Digital innovations spelled the end to the “evanescent-by-default” nature of broadcast radio’s content. Archiving systems have made it possible to store vast amounts of audio material, lengthening the shelf life of a station’s products and creating additional opportunities for boosting audience consumption and engagement. In terms of handling all this content and data, putting systems in place is important. Developing procedures for filing details and contacts so that they will be retrievable when needed is the sensible approach, particularly when time is of the essence. Of course, this creates a dependency on the equipment functioning correctly. When a computer crashes, the phone signal drops, batteries run out or there is no space remaining on the memory card, you need the contingency back-ups and hard copies of information, even handwritten. The example of Verulam’s sports show illustrates how important show notes are, reinforcing the enduring value of “old” or legacy media to the practice.
I apply this term to those processes whereby material is prepared for broadcast or posting online. Audio editing is undertaken at community stations but not by all practitioners. As my research has shown, some prefer to do everything live. They script and plan as best they can in advance and “wing it” for best results. User friendly, open source software such as Audacity is freely available, or stations can get deals on proprietary program licenses. In my own practice, I spent many happy hours carefully editing and layering tracks, crafting my ten features. Yet, I encountered volunteers who were reluctant or felt unable to learn how to edit. Training can be offered by station management or colleagues and there are online tutorials on platforms such as YouTube. At the end of the day, it depends on how much time volunteers are prepared to spend on station chores and what sort of access they have to the station in order to use the equipment. As findings in the following section will illustrate, it also depends on whether volunteers are prepared or able to invest their own money in digital equipment to use at home.