[Offtopic] School Radio Projects

stephen at melbpc.org.au stephen at melbpc.org.au
Tue Mar 30 12:20:05 EST 2010

Tom writes,

> my focus is to make techniques more widely available to teachers
> not engaged directly with multimedia ..

Ditto .. so on a related matter, don't forget your local Community Radio
Stations are always seeking, & welcome, any involvement of local schools.

Here's an radio station assignment for any teacher, of any learning area,
which i wrote for any school. Feel free to use/copy/adapt as appropriate.

*School Radio Project*

You are invited to create an MP3 file which will be broadcast on radio.

Your broadcast may be any length, and, a MP3 file from two to twenty 
minutes would be normal, with around three to five minutes in length 
(about the same length as a song) being an appropriate average. 

Your finished Radio Project should be saved as a normal Stereo MP3 file 
(with a Sample Rate of 44100 and in 16 Bit) and saved as an MP3 on a USB 
Memory Stick or on a CD/DVD. 

When recording, set your Sound Level Meters so that they are usually in 
the Green and Yellow sections of the level meter, and only sometimes in 
the Red Section. Any louder and they will sound distorted when you play 
them back. That’s it. It’s very easy to record an MP3 file.

When recording, try to do so in a quiet place, with little or no 
background sounds. Also try to record in a place with little or no echo 
from the walls of the room. Usually a room with curtains and carpet will 
be fine, as these will usually absorb echoes of your voice. 

You will need a script, or, at least some notes in point form. It’s 
certainly possible just to speak with no script, but that’s hard to do 
without lots of “umms” and “ahhs” which will spoil your recording. 

And finally, remember to pronounce (say) each word as clearly as you can, 
and use plenty of inflection (up and down) to make it sound interesting 
to listen to, and not just 'flat' or 'monotone' which will often tend to 
sound a little boring for your listeners.

Finally, you will want people to listen to and enjoy your Radio Project. 

That means it should be interesting. Your finished Radio Project will 
certainly be played on the Radio Station several times at least, so as to 
make sure everyone listening to the station has a good chance to hear it, 
and the best Projects will be played quite a number of times, if you like.

Following this are some suggestions for your Radio Projects, but, if your 
teachers agree, you may decide to produce anything you may like for your 
Radio Project, as long as it is YOUR work. 

You may include brief (eg, ten second) ‘snippets’ of other people’s sound 
recordings in your Radio Project, but remember that your work, and other 
people’s work, is copyright and you will need their permission to use 
large sections of their work. Most people will usually agree to your 
using sections of their work if you email them first and ask politely, 
and explain that it’s for a school project. 

*Radio Project Suggestions*

*	Poetry Readings. You can make up one or more poems and the 
record them. Or, you can simply recite someone else’s poetry, and perhaps 
add sound effects for interest.

*	Oral History. These are very popular. You can interview someone 
about their lives, or, about some parts of their lives and record their 
answers to your questions. Or, you can write an article to do with 
history, and then record these yourselves. Perhaps you can record, or 
find, suitable sound effects to add ‘atmosphere’ to it. This website may 
be help you: http://www.nla.gov.au/ohdir/index.html

*	Radio Drama/Plays/Mysteries. Many community Radio Stations now 
broadcast “Five Minute Mysteries” where-in a detective solves mysteries. 
Along the way, the listener is given clues to the mystery, and at the end 
is invited to solve the mystery before being given the answers at the 
very end. These are lots of fun to listen to, and everyone seems to like 
them, and tries to solve the mystery before being told the answers. 
However, you might like to create your very own radio play, with 
different people playing your ‘characters’ in your play. Radio Plays will 
need sound effects as well, and a good script to make it sound real, and 
are popular.

*	Stories: You can write a *story* and then record it. Or, you can 
recite someone else’s story that they have written. Again, you should 
consider adding some appropriate sound effects. For example, sea gulls 
and waves for a beach, or the sound of a car when driving, or your 
characters are beside a road. If you choose to recite someone else’s 
story they have written, ask your teacher about copyright.

*	You can be a DJ, and play music. Your Stations pay APRA (The 
Australian Performing Rights Association) for the right to broadcast 
music, so you have no copyright problems at all. You can record your own 
show, along with music, and save it all as one MP3 file. If you or you 
and your friends play instruments and sing, this will be excellent.

*	Comedy Shows.  You might like to make up a Comedy Show for your 
Radio Project. You could have a funny script to recite, or maybe a series 
of comedians like on television. Remember don’t be sexist, racist etc, 
and no rude jokes please.

*	Documentaries/Interviews/Speeches. Serious Radio Projects, on 
serious topics, are always very welcome indeed. You will need to do your 
research for these carefully, and remember to be balanced (not one-sided) 
in covering any issue. If you decide to present an ‘opinion piece’ 
remember to give good 'evidence' to back up your opinions.

*	How-To Projects. For this Radio Project, you could give your 
town listeners good advice on how to do something. For example, how to 
make scones, or how to buy a horse, or how to take care of a pet, or take 
care of a bike. There are many topics that you know about, and can find 
out more about, which people will be interested to hear all about. You 
can be the teacher, and teach your listeners how to do things.

*	Sports Round-Ups. You might like to present a season summary so 
far for a sport. Lots of people will be interested in hearing the 
highlights of a season of sport so far and if you are involved in a sport 
of any kind, this Radio Project would not be hard for you to do. Remember 
to check your facts, and do not insult anyone.

*	Finally, you might like to create a ‘Sound Collage” of people in 
your class/school by recording them giving you ‘quick sound quotes’ on 
any topic you choose, and then putting them all together into one MP3 
sound file. You could record people telling their favorite joke(s), or 
their opinions on any topic, and you be the host of your recording.


Cheers people
Stephen Loosley
FM Station Manager
Registered Teacher

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