I’ve been asked a few times over the course of reporting from abroad: How do you do it? The question is not rooted in finding out how I actually report, but more in how I get clean audio from my apartment, hotel room, or random building from all corners of Europe.
The answer is simple….improvisation!
One should first think of what the important elements are in recording a radio report.
2) Recording set-up (recorder, mic, headphones, etc)
3) A place with minimal echo
Quiet and within stumbling distance of the fridge.
I have had to improvise in various types of hotel rooms, a cavernous East German house, and all types of apartments, but my solutions are often the same. I try to build a fort. Instead of chairs and blankets, I surround the mic with pillows to absorb the bulk of echo.
Do I feel silly recording inside a pillow fort…sometimes. But the results are worth a few minutes surrounded by pillows.
I have also had success with sitting on the floor and speaking toward a couch, or angling myself to a wall correctly. Often I can’t eliminate “room noise” completely, but it is low enough that someone would not notice it on the radio.
Whoever said reporting from abroad wasn’t glamorous, has never enjoyed improvisation.