General Transom FAQs

1. I am a new producer, how can Transom help me?
First off, welcome. We're glad you found us.

We encourage you to explore the posts with the getting started tag. These are posts written for or by new producers like yourself. You may, for example, want to read Jay Allison's, The Basics or Jeff Towne's recommendations on what gear to get.

Please jump on our discussion boards which are included at the bottom of each post. You can ask questions or share observations and most of the time, someone will respond.

Subscribe to HowSound, our podcast co-sponsored by PRX and hosted by the lead instructor for Transom Workshops, Rob Rosenthal. HowSound provides the backstory to great radio storytelling; each episode is like having your own private radio lesson.

Finally, you might consider taking one of our Workshops where we put gear in your hands within moments of meeting you and walk you through the process of making radio.
2. How do I find out about the latest audio tool?
For advice on anything gear-related we rely on Jeff Towne. You should too. You can find his thorough reviews of digital recorders, microphones, editing software and more in our Tools section.
3. What are Topics and how do I use them to navigate the site?
Topics are the big bins we use to organize our content.

Shows are features in which we premiere a piece by a producer and the producer shares helpful notes on "the making of" the piece.

The Tools section is filled with in-depth reviews of digital recorders, microphones, editing software and more.

Techniques are more practical posts. They are how-tos on everything from how to pitch an idea for a radio story to how to use music in a radio piece.

Ideas contains commentaries (shorter pieces) and manifestos (longer pieces) with tips and inspirations from seasoned and newer producers alike.

Finally, HowSound is a podcast sponsored by PRX and Transom, hosted and produced by Transom Workshop lead instructor, Rob Rosenthal. HowSound provides the back story to great radio storytelling and every episode is a little radio lesson gem.
4. How do you pick the pieces featured on Transom? And how can I submit something?
Good questions. You can find out more here.
5. Why should I sign up for the editor's letter?
The editor's letter is the best way to stay informed about everything from new posts on Transom to Workshop offerings. We promise we don't share the names on our email list with anyone. And we won't inundate your inbox either. We typically send an editor's letter about once a week. At most.
6. Where can I subscribe to the Transom and/or HowSound podcasts? And what's the difference between them anyway?
The Transom podcast offers you a way to listen to the pieces we premiere here on our site.

The HowSound podcast is a joint production of PRX and Transom and is hosted by Transom Workshop lead instructor, Rob Rosenthal. HowSound provides the backstory to great radio storytelling. It's like a mini radio class every time.

You can find both the Transom and HowSound podcasts at iTunes.
7. How do I report a problem with the website?
We know problems on a website are inevitable. Still, we want to eliminate as many problems as possible on Transom.org. We appreciate that you're willing to take the time to tell us about any you may have found.

Please write to us at info [at] transom.org
8. How do I contact Transom just to say "hey" or to ask a question?
That's easy. Write to us at info [at] transom.org.

We're also big fans of snail mail. Postcards. Packages. Send them all to:

P.O. Box 445; 3 Water Street Woods Hole, MA 02543

To talk to a live person, call 508-548-5527. If we're not there (we tend to keep strange hours), leave us a message. We will call you back as soon as we can.
9. Does Transom offer internships?
Sort of. Atlantic Public Media -- the parent organization of Transom.org -- offers internships. If you're interested in finding out more, please write to us at info [at] atlantic.org.
10. How can I donate to Transom.org?
Thanks for feeling generous. You can find out everything you need to know about donating and learn about the cool gifts we can send you as a thank you here.
11. Can I donate to the Workshop Scholarship fund so that more beginning producers can attend?
Bless. You can. Right here.

Story Workshop FAQs

12. Why should I consider the Transom Story Workshop?
Seven reasons, for starters:

    1. Lots of individual attention from Rob Rosenthal (lead instructor), as well as the Workshop teaching assistant, and the Transom staff.
    2. A small class size of nine.
    3. You’ll develop serious audio storytelling chops in just nine weeks.
    4. Special guests will visit during the session.
    5. We have a direct connection to WCAI, the award-winning Cape and Islands public radio station where your work may be broadcast.
    6. You'll leave the Workshop with a portfolio of pieces.
    7. Cape Cod.
13. What types of stories will I produce at the Story Workshop?
    • a vox pop
    • a promo
    • a six-minute documentary feature of your choice
14. Who will be teaching? And special guests . . . like whom?
You can read more about our teaching crew and Workshop staff here.

Among guests during past sessions: Daniel Alarcón of Radio Ambulante; This American Life's Zoe Chace, Sean Cole, Stephanie Foo, Ira Glass, and Nancy Updike; Shereen Marisol Meraji, cohost of Code Switch; Alix Spiegel cohost of Invisibilia; Radio Diaries' Joe Richman; Andrea Seabrook of NPR and Marketplace; Sam Sanders, host of It's Been a Minute; Embedded host Kelly McEvers; Transom Tool guy Jeff Towne; NPR host Audie Cornish; Scott Carrier of Home of the Brave; David Krasnow of Studio 360; Kitchen Sister Nikki Silva; independent producer Ari Daniel; Al Letson of Reveal; multimedia producers Samantha Broun and Amanda Kowalski, John Barth of PRX; Ngoc-Tran Vu and An Uong from AIR; and Du Pont Award-winning producer, Sean Corcoran of WGBH.
15. When you say this is for beginners, what do you mean?
We’re looking for people who haven’t produced any radio work, but want to. People who may have messed around with gear and editing software and made something. People who may even have gotten a piece on the air, or dabbled with web audio, but who are still starting out.

