The basic voice recorder app on your phone may not have all the features you need for journalism, but there are plenty of more suitable apps available for both iPhone and Android. For instance, searching for 'ogg recorder' in the Play Store on an Android phone yields plenty of alternatives. In the following example I'm using RecForge Lite 2.1.2 because of its configurable recording formats. This freeware app is limited to three minutes per recording, but there is an unrestricted version available at a very modest cost.
In the Settings window of the app, I've set the recording format as Ogg Vorbis, 44.1KHz sample rate, mono. I've disabled automatic gain control to get a consistent recording level, rather than artificially boosting quiet sounds, which should result in less distortion. Under 'Limit folders browsing' I've given the app access to all of the SD Card storage of the phone, for reasons which will be apparent shortly.
Back in the main recording window of RecForge, I've created a 'recordings' directory under the /mnt/sdcard/media/audio/ path which is normally used by the phone's music application. I can then make recordings by tapping the big red button in RecForge, watching the green input level meter to ensure a good signal to noise ratio. The recorded files are automatically named with date and time stamps, but can be renamed in the app later by selecting the Edit feature. The latest recordings are listed in the main recording window; individual files can be auditioned by tapping on them.
Opening the web interface of my station's Airtime server in the phone's browser, and logging in with my username and password, I can tap the menu link for the Add Media page. After tapping the Add Files button, the phone offers me a choice of files to upload. By tapping 'Select music track' I can browse all the files under the /mnt/sdcard/media/audio/ directory on the SD card filesystem, without installing a file manager app on the phone.
I can tap one of the date-and-time-stamped files listed from the 'recordings' directory to select it, then tap the OK button. The files are credited to 'Unknown artist' because they have not yet been tagged with creator metadata.
After tapping the 'Start upload' button on the Add Media page, the files are now copied into the remote Airtime library.
I can now add these files directly to a forthcoming show, use them in the Playlist Builder, or edit their metadata to make them easier to find in searches later. One of the limitations of mobile recording is that it isn't always convenient to enter large amounts of text metadata when you're on the move. So a phone app that automatically tags audio recordings with information like the creator's name and location would be very useful.
Alternatively, phone apps which enable you to stream directly into Airtime's live rebroadcast feature include Papaya Broadcaster for iOS. The Free Software app DemoIcesShout for Android also shows promise, although it can only stream a static file at the moment. This live workflow does of course depend on a steady network connection between the phone and Airtime server.
All photos credited to the author.
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