Kila, the Magic Husky's Ham Radio College shall eventually be renamed to something such as

Wolfie's Wide Wonderful World of Wadio


Instructions for KPFZ producers

version 3
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Let's say you've been given the privilege of producing a show on KPFZ and you need to learn how to do it. This document attempts a first approximation of a few of the technical things you'll need to learn in order to accomplish that. It isn't comprehensive, just a first stab.

KPFZ is licensed as a nonprofit radio station. That means that we don't charge money for advertisements per se, but we do ask for donations. Most importantly, as a producer or announcer, you cannot sell any products on the air. You can tell people about local businesses you've frequented, but you CANNOT accept any gifts from them of any kind which anybody might conceivably imagine may be connected to your advocacy or mention of them.

Since we're in the United States, you cannot cuss on the radio. This means you cannot say or allow to be said on the radio words or phrases considered by the FCC to be Obscene or Indecent or Profane (whatever that means).

If you require more detailed guidance on this issue, there are seven English-language words that American comedian George Carlin first listed in 1972 in his monologue "Seven Words You Can Never Say on Television". The words are: shit, piss, fuck, cunt, cocksucker, motherfucker, and tits. If you need further guidance than this, consult the Station Production Manager.

a picture of the whole studio Here is a brief list of what you see above, beginning on the left.

More about the main mixing board

On the main board, as previously mentioned, there are 18 sliding potentiometers, hereinafter referred to as pots, which control the amount of audio of each of 18 different sources or channels. Below each pot are 2 buttons, the red one is a shortcut for turning it off and the yellow or white one is a shortcut for turning it back on, if you used the red button to turn it off. So that means that in order for -say, for example- the micrphone in front of your face to be the source of noise going out over the air, you must move the MIC1 pot up to somewhere around the top 25% of its available movement. It isn't important exactly where it is because this station uses an audio processor to adjust the audio so it is not too loud.

If you pull one of those pots all the way down, you'll notice a click or "detent" and -if you're wearing the headphones plugged into the mixing board, you'll hear ONLY that channel and NO OTHER while any pot is pulled all the way down into it's clicked position, even as other content is transmitted. This is called, "Cue-ing". It allows you to hear what's happening on the specified channel even as something else is playing on the air. This is the mechanism you use for "cuing up" sources. That is, making sure that the song is only just about to start and that you're satisfied that it's the right level and position in the recording.

The buttons to the right of each pot (red - gray - black - black - white - white) are features of this mixing board which we don't use having to do with cuing multiple channels separately so I can't tell you anything about them except to leave them alone

To the right of the VU meters are a bunch of buttons (also to be left alone) and 3 knobs. One controls the volume of the ambient monitor in the room, one controls the sound in your headphones (and also the headphones of whoever is sitting at the table behind the console in front of you) and the third I can't remember what it does). Remember that whenever you adjust the volume knob of your headphones, it'll change the volume going to the headphones of everybody sitting at that table in front of you. They also have volume knobs, but if they turn theirs all the way up, then their volume is whatever you set yours to. So make yours a little on the loud side for their sakes.

main board closeup The audio sources, from left to right, are:
  1. MIC 1 - The microphone in front of you
  2. MIC 2 - The mic at the table facing the sliding door
  3. MIC 3 - Next to Mic2
  4. MIC 4 - the mic facing the wall
  5. Phone 1 - The telephone
  6. Phone 2
  7. CD 1 - The CD Players in the console on your right labelled CD1 and CD2
  8. CD 2
  9. EXT(MP3 etc) - There's an audio cord with an eighth inch phone plug on the table to the far left of the mixing board. You can plug this into your iPod or Android or iPhone or iPad if you have an appropriate adapter and use this pot to play whatever's on there.
  10. CASS 1 - The Cassette tape player in the console on your right has 2 cassette tape drives
  11. CASS 2
  12. MINI DISC - This sounds like it is for a Mini Disc player but I don't know where one is.
  13. TT 1 - These refer to the Turntables or phonographs on the right
  14. TT 2
  15. EXTERNAL - I don't know to what, if anything, this is connected
  16. CD 3 - The CD player at the top of the console to your right.
  17. CPU 1 - The computer whose monitor is above the mixing board. This is the source for most recorder programs.
  18. CPU 2 - I don't know if this is connected to anything.

