Information for OutCasting guests

Thank you for agreeing to be interviewed for OutCasting.  You're joining a group of people with compelling personal stories and experts who are at the top of their fields.

We strive for the best audio fidelity we can get so that your story and your ideas come through as clearly as possible.  If you are in the NYC area, the best option is to come to our studio in Westchester County to do your interview in person.

As a national program, we have many guests who cannot join us at the studio, so there are ways you can do your interview in your home or office.  In the past, the only affordable way (at least for our small nonprofit) was the telephone.  But new technology has made much better quality available, and it's pretty much as simple as Skype.  You probably already have almost everything needed.  You'll need:

      • A reliable and reasonably fast internet connection.  Standard cable, fiber, and DSL connections generally work fine.
      • A computer or Android phone running a relatively recent version of the Chrome web browser.  Chrome is, of course, free and easy to install.  (Unfortunately, if you have an Apple iPhone or iPad, it won't work with the software service we use, so perhaps you can borrow someone's Android phone or tablet.)  If you're using mobile data, your interview will use up part of your monthly allotment of data.
      • A headset with earphones and a microphone.  The earphones should ideally have "around the ear" cushions, not the "open ear" style of foam that rests on your ear.  We are getting good results with the Microsoft LifeChat LX-3000 USB headset, available for $29.99 at Staples.  If you have a different kind of wired or wireless (Bluetooth) headset, we can test it on a case-by-case basis.  We will want to do this well ahead of time.

        For interviews via computer or Android device running Chrome, we will e-mail you a URL before the interview.  Just before the interview, you'll plug your headset into the computer or phone, open Chrome, and copy and paste the URL into the address bar in Chrome.  That will enable you to connect with our studio.

        When you're wearing your headset, you should set the microphone so that it's about three inches away from your mouth and at a 45 degree angle.   Here's OutCaster Quinn showing what it should look like:

 

oc-westchester-quinn-headset-1200

 

If this method is impossible for you, we can do your interview on a landline telephone.  (Regular cell phone audio quality is inconsistent and sometimes unintelligible on the air, so we never conduct interviews on cell phones.)  Landline telephone audio is generally reliable but doesn't sound good, and we have to apply aggressive filtering and other audio processing to make it sound as good as possible.  Over the phone, your voice is robbed of its dynamics and impact, and this can cause you to sound distant and less involved -- and perhaps even less interesting to listen to.  So if you can possibly use the computer/phone/headset method above, please do.

Other things:

      • We will have to call you, so we'll need your number.
      • Of course, if you have access to professional audio equipment or a studio, please let us know.
      • For your interview, you'll need to be in a quiet room away from phones ringing, other people talking, street noise, and other ambient sound.  Preferably, you will be in a carpeted room with overstuffed furniture and curtains and other soft surfaces.  This will make the room more acoustically dead.  Rooms with hard surfaces, which reflect sound, will sound reverberant, reducing the sound quality.
      • Please make sure that fans, air conditioners, cell phones, and other sources of noise are turned off.  If your call waiting goes off during the interview, we ask that you ignore it.


Frequently asked questions:

      • What if I'm asked a question I'm not comfortable answering?  Just say that and we'll move on; we respect your privacy.  All OutCasting interviews are edited before broadcast.
      • How can I hear my interview?  Here's a map of the public radio stations that carry OutCasting (usually on the Pacifica Radio Network program Sprouts: Radio from the Grassroots).  You can also listen online and subscribe to our podcast.
      • How long will the interview take?  OutCasting covers issues in depth, so it's best to allow 60-90 minutes.
      • How long until the program is released?  It varies.  We are able to hold only one three-hour production session a week -- our youth participants are busy! -- so it will generally take at least a couple of months before your interview is released.  In some cases, it may take longer.  But don't worry about missing it -- we will always notify you when the program you're on is released.


Thanks!  We look forward to talking with you.

 

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OutCasting

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