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- How It's Done -
Click on images to enlarge
Photos: Hal Prentice
Dick records each half-hour episode of The Radio Reader on a laptop
computer using audio recording/editing software and a microphone
plugged into a USB audio interface.
Dick's laptop computer
When the recording is complete, the episode is edited to the correct
length and saved as a wav file on the computer.  The size of the wav file
is about 142MB; too large to be transferred over the Internet.

To reduce the wav file to a manageable size, it is sent to an MP2 audio
encoding tool, which compresses and converts the 142MB wav file to a
manageable 27MB MP2 file; an approximately 80% size reduction.  MP2
(more accurately MPEG-1, Layer 2 - MPEG stands for
Moving Picture
Experts Group) is the audio compression standard for the Public Radio
Satellite System
®.
A typical Radio Reader episode waveform as it appears on
the computer screen
MP2 audio encoding tool
Once the MP2 files are prepared, each episode goes through a final
quality check.  Is it the right length?  Is the audio of good quality?  Is the
file formatted to ContentDepot
® standards?

The last step before Internet transfer is to attach a set of "metadata" to
the program.  Metadata is used by ContentDepot and stations to identify
the episode and includes information such as the program number, how
many episodes for that particular book, scheduled satellite transmission
date, scheduled release date, promotional information about the current
book, the ContentDepot program identification number, and more.
Part of ContentDepot's metadata webpage
With the program files prepared, quality checked, and the metadata
attached, a secured Internet connection is made to ContentDepot  and
the completed episodes of
The Radio Reader are transferred to  
ContentDepot's server in Washington, D.C.  At least 13 weeks of
The
Radio Reader
episodes are stored on the ContentDepot servers at any
given time.

It's now time for Dick to begin producing another week of episodes of
The Radio Reader.
USB audio interface
Dick Estell
The Radio Reader
Public Radio's Reading Program
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