Uploading to Myriad 5

Posted by Jamie Woods on

If you’re only used to uploading music through Nerve, and want to play something else like a vox-pop, interview, or pre-record, here’s the guide to getting it onto the system.

Do not import songs this way!

  • Log into Myriad as yourself! If it’s already logged in, go to File, Logout, then enter your username and password.
Myriad logged in as a person
  • Click MediaWall, and click “Jump”. Enter 100,000 in the box, and click Ok.
  • Scroll using the Left/Right buttons, until you find an empty place
  • Drag your MP3, WAV or whatever into this place. It will import it and get it ready for airplay.
  • It’s imported, but now you need to fill in the metadata! So right click and hit Edit.
  • Click Save, and drag this into the log like you would any other item!

How To Make A Good Demo

Posted by Jamie Woods on

Here’s some advice from previous station winners on how to make demos, and write accompanying content.

You may find this useful when applying for industry-jobs, or when entering the Student Radio Awards. If you’re entering awards, I’ve added some extras to some bullet points to try and make things easier for you.

  • Be yourself.
    The judges can tell if you’re trying to be similar to a personality.
  • Put your best link first.
    Your first link needs to be short, and should be your best one. First impressions really count. The more confident you sound, the better. (Okay, perhaps they don’t need to be crazy short if there’s a good reason)
    If you’re applying for an entertainment category (or an entertainment-y station like Radio 1) put something bloody hilarious. If you can make the judge laugh, you’ve got a damn good chance of winning.
    If you’re applying for a specialist category, open with a really interesting fact that shows you know and love your music.
    If you’re applying for a speech category, start with some engaging and thought-provoking content.
    If you’re applying for best male or best female, stick to the advice above based on whatever you’d categorise your show as.
  • Create a different demo for each station you’re sending it to.
    Not all stations sound the same. Radio 1 want different-sounding presenters to Heart, and Radio 4 wants very different presenters from Capital. If you’re sending your demo into different stations for consideration, you should really bear this in mind, otherwise the person listening to it will likely throw it out.
    Listen to the station you’re sending your demo to, and get a feel for exactly what that station’s vibe is (this is important even with local radio).
  • Don’t be afraid to be creative!
    Done something that hasn’t been done on radio before? Judges love that. Again, it’s all about being you. Be yourself.
  • Be selfish.
    If you’re submitting an entry to an individual category, and you have a co-host, try to keep their voice out of the demo where possible. The occasional line is fine, sure, but it’s your demo. You can include them in a show-specific category, of course!
  • No seriously, be yourself.
    Are you seeing how important this is yet?
  • Pre-record a show.
    Cheeky plug here.
    But seriously, if you pre-record content, you can keep trying to record a line or anecdote until it sounds perfect. All demo content for the awards need to be something you’ve aired, so you can’t just sit in front of a mic and make a demo.
    Bear in mind that it’s very easy to confuse “perfect” with something that doesn’t have hiccups but sounds very unnatural. Don’t go overboard on re-recording.
  • Listen to your final demo in full
    After you’ve finished editing, sit down with a clear head and listen through your demo. Be as self-critical as possible, as you really want your demo to sound as close to perfect as possible.
  • Make the markers between different links clear.
    Use a transformer/electronic sound effect to separate links. The rules technically require this.
    You can get some here.
  • Proof-read your write-up.
    Got to submit a written entry? Make sure it’s proofread. Get someone else to proof read it, to make sure that it’s sound and tiiight. Don’t ramble. Treat it like an essay if that helps.
  • Ask for help!
    Send your demo to someone else to get it listened to. If you have a producer, email them first. I’ll (Jamie Woods) be really happy to listen to your demo and give you some strong feedback. I’ll also try and share it with my professional contacts.
    I can’t stress how important it is to get people to listen to your demo.


Remember that Insanity broadcasts to an audience of 30,000 people, so there’s always motivation to work hard on the content you produce.


YouTube Top Tips

Posted by Jamie Woods on

Sharing visual content from your show? Here are some creator 101 tips for YouTube and other video platforms.

If possible, ask the Head of Visual Content (e: [email protected]) to upload the content directly onto our YouTube channels.

This really depends on your target audience, but if you’re an entertainment show trying to #SocialGoals, this is a great place to start.

1. Short & Sweet

For visual radio, long-form video doesn’t work best. Remember the “one thought one link” rule from entertainment radio – apply that to videos if you want to target .

For instance, if you have a live act performing a set of songs, make sure each song has its own video. It’s fine to have ten or twenty seconds of dialogue at the start and end, as this helps give context.

2. Copyright Check

Cut out all music! Be wary if you’ve used a bed – if it’s a well known song instead of an Insanity specific bed, it may get flagged.

