Volunteer Newsletter - December 2010
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As we ring in a new year we reflect on the many changes of the past year.
We used technology to work smarter: this bi-monthly e-newsletter provides more timely updates; more volunteers are recording their programs from home;
podcasts of some programs are now available; the new Sun Dial II telephone access system launched, and Sun Sounds now broadcasts in HD at 89.5 HD-3.
We made strong connections and tough decisions: this year 78 new volunteers joined Sun Sounds; we said goodbye to some dear friends; and we cut back staff
and recording booth hours to support the organization's bottom line.
And we began planning our next steps: for the first time in several years the Tempe Great Arizona Beer Festival will be a one-day event in 2011; a committee is
forming to write the next Sun Sounds 5-year Strategic Plan (we'd like your help); and we are investigating new ways to deliver access to information.
The one constant that we gratefully count on - the dedication of all the volunteers at Sun Sounds. Thank you for your commitment to 49,000 people in Arizona
who rely on this service for access to information.
Happy Holidays and a safe healthy New Year.
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From the Corner Office
Strategic Planning for Sun Sounds of Arizona
by Bill Pasco, Director of Sun Sounds of Arizona
Sun Sounds of Arizona is nearing the end of its current strategic plan. In spite of the recent financial reverses we've
suffered, Sun Sounds has fully accomplished, or nearly accomplished most every goal and objective that was set five years
ago for this plan. In addition, as the environment has changed, new initiatives not originally envisioned in the plan were
undertaken and achieved. The input provided by many of you during the last planning cycle, and during the implementation of
the plan during the past five years, resulted in our being more successful and making more progress than in other five year
cycles before that.
Well, it's time to start the whole thing over again. We need to review Sun Sounds' position in the world today, what
strengths and challenges it has, determine how we will proceed, and what we'll work on as priorities during the next five years.
We want your input in this process.
The planning cycle will take several months, and will map our activities for several years.
You may participate in one of three ways. If you wish, you may volunteer to serve on the Strategic Planning committee. We cannot
accept everyone, but if you are interested let me know, and we'll consider your offer of help. Please know that if you volunteer
for this duty, it will require that you attend monthly meetings and help with the work of formulating our goals and objectives.
Another option is to provide written input for the committee to consider. In this case, we will want you to give some thought to
things you believe can be improved upon, or goals Sun Sounds should tackle in the future, and send those ideas to me in written
form such as in an email or other document.
If you have any thought on how your suggestions and ideas might actually be accomplished, I.E. steps to take, how it can be
funded, etc. you should include that also in the document.
Thirdly, you may participate in a focus group meeting where we will discuss possibilities answer questions, and generally
discuss the future of Sun Sounds.
The bottom line is: we need and want your input. Many heads all thinking to help improve Sun Sounds and its services are better.
If you'd like to help in one of these ways, please send me an email, give me a call, or stop in my office. If you'd like a
copy of the current strategic plan to look over, let me know that too and I'll be happy to provide a copy for your use.
Thank you for all you do and have done, and thanks in advance for your help and continued support.
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Home Studio Set Up
Editor's Note: We received such a great response to the article by David Frens that I decided to rerun the article by Margie that
appeared about a year and a half ago in the news letter. Since many volunteers currently record at home Margie rewrote the article
By Margie Zebell Operations Manager, Tempe
A lot of people approach me about recording at home. Recording at home provides convenience for volunteers who read books,
or prerecorded programs. If you are reading a pre-recorded program you must provide your own program material either by downloads
or subscription. All volunteers must purchase everything that is necessary to record at home. The Sun Sounds staff will provide
tech support via the phone, internet or in office. Laptops can be brought into the Sun Sounds office for configuration of sound card
For PC Users
You will need a good quality microphone which can be purchased on- line at amazon.com, for approximately $100. Volunteers are
using the Blue Snowball Microphone with good results.
See it on Amazon.com
These mics have a USB connector and plug directly into your computer. Most desktops or laptops have mic and headphone inputs
on the back or front panel. Your sound card will be used to record and playback audio but you will need to select mic input
on your computer. You may have to go to the speaker icon (usually on lower right corner on the taskbar on PC), right click, and
select "record devices." You get a choice of Mic or Line In. Select mic.
If you want to purchase a high end broadcast microphone check with Guitar Center stores in the valley for an AKG C3000b. Most of
these professional mikes have XLR connectors and need a mixer which gets into a more expensive setup. My suggestion would be to
start with a simpler and less expensive setup and if you eventually get into voice over work professionally you can upgrade when
you are making the big bucks.
