The audio journal about getting into the wilderness.
About The WildeBeat
The WildeBeat is an audio journal — like a radio news magazine — presenting news and features to help you explore the Earth's remaining wild places. Each week, we publish a 10 minute documentary piece catered to the needs of people who enjoy wilderness recreation.
A typical outdoor recreation publication focuses on extraordinarily fit and highly-skilled people taking spectacular risks in distant or exotic places. Or they focus on the latest high-priced gear proffered by their supporting advertisers. Perhaps they sensationalize the brutality of wildlife and nature. Or they preach about environmental politics, and forget the enjoyment of natural settings in the process.
We show you that you don't need to do extreme sports to enjoy nature and being outdoors; anyone can enjoy backcountry activities, such as camping, hiking, backpacking, horseback riding, rafting, kayaking, canoeing, climbing, skiing, or snowshoeing. Listen to The WildeBeat to get enthused about exploring new places, learn safe and responsible skills, and get ready to get into the wilderness!
The Name "The WildeBeat"
The program name The WildeBeat, is a conjunction of two words, and a play on a third. Wilderness, as in the places we like to go. And Beat, as in a news reporter walking his beat. Together they sound like the sometimes humorous African animal, a Wildebeest, (also sometimes spelled wildebeast) which helps impart the light and playful intent of the show.
Use portable media to educate and inspire people to explore and appreciate America's wild public lands.
Audience & Circulation
The column below on the left represents the total number of subscribers through RSS feeds — but only those who checked-in yesterday. Note that these subscription numbers under-report, because large web-based feed readers like Google Feed Reader don't correctly report subscriptions through their service. Over 80% of our blog and podcast subscribers come from My Yahoo, and some days they fail to report their numbers at all.
The total number of subscribers to our primary audio series is the sum of subscribers to The WildeBeat podcast and Combined blog, podcast, & Vox WildeBeat. The total number of subscribers to our companion comment series is the sum of subscribers to Vox WildeBeat and Combined blog, podcast, & Vox WildeBeat.
The column on the right represents total audio file downloads since October 4, 2005. These download stats also under-report the number of listeners, because some podcast directories cache our content. That under-reporting is somewhat compensated for, because some clients download the file more than once. We've found that downloads of a particular edition of the show take over a month to plateau. About half of the program downloads occur within the first week of release.
All statistics are updated nightly at midnight, Pacific Time (GMT -7 or -8).
The following affiliate radio stations carry the WildeBeat on a regular schedule.
Other stations carry the WildeBeat on an irregular basis, or only air select editions as part of their local newscast. We don't have affiliate agreements with these stations, so we can only mention the cities here:
Distribution and Re-use
Redistribution of this work is encouraged. We're providing a public service to the wilderness visiting, or would-be wilderness visiting public. That means we want you to spread the word and let everyone listen who might be interested.
We encourage college, community, and public broadcasters to carry The WildeBeat (but NOT Vox WildeBeat). If you want your local college, public, or community station to play The WildeBeat, your best bet is to tell them about it. If you can find out the name and mailing address of the station's program or news director, please send it to us, and we'll send them a demo CD.
If you're a radio broadcaster: We make a broadcast-quality MPEG-2 file available to broadcasters in advance of the show's podcast release. For terms and access to the files, please contact us by e-mail.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License. Prior to 2006, the audio and site was governed by a more lenient Creative Commons license. It permitted derivative works with attribution. Now we'll still grant permission for you to create non-commercial derivative works, but we require that you notify us of any public distribution of such a derivative work, and make available a copy to us.
We prefer that you link to our top-level page, or to an individual blog article. Those addresses are most likely to remain valid the longest.
Other addresses on the site, including locations of the audio files, may well change for a range of reasons. If we change hosting services or blogging platforms, links to the articles are the only ones we guarantee to re-direct.
Article URLs appear in one of these formats:
The program is delivered as an MP3 file for download. It is also available as a podcast for automatic download to your portable audio player using RSS 2.0 news reader software such as Juice Receiver or Apple's iTunes.
More detailed information about how to listen to the show is available on our How to Listen page.
Encoding & File Size
The programs enclosed in our RSS feed are encoded at 32 kbps mono. For talk-only shows with a lot of phone interviews, this rate is an excellent trade-off of storage and bandwidth versus intelligibility. This results in an average file size for our 10-minute shows of 2.4 MB.
Some of our shows contain higher quality sound that can be better experienced when heard on higher quality equipment. We make those shows available as a 128 kbps stereo version for download from our web site. Usually these are "director's cut" versions, and are less tightly edited than the regular version. They often run longer than the regular version by one to three minutes, or combine both parts of a two-part show. These files vary in size from 10 MB to almost 20 MB.
Sometimes we have additional interview segments, or complete, unedited interviews, providing information which expands upon our main story, or is peripheral to it. We make these bonus clips available at 16 kbps mono. These are typically low quality phone interview recordings. These run anywhere between a few minutes to an hour. These files vary in size from 500 kB to over 6 MB.
The WildeBeat is produced on location, and in a home studio in San Jose, California. Each ten minute edition of The WildeBeat takes an average of 25 hours to research, interview, travel to locations, transcribe, edit, record narration, mix, and otherwise produce. Some editions take as few as 12 hours, and some have taken over 100. Compared to many longer programs that consist of a single narrator or a single unedited interview, the labor costs and travel expenses to produce each edition are considerable.
We use various software tools to produce the program, most notably, the PEAK audio editing software by BIAS, Inc. Our field audio is recorded on a number of different devices, including a Marantz Professional flash recorder, an iRiver mp3 player-recorder, a Sony DAT Walkman, and a Sony professional analog cassette recorder. Steve's narration microphone is a Shure SM-7B, and his field mic of choice is an Audio Technica AT-825 single-point stereo.
One common question we get is why we don't offer the typical blog-style comment mechanism. When we first went live with the site, we enabled comments, and over one of the first nights we found almost 50 comments advertising for a male-oriented pharmaceutical. We deleted the comments and disabled the feature. Manually moderating comments wouldn't work because we're often away from internet connectivity for several days to more than a week at a time. Another reason is that we prefer to encourage audio comments that we can play back to the audience.
Steve Sergeant — Producer and Host
Steve has 30 years of experience as a backpacker, backcountry skier, rock climber, and mountaineer. He has taught backpacking, winter camping, and cross-country ski skills for college mountaineering clubs and for the Sierra Club.
Steve has worked in the professional audio and broadcast industry for 25 years. He produced radio programs in the late 1970's and did professional music recording in the 1980's. More recently he has been consulting on the design of broadcast facilities and related technical systems.
Steve also composed the theme music, which was performed by Apple's Garage Band.
Jean Higham — Co-writer & Researcher
Jean is passionate about being in the outdoors, especially the mountains. Her interests include backpacking and cross-country skiing, nature photography, bugs, worms, birds and flowers. She also enjoys writing about nature.
Jean has over ten years experience as a freelance writer and editor in aerospace, software, and pharmaceuticals. She also volunteers to edit newsletters for groups like the Backpack Section of the Loma Prieta Chapter of the Sierra Club.
Kate Taylor — Assistant Producer
Kate Taylor recently graduated from San Jose University with a degree in journalism. During the Spring 2008 semester she wrote for the Spartan Daily and briefly for the San Francisco Bay Guardian. She loves outdoor and wilderness activities including hiking, camping, skiing, and surfing.
We're a nonprofit educational project operating under the 501(c)3 umbrella of the Earth Island Institute. Earth Island Institute provides accounting services, and manages our money. They do not provide any funds for our operation.