Case study: helping Snap Judgment tell stories with a beat

How Pop Up helps power the popular WNYC show

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Snap Judgment is leading the pack of what Ira Glass has termed the “new wave of public radio.” With its one-two punch of stranger-than-fiction tales and cinematic sound design, the WNYC show doesn’t lend to casual listening; Snap’s audio mojo immediately hooks listeners, drawing them into an immersive world of real-life characters and extraordinary experiences.

Joe Rosenberg is one of the many talented producers digging up and dishing out stories for Snap Judgment. “The Writing Is On the Wall,” one of the pieces Joe is most proud of, tells about the murder trial of Alvin Ridley, a reclusive boogeyman to his small hometown of Ringgold, Georgia. Accused of imprisoning his wife for decades before murdering her, Ridley’s case seems open and shut until McCracken Poston, a local lawyer and failed politician, takes an unlikely interest in him and discovers there’s more to the misunderstood man.The retooled player is formatted to provide optimal readability and speed up your editing workflow. Instead of a line-by-line format, the new player displays text in paragraphs, much like you’d expect from any word processing software.

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Joe conducted hours and hours of interviews with Poston, jurors, and other Ringgold locals to get the full story in the words of those who lived it. To manage all the tape he logged, Joe turned to Pop Up Archive. “Under deadline, I have to be extremely time efficient. Using Pop Up Archive is a major time management strategy for me,” he says.

Pop Up Archive transcripts not only save time that would otherwise be spent transcribing by ear, but they also give structure to Joe and his colleagues’ production process. “The transcriptions help me listen to the audio differently. I use them to select cuts from the raw tape and think about how I’m going to organize the piece,” Joe says.

We’re proud to help Snap Judgment save time and stay on point to deliver its trademark “storytelling with a beat” week after week.

Hear more of Joe Rosenberg’s work:
Headless Chicken
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Case Study: How transcripts help branded podcasts

Telling great stories on a budget

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Punk rocker-turned-entrepreneur Brian Adoff has, of late, been trying his hand at podcasting. While considering marketing strategies for his software company, Swift Data Technology, Brian did what more and more companies are undertaking: he turned to on-demand audio to get the word out.

“From a business perspective, podcasts are an ideal format for content marketing because you can get right in someone’s ear. Instead of selling them something, you’re telling a story,” Brian says.

Owing to his DIY punk roots, Brian decided to produce the podcast himself. “I taught myself by listening to lots of podcasts about making podcasts,” he jokes. The end result was Campus Aux, a series of interviews with Swift Data users and industry experts.

Having discovered the PR benefits of his company’s podcast, which he shared with potential clients and partners, Brian founded Riveting FM, which pitches and produces series for other business-to-business companies. He sold his first client, door lock manufacturer Assa Abloy, on Unlocked, a six-episode podcast that gives first-person accounts of security-crisis situations like the recent UCLA shootings.

I used to start out by explaining to the sales team what exactly a podcast is. But now I think we’re hitting a tipping point as podcasting becomes an increasingly mainstream medium,” Brian says.

Panoply produces GE’s podcast The Message, which was #1 on the iTunes charts from November 21-25, 2015.

Unlocked is part of a rising trend of corporate podcasts, as Fortune recently reported (“Corporate America’s Love Affair With Podcasting”). GE, eBay, State Farm and the like are hiring powerhouse podcast networks like Gimlet and Panoply to oh-so-subtly use narrative content to promote their brands.

“I’m not Gimlet or Panoply. I’m not even a radio veteran,” says Brian, “but I taught myself how to produce a good story on a tight budget. That’s something business people can appreciate.”

Pop Up Archive helps Brian “run-and-gun” his one-person operation to stay on time and under cost. The timestamped transcripts, he explains, help him work as time-efficiently as possible and keep focused on producing new content.

Venturing ever deeper into the podcast realm, Brian is using the proceeds fromUnlocked and other contract jobs to produce Riveting FM’s first original series, “Drink Drank Drunk.” Sounding every bit as niche as his industry podcasts, though a good deal wackier, Brian describes the show as a heated discussion on grammar, featuring a heavy dose of alcohol and feminism.“Overall, I’m just trying to make shows that might not otherwise get made,” he says.

Learn more about Riveting FM

National Federation of Community Broadcasters partners with Pop Up Archive 

Bringing audio search tools to local public media

Since 1978, the National Federation of Community Broadcasters has advocated for radio stations serving America’s heterogeneous neighborhoods and covering local stories. The over 200 public media member stations of the NFCB generate large quantities of audio and video that document diverse voices from across the United States — but these recordings are nearly impossible to search.

Today, we are excited to announce that the National Federation of Community Broadcasters is partnering with Pop Up Archive to offer discounted services to the NFCB network. NFCB member stations will be able to make it easier than ever before to find stories of interest and pinpoint exact search terms and phrases within public media audio and video files. Read more in the press release.

