Category Archives: Audio/Radio

New health and science show at WHYY Looking for Stories

New outlet for health and science stories from WHYY in Philadelphia:
WHYY's new radio show "The Pulse" is looking for story pitches. We cover health and science. Got an idea? Email us at and If you want to check out the show to get a better sense of our sound,

Stories don’t have to be produced / centered in this region (Pa, NJ, DE) but should at least have some local ties.

AIR, PRNDI Announce Framework for Local Freelance Contributors

AIR and PRNDI have done some very important work to negotiate fair rates for indie producers working for local radio stations. They lay out their work in an upcoming webinar, Monday, Feb 24, 2pm ET. Sign up HERE. Info and links to great new resources below.Public radio stations and independent producers will now have guidance for negotiating rates to support creation of local stories, thanks to the efforts of a task force created by AIR and PRNDI last fall. AIR has also developed a new contract template designed expressly for station and freelancers. Together, these new resources support stations seeking to tap public media’s talent pool to strengthen their local position, and the interests of freelancers looking to expand their opportunities to contribute to public media outlets and reach new listeners.Many stations already rely on freelancers to add diversity, enhance their “sense of place,” fulfill grant requirements, or fill gaps in their schedules. A survey of newsrooms conducted as part of this initiative indicates the majority (85%) of respondents are working to strengthen the local identity of their stations. While, nearly half feel freelance content is important to their station and believe it will help their efforts to build local identity, most (71%) say their ability to acquire outside work is constrained by budget limitations. The average freelance acquisition budget of the respondents to AIR’s survey is $12,500/year with most (89%) commissioning 3-14 minute news features. The average spent annually on national programming for these stations is $608,500.The local rate schedule ( ) is modeled after the national standards first created by AIR in 2002 to set compensation based on the experience of a producer and the complexity of a story rather than a pay-per-minute fee. The new schedule lays out a sliding scale fee to account for the range of newsroom diversity across the system.The new contract template ( ) commissioned by AIR to accompany the rate schedule is designed to support negotiations of stations and producers as they set the terms and conditions for working together. AIR’s Guide to Fair Practices ( ) is another recommended resource available to all across the system.

PRNDI and AIR will present a webinar on Monday, February 24th at 2pmET.Reserve a spot by registering here:

Please note that space is limited. Do not register unless/until you can commit to attend.

The AIR/PRDNI task force was led by public radio reporter and former news director Susanna Capelouto. San Francisco-based Spencer W. Weisbroth, a business and non-profit attorney and AIR member with extensive experience working in public media, was commissioned by AIR to develop the contract template. Advisors included independent producers Karen Michel, Lu Olkowski, Jay Allison, and Katie Davis, consultant Mike Marcotte, PRPD President Arthur Cohen, and station-based staff Tanya Ott who serves as vice president of radio for Georgia Public Broadcasting, Sally Eisele, managing editor of public affairs for WBEZ, and Jim Gates, senior editor at KUOW and head of the station’s Program Venture Fund. AIR Executive Director Sue Schardt and PRNDI President George Bodarky, news director of WFUV in New York, also consulted on the final framework.

  • *****************Public Radio News Directors Incorporated (PRNDI ( ) is a nonprofit professional association that exists to improve local news and information programming by serving public radio journalists. PRNDI educates, advocates, and organizes to promote high standards, ethical principles, and significant public service. PRNDI works to strengthen the skills, capacity, and professional position of news directors, and through them, strengthen public radio’s local news and public affairs efforts in ways that are embraced by audiences, station leaders, networks, and supporters.AIR is a vibrant international production network made up of 1000 public media journalists, documentarians, technicians, media entrepreneurs, and sound artists with a core expertise in independent audio production. The Boston-based organization identifies, cultivates, and deploys members to deepen understanding of and bring enlightenment to citizens worldwide. Its training programs and productions are defining and driving an expanding media landscape spanning digital/technology, broadcast, and street media platforms — challenging and inspiring other media-makers to join us at (
    AIR/PRNDI Station-Freelance Acquisition Guide:
    AIR Station-Freelance Contract Template:
    Guide to Fair Practices:
    NPR rates:


Åke Blomström Memorial Prize 2014, deadline Jan 19

Hey young folks (30 and under). A few more days to apply for this prize to create a documentary radio feature and travel to Leipzip, Germany. Info HERE and below.

