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Covid Impacts to the Audio Studio

By Robert Nelson

I look upon the March earthquake as the end point of “normal” use of the Audio Studio. From the middle of March until August 24, 2020 no one, including myself, was allowed into the space. When we resumed use, it was capped at 20% capacity. In a room that holds ten persons, that means myself and one user.

All unmediated access for evening and weekend podcasters was suspended. That removed about 2/3 of the usual use of the studio. I had to receive permission to come to campus to work. I, myself, wanted to limit my potential exposure and it was agreed I would be available to record people Tuesdays, Thursdays and half day Fridays.

We upgraded the phone line to a digital phone to try and improve podcast quality. I notified the regular faculty and staff users of the new rules. We implemented safety features such as wiping down surfaces before and after each booking. We use disposable microphone covers.

Several people at the beginning of the semester reached out to me on the return of podcasting. When apprised of the new procedures none of my “regulars” have returned. Everyone is masked until I press record.

This has been my work product in the Audio Studio for Fall Semester:

  • Two students with their own recorders who wanted access to the soundproof room
  • Three podcasts with staff in the Dept. of Recreation
  • One audio narration manual for Ushop
  • Interview with national media group Freakonomics. They used an interesting podcast program called Squadcast that I intend to look into. You don’t need a phoneline and record via Chrome video interface
  • One faculty Zoom interview call
  • One student narration for final film project

Those projects don’t even tally a good week’s worth of audio during a non-Covid semester. It is disconcerting, in spite of valid reasons, why this must be the case. With the virus raging in Utah, and across the country, Spring Semester look bleak for usage as well.

Robert Nelson | Head of Media Studios
Creativity & Innovation Services / Media Studios

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