Show Preparation Guidelines

Show preparation & guidelines

Show Guidelines

Our mission is to be an open voice to inform, connect, amplify, and entertain the diverse communities of San Diego. Programming is created by the community and we generally expect to broadcast a diverse mixture that:

  • entertains and educates people’s musical, literary, and cultural interests;
  • inspires action-oriented listeners who seek civic improvement and fresh visions for the San Diego Community.
  • nurtures ongoing dialogues across races and cultures; and,
  • fosters collaboration for community progress.

Our diverse audience of listeners includes people committed to:

  • environment and conservation;
  • education innovation, showcasing, and reform;
  • youth-oriented and youth-conducted programming;
  • civic engagement, leadership, and neighborhood action;
  • community work of and by special populations, i.e., women’s issues, crime abatement, and transportation;
  • “think tank” seekers of innovative civic ideas from other communities to build local knowledge and discourse; and,
  • local arts and cultural expansion, including the process of creation in multiple mediums, the writing and reading of poetry, and the up-close look at local artists and musicians engaged in the craft of creation.

Show Segment Length

Shows should be built in half-hour segments — actually, slightly under half an hour, giving our automation system room to run public service announcements and station identifiers between show segments. Prepare each segment as a separate audio file. Thus, for typical show slots, you would prepare segments as follows:

  • 30-minute slot: prepare one 28:30 segment.
  • 1-hour slot: prepare two segments whose combined length is 58:00.
  • 1.5-hour slot: prepare two segments whose combined length is 58:00, followed by one 28:30 segment.
  • 2-hour slot: prepare two segments whose combined length is 58:00, followed by two more segments whose combined length is 58:00.

Your overall show length should be within 30 seconds of the total time indicated. For example, for a 2-hour show, your 4 segments played back-to-back should take up 116 minutes, give or take 30 seconds. In general, if you can’t achieve the desired length, it’s better to run short than long. In other words, always err on the side of giving our automation system additional room to do its thing. For hour-long and multi-hour shows, your segments are typically 29:00 each, so that pairs of segments at up to 58:00. But you have some flexibility: it is only each pair of segments that must total 58:00 (to allow room for our automation system to play out a special legal station ID that must occur at the top of the hour), but it’s okay if your first segment runs say 37 minutes and your second segment runs 21 minutes, since this pair of segments still adds up to 58 minutes.

File Formats

  • Record everything at 44,100 Hz and 16-bit stereo.
  • Submit your show segments either as WAV or 320-kbps MP3.
  • Consult some Audio Editing Tips for additional suggestions.

Drop Sheets

Include with your show a text file that lists your show contents, such as guest names and affiliations and topics discussed. For music shows, list all songs in the order played, with complete artist and title and album information.

File Naming

Use a consistent naming scheme without spaces or unusual characters in the name. (We like things to work well in our cross-platform environment with Macintosh, Windows, and Linux.) Start with the show name, then the show number, and then the segment number. For example, the 8th episode of a 1.5-hour show called The Grooving Jukebox would have these names:

  • GroovingJukebox_008_p1of3.mp3
  • GroovingJukebox_008_p2of3.mp3
  • GroovingJukebox_008_p3of3.mp3
  • GroovingJukebox_008_dropsheet.txt

No need to include a “_p1of1” suffix for single-segment shows. For specific episodes that absolutely cannot be re-aired at a later date (this might apply to a talk show dedicating an episode to a current event in the news), include a “_1x” suffix. You may also include an additional short suffix of your choosing to help identify the show content (to make it easier to identify episodes when communicating with us). Here are some examples:

  • HipTalketyTalk_017_1x_PublicTranspoVote2012.mp3
  • HipTalketyTalk_017_dropsheet.txt
  • HipTalketyTalk_018_CompostingRecycling.mp3
  • HipTalketyTalk_018_dropsheet.txt

Show Content Restrictions

There are a combination of FCC and Library of Congress and DMCA legal regulations, as well as music industry licensing regulations, that restrict show content. Our shows must adhere 100% to these restrictions at all times.

  • Your show may not contain obscene, indecent, or profane content. See the FCC page giving an overview. You must sail a wide berth around such material no matter what time of day your show airs. Even if your show is expected to run at night during the FCC safe harbor period, our volunteer committees might rearrange our program grid or a volunteer might air a re-run of your show at a different time of day without being completely familiar with the content. The simple rule is this: keep your show completely clean. We are not interested in shocking our audiences, nor exciting them with the idea that we’re rule-breakers. We’re not. Show hosts that violate the rules will be immediately dropped from our lineup.
  • For shows containing music covered by ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, or SoundExchange (i.e., most commercially published music), during any 3-hour period, your show must not
    • play more than 3 songs from a particular album;
    • play more than 2 songs consecutively from a particular album;
    • play more than 4 songs by a particular artist;
    • play more than 4 sogns from a boxed set; and
    • play more than 3 songs consecutively from a boxed set.

