Skip to main content

It is now possible to preschedule the recording of multiple talk radio streams at once and transcribe them with accuracy that will allow searches for key content and patterns.

The great Limbaugh boycott has made talk radio more costly for the Right but it is still practically free nationwide advertising for the GOP, ALEC, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Kochs.

Talk radio is the Right's most important political advantage because it can't be read or searched.  It is an invisible weapon. Analyzing politics without factoring RW radio has been a disaster for Democrats and liberals.

Now it's possible to monitor the radio propaganda in the state or national discourse without actually hanging by the radio.

A Mac running Snow Leopard OS or later and about $200 -$250 in software will enable a volunteer in every state democratic headquarters to search transcripts at the end of the day or week to know what's being aimed at Democrats from those think tanks mouthpieces.

My previous diary demonstrated how Wisconsin governor Scott Walker and his staff depended on talk radio in 2010.

It's happening in every state, free and without consequence for Republicans. You can buy a lot of TV ads with that Koch money, but to sell big lies you have to, as George Bush said, "keep repeating things over and over and over again, for the truth to sink in. You gotta catapult the propaganda."


Here's what I found out with the software. This is just for Mac and I didn't keep looking much after I found these two elements, which I'm still learning.

Snowtape is a simple app for about $30 that allows you to schedule your computer to simultaneously record multiple radio streams at the same time. Snowtape can separate ads from other content to some extent. There are a few tricks involved that I will explain below.

I got Macspeech Scribe for my slightly outdated 2011 Mac. It costs about $150 and allows you to train up to six voice profiles. Vocabulary can also be trained for better accuracy with particular names, organizations, and issues and words can be added or deleted. Note: Macspeech Scribe does not work on the new Mac Mavericks OS.

Dragon Dictate costs about $200 and may be the only option for the new Mac OS. I believe they also have a PC version. Dragon Dictate allows more voice profiles than Macspeech Scribe and may be better overall.

Most talk shows include guests, other staff voices, and ad voices, so it's a bit mixed up. And you have to actually enunciate punctuation so Macspeech runs all sentences together. Faster talkers who run words together are harder to get right. And it will make guesses that make no sense. It ain't perfect but training helps.

Don't spend the money if you're expecting error free transcription. Slow clear speech with no background noise provides good results but there are other factors. Here's an example from earlier this week from odious Wisconsin talker Vicki McKenna. The voice profile got minimal training and she slurs and talks fast a lot:

can you believe this. Not the Soros funded democracy alliance to buy into the democracy alliance you need to pay $250,000 and then pay $25,000 every single year democracy will I answer a bunch of billionaires who get together and they find various different left-wing dark money groups and yet you've got the same people who claim that it's okay for the John Doe to go forward because we're worried about dark money nevermind again this whole problem with the constitute should the same people who are reading me millions of dollars in dark money they don't want the other side to have dark money dark money money just means money that is not disclosed the Milwaukee County Board overrode Tracy believes the top of the other referendum that it is the move to ammend referendum the County Board at the past of dark money groups like democracy alliance and the Center for media and democracy and in the liberty tree alliance and a whole host of other anonymously funded left-wing organizations under the Soros umbrella overrode a Belize beat so on a advisory referendum to amend the First Amendment to make it illegal to speak to effect political change if your company why because
The transcriptions are more useful for identifying patterns and points of interest for further study with the original recordings. When they use words and phrases like Clinton, or Walker, 'minimum wage' or 'Move To Amend' (yes they're talking about it), the context is clear.

If there are more than 6 talkers to transcribe some may have similar voices and styles so the same profile might be used for more than one talker. It may be possible to export/share trained voice profiles- that could save some time and trouble. They do show up as files and can be deleted and replaced in Macspeech.

Modern Macs that can run Mavericks OS can load a free transcription software from Apple. I don't think it's trainable but it might work adequately for some talkers.


In the near future I hope to explain this process and improvements at a yet to be published site (probably the - for the big lie project).

Here's a list, with links, of top talk radio shows: Top Talk Radio

There are a few tricks to getting the right stream that Snowtape can record and into a sound file Macspeech can use.

Many radio stations seem to channel through services like Iheart Radio, that Swnowtape can't record for some reason someone else may be able to explain. There may be better ways but I do this:


1) Plug the call letters of the station into the Radio Locator and search (that also give signal coverage map).

2) Ciick on the stream they give and that should open iTunes.

3) In iTunes click on Get Info in the File menu and then click on Edit URL. Copy that URL.

4) Open Snowtape, and it should show up in the field if you click on Import URL under the File menu. Then Snowtape can record it.


1) In Snowtape Preferences go to Exporting and choose the AAC format.

2) Select files to translate and in the Snowtape Action menu choose Export to iTunes. Those files will be placed in a Snowtape file as M4A files that Macspeech can use.

3) Then drag them from iTunes to your RW TALK RADIO SUCKS or REPUBLICANS LIE folder in Finder and you then should be able to open them with Macspeech, which apparently only works with M4A and AAC files.

I imagine there are easier ways. Even better, maybe someone could come up with a fully automated easy-to-use software combo for all those Democratic Party election headquarters!

There is also software called Amazing Slow Downer that may help slow the faster talkers down for greater accuracy although I'm not yet sure how much it helps because Macspeech may automatically do the same or similar. I have to experiment some more.