The Åke Blomström Memorial Prize is offering young and promising feature makers the chance to attend a special documentary training course and the 2014 International Feature Conference.
The winners will attend a two-day coaching session in documentary making at the Mediencampus Villa Ida in Leipzig from 9th to 10th May, immediately before the International Feature Conference (IFC) which will be held in the same location.
Each of the winners will be assigned a coach who will mentor them in documentary making throughout the year …

All you need: READ and DOWNLOAD HERE !!!

audio editing gig by the Bay

Part-time, long-term audio editing gig for someone in the SF Bay Area. Details below. -Mia


Job Posting for an Audio Editor in the S.F. Bay Area:
Climate One is looking for an audio editor who can put together our weekly audio series, “Climate One California Weekly.” This job requires very basic audio editing skills and some experience with file management. It should take about 5-6 hours/week. We are looking for someone based in the San Francisco Bay Area who can make a long-term commitment.
The Gig: 
— Pulling a single, mono audio file down from DropBox or High Tail.
— Shortening each taped conversation (running about 65 minutes) down to 59 minutes
— Adding a pre-produced Intro and Outro. (This is part of the 59 minutes) — Cleaning up volumes, fades, basic EQ
— Posting on iTunes, Content Depot and PRX, within 2-3 days of the live eventInterested?
Reply to Claire Schoen:
And I will send you the full details.

Freelance Cafe highlighted on WAMC’s 51%

I recently spoke with WAMC’s Susan Barnett for her show 51% – The Women’s Perspective. She asked me about my freelancing experience and gave a nice shout out to Freelance Cafe. It was fun to be on the other side of the mic for a change! Listen to hear a bit about why I started FC and my thoughts on networking as an important part of making it as a freelancer.

This was 51% Episode 1220, broadcast on November 29 at 8pm and again on December 5 at 3pm.

Here’s a blurb about the show:

In America, women make up more than half the population. Worldwide, women are expected to outnumber men within the next fifty years. And every issue we face is one that affects us all.

Whether it’s the environment, health, our children, politics or the arts, there’s a women’s perspective, and 51% is a show dedicated to that viewpoint.

Host Susan Barnett talks to experts in their field for a wide-ranging, entertaining discussion of issues that not only fall into the traditional ‘women’s issues’ category, but topics that concern us all as human beings and citizens of the global community.

Tune to 51% weekly throughout the U. S. on public and community radio stations, some ABC Radio Network stations, Armed Forces Radio stations around the world and on the Internet.

Pimp Your Podcast – a panel discussion at the CUNY J-School

For you audio folks/podcasters – I was recently on a panel at The CUNY Graduate School of Journalism’s called “Pimp your Podcast” with Amanda Aronczyk (moderator), Jim Colgan of Soundcloud, Adam Davidson of Planet Money, and Ashley Milne-Tyte, producer of the amazing podcast The Broad Experience. We talked about the differences between online audio and broadcast radio and how to sell a podcast idea to a funder or news organization, among other things. It was a lot of fun, and I thought some of you might find it useful.

‘Pimp Your Podcast’ Panel – October 22, 2012 from CUNY Grad School of Journalism on Vimeo.

Strange Beauty Film Festival Call for Audio entires – deadline is MONDAY, Dec 10

Quick! You have until Monday to send your stuff. -Mia

Enter Strange Beauty's Aural Fixation 

Calling all Audio Types!!! here's a chance to have your brilliant work heard by a live audience.

please consider submitting work to Aural Fixation–a curated listening block–part of the Strange Beauty Film Festival. The deadline was extended to December 10th — get your awesome piece in now!

For the past 2 years, Aural Fixation, curated by Jennifer Deer, has been a big Saturday night hit at Strange Beauty, the coolest lil' film fest in Durham, NC. 

Producers featured in Aural Fixation have included John Biewen, Alix Blair, Jesse Dukes, David Goren, Karen Michel, Katie Mingle, Shea Shackelford, David Schulman, David Schultz, Nick Van der Kolk ….

