Using an iPhone to record interviews

Jan 28 2013

My story assignment this week required a Q&A format. While getting an interview would be easy, the problem came in getting an accurate transcript of the entire interview. However, after a few web searches, I found a simple app that helps you record phone calls online to access later.

Most of the time I could conduct an interview in person and record it that way with a plethora of devices to choose from. The one time I’d ever recorded a phone call was four years ago, and it required an empty room, speakerphone and a separate recording device. Now trust me when I say that you do not want to conduct a one-on-one interview on speakerphone. It’s just not fun.

But here’s where I go on about one of the many reasons I love the Internet. A simple search brought up plenty of hits. Some of the results were just forums that discussed apps that could be purchased, but I am a student and a frugal one at that. I knew someone out there would know of a product that would do what I needed for free. Then, an article from CNET pointed me to the perfect iPhone app: iPadio.

The iPadio site advertises the product as a way to do a live Internet broadcast from your phone. However, I quickly realized that I could just use it as a way to store my interview online to transcribe later.

After registering your phone, you go to the app and select “Live Phonecast.” Your phone then dials a toll-free number and prompts you to enter your PIN. I guess this is the point at which most users start a broadcast, but I needed it for an interview. You know how your iPhone comes with all those features that sound great in ads, but you never actually use? Well, here’s an opportunity for you to actually use one of these features: the conference call. Once your “broadcast” has begun, click “add call” and then dial a number or select a contact. When the person answers the phone (assuming you’ve already asked permission to record the interview), you can press merge calls and begin recording the interview.

After the interview is over, end the phone call as you would any other. Then, you can go to the iPadio site and find the recording in your account, where you can listen to it or download it.

What’s the hardest part about using this app? Remembering to press merge calls. I cannot tell you how many practice calls I made where I forgot to merge the calls. Then, I would check the site only to find a silent recording that lasted the length of my phone call.

However, the iPadio service comes with another great feature. It actually attempts to transcribe the beginning of the phone call and add tags. For people that need to do a series of back-to-back interviews, this allows them to avoid having to preview each one to find the recording you need.

Read a step-by-step guide to recording phone calls with iPadio.

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