Subject: Re: NetBSD on the radio.
To: Hubert Feyrer <>
From: Richard Rauch <>
List: netbsd-advocacy
Date: 01/18/2005 12:46:07
On Tue, Jan 18, 2005 at 10:07:56AM +0100, Hubert Feyrer wrote:
> On Mon, 17 Jan 2005, Richard Rauch wrote:
> >So, there you go.  NetBSD is being used to prepare a broadcast
> >radio show and is trying to do something for human rights.
> >That's 2 for 1, which balances the fact that it's only used for
> >half the shows.  (^&
> Yai! :)
> Can you describe some of the details what NetBSD is used for, what 
> software you use, etc.?

Well, since you ask...(^&

As far as I know, I'm the only person using NetBSD in any way to
produce anything that KPFT broadcasts.  I use NetBSD at home, and
often bring my NetBSD laptop to the station.

Primarily, I use NetBSD for editing and mixing shows.  Raw interviews
are handed to me, sometimes with some suggested music to work into the
show.  The raw interviews, of course, have all kinds of little audible
gaffs like "um", "ahh", gasps for breath, etc.  So I start by cleaning
up the interviews.  (This takes most of the time.)  Up to this point,
the goal is simply to preserve as much as possible while cutting
out "chaff", to make the whole interview "brighter" (for lack of
a better term).  At the same time, there are also openings/closings
that were recorded and which need to be cleaned up as well.

One of the things that we try to do is to break up some of the
depressing commentary and interviews with some music.  Choosing
music is part of the battle there.  Another part is finding room
for it.  For example, on Jan. 12, the show included a requiem chant
by some Benedictine monks.  I wanted to include the whole thing
without any cuts.  (The Jan. 12 show is about the missing and
murdered women of Juarez, Mexico.)  The chant is 5.5 minutes long,
and I was short a few minutes in the show.  So the next goal was
to shorten the interviews without compromising on content.  More
editing.  (^&

When I'm done with the editing, I usually want to dub a little bit of
extra voice to the show.  Sometimes an interview lacks an introduction,
or ends abruptly.  Also, I give music credits.

Finally, I combine the parts to a 28.5 minute show.  (We allow 1.5 minutes
for station identification and other such.)  Then I burn an audio CD of
the show which gets played on-air.  Usually it just spins with no
interruptions until it gets to the end of the audio track.

Tools include:

 * audacity (primary editing tool).
 * cdparanoia (e.g., some interviews were recorded some time ago and
   have been handed to me on audio CD).
 * sox/mplayer.  I've used these to convert formats, especially in the
   case of some interviews that were handed to me as MP3 files, perhaps
   not at the CD sampling rate of 44100Hz.
 * samba.  When we record a raw interview at the radio station, the
   recording is done on a MonopolySoft system.  To get the interviews
   home I either need to burn a CD (kind of wasteful) or plug into their
   network with my laptop, using samba.
 * audiorecord has also sometimes been used, for recording raw
   interviews from a tape player.
 * xfig/GhostScript/lpr/lpd: To ensure that I bring the right CD to the
   station with me, I cooked up a quick CD label in xfig and print to
   self-adhesive CD labels.

All software either ships with NetBSD or is used out of pkgsrc.

Besides being the primary tool, audacity is also the most crash-prone
software of the set.  In fact, it's the only crash-prone tool.  But
I haven't found any open source alternative.

The biggest thing that the show takes is time, though.

  "I probably don't know what I'm talking about."