News Staff Rates Gear for Skype Use
How can a news radio
station help its guests get the best audio out of Skype for broadcast use?
and Reporter Ari Ashe at Hubbard station WTOP(FM) in Washington
and some of his colleagues took that question in hand recently and did some
research on a dozen headsets and microphones. The result is a list of findings
and recommendations that the station keeps handy and also provided to Radio World.
stations depend on telephones, ISDNs and other expensive hardware to deliver
tape and live content to listeners,” Ashe tells potential station Skype guests in the document.
“But just as the
Internet revolution changed the way we received news, technology is also
offering less-expensive ways to get high-quality audio. Our first of several
projects into working with Skype is to research headsets and microphones. There
are a lot of models, all at different prices, that promise different
He wrote: “The new emerging VoIP technologies
like Skype are getting close to mimicking an ISDN, but at a fraction of the
cost. Our goal, like all TV and radio stations, is to get you onto a Skype
connection that sounds as close to an ISDN or in-studio as possible.”
An Audio-Technica USB
mic, one of the models tried by the WTOP staff<
While the study may not be the
work of engineers -- it’s not written for a technical reader, and it does not
attempt to survey every suitable USB headset or microphone -- one RW engineering
observer called it “an impressive piece of work” and thought these findings
will be of value to stations not only in Skype interviews but in using any
PC-based app with a wireless connection that needs to deliver good audio.
Specific products from
Blue, Logitech and Audio-Technica fared particularly well.
The report concludes:
“Unfortunately, not enough research has been done in the broadcast industry
into audio. However, any successful Skype television interview requires good
video AND good audio. One cannot thrive without the other. That’s where this
study can apply to platforms beyond WTOP(FM) and other radio outlets.”
Read it here.