if its too loud, turn it down

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Recording "The Moth Radio Hour" Pilot Episodes

As you know, "The Moth" is a jammin' sweet podcast. It's bringing back the lost art of storytelling. The only downside is that the podcasts are not that frequent. For high-volume podcast listeners like myself, it leaves you wanting more. Enter The Moth Radio Hour! An hour of well-curated stories selected from their years of archives. It's currently in "pilot" mode, being tested on some of the larger Public Radio Stations around the country: Great! So just look at the program listings for those stations and set your favorite time-shifting program to record. Only problems are the a) it's a pilot so it may not be in that spot forever (or at all) and b) you've missed the first several episodes.

Though it's not podcasted (yet), there is a way to listen to the first several episodes of TMRH. See http://www.prx.org/the-moth. There are flash players embedded under each episode summary, allowing you to stream the audio right from the site.

The downside here is that you can only listen from your computer. However, there are a couple methods you can employ to "rip" the stream to mp3, so you can take it with you.

Method One: WireTap

WireTap is the preferred method because it has the most flexibility...it's basically built for this sort of thing. Unfortunately, it does cost (but in my opinion, is worth it). See this article on how to set up a recording session with Wiretap.

Method Two: Soundflower and Audacity

This one's a little more complex, and you will hear the audio playing as it's recorded (WireTap allows you to mute the source playing the stream, so you can still use your speakers to listen to music or whatever). So you'd either have to mute your speakers, or record when you're not at the computer. The upside, is that the tools are free: audacity and soundflower.

Rather than try to explain it all myself, see this article on how to set it up.

Both methods require you to manually press "record" on the recorder (WireTap or Audacity) and then "play" on the TMRH episode flash player. When it's done (53 minutes later), you press stop on your recorder and then save as an MP3 and voila! You have your TMRH "podcast".

For super-geeks, you can also play the stream from VLC. I tried, and failed, to get mplayer to load it from the command line (my preferred method of recording). But VLC will do. The links to the media for the first several TMRH episodes are:
http://themothopen.prx.org.s3.amazonaws.com/MothHour1_broadcast.mp3?AWSAccessKeyId=11RCNQMECKHP4QK3CP02%26Expires=1406388439%26Signature=aSiteObGTnrY3LEGp3He8pPxBGI%3D
http://themothopen.prx.org.s3.amazonaws.com/MothHour2_broadcast.mp3?AWSAccessKeyId=11RCNQMECKHP4QK3CP02%26Expires=1406388420%26Signature=lTdGgKFB/8UiHGtEpyO6IgBnUYk%3D
http://themothopen.prx.org.s3.amazonaws.com/MothHour3Final_broadcast.mp3?AWSAccessKeyId=11RCNQMECKHP4QK3CP02%26Expires=1406999085%26Signature=fewikyPmyfjs8sAnUiveUA1qfrs%3D
http://themothopen.prx.org.s3.amazonaws.com/MothFinalHour4_broadcast.mp3?AWSAccessKeyId=11RCNQMECKHP4QK3CP02%26Expires=1406388475%26Signature=fLqPoe5HUIn5mCBwsGvfAhQ30Gw%3D
http://themothopen.prx.org.s3.amazonaws.com/MothFinalHour5a_broadcast.mp3?AWSAccessKeyId=11RCNQMECKHP4QK3CP02%26Expires=1406388977%26Signature=J7W1JthdNyNK7ZRKQQlbT3wdDTs%3D
Open VLC, press "play" to get a prompt for a MRL and enter one of the URLs above. When you play the episode you will get errors. Dismiss them and hit play again and the episode will start playing. Record or listen. Enjoy!