For audio production you will need audio production software. We recommend Sound Forge Studio 10 or latest version for
approximately $55.00. A 30-day trial version is available at
sonycreativesoftware.com. A CD copy of Sound Forge can be purchased at amazon.com. It might come in handy if you happen to
get a new computer or have to wipe your drive due to a virus. There is also free .wav editing software called Audacity.
For a free version go to audacity.sourceforge.net
After setting up your computer with the wav editor and microphone, practice using the software. You must master good audio levels,
clean corrections, and save as an mp3.
When you are ready, record a five minute test file which you must upload to the Sun Sounds ftp server “DEMO” folder
according to the following instructions below.
You will need an internet connection to upload your recorded program to the Sun Sounds FTP server.
The ftp address is ftp://sunsounds.org/shared /christieferris/
User: christieferris (a generic name)
The “christieferris” is a default folder everything falls into. Once you are in this folder you will see the other show folders including one called DEMOS. Click and open the DEMO folder and then copy and paste your five minute demo here.
To create a shortcut to open an FTP site in Windows Explorer Click to open Computer.
- Right-click anywhere in the folder, and then click Add a Network Location.
- This displays the Add Network Connection wizard. Click Next.
- In the wizard, select Choose a custom network location, and then click Next.
- Enter the name of the FTP site, with the full FTP://sunsounds.org/shared/christieferris in front of it, and then click Next.
- To use a name, and password, clear the Log on anonymously check box. Type a user name “christieferris” and then click Next. (do not use your name use christieferris as the generic name)Password is “volunteer”.
- By default, the name of the shortcut is the same as the FTP address. If you want to give the shortcut a different name, type it in the Type a name for this network location box. Click Next.
For Mac users
Same as PC users you will need a microphone. Macs have a built in wav editor called Garage Band which can be used to record and edit a full length program. Save it as a mp3 for upload.
Macs have specific software called FTP classic to configure you computer with the ftp address to upload your program.
Go to this website to download
FTP from apple.com
We have several MAC users who record at home if you need some assistance. Same as above - practice using the wav editor and record a demo for review.
Please call Margie if you have any questions at 480.774.8300.
Thanks and good luck with your home studio!
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Tips for Vocal Health
by Sally Kruger, singer, voice teacher and Sun Sounds Flagstaff Volunteer Reader
Learn to use your voice with increasing physical efficiency.
Avoid heavy voice use under harsh conditions, including: speaking over noisy equipment or in crowded rooms such as restaurants,
bars or at parties; cigarette or cigar smoke (yours or someone else's); being outdoors in heavy smog; using your voice when you
have an inflamed or sore throat or if you are physically or vocally fatigued.
Clear your throat by swallowing or taking a sip of water, not coughing.
And finally, eat an apple a day! I really don't know if there is any validity to it, but according to several sources on the
Internet, eating an apple "restores the ph balance of the tissues of the throat." Since apples are already good for you in so
many other ways, it can't hurt to give it a try.
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Good Broadcast Habits
Good broadcast habits are essential to produce a quality program. When I listen to a volunteer's recording I can usually tell if
someone is not wearing headphones. We stress the critical importance of using headphones so you can hear exactly what the
audience is hearing. It is a necessity of good broadcasting, and a requirement at Sun Sounds. In the headphones you can hear
when you are off mike (your mic should be a few inches from your mouth at all times and at a slight angle). Without headphones,
you may not realize how bad it sounds. During one recording a volunteer made a lot of extraneous noise. When I asked him about it,
he replied, "Oh, you could hear that?" I asked, "Were you wearing headphones?" He replied, "no."
The other side of this is that the studio speaker and headphone volume MUST be turned up so that you hear yourself. If you are
coming across as too loud adjust your headphone volume BEFORE you adjust your voice. Stay within a couple of inches of the microphone. When reading don't look down. This forces your forehead to be level with the mic and your voice will be buried in the newspaper. Sit up straight and hold the paper at eye level. Bring the newspapers up to your eyes not your eyes down to the newspaper. This will help breathing and vocal quality.
Our Sun Sounds listeners deserve nothing but our best quality recording. Wearing headphones and keeping close to the mike will
help you, and our programming, sound better.
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Tempe: Programming and Volunteers
Welcome New Volunteers
Lauren Abramovitz, Jean Campbell, Rick Gould, Ben Hoff, Karen Hoffman, Kathy Lemak, Kitty Lovitt, Regina Nelms, Leo Pessin, Pat Sunstein, Michael Ward, Mary Warner
Tempe recently lost longtime volunteer Gordon Hilton who passed away in October. Gordon read the Wednesday Arizona Republic and the Wall Street Journal.