See the website for more info and to submit. Guidelines below. 


Aural Fixation, an audio-only portion of the Strange Beauty Film Festival, accepts audio work of any shape or form with a running time of 30 minutes or less. Pieces in the 90 second to 5 minute range are encouraged. The only requirement is that the work be strangely beautiful and/or beautifully strange. We are looking for stuff that strikes a chord, has an emotional impact, makes us think. If you feel your piece fits the bill, it probably does. We can't wait to hear it. 

Previous broadcast history is of no concern. Audio work/sound art of any type/content is welcome, such as narrated, verite, soundscapes, raw tape, excerpts, scenes, sound or audio "moments," found tape, experimental, audio theater, and creative radio work (to name a few). Music may also be a good fit for Aural Fixation if it relies very heavily on recorded sound over musical instruments.

A completed electronic entry form and an entry fee of $5.00 must accompany each work submitted. You may submit a URL for auditioning your audio piece, or email us an mp3 file. Please name the file with at least your last name. If your piece is selected for the festival we will contact you for further information and at that point we can arrange for a .wav file to be sent, it you so desire.

$5.00 per entry. Entry fees must be in U.S. funds only. 


There are no official awards, though we'll have baubles of some kind for all producers/audiomakers who come to the fest.

Pitch Perfect, The Art of Editorial Persuasion, happening at the Third Coast Conference

The Third Coast Conference is coming up Oct 5-7 and there are still slots open for the Association of Independents in Radio pitch panel. Get your ideas heard by the best in the biz! Details below.


Hello Friends and fellow Producers:
I’ve got editors lined up from NPR’s Arts Desk, Marketplace, the BBC, KCRW’s Independent Producer’s Project, Snap Judgment and This American Life. Now all you have to do is STEP ON UP and submit pitches for AIR’s pitch panel, “Pitch Perfect: The Art of Editorial Persuasion” happening at the Third Coast Conference in Chicago October 5-7.

DEADLINE for PITCHING: Monday, August 20, 5pm PT.

This is your chance for 12 of you to get the ear of one of the best editors in the business and, at the same time, help provide a great learning experience for your colleagues.

How do program editors decide what to put on the air (or online)? How do they work with independent producers to try new ideas or launch a national series? Typically these kinds of questions are discussed behind closed doors, leaving many wondering what the magic key is to creating a productive partnership. This session is one of AIR’s most popular panels from the Third Coast Conference. We take you to the creative “sweet spot” with pre-selected producers pitching story ideas and projects to some of public radio’s most experienced editorial gatekeepers.

Here’s more details on how to become a pitcher, plus a link to our application form:

Email any questions you have to me at


Emily Botein

This American Life THEME LIST

Always a popular post – the call for pitches from TAL. Plus a nice explanation of their process at the top. Good luck!
PS: I get these calls for pitches because I'm a member of AIR – a fantastic organization for public media folks of all stripes. Happy to provide more info if you're interested. (And no, I don't work for them, I just like them a lot.)


Dear This American Life friends and contributors,

We've got a new round of themes-in-progress and we're coming to you
for story pitches, thoughts and suggestions for our upcoming shows.

How this process works: When you send in a story idea to me, I'll
respond with a generic email letting you know that I received your
pitch and that I've read it.  I promise.  I read every pitch.  (I
won't send you the auto response until I've read your pitch so expect
a bit of a delay getting that email.)  If we think the pitch is right
for us, or if we need more information from you, I'll send you another
email asking for more info on the story or letting you know we'd like
to commission the story. But if you don't hear back from us within two
weeks, beyond the initial auto-reply email, it means the story just
isn't right for us or for the needs of that particular show.  The idea
of doing it this way is just to get through pitches and get back to
everyone quickly.

Like always, these themes are shows we're actively pursuing right now
but we're always on the lookout for new stories or ideas.  So if
you've got a story that you think would work especially well for us
but doesn't fit a specific theme listed below, please send it along

Thanks so much for your pitches.  We appreciate it.


