Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Happy Holidays

Wishing everyone a very happy holiday season.

May the blessings of the New Year (and The Force) be with you.

-- Steve

Friday, December 19, 2008

Why is Manwolf so LOUD?

Lately Linda and I have been getting a number of inquiries as to why either, 1) I'm so loud on the BlogTalkRadio broadcasts, or 2) she's so soft. No, for you conspiracy theorists, I'm not trying to overshadow her in the show.

Most of you know that until very recently, Uncanny Radio was recorded from the studios of WBSD in Burlington, Wisconsin. In the past month , though, the weather had been getting bad out here, and Linda had been reluctant to make the long trek to the studio. Well, we solved that intially by making her a guest, but that left us with a new problem: the radio station can only call one person at a time, so if I have to call Linda, I can't call anyone else. (We're working on that, but...)

Coincidentally, at the same time, a new problem cropped up when our former archive host crashed, taking our entire library of shows down with them. (Most of those shows are still unavailable.) We did, however, find a new venue to host the archives -- Blog Talk Radio. And that solution presented us with several new opportunities as well: 1) we could use their system to return to our usual 2 hosts + a guest format, 2) we could also use the system to have listeners call in as well as the guest. Seemed like a great opportunity.

The trick, though, has been working the bugs out. The simple fact is that the BTR switchboard doesn't have nearly the same number or quality of controls I have in the WBSD studio. There is a similar ability to play clips -- like our intro/exit music -- but no ability to fade them in our out; they're either on, or off at whatever level they start at. Likewise, there is no ability to control the audio level of the callers to the service -- whether they're the hosts, the guests, or the fans. People who call in end up at whatever level they call in at. Worse, the earpiece quality -- that is, what the hosts/callers hear on their earpieces -- may or may not represent what's actually being heard "on air." Often, the are drop-outs that exist only on the phone lines. (You can hear me ask Linda to repeat things numerous times in our first BTR show, in the mistaken belief that if I couldn't hear her, the audience couldn't, either.)

Further, there's not even any indication of what the audio levels actually are, so the people calling in can, perhaps, adjust the volume on their end with any accuracy. So, every week the audio level of the show is a guessing game on my part. Linda recently upgraded her phone capability (so it now pretty much matches mine), -- yet, my audio is still louder and/or "brighter." Why? We haven't figured it out yet. Maybe it's my church-bred speaking voice.

People have suggested moving my mic further from my mouth. But it's on a fixed, inflexible pivoting arm (not bendable), and I've raised it up to the level of my eyes; apparently didn't help. Next: change the mic-in level on my computer (I'm using MagicJack to call in) -- I've pushed the level down almost to nothing; apparently didn't help.

So, what to do? Well, it'd be easiest if BTR would upgrade their switchboard to include some basic mixing levels -- but who knows if they'll do that. I could try putting a small windscreen over my mic, if I can find/buy/improvise one. (That's probably worth a try.) Or I can go back into the studio at WBSD and use the tried & true methods. But that still leaves us with the problem of 2 hosts + 1 guest can only use one call-in line. And the weather precludes Linda coming in.

I'll take suggestions, but you should realize that I'm pretty good at this stuff (not perfect), and I've already tried every solution that quickly sprang to mind -- and a few that required some pretty deep thinking. I could go in and manually fix all the audio levels for the show in post-production -- but that would take literally hours, and nobody is paying me to do it. Frankly, I can't afford to put in a lot more free time on this show.

So, until we can solve this problem -- and we'll continue to work on it -- you have to ask yourself: Is Uncanny Radio worth having even with curent audio flaws, or would you rather not have the show in its current format at all?

Yours -- Steve "Manwolf" Sullivan

ROBERT DAMON SCHNECK - December 17 Guest

Friend of the show Robert Damon Schneck returns for our second-to-last show of 2008. This time around, he's chatting with Manwolf and Linda about Ouija Boards. Are they merely a harmless "fortune telling game," or are they something more sinister? Do people influence the boards, or do the boards influence people? Tune in and hear soem remarkable Ouija board stories collected by Robert for an upcoming book.

This is another "internet show" recorded using the software of BlogTalkRadio. Check our page there for upcoming "live" broadcasts dates and times.

Or listen to Uncanny Radio 037 here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Linda Godfrey - November 26, December 10 Guest

As you all probably know by now, our own Linda Godfrey is the guest on back-to-back Uncanny Radio shows -- shows 035 and 036. In the first show, Linda Talks about her work on Strange Wisconsin and Weird Wisconsin. In the second show, Manwolf and Linda talk about ghost towns, plus manbat and other things with wings.

You can hear show 035 here.

And show 036 -- which was recorded live on BTR 12/5/08 -- here.

Share the excitement as Steve & Linda try to solve the tricks of working in this new format. Listen in awe as Steve talks about audio drop-outs that were apparently only in his headset! Hear Linda forget that the intro to her segment is (now) recorded, and think that Steve is deliberately hogging the airwaves! And are those EVPs, ghost voices, or just some murmuring quirk of the new system? Stay tuned to find out!

Seriously, there are a few more gaffes in episode 36 than usual, but look on the bright side -- in the future, you may be able to call in and talk to Steve & Linda and their guests live!

Let us know how you like the experiment.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Uncanny Radio 036 - with Callers!

In their first-ever call-in show, Steve and Linda continue their conversation from the previous show, touching on Linda's books, manwolves, and other uncanny subjects. Tune in early and get ready to call!

The show will be recorded live on Blog Talk Radio and then rebroadcast over WBSD the following week.

The recording starts on Friday, December 5th, at 1pm, Central Time.

Tune in early and bring your best telephone manners. Talk to you soon!

Rerun Tonight - Listen to Linda

To let both our listeners and ourselves catch up after Thanksgiving, we'll be replaying last week's interview with my co-host, Linda Godfrey, tonight over the air (and streaming). You can catch that show right now on Blog Talk Radio -- and stay tuned for a special, live call in show on BTR later this week. (Probably on Friday around the middle of the day.) Talk to you soon!