A beginner is not someone who has managed to land a regular paying gig producing radio and is looking for more formal training.
16. Why nine weeks?
Unless you go to journalism school, there aren't many ways to get the concentrated training you need to embark on a career in radio/public media. We want to help people make that leap, we want to launch new producers, and nine weeks is what we think it takes.
17. Why $9,105 - $9,780?
It’s a lot of money but this is a residential, total immersion, nine-week course. We are just able to cover our costs while keeping the class size small. This cost includes tuition, housing and two group meals each week. It also includes your own license for Hindenburg Journalist audio editing software, a one-year membership to both the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR) as well as the Public Radio Exchange (PRX), fees for special guests, gatherings, and events.
18. Can you say more about the residential part?
Workshop students live in one of two houses within walking distance of each other, town, and the building where class is held. Everyone will have a private room. Room rates vary depending on the size of the room, whether or not it has a shared bath, and/or a water view (for real). Both houses include parking, internet, laundry, a fully equipped kitchen, utilities/heat, and sheets/towels. Rental rates are a good deal for this area. Sharing housing and meals builds community and is often one of the things graduating students cite as a highlight of the Workshop. Opting out of student housing is non-negotiable except for any health or medical concerns that would make living in the group housing impossible.
19. What about meals?
Twice weekly group meals are prepared by a local chef. Some of the evenings include presentations from special guests, visitors, or the Transom team. Students say these meals are a highlight of the Workshop. The cost of food will be $300. Transom pays for the cook for these meals, and contributes to food costs as well as providing beer and wine for guest speaker dinners.

There are often leftovers from these dinners that provide students with an extra meal the next day.
20. If I'm accepted and a conflict arises, can I defer my enrollment?
Enrollment cannot be deferred to a later workshop except in rare cases, and even then, the standard penalties and forfeits apply (see below).
21. What's your refund policy?
There is no refund for the $750 tuition deposit. If you must withdraw prior to the first day of class, we’ll do our best to find a replacement. If we succeed, we’ll refund $3,000 of your tuition. If we don't succeed, your tuition will not be refunded. Sorry about that but our timeline is tight. No refunds once the semester has begun.
22. Do I need to be computer savvy?
We expect that you use a computer on a regular basis, that you know your way around Word and the Interweb, and that you've dabbled in more daring stuff like Garage Band or iMovie. Maybe you even have a blog. We need you to be computer confident.
23. Can I get a loan to pay for this?
Sadly, you won't be eligible for any federal student loans because the Workshop is not an official "school". However, you may be able to get a personal bank loan.
24. Are there scholarships?
Yes! We started offering the Story Workshop Scholarship in the fall of 2015. Our goal is to make the Workshop a realistic option for people who have been unable to attend due to the cost, with a focus on diverse voices, people of color, and those who have been historically underrepresented as makers of public media. For now, scholarship funds are only available to people living in the U.S. Read more about our Story Workshop Scholarship here.
25. Does Transom or Atlantic Public Media offer internships?
We do accept interns, but students in the Transom Story Workshop won't be able to intern with us during the Workshop.
26. Will I need a car?
You won't need a car but your fieldwork and your life in general will be much easier if you have one. Public transportation on the Cape is limited. If you don't have a car, bring a bicycle. If you can’t bring a bicycle, we’ll likely be able to get you a loaner. Past car-less students have managed by borrowing cars from kind classmates, or renting cars if necessary.
27. What do I need to bring?
We’ll provide recording gear and Hindenburg Journalist audio editing software. You’ll need to bring a computer and an external hard drive (7200 rpm preferred, 5400 rpm okay).
28. What will I leave the Workshop with?
You’ll leave the Workshop prepared to produce audio and radio stories using a well-practiced set of skills in interviewing, story-building, writing, editing, and mixing on digital audio workstations. You’ll have a portfolio of work, a certificate, and professional connections in the radio world. Students receive their own copy of Hindenburg Journalist to learn on and keep. We'll also send you off with a one-year membership to both the Public Radio Exchange and the Association of Independents in Radio (AIR).
29. What type of work have Story Workshop students gone on to do?
Everything you can imagine. Story Workshop alums are working as independent producers; some have gone on to start their own podcasts; others are based at stations from Key West to Alaska. Our graduates work at This American Life, Radiolab, Invisibilia, and The Moth Radio Hour among other shows. Some use their audio skills at non-profits and NGOs. We even have award winning alums - Best New Artist and Best Documentary: Bronze at Third Coast International Audio Festival and winners of WNYC's Podcast Accelerator. We could go on boasting about our alums but we'll stop there for now.
30. May I communicate with alums about their experience?
We’re happy to put you in touch with alums. Write to us, or, if possible, come sit in on a class, or attend the students’ graduation and public listening event where you'll hear their work.
31. Do I have to be a U.S. citizen to attend the Workshop?
No. All are welcome. We've had students attend the Workshop from Canada, Australia, Lebanon, Portugal, Ireland, Finland and India. And while we're not very knowledgeable about visas, we can put you in touch with past international students to find out how they handled such matters.
32. Is there an age limit?
18 or older.
33. Do you favor people who have applied before?
No, it's an even playing field each time.
34. About the Work Sample. . .
When we say audio *or* written sample, we mean it. Send us a Work Sample that you think will give us a sense of who you are; something you're proud of. We don't give more weight to audio over written samples. Honest. If you send audio, it needn’t have aired anywhere; it could be a piece you made for your mother’s birthday. We just want to hear it. The work sample definitely needs to be something that you produced on your own. If someone else helped produce, please let us know.
35. Do you offer shorter or more advanced workshops? Workshops in other locations?
Yes! You can read more about our Traveling Workshops here.
36. I’d love to know about future Workshops.
That's easy. Send us an email.

When communicating use: info [at] transom [dot] org.