WsF2007RadioWorkshops

Table of contents:

Overview

Over the course of two to three weeks, the Prometheus Radio Project, based in the United States, plans to conduct workshops for the Kenya Indymedia, Maseno University and other community organizations in the many aspects of radio engineering, radio production and programming. The workshops are to be led by a small team of radio technicians, engineers and producers based in the United States, ?, and ?. Additionally, individual instruction will be ongoing over the course of those few weeks.

Workshop Descriptions

Introduction to Audio Engineering

Potential Instructor: Andy Gunn, Prometheus Radio Project, Steph99 Prometheus volunteer (available from Jan 21)

In this session, students learn about what sound is, how it travels, and how it is represented electrically. The instructor will review the names of the various audio connectors and the types of cabling. Additionally, the instructor will cover basic audio problems and their causes, with emphasis on troubleshooting and finding remedies. An extensive question and answer session follows. Link to workshop outline and notes: http://www.beleza-music.org/meswiki/index.php?title=Intro_To_Audio

Introduction to Radio Engineering

Potential Instructor: Andy Gunn, Prometheus Radio Project

In this session radio frequency, power, channels, bandwidth and other basic concepts are covered. A review of the parts of a radio station and the signal chain of audio will lead into further discussion of how a radio signal is created. Questions discussed also include: What exactly are radio waves? How do they propagate, and how are we able to pick them up? What are causes of interference? Instructor:

Transmitter Electronics

Potential Instructor: Andy Gunn, Prometheus Radio Project

In this two day, hands-on workshop, a very small phase lock loop transmitter is constructed from resistors, capacitors, ICs, coils, diodes, transistors and other parts. Proper soldering technique is taught, and some basic troubleshooting is done to find any problems incurred during construction. An overview of how the transmitter works will go along with this workshop, and leads to a better understanding of the technology behind FM radio.

Antenna Theory and Construction

Potential Instructor: Andy Gunn, Prometheus Radio Project

In this session, the role of the antenna and some of the different kinds of antenna used in radio broadcasting are covered. Dipoles, Yagis, and other antennas are described by the instructor. Different forms of masts and towers are discussed, as are types of connectors and coaxial cable. A simple dipole is constructed from copper pipe, and tuned to resonance using both a Standing Wave Ratio Meter and a Standing Wave Ratio Analyzer. This is an excellent hands-on extention to the radio engineering theory workshop.

Station Programming

Potential Instructor: ?

Building on discussions from the opening session, this session addresses how programming can be organized on air and how ideas can translate into effective and interesting radio. Issues addressed include: audience, community outreach, volunteer participation and local origination of programming. Students break into small work groups to plan sample shows for youth, elders, and other specialty audiences. The sample show break-downs include minute-by-minute placement of announcer introductions, station identification, music, community greetings, interviews, story telling and other aspects relevant to each show, as well as sample show titles and suggested time-slots.

Legality and Administration in Broadcasting

Potential Instructor: ?

Building on the workshops about content, programming and volunteer management, this session addresses other issues new broadcasters face. For instance, FM radio is typically a licensed service the world over, and the consequences of broadcasting without a license or prior approval can be severe. There are also other considerations in the management of a radio or television station which can be far reaching if not considered or prepared for in advance.

Studio Construction and Maintenance

Potential Instructor: Andy Gunn, Prometheus Radio Project, Steph99 Prometheus volunteer (available from Jan 21)

This workshop introduces students to the equipment that is used in a broadcast or recording studio. Students learn to connect audio components together to enable the radio DJs to broadcast from a variety of sources, including CDs, LPs, and a computer. Students learn how to operate a mixing board, and how to record their broadcasts on to a computer. Each student participates in hands-on practice with an instructor throughout the project.

Field Recording and Interviewing

Potential Instructor: ?

Good sound captures the listener's imagination, and helps tell your story. In this workshop, students learn how to use digital recording equipment and become familiar with the components used to record in the field. Students learn the difference between condenser and dynamic microphones and which work best for different environments, how to operate a digital minidisc recorder, and how to obtain broadcast-quality recordings using the equipment. Students also gain hands-on experience operating the equipment, obtaining proper recording levels, and proper microphone placement. Students discuss interview techniques, and work on avoiding some common mistakes. Students practice interviewing each other and receive both peer-to-peer and instructor feedback on the sound quality and approach to their interviews.

Terna notes that Janmaat has offered to teach interviewing skills...

Scriptwriting radio features

Potential Instructor: Terna, Indymedia Cape Town

an uncomplicated demonstration of one way to create a short radio feature: choosing a focus, basics of writing for radio and effective use of sound (verbal and nonverbal) [better blurb forthcoming]

Digital Audio Editing

Potential Instructors: Zoe, Terna, and Steph99 Prometheus volunteer (available from Jan 21)

This workshop provides an introduction to digital audio editing. Using the audio editing program called Audacity, students learn to upload the interviews and material they recorded in the field from minidisc the computer and edit their material into station jingles and feature stories. Digital audio editing allows participants to produce their own program material and incorporate many different elements into a single piece, including music, and sound effects. Following a demonstration from the instructor, students break into small working groups for a hands-on tutorial. Over the course of the project, individual tuition took place with a core group of students.

The Community Radio Movement.