“Communities everywhere face the challenge of preserving their history,” said NFCB Membership Program Director Ernesto Aguilar. “Who tells it and how is where NFCB and Pop Up Archive come together for something far greater than just audio — we’re making sure community radio documents our cities and towns for youth, people of color and everyone wanting to be heard.”

Through new service offerings available exclusively to the NFCB’s 200+ member stations, Pop Up Archive will automatically transcribe, timestamp, and generate keywords for the stations’ audio collections — whether current news or decades of historic audio and video recordings.

“NFCB has long been committed to diversity, and this opportunity with Pop Up Archive gives so many voices, communities and constituencies a chance to finally be heard in a richer, more engaging way,” said NFCB Chief Executive Officer Sally Kane. “Community radio is best positioned to tell the stories, and we are enthusiastic about this opportunity for community radio to contribute to so many conversations.”

Transcribing the “ingenuously boring” world of Sleep With Me

Drew Ackerman is anything but boring, but he has a certain knack for putting people to sleep.

His popular “Sleep With Me” podcast, a series of absurdist ramblings that swirl around your brain before dropping you off in dreamland, originated out of his own lifelong struggles with insomnia.

“When I was a kid, I couldn’t sleep because I would get terrible anxiety about school. One day I discovered Dr. Demento’s radio show and it would make me laugh and put me at ease enough to be able to fall asleep.”

Drew, who narrates the show as the persona Dearest Scooter, bears more than a few resemblances to his zany radio idol, but adds a dose of mumblecore and bedtime storytelling to Dr. Demento’s schtick.

My show is for people who aren’t interested in guided meditation and who don’t want to feel guilty about falling asleep to Roman Mars,” he jokes. “People can fall asleep to me guilt-free, because they won’t miss out on anything important.”

Like improv comedy, Drew riffs off of prompts — song titles generated by iPod Shuffle, Twitter trends, Reddit topics, Venmo payments — to spin plot lines on the fly and see where they land. The trick, he says, is not being too funny or entertaining, because he doesn’t want to keep people up past their bedtime. At 420 episodes, “Sleep With Me” is a vast ecosystem of free-association sleep-inducing prolix that the New Yorker calls “ingeniously boring.”


Drew uses Pop Up Archive to transcribe episodes and create a written record of his improvised storytelling, mapping out the bizarro world he’s created. He aims to revisit certain stories and develop jokes and plot lines, just in case some listeners are actually paying attention. Plus, some people prefer to read before going to bed.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Before using Pop Up Archive, the only written record of “Sleep With Me” were these show notes written by Drew in an illegible fit of profound inspiration.


 Drew is also thinking about translating the transcripts to create foreign language spinoffs of the show, because why not?

“I got into podcasts because I love how they provide a window into other people’s worlds,” Drew says. Through “Sleep With Me,” he’s created his own fantastically mundane world — one shared with a legion of well-rested listeners.

Hear and read Sleep With Me

Transcribing sacred speech with Pop Up Archive

With rousing sermon titles like “Spin City Jesus,” “Healing by Eating Cold Grease,” and “Hell Is for Accountants,” Duke University’s Chapel Recordings Collection proves that church sanctity need not come at the expense of grade-A entertainment.

The purpose of the collection is to aid would-be preachers in the field of homiletics — a new word to us, too, that means the art of writing and delivering sermons — explains Molly Bragg, Duke’s Digital Collections Program Manager.

In 2014, Molly and University Archivist Valerie Gillespie set about digitizing the Duke Chapel recordings in response to divinity students’ requests to access the collection’s sermons, which date from 1946 to 2002. Since then, their team has digitized and made available 1,400 audio/video items and 1,300 printed manuscripts.


The Duke Chapel Recordings web archive allows students to analyze sermons for theological and rhetorical components. It also serves as a historical resource, documenting Duke campus life and world events surrounding the sermons.


Students protest apartheid outside of the Duke Chapel, May 4, 1985.

“An archive of sermons offers [students] a relational time-machine, a gateway to the past where a preacher’s words reach out in a handshake, introducing their time, and place,” says Adrienne Koch, Project Director at Duke Divinity School.

South African activist Desmond Tutu’s 1986 sermon at Duke is a standout example of global and local history converging at the pulpit. Tutu addressed the congregation during worldwide protests against apartheid (including one on Duke’s campus) and thanked students for their prayers and support.


Duke is using Pop Up Archive to transcribe sermons like Tutu’s with the goal of tagging and making them searchable by speaker, themes, and Biblical references. The university is also using the transcripts to create closed captioning files for hearing-disabled people. After revising transcripts with Pop Up Archive’s editor, student workers export the time-stamped transcripts as WebVTT files, which display as captions on Duke’s web video player.