Thank you to everyone who took donation cards off our giving tree in the volunteer room and donated to Sun Sounds.
Picture of Sunny Livesay, Datoka Livesay adn Andrea Pasquale
Sunny and Dakota Livesay visit the Tempe Studios.
Studio Visit from a Host
Chronicles of the Old West host, Dakota Livesay and his wife Sunny stopped by for a visit. As on-air, he is a charming storyteller in person.
And boy is he tall! He is 6 foot 4 without the hat and boots!
The 2011 Great Arizona Beer Festival Needs You
Plans are underway for the Great AZ Beer Festival on Saturday, March 5, 2011. The committee is meeting to make this one-day festival better than ever, and we can't
do it alone! If you would like to volunteer go to azbeer.com/volunteers and fill out a volunteer application. Remember a 6 hour shift guarantees you a ticket to the
Tucson or Flagstaff Festival! If you work for a company that has a group volunteer program that would like to participate please call me directly at 480-774-8300.
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Flagstaff: Eleanor's Desk
This month we are enjoying our office Christmas tree and lights and welcoming some new readers
to the Flagstaff reader's lineup. A warm welcome goes to Sonja Amarisca-Pinkoski who is reading and operating
the board, Taylor Slayton and her mom Lisa Wagher who read as a team on Friday nights, Jane Degher is now reading with
Barbara Griffiths who also just learned to run the board for the Arizona Daily Sun, Ann Blue joins Joan Lewis in reading
the grocery ads every week, Ana Flores joined Colleen Tucker who also now runs the board for the evening AZ Daily Sun,
and Nicole Wyckoff, an NAU student will be substituting for us on weeknights when she is not in class.
One other person who has been reading for a long time and has recently learned the board also is, Janell Pattison.
Thank you all for giving your time and energy to Sun Sounds and to the people of northern Arizona who can't read for themselves anymore.
We are still looking for volunteers to read, run the control board and be a part of our local advisory board.
I had the opportunity to speak to the Kiwanis Club in Williams last week and shared the work of Sun Sounds with them.
I also heard about all the great volunteer work the club members do in the community. They are an inspiring group.
Made in the Shade 2011
In the next month we will start planning the 19th Annual Made in the Shade Beer Tasting Festival, our major
fundraiser of the year for the Flagstaff station. I invite anyone interested to join the team. This year the
event will be June 25, 2011 at the Coconino County Fairgrounds.
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Tucson: Mitzi's Desk
Happy holidays to everyone! Where did the year go? I hope everyone has a great 2011. When I was younger time did not seem
to go by so fast. That old saying about how time went by faster the older you got seemed odd, until now. I can see how
true that rings.
Voice and Diction Workshop
I want to thank Barbara Acker and Andrea Pasquale for coming to Tucson and putting on two sessions of a
great voice training class! The Tucson volunteers who participatedreally enjoyed it and got a lot out of it.
As we add new volunteers we are losing some people who have been with us for a while. We will miss Karen Webster
from Green Valley. She read grocery ads for us for a long time and she was an every-other-Wednesday reader for almost 10
years. John Mills read poetry for many years and has read the evening paper for almost 20. His partner, Agnes Moses, has
been with us for 25 years. We are going to miss them all very much. Our volunteer who has been with us the longest is Frank
Manning who is going on 26 years.
It looks like we could have a good year this year. Grants are starting to come in a bit more now and the money raised at
the Great Tucson Beer Festival is helping enormously. We are hoping for a really good festival this coming year on October
8, 2011. It will be our 25th consecutive annual Great Tucson Beer Festival fund raiser!
Operations Manager Douglas Martz 's father passed away Thanksgiving weekend on November 27th. He was Circulation
Director of The Arizona Republic from 1965 through 1988. Our sympathies go out to Doug and his family.
And one more important item: We are all very happy tell you that Debbie Schaab is coming back to volunteer: she will
be working in the office every Monday morning.
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Live Readers: Your Cough Button - It's Not Just for Coughing Anymore!
In addition to coughing use your cough button when you:
- take a sip of water
- have to adjust the microphone
- have to yawn
- have to shuffle papers
- clear your throat
- make any extraneous noise
- sniff loudly or are having breathing issues
- when you feel the need to let out a deep sigh.
And don't forget to use it when your partner is reading!
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I welcome your feedback and suggestions for improving our electronic Volunteer Newsletter. Email your comments
or call me at 480-774-8300.
Volunteer & Program Manager
Sun Sounds of Arizona