Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Greetings from Active Ingredients Media

Audio and recording engineer (and licensed ham radio operator) Ed Russell started Valley Free Radio several years ago in collaboration with Wilton Hall. Some stories suggest that Mr. Russell was at one point in the habit of pirating, from a number of undisclosed locations, Amy Goodman's "Democracy Now" using a stash-able roll-up antenna and a battery-powered transmitter, but Mr. Russell states that all such claims are baseless. Ed continues to produce a show which runs every Monday evening at 6 pm on VFR, WXOJ-LP, 103.3 FM. "Active Ingredients" features high-quality voice recordings of politically progressive and radical writers and activists who come through the Pioneer Valley region on speaking tour.

Ed sets up his 2-channel Tascam field recorder, a Sennheiser dynamic mic at the podium, and uses a shotgun mic to capture audience Q and A. Sometimes he is able to take a line out from house sound--but house sound in many venues can be problematic, revealing noise from sources such as bad mic cables or ground loops. On at least one occasion, my flash memory audio recorder--a pocket-sized device with 4 built-in mic capsules--has actually come in handy. (Don't tell anybody.)

If I make enough of a nuisance of myself, Ed (who got me started in the art of field recording and audio production, after I relentlessly bothered him via telephone) will sometimes deign to share my company on a recording gig. Recently we traveled to Amherst Community Television, where the Amherst League of Women Voters sponsored a televised appearance of John Bonifaz, legal director of the Amherst-based national non-profit Voter Action.

Attorney Bonifaz' talk was entitled "Who Owns our Elections? The Struggle to Reclaim our Vote and our Democracy." Click on the photo to stream the words of John Bonifaz , or listen to the mp3 from here:

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