By Holland Cooke
BLOCK ISLAND, RI — The pandemic shutdown changed the standard for remote broadcasting.
- Cable news talking heads – previously on-set or in a professional studio elsewhere – began appearing at home. And TV’s aesthetic is forever changed. Webcam video is the good-enough new-normal, and “Zoom” has become a verb. On Twitter, witty @RoomRater does just that, critiquing screen shots from various shows. On my TV show, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison predicted that the new generation of TV news/talk sets will resemble “Frasier’s living room,” the at-home look IN-studio, rather than the Lucite desk and garish casino-looking graphics that have been the norm. And shows are saving a bundle NOT-paying as much as a thousand dollars for remote studio time + to Uber guests who may only appear for several minutes. A local station interviewed my state rep sitting in his truck talking into his phone cam.’ It was “authentic.”
- Already used for radio’s special-occasion broadcasts, Comrex and Tieline became everyday tools, as DJs/hosts/news people worked from home. Many still do. And as post-consolidation automation/syndication/voice-tracking continue to thin the local talent herd, the radio station physical plant footprint is downsizing.
- Most podcasters were already in remote mode, simply plugging USB mics into laptops.
In all three cases, acoustics are often compromised.
- Typical TV audio is less “dead” than radio, and that’s especially noticeable when a Talk host or newscast plays a clip culled from television. You hear the boomy room, not just the voice.
- In 2020, we saw radio people posting Twitter photos as they home-broadcast from closets, where hanging clothes helped deaden the sound.
- Though some podcasters have invested not-to sound like they’re broadcasting from the shower, many do have a near vintage-WABC reverb. So however engaging/entertaining/informative/useful their content is, the presentation suffers.
Tip for podcasters: Record yours sitting in a parked car, in the back seat so your voice isn’t bouncing off the windshield. Your dog won’t understand. But your listeners will hear a more credible show.
Holland Cooke (HollandCooke.com) is author of the E-book “Multiply Your Podcast Subscribers, Without Buying Clicks,” available from Talkers books; and“Spot-On: Commercial Copy Points That Earned The Benjamins,” a FREE download here: and “Inflation Hacks: Save Those Benjamins.” HC is a consultant working at the intersection of broadcasting and the Internet. Follow him on Twitter @HollandCooke