YouTube has a PRS license, which means they pay for song covers (great for live music!) Facebook does too, as of February – covering all their platforms such as Instagram, Messenger.

3. Look & Feel

Make sure you “top and tail” your videos, so they’re instantly recognisable as ours. The top contains our “sonic logo” (as well as logo), so people immediately know what they’re watching is an Insanity production.

The “tail” lets us suggest videos to viewers in the last 5-10 or so seconds of a YouTube video.

If you’re not sure how to do this, you can send your unedited video to the Head of Visual, but they won’t be able to get it published as a priority.

4. Sharing

Videos should, where possible, be uploaded to Insanity’s social media channels. From there, you can share them on your own pages. Due to how Facebook and Twitter’s algorithms work, people are more likely to see your videos this way.

People are more likely to watch videos on Facebook if they’re uploaded as a Facebook video. Opening another app is a pain, and you lose out on autoplay.

Our Facebook videos get thousands of views.

Don’t share music/covers on Twitter, as this is illegal because they currently have no licensing agreement.


Manual Vision Mixing

Posted by Jamie Woods on

If you’re doing a planned visualised segment, chances are you’ll want to manually control which cameras are live. This is called vision mixing.

Insanity uses a bit of kit it built called automix to control the cameras, but you can manually override it. To do that, open a web browser, and go to . This can only be done from an Insanity network connected PC (so any one in the office or studios).

This’ll show you a page somewhat like this.

automix remote control – GoggleBox.

When you close the GoggleBox web-page, the camera settings will revert back to default.

In the above screenshot, the cameras are in Auto mode.

None of what we can adjust on this page affects sound.

Turning Off the Slate

The slate is the “holding picture” (currently a vinyl with the classic Insanity headphones) used when the cameras and microphones aren’t live. If we want to override this so that the cameras are always live, we can click the toggle button labelled “Slate”, which will change to “Wide”. In the “Wide” mode, the wide angle camera will always be live when the microphones are off.

Manually Selecting Cameras

Click the “Auto” toggle button. It will slide to “Manual”, and change colour to grey. The other buttons will become visible again, and you can click them.

To change which camera/input is live, double click/tap it. The first click will put the camera into preview mode (this is important for technical reasons), and the second click will make it live. The live camera will not change unless you either shut GoggleBox, change the mode back to Auto, or click another camera.



Downloading Visual Content

Posted by Madeline Breed on

Downloading visual content is actually pretty easy, plus you’ve then got it forever to make your demos extra special!!

1) Type in to a search bar one one of the insanity computers. These are the only computers it will work from.
2) Fill in the start time
3) Fill in the end time (No longer than a 30 minute period as it can crash the server)
5) Click download mp4
6) Should open up a new tab and will take a few minutes to load, varying on how long the download is
7) It will then download the video file which can be found in the downloads folder



Audio Checklist – Gettin’ It Right Every Time

Posted by Jamie Woods on

Working on a podcast, video, or some on-air segment that’s pre-recorded? Here are a list of things you should always check off before airing and/or uploading a clip.

This assumes you have a relatively basic understanding of audio. If not, there are some brilliant tutorials out there – we’ll be writing some of our own guides soon!

Pre-production check-list:

  1. Your microphone is close to the source. But not too close – nobody should be making out with the mic. 10-20cm is a good distance.

    If this isn’t particularly easy to achieve, have a listen before you record. If you don’t, it’s almost impossible to remove them in post. So plug in a pair of headphones, and ensure:

    • The target isn’t drowned out by the background noise. If you can’t check, go somewhere quiet.
    • The target isn’t echo-ey (the bathroom effect). Is their speech nice and clear?

      If any of the above are true, move the microphone closer.

  2. Ensure that you’ve got enough microphones. Try and get the Zoom, not the Tascam, as this lets you plug in more mics. Make sure:
    1. You have a different microphone for everyone talking. For instance, your interviewee has a handheld (with better quality), and you have the portable recorder
    2. You have the one microphone closest to your interviewee. You can always re-record your questions later on, but obviously not theirs.
  3. If outside, you have a windshield on your microphones to prevent that yuck whooshing sound.
  4. Check the levels before you record.
    1. When your guests speak, the level ideally shouldn’t go above 75% on the VU (volume unit) meter.
    2. It shouldn’t be normally below 40%, as for technical digital recording reasons your quality becomes lower & noisier.
  5. Record phone calls using the unit in the studio, not off a mobile phone. Cell tower quality is really poor.
  6. If you’re shooting video:
    1. Avoid using just the shotgun microphone on your camera. The audio from these is almost always unusable. Give your presenter a handheld, use a clip-on/wireless mic, or find a boom operator.
    2. If covering an event, ask the organisers ahead of time if they can provide you with an audio feed. The Union are usually willing to do this. You can probably plug the XLR directly into your camera.