    You may announce the current song or immediately upcoming song, but you may not pre-announce a schedule of upcoming artists and song titles. For example, you cannot announce the next 3 songs and then play them. However, so long as you don’t indicate when artists will appear, you may at show introduction time name up to 2 artists that will be featured in the show as a general way of conveying the genre and content of the show, and you may occasionally name an upcoming artist to pique audience suspense. You may always post-announce show contents, such as announcing the last 3 songs that played.

  • Note: You can avoid the music restrictions by using music in the public domain or music that is licensed in the Creative Commons. See the Free Music Archive and the audio portion of

Promote the Station

Our automation system takes care of the legal FCC-regulated identification at the top of the hour. However, you should include soft identifiers and support messages at every opportunity. Listeners remember radio stations primarily by the frequency (“89.1 FM”), next by the brand name (“San Diego Community Radio”), and last by the call letters (“KNSJ-FM”). Consequently, we don’t need to draw too much attention to the call letters, and it’s okay if you don’t want to say them at all (but if you do, don’t include “LP”, which merely increases the mumbo jumbo factor). On the other hand, we do want to encourage folks to go to our website (“”), so that’s an easy way to indirectly mention the call letters. Here are examples of things to say:

  • “You’re listening to KNSJ FM San Diego Community Radio.”
  • “Information on donating to this station or becoming a volunteer is available at”
  • “This is 89.1 FM, your volunteer-run community station in San Diego.”
  • “This is your non-profit community radio station. It takes real money to pay our bills and keep the lights on. This volunteer-run radio station depends on listener support. Please donate online at”

You get the idea. Some show hosts may feel inclined to play word games with the call letters, such as referring to the station as “The Wire” (but this might cause confusion with the television show) or asking questions like, “Why R we polluting our waterways?”, and we wish to extend to hosts as much creative control as possible. The disadvantage of word games is that some listeners won’t get it, and more importantly, our current logo and brand name is “KNSJ FM – San Diego Community Radio”. If you include word games, don’t do so exclusively. Be sure to also promote the station in ways that are broadly familiar and consistent across our other shows and automation system spots.


Others may help you make your show, such as by lending a hand or letting you borrow a piece of equipment, and you may thank them on the air for their assistance, but keep it to a simple thank you. You may not plug a friend’s business or provide contact information. You may not receive money from someone for making your show or plugging their activity. If a business wants to receive acknowledgment on the station or even during a specific show, they are welcome to purchase underwriting directly from KNSJ.

Timeless Content

Although we intend to keep program schedule re-arrangements to a minimum, there is always the possibility that your show gets moved to a different time slot. Or your show might get pre-empted by a special event, and thus get pushed up or pushed back a couple hours, or simply postponed a week. Therefore, avoid referencing the current weather, a recent event in the news, or the current time of day. In other words, try to keep your show “timeless”. This also makes it easier to schedule encore presentations, allowing you more flexibility in going on vacation. On the other hand, we understand that some hosts wish to achieve a “live and local sound”. One option is to work with us to create a custom “clock” for your show. For example, if you like your show to start off with, say, “Hey, it’s another Friday evening at 8 PM here in Baton Rouge, time for some serious rock and roll, with me, your host, so-and-so”, that’s no problem: simply record that intro as a *separate* audio file, which we can then schedule to always immediately *precede* your first 28.5-minute segment. Or if you have a genre-specific music show and wish to include a live music calendar, we could run that as a separate audio file during one of your breaks, as well as at other times in the day!

Show Promos

Please prepare at least 3 but preferably 7 different versions of a short promo (up to 25 seconds) that encourages listeners to tune in to your show. We will run them on different days of the week.

When to Submit

We must receive your show at least 10 days prior to the scheduled air date. Our volunteers who insert shows and maintain the automation system do that work approximately once a week and only commit to doing it at 10-day intervals. If your show isn’t here when we need it, we might randomly choose a prior episode for re-run, or simply schedule automated music during your time slot.

How to Submit

To submit, only online using Filezilla and must have proper size and labeling .

Publicizing your show

You may maintain a website or Facebook page for your show, describing the contents and air dates (but see next item regarding the audio), and we also encourage you to post to the blog at as well as at KNSJ’s Facebook page to announce show contents and increase the buzz surrounding both your show and KNSJ.

Making your show available over the web

If your show is a pure talk show, or contains only royalty-free music (such as from the Free Music Archive), then you may post an MP3 of your show on websites. In particular, we encourage you to make a blog post at announcing your episode contents along with the royalty-free MP3 file attached to that post. But if your show contains audio covered by ASCAP/BMI/SESAC/SoundExchange, then our licenses allow only a terrestrial radio broadcast; in particular, do not post it to nor post it elsewhere (unless you have personally arranged permission with ASCAP/BMI/SESAC/SoundExchange). We are exploring additional licensing for purposes of web streaming and perhaps also licenses for purposes of web posting, but there are both monetary costs and significant bureacratic resource costs involved.


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