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Recording Phone Interviews

by Tom Johnson on Sep 13, 2006
categories: technical-writing

I think I'm finally getting ready to start recording some phone interviews. This article from gives specific instructions for recording phone interviews and turning them into podcasts:

Here is roughly how to do it:

1. Get a headphone/mic set from Radio Shack or wherever ($20).

2. Download and setup Skype (free, but to call regular phone numbers, $10).

3. Download Hot Recorder ( Pay for the premium version ($15). After setting it up, right-click the icon in your system tray and select Register so you can enter your serial number. (The free edition only records 2 minute conversations.)

4. In Hot Recorder, under Options, select Mono. Otherwise you'll end up with two tracks.

5. Call the person you're interviewing and click the Record button to start recording the phone conversation.

6. After you're finished and click Stop, open up the Audio Converter tool (Start > Programs > Hot Recorder (note: Don't look in the subfolders beyond the Hot Recorder folder).

7. Use Audio Converter to convert the ELP file to a WAV or MP3 file format.

8. Download and set up Audacity (free).

9. In Audacity, go to Edit > Preferences > Quality and in the Default Sample Rate drop-down box, select Other, then type 12000. This makes it so the recording rate in Audacity matches the recording rate that Hot Recorder uses.

10. Add introductory commentary and other podcast talk using Audacity, and then mix the tracks into one.

11. Export the file as MP3, being careful to set the Project Rate (lower-left corner) at 44100. Otherwise the voices will sound like chipmunks in Podpress.

12. Set up a Wordpress site hosted on your Wordpress blog.

13. Install the Podpress plugin.

14. Burn the feed with the Feedburner plugin so you can track stats.

15. Publish the podcast.

Those are the general steps. I have left out many of the details, but I think I hit all the bases. I am planning to try out this method this Saturday with a couple of podcasts, and then I'll come back to this and add more details. In fact, I may just create it in Word because Wordpress isn't so great for elaborate instructions.

About Tom Johnson

Tom Johnson

I'm an API technical writer based in the Seattle area. On this blog, I write about topics related to technical writing and communication — such as software documentation, API documentation, AI, information architecture, content strategy, writing processes, plain language, tech comm careers, and more. Check out my API documentation course if you're looking for more info about documenting APIs. Or see my posts on AI and AI course section for more on the latest in AI and tech comm.

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