Up from the grave

I got swept away. So sue me.

This is what comes of watching zombie shows on TV.

Turn your radio on.

Radio Free Dogpatch keeps trying to claw its way out from under its tombstone, and I guess I got tired of beating on it with a shovel and burying the sonofabitch again.

Basically, I just wanted to see whether I (a) could remember how to do a podcast after taking two years off, and (2) could keep from getting too deep into the audio-technical weeds.

There’s something about having a dedicated “podcast studio” with a Zoom PodTrak P4 hooked up to a MacBook Pro lashed to a 27-inch monitor and Hindenburg and cables running ever’ whichaway that leads to delusions of grandeur, is what. Chiseling away at the stone, you think you’re Michelango revealing his David, but what you you wind up with is Clarabell honking his horn.

Anyway, a small notion caught up with me while I was running the trails on Tuesday and when I got home I just kept on running with it. Ira Glass is still out there somewhere. Dude just couldn’t keep up. Sucks to be him, hah?

Anyway, this is the scenic route to announcing: Yes, yes, yes, it’s time for a special Undead Episode of Radio Free Dogpatch, another toot on the rusty tin whistle souring the globe-spanning, star-studded orchestra that is podcasting. My heartfelt apologies in advance.

P L A Y    R A D I O    F R E E    D O G P A T C H

• Technical notes: I didn’t know how into it I’d be after two years off, so I set up shop on the dining-room table, using a Shure SM58 mic and the Zoom H5 Handy Recorder. Editing was in Apple’s GarageBand, with a sonic bump from Auphonic. Zapsplat, Freesound and Voice Memos on the iPhone provided the music and sound effects, with the late Donna “Hot Stuff” Summer singing backup for Thomas “Keep the Change” McGuane, who remains very much with us.

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14 Responses to “Up from the grave”

  1. Shawn Says:

    I listened. I heard. I am wiser. Thank you. Well done.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      You’re welcome, Slick. Thanks for lending an ear. It wasn’t quite like riding a bicycle — things got a bit wobbly in spots — but at least I avoided crashing while trying to remember the basics.

  2. Pat O’Brien Says:

    I donated my SM58 to the community theater group and bought a SM86. I didn’t get close enough to the mike because I dropped my head to mind the guitar. Then they couldn’t hear me which was probably a good thing for them. So, I got the SM86 because it was more sensitive, and I position it further down and angling up. I can be 6 to 8 inches away and still be heard. It needs phantom power, but my amp provides that. The podcast was groovy! I can see the work that goes into it, especially the writing and mixing.

    • Shawn Says:

      I know nothing about mics but suspect as with all audio equipment, they can be highly variable in their quality. I like listening to NPR’s Tiny Desk and it’s interesting to hear what I believe are the differences in mic capability.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’m a tyro myself, so I’ve fiddled with a few different mics to see if one suits me better than another. The SM58 seems to forgive a lot of operator error.

        Some of the big dogs, like Marc Maron, use the Shure SM7B. After more than 1,400 podcasts and Dog only knows how much standup you gotta figure the man knows his mics. But that sucker costs a ton. I tried its less pricey baby brother, the MV7, but ended up going right back to the SM58.

        Mic technique is a big deal too. The comic Bill Burr does wonderful stuff with his stage mic; with that level of skill it must be like having your own personal mixing board on stage with you.

        But you can’t buy that skill, alas.

      • Pat O’Brien Says:

        The SM58 is the music industry’s standard for a dynamic (diaphragm that moves a wire coil) microphone. The SM7B using the same capsule (diaphragm and coil) that the 58 uses. You can’t go wrong with either one, and the things are bulletproof. I just needed more sensitivity for my puny voice.

        Marc Maron was on Fresh Air today in case you missed it.

      • Patrick O'Grady Says:

        I’ll have to give Ms. Gross a listen. Maron was on Fallon’s late-night show a while back, jamming with the Roots. He’s a guitarist when he’s not acting, joking, or podcasting. Dude plays pretty a’ight, no?

        • Pat O'Brien Says:

          Jamming the 12 bar blues. Neat. Like the string bends. He’s good, and he has the money to buy a vintage gold top Les Paul. Kinda like moving up to a Moots.

        • Patrick O'Grady Says:

          In his “Fresh Air” chat Maron credits his late lady friend, Lynn Shelton, for urging him to do more with the guitar. He’s played for his own amusement for a long time, I guess, but was shy about playing with/for anyone else. He finally got together with a few pals to jam and they gig occasionally at some joint. He’s traded licks with a couple real pros, too. Looks like he’s having fun.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Glad to hear the new mic is working for you, Paddy me lad. I’ve tried a bunch and keep going back to the SM58. In this instance I had it clutched in an A55M shock mount attached to a tabletop stand with a pop filter. The room is a big, hard open space, and I was a few inches away with the mic aimed slightly up and angled away from me at about 7 o’clock, so I was talking just past it.

      studio 2023

      It took me a while to remember what the hell I was supposed to be doing, but I kept things simple and that helped. I wrote a script (625 words) and then edited a bit on the fly during recording. Then in GarageBand I moved a few things around, applied a couple filters — Telephone Vocal for the intro/outro and Narration Vocal for everything else — and finally added the music.

      Once it was done I uploaded the finished AIFF to Auphonic, which gives it a robotic audio massage and returns an MP3 suitable for uploading to Libsyn, my podcast host. I can translate AIFF to MP3 myself using iTunes/Music, but this is easier.

      Then I delivered the MP3 to Libsyn, filled in a few blanks over there, hit “publish,” and hey presto! The Beast started barking again at Libsyn, Apple Podcasts, Soundcloud, and Spotify.

      I wish I’d brought a proper audio recorder along for the running bit instead of the iPhone. I could’ve maybe damped some of the wind noise and picked up more of the Tramway traffic. Or I could’ve tried to clean it up a little in GarageBand. But I didn’t think of that until afterward.

  3. Herb from Michigan Says:

    I’m pleased to hear your voice once again delivering a fine mix of observations and opinions. But there was such a looong gap in your opening announcement “I’m your host……Patrick O Grady” that I worried you’d forgotten your own name. Well, it happens I guess. I’ve forgotten everyone else’s name. Now that you’ve wrangled the audio gear into submission I sure hope you crank out some more audio treats for us.

    • Patrick O'Grady Says:

      Consarned snot-nosed wet-behind-the-ears whippersnappers tellin’ me I forgot m’own name …why, I been knowin’ my own name since … since … say, what were we a-talkin’ ’bout, mister? And just who the hell are you, anyway? Nurse! Someone peed in my pants … again. …

  4. khal spencer Says:

    Smoothly done, considering its been…well…two years? Where does the time go, anyhow?

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