Madison needs more rest
February 25, 2013 8:37 AM   Subscribe

How many Sirius XM shows are prerecorded repeats? I'm a big fan of Sirius DJ Madison, for example, who has a show on First Wave weekdays 9 a.m.-3 p.m. but also is on Alt Nation 6 p.m.-midnight. While I heart Madison, I really hope she's not working 12-hour days. How much of that time is actually live radio?
posted by Shoggoth to Media & Arts (6 answers total)
Best answer: If very much of it is "live" I'd be surprised. They probably use voice-tracking quite a lot. Voicetracking allows the DJs to just record their intros, outros, and comments without sitting around and actually listening to the songs. The automated playback equipment then "assembles" the actual show at the airtime for the program. She can probably record each six-hour show in about an hour and a half or so. A discussion of this from 2006.
posted by orthicon halo at 8:46 AM on February 25, 2013 [7 favorites]

Best answer: Madison is a busy girl. From what I gather, what orthicon halo is saying probably applies to about 50-60% of her shows. However, she is "in the studio" (or at least in the building) quite a bit, this gleaned from a friend who works at Sirius.
posted by kuanes at 8:58 AM on February 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

It may vary by channel, and I don't know anything about First Wave, but I do know someone who is a DJ on another channel, and everything he does is voice tracked. That doesn't mean it's a "repeat" - it only is played once. But he isn't sitting in the studio live as you hear it.
posted by primethyme at 9:32 AM on February 25, 2013

Most of the big terrestrial radio stations as well as satellite do voice tracking.
posted by radioamy at 10:19 AM on February 25, 2013

Best answer: Having been to XM before the merger with Sirius (in 2004-2005ish?) for a private tour with a business associate, I will concur with what others have said about the use of voice-tracking, most of the shows on XM at the time were definitely voice-tracked, and I imagine this has only increased in the 8-9 years since as they've tried to cut costs and actually make profits.

From what I recall almost all shows had to be put together at least 72 hours in advance of airing, and were reviewed by a producer for approval before being cleared to air. At XM it was all done through special broadcast control software, so the DJ just sits at a computer, picks tracks and orders them from the large library of music, and then adds their voice-overs and other bits to each show right at their desk, they didn't even have to go into a studio, with some sound isolating materials and properly directional mics, background noise was basically nil.
posted by noonewilleverloveyou at 3:18 PM on February 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thanks, everyone, for your responses. I was a college DJ in the '80s (when dinosaurs and First Wave music roamed the earth) and had no idea what the tech was like now. Thanks especially to orthicon halo for the educational links and to kuanes for reassuring me about how often Madison is on the air. At least I can feel that personal, live radio connection at least a third of the time.
posted by Shoggoth at 4:49 AM on February 26, 2013

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