Steps for producing a show at KPFZ

  1. The listeners CAN hear people talking in the green room if you leave the door open. It's annoying. Close it before you begin your show.

  2. When you arrive, you can begin to set up at around 1 or 2 minutes prior to the beginning of the hour (and the beginning of your show).

  3. At that time, music should be playing. Or something. If nothing is playing, put something on or start talking. When nothing is playing over the air, we call this condition, "Dead Air" and it is actually against the law. So make sure that -for instance- if the previous person before you played a song that has ended before your show is due to start, that you put on something else or start talking, however...

  4. Since all shows are recorded (including yours) and since those recordings always start exactly on the hour and finish exactly 3 minutes before an hour, remember that no matter what you're saying or playing, the next show always starts at the top of the hour. (x-oclock). So talk about nothing or the previous show until the clock flips over to :00 and then begin talking about your own show as though somebody just tuned in. This is necessary because often shows get re-broadcast later in the week. That is, your show is recorded and might be played again if somebody else gets a flat tire and doesn't make it to the studio in time to produce their show. Also, sometimes, the Station Production Manager might choose to regularly play your show again later in the week so listeners who couldn't catch it the first time can hear it again. Therefore:

    1. Never say the time or date. Only announce how many minutes after or before the hour.

    2. When announcing upcoming events, be sure to say on which day they will occur in absolute days, not relative days. Do NOT say, "Tomorrow,...". Instead, say, "On the 5th...".

  5. Your show should conclude by 57 minutes after the hour, exactly. At that time, you should already have put a music source on and begin playing it so that you have a minute to leave and the person coming in after you has 2 minutes or so to set up. Remember that they might talk over your music, so this would be a bad time for a ballad.

  6. If you do talk over someone's music, because we're using audio processing, the sounds will be mixed with linear proportions. This means that you must pot down the music quite a lot so that your words will be understood by the audience. I mean a lot -- as in, make it so the music can barely be heard at all. If you bring the music down slightly and talk the way you'd expect to be heard, listeners won't be able to understand what you're saying. Turn it down way more than you think.

  7. Very close to the top and bottom of every hour of your show (x:00:00 and x:30:00) you need to say the station identification, frequency and location, such as: "You're listening to KPFZ, 88.1 megahertz in Lakeport, California" or something like that. It needs to be immediately after the top of the hour, not broken by it. So don't start until after x:00:00.

  8. You can bring your own headphones, but try to remember to plug in the headphones that belong in the studio before you leave so the next person doesn't have to hunt for them or be confused because there's no sound; don't laugh -- there are a lot of things on people's minds when they come to the station to work the board for a show, many people just assume everything's set up the way they expect. Not all of these people are as cool as you to have read this document beforehand.

  9. You can't cuss on the air. See above.

  10. When somebody calls in,...

    1. One of the orange lights at the bottom of the console will blink. Usually Line 1.

    2. First, pot up Phone Line 1 (or 2, as the case may be) and then click the ON button on the phone patch panel on the console. That actually is the control to answer the phone. The console pot just sets the volume relative to your volume.

    3. Make sure that you answer the phone in such a way so that they cannot later truthfully claim that they couldn't have known that they'd be talking on the air.

    4. If a caller cusses on the air, you need to cut them off as fast as possible. So pay attention.

    5. You will NOT hear callers unless you're wearing headphones. If you never answer the phone during your show and you're completely confident that everything you play is cued up just right, then you wouldn't need any headphones at all.

  11. If you can't hear anything in the headphones,...

    1. Check that they're plugged in

    2. Check that all of the pots are in their free sliding positions and not locked down at the bottom in the queing position. This is by far the most likely cause of the problem.

    3. Make sure that the buttons below the pot you want playing are clicked correctly. That is, whatever should be playing must have the white or yellow light on and the red light off.

  12. Remember that the clock on the mixing board is a few seconds off. When it matters, use the clock on your smart phone as that is likely to be more accurate.

the green room

Kila and her sidekick
If I've made any mistakes, please Call me or email me or you can call us directly at (707) 259-5683.
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