Baking Tape

Listen to “Baking Tape”


“You young whippersnappers have no idea how lucky you are,” said in a shaky old voice by an old radio fart pointing a cane, menacingly, in your direction.

I hope I never have to go back to the days of editing audio on reel-to-reel tape. While I sometimes miss the tactile nature of moving the tape back and forth manually and cutting with a razor blade, I oh-so-much-prefer “highlight and delete” on a digital editor. What took minutes, now takes seconds.

On top of the trials and tribulations of editing, tape was fragile and needed to be handled and stored with care. And, eventually, despite your best preservation efforts, tape gets old — dried-out, brittle, squeaky… What a pain!

Believe it or not, one method of salvaging old tape is baking. For reals. If you stick the tape in an oven following some very specific instructions, you stand a chance of  hearing what’s on the tape again.

On this edition of HowSound, a trip down memory…. okay, I’m not going to finish that…. a story about baking tape from Audiobrien, a commercial production house in Sydney, Australia. After listening, you’ll wipe your brow and say “Whew! Glad I don’t have to mess with tape.”

Rob Rosenthal

Rob Rosenthal

Rob Rosenthal is an independent producer and a teacher. He’s the host for the HowSound podcast - a joint project of PRX and Transom - on radio storytelling. He started and then ran the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies’ radio track for 11 years. And, he is now the lead teacher for the Transom Story Workshop, which launched in the fall of 2011.

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