PLAY THE PART:  We’ve sent this theme out before and the show is
coming up pretty soon (mid February) so we’re somewhat set on big
stories.  But we’re still searching for smaller or more interview or
essay-ish type stories to fill this one out.  The idea of the show is
that throughout our lives, there are moments where we take on roles
and do our best to play them convincingly.  Sometimes it’s a conscious
choice and sometimes we realize we’re representing something that is
unintentional or not totally true.  Now for the show, we’d love a
story that’s about playing a role in a relationship – maybe something
about finding yourself being the kind of
daughter/son/girlfriend/boyfriend/spouse/employee that another person
wants you to be, and getting into trouble because it’s actually very
different from who you are.  Funny would be good for this show, but
not required.

WHAT I DID FOR LOVE: We're hoping to put together a Valentine's Day
show this year about the extremes we go to for love.  Falling in love,
chasing it down, trying to make relationships work – all of these
stages of love have the potential to make us do insane, over-the-top
things.  We’re interested in any story where passion and love make
people do things they’d never consider otherwise.  We’re also toying
with the idea of a love show that examines the cliché idea that if you
love something, you should set it free.  Because the cliché doesn’t
even make sense, right?  Doesn’t it seem sort of crazy?  If you have
any stories of people wrestling with this question and deciding either
way, we’re interested in hearing those, too.  And while it is
Valentine’s Day, we’re not necessarily limiting the show to romantic
love.  We’ll consider stories about familial love or being obsessed,

HIDDEN TREASURE:  For this show, we’re looking for both literal
treasure hunt-type stories along with more metaphorical stories about
finding unexpected treasures or things of value.  Right now we’re
working on a story about a treasure hunt several years ago that began
with clues placed in a children’s book and ended with deceit, a sex
scandal and the treasure being lost in a pile of dirt.  We’re not sure
if this story is going to work out, though, so more stories about
actual treasure hunts or buried treasures would be great.  We’ve also
got a story about finding an unexpected treasure that really begs a
question as to whether “finders, keepers” should be true.  We’d love
stories that get at a “one man’s treasure…” idea, something where the
value of the object is in question.  And then even just stories about
finding something that has long been lost or hidden.  A family secret
maybe?  Or stories about trying to keep something hidden – keeping a
person hidden or a powerful secret hidden.  Maybe a story about hiding
money from a company or a spouse or kids?

SHOW ME THE WAY:  This is a show about “guides” of all sorts.  Stories
about  the people, books, companies we hire or turn to in the hopes of
them helping us navigate an unfamiliar place or experience or world.
We have one really incredible story about an elderly man who
essentially guides a young boy through his illness and death.  We have
another story about an unbelievably bad seeing-eye dog.    And a story
about a flight instructor who teaches people to get over their fear of
flying, only to die in a plane crash himself.  We’d like more stories
about people having to show faith, give up control and trust someone
else to successfully get through a particular experience.  Stories
about travel would obviously be good for this show but we’d also love
business or political stories, too.  Maybe a story about a consultant
with especially arcane knowledge?  Or a guide who takes on more than
she or he can handle?  Stories about a mentorship or Big Brother/Big
Sister type program?  Are there guides for things that seem like
they’d be obvious or easy but are, in fact, close to impossible to
achieve?  Suggestions for short fiction would be great for this show,

SEND A MESSAGE: Two years ago conservative legislators in Arizona
decided to make a point in sort of a tongue-in-cheek way.  They formed
a fund called the “I Didn’t Pay Enough in Taxes” fund to point out
that no one in Arizona was willing to pay more in taxes so they should
stop complaining about new tax cuts.  Surprisingly, though, a lot of
people contributed to the fund.  One of the contributors was a fairly
well-off former Republican who says he’d had a bit of a political
conversion and, by paying extra taxes, decided to send a message
himself: that by drastically reducing its tax base, Arizona was
shooting itself in the foot and destroying all the things that make
the state a great one.  Now the former Republican is meeting with the
author of the gimmicky fund, hoping their “messages” can now reach
each other and find some middle ground.  We’d like to find more
stories about people or groups or efforts that go to great lengths to
“send a message.”  The Occupy Wall Street movement has probably been
the biggest message-sender this past year and there are still Occupy
encampments in smaller, more unlikely towns across the country.  Maybe
there’s an interesting story at Occupy Poughkeepsie?  Or Occupy
Lancaster?  We’re looking for stories that aren’t necessarily
political, too.  Maybe a story about taking sort of an arbitrary stand
or drawing a seemingly weird line in the sand?  Stories about making
an example of something?  A story about a message received in an
unintended way would be great for this show, too.

