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This chapter is from the book

Sound Effects

You’ve heard these all your life on the radio and on television. They’ve been a staple of broadcasting for generations. When someone makes a funny mistake on the air, for example, it can be even funnier if it’s immediately followed by a judiciously placed "Boing!" sound. Other common sound effects include

  • Laughing

  • Phones ringing

  • Traffic noise

  • Various bodily functions (use your imagination)

  • Explosions or gunfire

  • Crowd noises

  • Applause

Most of the time, these kinds of sound effects are used for humorous purposes. Occasionally, though, they can be used to enhance a serious narrative or to emphasize a point.

In the early days of podcasting (back in late 2004!), adding sound effects was a laborious process. Unlike DJs on the radio who had machines specifically designed for sound effects, there was simply no convenient way for most podcasters to add sound effects into a show as it was being recorded. As a result, they usually opted to not use them rather than investing the time it took to add them to a show in post-production.

Today’s podcasting software makes it much easier to work with sound effects and to add them into your podcast on the fly.

Sound effects are available from a variety of sources. Some podcasters record their own. There are also websites that offer bundles of sound effects you can purchase online or on CD. This website is a good place to start: http://www.a1freesoundeffects.com/radio.html.

You’ll find dozens of sound effects that are available to you free for non-commercial use.

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