Once you have the audio back in the edit suite, import it into Audacity and split all the tracks into mono. This’ll make mixing easier.

Post-production checklist:

  1. The overall levels are OK. The volume shouldn’t go between loud and quiet across different segments. You can apply some compression to achieve this, or use Audiomatic on your final mix to master the audio.
  2. Speech isn’t panned to the left or right. Put on a pair of headphones – if one of your ears receives special treatment, ensure the audio tracks are split to mono.
  3. The average volume of your clip, in Audacity, sits at about 80% height on the blue wave form (or, when you play it, doesn’t go above -4 on the green meters). Try to avoid red vertical lines, as these represent clipping (which your audience can hear as distortion).

You can fix some of these issues using Audiomatic – an internal tool we built specifically to help you do this with minimal effort. If you’re not an Insanity member, you can achieve a similar effect using Stereo Tool and the Syrtho preset – our tool is just a shortcut for this.


Playing Out Syndication: Student Radio Chart

Posted by Jamie Woods on

In this post, we’ll explain how to syndicate a show (such as the Student Radio Chart Show)

You will need:

  • The raw streaming URL for the server in question. It might look like one of these, but could be anything
    • http://stream.bbc.com/listen.mp3
  • Access to the main studio

This implies the show starts at 2PM. Adjust accordingly.

  1. Open VLC from the start menu
  2. Go to File, Open Network.
  3. Enter the streaming URL from above
  4. Press “Play”
  5. Pre-fade listen OB1 on the mixing desk to see if there is signal. If not, check Stereo Tool is running. Open its window, and see if there are any green signal bars showing up on the monitor.
  6. If there is signal, use the green knob on the mixer to adjust the volume. It should peak at around 5, and never exceed six.
  7. On Myriad, set the current (1PM) hour to Auto Fade, so that it finishes exactly on the top of the hour (i.e. at 14:00:00), instead of early or late.
  8. On Myriad, empty the log hour (2PM) completely, except for the green Top Of Show. Empty any following hours (3PM) completely, including the green Top Of Show.
  9. Make all hour(s) (2-3PM) Live Assist.
  10. After this log item, add the “SRA Chart Show” purple marker. (It will show up green in the log, this is normal!) This is on the second page of the Audio Wall sweepers page.
  11. Set this to a stop.
  12. Once you reach the SRA Chart Show, and the stop, turn on and fade up OB1.

At the end of the show, fade down OB1 and hit “Go”, like you would finishing any other link.



Tips for Sourcing Music

Posted by Jamie Woods on

All music used in broadcast needs to come through the right channels. If it doesn’t, then the broadcaster risks getting in huge trouble. Obviously, we pay for all our music. Scary bits aside, let’s discuss how to source high quality music for your show.

Prerequisite: Music Quality

Music comes in all shapes and sizes. You’ve probably head of MP3 and WAV. There are other formats such as M4A, AAC, and FLAC that we use in broadcast. This will explain what all of that means. If you don’t care, you can skip over it. It’s useful to know, though.

You’ve probably noticed that MP3 files are waaaaay smaller than WAVs. This is because they apply clever tricks to remove bits of audio that humans aren’t likely to hear. As a result, this lowers the sound quality – known as “lossy/compression”. There are different intensities of compression that result in different “bit rates”. These are the ones for MP3:

128kbps is regarded as transparent (i.e. unnoticable) to (very very roughly) about 50% of people. But that’s not good enough for broadcast. This is about the top quality of YouTube.

192kbps is regarded as transparent to about 70% of people. Still not good enough for broadcast.

256kbps and above are transparent to 99% of people, which is probably acceptable.

In modern M4A/AAC, anything above 192kbps is probably okay to use in broadcast.

If you’re thinking “why can’t I just increase the bit rate?” – you sadly can’t. If you’ve ever tried to make a small digital photo bigger, you’ve probably found it’s impossible. It’s the same concept with audio. Sadly, some online stores try to fake the bit rate and then pretend it’s higher when in fact it isn’t.

We can’t use tracks that aren’t above 256kbps or similar. This is because the station uses clever processing techniques to make our output sound better, but this does not work well with low bit rate MP3s (i.e. 192kbps or below). You really can hear it, and it sounds very unprofessional.

WAVs and FLACs are large files, but they keep all of the sound quality.

Nerve will do most of the hard work here in determining if a song is of good enough quality. If it isn’t, it’ll reject it. Before Nerve, this was not possible.