And if you want to convert audio files to various formats I found Switch.


The planet can't afford 2 more years of obstruction. We waste too much time with talk radio manufactured distractions like Benghazi. GOP/ALEC think tanks are already using those giant megaphones to sell their candidates and attack and lie about their Democratic opponents.

Every important election and issue will be distorted and lied about regularly from those radio stations until November 2014. Your candidates will be attacked. Your issues will be distorted. Your protests and fellow protestors will be demonized. RW radio will effect Democratic primaries to favor blue dogs, or whoever will support that bloody KXL pipeline, if advantageous for them.

Every state Democratic headquarters, every Democratic candidate, and every progressive organization with stakes in the 2014 election could spend a few hundred bucks and volunteer hours to finally end this major Republican advantage.

Take the evidence to the local/state/national media so they will know where the lies are coming from. Let the media and the politicians who repeat and give credibility to the talking points know where it's coming from, and that the screaming outraged callers and writers are illegitimate made-to-order billionaire constituencies full of talk radio crap.

When the town hall meetings or the vote recounts are overrun by dittohead/ teabaggers yelling the same talking points it is important to publicize where they got their marching orders. Media will be less likely to credit them as 'popular sentiment'.

How many 2014 elections will be won by those 450 carnival barkers sitting behind call screeners in the loudest radio stations in the country? How many volunteer hours and small donations will they negate because liberals ignore them? How much more anti-democratic lunacy will they enable with their unchallenged repetition?


I don't know what the copyright limitations are relative to a public display of the word soup spewing from all those stations but if the Democratic Party kept it in house that shouldn't be a problem- right?

Can all that word soup be published on line in some form so that it can be searched by anyone? Can the recorded files be made available online for public reference? How accurate do the transcripts have to be to constitute copyright infringement?

Any copyright lawyers out there?

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (8+ / 0-)

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sun May 18, 2014 at 01:28:31 PM PDT

  •  I'm going to forward this to a friend (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Cadillac64, AJayne, certainot

    who is a developer for MacSpeech. And a political activist.
    I'd be interested to get his take on this.

    If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

    by CwV on Sun May 18, 2014 at 04:01:14 PM PDT

    •  that would be great. any suggestions on how (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cadillac64, CwV, AJayne, PsychoSavannah

      to make it better would help.

      macspeech seems to have some advantages but i don't really know much about the windows stuff

       a software package that would help streamline and automate this might find a lot of buyers in democratic party politics

      the democratic party needs to buy a few copies for every state HQ and maybe every dem candidate

      and i have a few of questions for him:

      1) are profiles transferable to other computers with macspeeech? seems like they would be- that would make it even more appealing- if the buyer didn't have to do their own training and could get them off a web site, for instance

      2) also, would it be beneficial to slow down the voice files or does macspeech optimize while transcribing?

      3) also, can macspeech transcribe more than one file at a time? if not is there a way to get it to transcribe more than one file one after the other without dealing with them individually?

      these would be factors that might make it more appealing for this application

      if he wants contact leave me his email in a message to certainot - tell him i'm trying to create a demand for macspeech for free!


      This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

      by certainot on Sun May 18, 2014 at 04:24:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Here's what Bob replied, (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        He read your diary and responded thusly:
        Greetings CV,

        The best thing is patience. And focus. And then: More patience.

        Patience because Scribe is a dead-end program. We're rolling that functionality into a soon-to-be-released version of Dragon Dictate. Work (such as Training to a particular speaker) will not transfer however.

        Focus because the speaker-profile gets adapted via 'Training' and 'Correction', That is, you tell it what the person really said and the software goes off and mulls the audio and the true text over to improve future performance. What this means is that, for halfway-decent results, you must have separate "Ann Coulter" and "Rush Limbaugh" profiles.

        The last problem is a tough one: Punctuation. Someday “I don't know when“ we'll start recognizing pauses as commas and periods.. but the quality of the recognition of those parts of natural speech is currently not shippable.

        One less-obvious way to use these transcriptions: Store them in parallel with the audio and make them available to search engines. Find a chunk of audio that mentions "asparagus" (which is going to recognize much better than say, "pear/pair/pare") and use the transcription to point to the source audio.


        If I ran this circus, things would be DIFFERENT!

        by CwV on Mon May 19, 2014 at 08:43:55 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  thanks (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Scribe is a dead-end program
          that's unfortunate. hopefully the new version will also be able to train to do multiple profiles.

          good suggestion but this might be problematic copyright-wise however:

          One less-obvious way to use these transcriptions: Store them in parallel with the audio and make them available to search engines. Find a chunk of audio that mentions "asparagus" (which is going to recognize much better than say, "pear/pair/pare") and use the transcription to point to the source audio.

          This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

          by certainot on Mon May 19, 2014 at 12:31:24 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  i finally got a real person at nuance and he (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          added some info and i made some corrections above

          main thing was dragon dictate is for the newer software for mac OS and costs a bit more. it allows more profiles and may be better overall.

          with my mac i had to go with macspeech

          This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

          by certainot on Mon May 19, 2014 at 04:29:19 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Sounds like an excellent idea. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Also sounds lilke a bit of a PITA to set up.  Still well worth pursuing.

    I am become Man, the destroyer of worlds

    by tle on Mon May 19, 2014 at 07:21:25 AM PDT

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site