The following isn’t for radio but rather for a special project we’re
working on for Spring:

THINGS YOU CAN’T DO ON THE RADIO:  Hi all – Ira writing this one.  A
little while back I saw this dance troupe do this piece that I found
totally charming and funny and completely in the sensibility of our
radio show and I thought "we have to put this on the air," but of
course, that makes no sense at all because there's no way to do dance
on the radio.  Very soon after that, I saw this comedian I love do
this story onstage that we recorded for the radio show, and I was
struck with the fact that seeing her deadpan delivery made it so much
funnier than just hearing it.  All of which led me to this thought: we
have to do another cinema event, one of those things where we go into
a theater and set up cameras and beam the show into movie theaters all
around the country.  That way people can see, and not just hear, these
two pieces.

Our theme will be Things You Can't Do on the Radio.

So now I'm turning to you.  The dance and the comedy bit total about
25 minutes.  That leaves a lot of space.  We've got a whole show to
fill!  We need your help!  We're looking for stories that are
particularly visual that we can report on.  We'll either shoot video
or take stills or have artists render the visuals.  Maybe the story is
about something spectacular in nature, or some amazing scene or
happening that we can film and witness.  Maybe the story is about the
sort of subject that always presents a problem for radio: someone who
can't speak, or a small child, or animals, or a group of people
interacting and what's interesting is watching them interact.  Maybe
you’ve seen an interesting short film or animated film that you think
we should take a look at?  A magician or some other kind of visual
performer doing something that's not, um, unbearably corny.  I'd love
a magician but it would have to be someone doing something pretty
unusual, and maybe very story-based, telling some story or making some
bigger point as he or she does his tricks, to make sense in the
context of one of our shows.  And we especially need at least one
story with some emotional heft to it.  Both the things we have already
are fantastic, but they're on the fun/funny side of things.  We need
to balance that out.  Stories that would work particularly well would
be stories that actually are about the idea of seeing/not seeing or
hearing/not hearing.

I know all this is kind of a broad request, but we're thinking big
here, trying something we haven't tried before.  The show will be in
May, which is closer than it seems, so write soon!  Put in the subject
line of your email: Things You Can't Do On the Radio.  And thanks, as
always, for your help.


Happy New Year to us – NPR announces 7.5% rate increase for 2012

Thanks in part to the wonderful folks at AIR, NPR has increased their freelancer rates for the first time in ten years. Woot! New rates are posted here. Details below. What an awesome way to ring in 2012!



Date: January 1, 2012

From: Margaret Low Smith, Interim SVP of NPR News

Dear Colleagues,

Happy New Year! I’m delighted to give you some good news to start 2012. Effective immediately, NPR is instituting an increase of at least 7.5% in most fees paid to station-based and independent radio contributors. We’ve also simplified the existing compensation structure as you’ll see in the attached document. Rates for Digital and Multimedia work will not be affected by this increase since those rates were set more recently.

We’ve heard a lot of feedback on this issue from our Member Station contributors and have had many conversations with Sue Schardt on behalf of the Association for Independents in Radio. NPR’s decision to increase rates, which comes at a time of tight budgets, is intended to reflect our commitment to the vital network of station-based and independent reporters whose contributions enhance our programming every day.

With that same spirit, we’re developing a dedicated resource space on Freelancers will be able to find contacts, sample pitches, policies and guidelines all in one place. We hope this will provide clarity and transparency and ultimately make everyone’s life a whole lot easier. We’ll let you know when it’s ready for prime time.

If you have any questions, please feel free to reach out to our bureau chiefs and editors. We hope you had a wonderful holiday and look forward to working with you in 2012.