Potential Instructors: Elena Botkin-Levy and Hannah Sassaman, Prometheus Radio Project

Many communities, across Asia, Africa, South and North America, and beyond, have fought for and established licensed community radio services. This workshop will allow us to discuss the various histories of licensed community radio in different countries, to teach ourselves about the benefits and challenges associated with establishing a legal community radio service, and to learn about the power housed in unlicensed microbroadcasters to succeed and thrive in various environments! Campaign tactics, legislative and legal strategies, and direct action are all fair game.

A draft outline of the workshop is located here: http://www.prometheusradio.org/media/kenya_potential_policy_workshop.doc

Introduction to DJing

Potential Instructor: ?, Steph99 Prometheus volunteer (available from Jan 21)

This workshop instructs on how to use the equipment in the studio to DJ on air. Students learn how to operate the main mixing board, CD players, turntable, cassette deck, and computer for playback of station jingles and community announcements. Students also learn to segue from one song to the next, audition music before playing it out on the air, make station breaks and proper use of the studio microphones.

Instructors and Workshop Leaders

Andrew Gunn is the Technical Director of the Prometheus Radio Project. He has helped to build a number of low power radio stations, and provided advice to hundreds. He has a background in Electrical Engineering, Radio Frequency (RF) Engineering and Audio Engineering. He has organised the station construction for several radio barnraisings in communities around the United States. He holds a Bachelor's of Science in Computer Engineering from Columbia University in the City of New York.

Steph99 is a volunteer for the Prometheus Radio Project. She is a unix/linux system administrator by trade with experience in web and college radio, and has taught and assisted with technical topics at several PRP barnraisings. She will be arriving the night of Jan 20, and therefore won't be available to teach until Jan 21. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in English Writing (Latin American Studies minor) from the University of Pittsburgh, and is currently pursuing a Masters of Environmental Studies at the University of Pennsylvania.

Hannah Sassaman is an organizer at the Prometheus Radio Project. She was a key organizer of major FCC localism hearings in San Antonio, Texas, Nashville, Tennessee, and Rapid City, South Dakota. She helped coordinate the successful building of an FCC-licensed emergency radio station used by families displaced by Hurricane Katrina, in Houston. Hannah regularly facilitates workshops, radio plays, and movement building discussions at Prometheus' Radio Barnraisings. Fresh to Prometheus from the Philadelphia IMC and the University of Pennsylvania in 2001, Hannah is banned from all official National Association of Broadcasters events. Hannah is happy to help wherever she is useful, and has some history and skills in political campaigns to expand and protect community radio.

Terna is a member of Indymedia South Africa and coordinator of the Africa Labour Radio Project.

Scheduling

The schedule is still quite up in the air. IMC delegates will be arriving from all over the world on or around January 13th, 2007. Some people may arrive earlier to set up for the radio project. There are a number of details still to be worked out for the scheduling of the project.

Example Workshop Schedule \x96 AMARC 9

Day 1

10:00 Introductions: Experience and learning goals
10:30 Movie screening: Spirit of Resistance
10:45 Review Schedule for upcoming days
11:00 Technical Empowerment and the Sharing of Knowledge
11:15 Electronics fundamentals: Voltage, Current, Resistance, Power, AC/DC
11:45 Electronic parts: Resistors, Capacitors, Transistors and more
12:30 Break for Lunch
13:30 Soldering demonstration and instruction, beginning of compressor kit construction
Each person solders, learning the process on a few parts and teaching the next person.
14:15 Important words everyone needs to really understand, not just \x93sort of\x94 understand
14:45 A bit more on relations between voltage, power, and resistance
15:00 Break
15:15 Check in on kit construction progress. All resistors and capacitors should be done.
Possibly set up second station for transmitter kit.
15:30 The Radio Spectrum - and the US interference debate
16:00 Searching the band for signals
17:30 How far will the station go?
18:00 Kit construction check-in
18:30 Break for dinner
19:00 Movie screening: Low Power to the People, Community Radio Around the World
Homework: Everyone do a spectum audit over night, we will choose a frequency in the morning.

Day 2

10:00 Introductions and review
10:15 Compare Frequency notes.
Construction check-in: begin soldering sensitive parts like transistors and ICs
10:40 Antennas: theoretical - \x93Meet the Dipole\x94
10:50 The need for tuning, and the consequences of not tuning
11:00 Other types of antennas
11:15 Lightning protection
11:25 Masts and towers
11:35 The antenna we will build
12:00 Break for Lunch
13:00 Construct a Dipole
Continue transmitter work
14:15 Some ideas about organizations from US community radio
15:00 Construction Check in
15:15 Break
15:30 The parts of a radio station (including Audio processing)
16:00 The testing of transmitters
16:30 Test our transmitter!
17:00 Mounting all parts in the box
18:00 Break for Dinner

Day 3

10:00 Check in
10:15 How radio signals travel
10:30 How far will the signal go?
10:45 Tune our antenna Mic ( Petri continues mounting in box with small group)
12:00 Break for Lunch
13:00 Progress check in
13:15 Low power movement in the US, other countries
13:45 Trouble Shooting Mic (Trouble shooting practice, if necessary)
14:30 The Future of the Spectrum, and Issues in radio kits
16:00 Final testing
17:00 Turn on
17:30 Closing
Topic revision: r14 - 15 Jan 2007, StephNinetynine
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