Free tools for audio stories

Did you know you can go live on Facebook with audio only? Are you aware of an app that creates a video of an audio recording? Kim Fox knows all this and more. She’s an associate professor of practice at The American University in Cairo who recently wrote about audio tools for MediaShift. We’re sharing some of her tips here with her permission and we’ve added a few of our own.

Live audio: On a mobile device, choose the Facebook Live video option, and then tap the ellipsis (three dots) button on the lower right of the screen to select the “Live Audio” version. It’s that easy. You’re “on the air.”

Record and share: Use SpareMin (free, iOS and Android) to record and save phone conversations. You can place or receive calls through the app, which automatically notifies a call recipient that they’re about to be recorded. Incoming international calls are free on WiFi. Make sure you get verbal permission to record if you’re in a two-party state (PDF). The app has a built-in trimming tool, and you can download a recording and share or embed it anywhere. SpareMin also hosts Audiogram, developed by public radio station WNYC, which generates a wave form video you can post to video-friendly platforms like Facebook and Instagram.

Anchor (free, iOS and Android) is a podcast app that allows you to originate and record U.S. based calls as well as listener call-ins. You can upload audio to your “station” from your desktop as well. Fox says one cool feature of the app is that it will create a video of audio, as long as it’s under 5 minutes long. The app will automatically generate a transcript of the segment so you can share it. Unfortunately that function is far from intuitive, so Fox sent us an image to illustrate the process. First, create a recording and add it to your “station.” Then go to your station and look for the video/movie icon next to the upload icon. Click the video/movie icon to make the video with the transcript.

Audio Boom (free; iOS and Android) gives you the ability to record, edit and share your work. You could record an introduction to a podcast, press pause, then record interviews and tack on your closing to keep your editing workload to a minimum.

Multi-track editing: Ferrite (free, iOS only) is pretty nifty and Fox says audiophiles will like its capabilities: in-app multi-track editing, easy file labeling, fade in/out, duck (lower music under narration) and a lot more. WTOP radio reporter Neal Augenstein is a Ferrite fan. His iPhone reporting site has a walk-through on how to use it to record a radio “wrap.”