A lot of our music actually comes from record labels. The Head of Music receives lots of emails with links to tracks. If it’s relatively mainstream, chances our you can ask them very nicely to see if they have it.

You can also approach a record label directly. As this blog is public, I can’t share our contacts, but our Head of Music will again be happy to assist! Often, you can find a bands publicist through Google.

Online Stores

I Like Music

This store is designed for broadcasters. Registering an account is free. The best bit about this store is that downloads are significantly cheaper than iTunes and Amazon. It is done on a credits system, so purchasing 50 credits will get you 50 songs at 63p a track. There’s no minimum, but bulk credits give bulk discounts.

When selecting a .WAV, you’ll need to enter/search for the track in Nerve. This is because WAVs don’t include computer readable song info, unlike most MP3s.


The iTunes store lets you download tracks at 99p a pop. Don’t forget that this is separate to Apple Music, which is a streaming service not a downloads service.

You can select the M4As from your “iTunes” music folder and upload them directly to Nerve.


Amazon will give you an MP3 download of a track for 99p. However, disappointingly in some cases, the actual quality of the download can be very low. Just search for a song on Amazon and buy it like any other track.


Shop around in second hand stores like CEX, buy new, or raid your parents’ vast CD collection. You can then rip them (DON’T use Windows Media Player, use “fr:eac” with WAV or FLAC as described here) and upload them to Nerve.


Have fun, and stay legal!


How to use the studio phone

Posted by Beth Carr on

In the studio there is a phone that can be used for interviews and features. This will mainly be on air but there is also a way to pre-record phone interviews if you can find a time to use the main studio outside the schedule. This post will focus on using the phone for on-air, live content. PLEASE NOTE: The phone system is being constantly developed and altered to make it easier to use and these instructions will be updated periodically.

How to use the studio phone

How to use the studio phone – click on the image for a larger version

The full instructions are on the training document on the left – you can save the image for future reference but it is also included here.

Setting up the phone:

  • Make sure you allow yourself plenty of time to set up the phone call e.g. two songs.
  • The system works best when you dial out directly from the studio so you’ll need the phone number of your guest.
  • To dial out lift the handset and press 9 before dialling the number as you normally would. Make sure there is a tone before you dial – if the line is dead your call won’t go through so you may need to put the phone down and press the square button a few times to reset it.
  • To connect the phone line to the sound desk, press the square button on the box underneath the phone. Pressing this again will hang up (so do that at the end!)
  • Once your guest answers the phone you will need to run through the guest agreement with the guest.
  • We don’t accept calls direct to the studio but it dials out on 01784 430005.

Running your phone interview:

  • The phone call plays out through the ‘TELCO’ channel—it acts just like a MIC channel so put the fader up to talk on air.
  • You can put the phone down while you conduct the interview, these settings ensure you can’t hang up!
  • CUE/PFL the channel to check the levels—you can adjust the TRIM to make it louder or quieter (make sure your caller is close to their phone).
  • Pressing LINE HOLD will allow the caller to hear what’s playing out – only do this when you’ve finished talking to them about the interview as they will struggle to hear you!
  • Make sure you take the phone off CUE/PFL on air otherwise it’ll sound distorted.
  • You may want to duck your microphones while your caller is talking to get a better sound.

Other tips:

  • Calls tend to be VERY quiet. Make sure your caller is close to their handset and speaks loudly and clearly. You can turn up the TRIM and also the EQ dials above but make sure these are reset after the call.
  • If you have pre-arranged your interview, send a copy of the Guest On-Air Agreement beforehand so your guest has a chance to understand it – it will also cause less stress with you explaining it before the call.
  • There is a talkback facility that allows you to speak to your guest off-air via MIC 1 without having the handset. This is still in testing and training will be updated when it is less complex. You can still use CUE/PFL to check levels whilst speaking to your guest off-air via the handset, but make sure the handset is kept away from the mic otherwise it will feedback.

How to use the portable recorders

Posted by Beth Carr on

One way to get content for your shows is to record clips outside of the studio and we have two recorders that you can use to do that – the Tascam and the Zoom. These are especially useful for members of the News Team and the Music Team but anyone can use them as long as you’ve been trained – you can ask your team leader or the Head of Training for this.

Before you use one of the recorders, you’ll need to request it from a board member and then sign it out on the sign out sheet. Make sure you state the purpose and which recorder you are signing out so we can keep track. You cannot take the recorder home overnight and you are responsible for it whilst it is signed out so look after them and report any damage or technical problems to the board so we can sort them out. Make sure you sign it back in when you return it too!

Using the Tascam/Zoom is really easy and the instructions are on the document below – you can click the image for a bigger version and a pdf is available via email!
A guide to Portable Recorders