“Duke Chapel is welcoming to all, and the goal of this project is to provide access for as many people who would not otherwise experience the collection’s historical documents and audiovisual content,” says Molly. “Having multiple formats enables us to do that.”

Hear and Read Duke Chapel Recordings

Pop Up Archive’s Time Saver For 2016 Radio Racers

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On the weekend of August 6-7, our pals at KCRW’s Independent Producer Project are hosting their fourth annual Radio Race—a chance for pro and hobbyist sound collectors to test their chops against the clock and produce a nonfiction radio story within 24 hours. 

To help radio racers get their stories in the can, Pop Up Archive is offering free audio transcriptions for participants. Pop Up Archives’ transcriptions save participants valuable production time so they can quickly zero on their best content and, with the help of our new Adobe Audition plug-in, easily edit and stitch clips together.

Winners will have their radio piece featured on KCRW’s “UnFictional” and will receive a free year’s subscription to Pop Up Archive’s 1-hour/month plan.

Already signed up for the race? Head over to Pop Up Archive to sign up for our free demo.

Ready, set, record! Read on for our Pop Up Archive guide for Radio Race participants:

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A tool for teaching students to make oral histories heard

OHLA’s SHARE Civil Rights Oral History Project documents the history of African Americans in Southwest Michigan.

Oral History in the Liberal Arts (OHLA) is taking undergrads out of the classroom to learn from people in the community and document their stories in engaging and shareable media projects.

The project, recently launched by the Great Lakes College Association, is developing interdisciplinary curricula and toolkits to facilitate community-based student research and digital storytelling — and relies on Pop Up Archive to simplify its workflow and facilitate collaboration.

So far, OHLA students have documented inequities in housing policy in Dayton, OH, youth radio in Meadville, PA, and African American communities in southwest Michigan. OHLA has ambitious plans to bring together diverse communities and disciplines as well as the faculty and staff at the Great Lakes College Association’s 13 member colleges.


“For me, everything begins with Pop Up Archive,” says Brooke Bryan, OHLA Co-Director.

“We’ve found that using Pop Up as a collaborative interface allows faculty fast access to narratives that come in as their students conduct interviews, and the private server fosters collaboration and team-based close listening as we edit and refine the automatic transcripts in Pop Up’s wonderful line-by-line interface.”


Like most oral history projects, OHLA collects lots of content-rich, long-form interviews, which can be cumbersome to work with and difficult to navigate. “Not very many people listen to oral histories unless they are digested into documentaries or podcasts,” says Brooke.

Using Pop Up Archive’s transcription, time-stamping, and indexing features, OHLA is able to map out and parse their audio files. Pairing Pop Up Archive with a podcast hosting app called Podigee, OHLA segments its long-form interviews into tagged audio chapters and directs listeners to particular topics of interest.

“This is a great workflow for lean and mean projects that want to publish a series of interviews quickly, while facilitating access to particular moments in each interview across the collection,” Bryan says.

OHLA is also pairing Pop Up Archive with an app called Oral History Metadata Synchronizer, OHMS, to publish audio transcripts to WordPress and create a searchable online research collection that houses all of its oral history projects. This repository will serve as a pedagogical model for interactive learning between students and communities.

The OHLA team has already started building a web hub to showcase faculty and student work. Check out their progress at the new OHLA website.

Crafting & sharing KCRW stories with Pop Up Archive

How searchable audio fits into KCRW’s workflow

If you’ve ever turned the radio dial while driving along the streets of Los Angeles, chances are you’ve heard something from KCRW. From their signature music program “Morning Becomes Eclectic” to current events programs like “To the Point,” the Santa Monica station captures and broadcasts a diverse and lively combination of perspectives to Californians every day.

Pop Up Archive began working with KCRW in the summer of 2014. Since that time, the station has created over 30 collections split among more than a dozen active team members. Pop Up’s public archive of KCRW content has grown to over 2,000 hours of audio. 

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How to use Pop Up Archive with your team

Why organizations like the CBC use Pop Up Archive team plans

Recently, we profiled how individuals like radio veteran Charlie Meyerson use Pop Up Archive to manage their personal archives. Now we’ll show you how Pop Up Archive users on small business and enterprise plans use our team features to allow multiple users to edit and access transcripts for shared collections.

Here are some advantages of Pop Up team plans for managing your organization’s audio:

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Preserving personal audio archives with Pop Up Archive

Personal Archives: preserving a storied career in radio


After years of working in audio and video, many reporters and producers find that they’ve amassed substantial, historic archives. But — understandably — most creators don’t know the first thing about how to archive their audio and make it accessible online. Pop Up Archive works with customers like Charlie Meyerson to make this process as simple as possible.

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