stevens (@chrisukstevens) April 14, 2020
Listen to the station you’re voicetracking for and understand who they are, what they talk about and – importantly – who their listeners are.— Dan Richards (@brummy_dan) April 14, 2020
My tip is to not always go for a retake if you make a mistake or laugh or crash a vocal a tiny bit. Too much perfection can make a voicetracked show sound sterile.— simon le vans (@simonlevans) April 14, 2020
“Too much perfection” is not a problem I’ve encountered doing my first ever voicetracking this past fortnight, to be fair …— Richard Horsman (@leedsjourno) April 14, 2020