Hi, I’m new to the world of radio and need help groping about the field. I have some minute experience in journalism (high school publications and the like) and some experience in activism but little stuffs that cross over.
I’m working with some other students at my high school to advocate for the DREAM act, a new bill in Congress that would help thousands of undocumented alien students go to college and gain legal permanent residency status (it’s complicated, so I won’t explain here). I want to produce a professional-radio quality documentary or short news story to send to local college radio campuses and stations with hopes of getting the word out about the bill and push for more support.
Anyway, I’ve been looking into equipment, and while I want quality equipment so my content is acceptable to go on air I don’t know how much is too much/too little to spend on equipment.
The Marantz PSD 660 and 661 are clearly top notch units here, but they’re also pretty complicated, and in the range of 500-700 dollars apiece. The Olympus LS-10, Zoom H2, Sony PCM-D50–all great, seem user-friendly, but maybe still pricey.
The thing would be, I don’t know how far I need to go to get a good piece of equipment. I am interested in radio journalism and think it’s worth investing in something durable (mini-discs seem very breakable). I’m open to learning, so while something like the Marantz 661 looks complicated as hell, I think I can manage.
It’s really not creating the story that’s hard for me–it’s finding which equipment to buy! I’ve visited Transom, which is helpful but pretty over my head right now.
So my questions would be (sorry this was so lengthy):
-What sort of equipment do you recommend to produce public radio quality segments on a budget?
-How did you get started and learn about radio? Any useful books/sites for getting started (the tech lingo can sometimes obscure any actual learning)?
-Is there any sort of radio journalist’s checklist for equipment I should look into?