As someone who grew up adamantly complaining every time my parents dared to turn on talk radio in the car, I can admit it's a bit weird that I have a love affair with podcasts. I can't help it! Even though podcasts are essentially the modern-day customizable talk radio, I choose to defend my all-out obsession with pointing out how popular they are (I mean, SNL even picked up on the trend).
Despite their popularity and seeming ubiquity, it can be quite hard and expensive for regular people without funding to secure the software and hardware necessary to record a quality podcast. But a new update to Anchor, an app self-described as "the easiest way to hear, share, and make audio worthy of your ears," makes it much easier for us average citizens to get in on the audio recording action.
A new feature, called "Interview," allows you to record and publish any phone conversation in rock-solid quality on your iPhone. Anchor has also partnered with IBM's Watson to email you a transcript of the call after the conversation ends.
The tool is easy enough to use: From the "Record" screen, select "Interview." You will then be prompted to dial a number or to select one from your contacts. When the person on the other lines answers, they'll be asked to accept and allow the recording, or to hang up.
If they accept, the call will then be recorded and saved as a draft once it ends. You can chose to publish as-is, or edit the recording with a web link you can request from Anchor. If you didn't publish right away, the draft is accessible from the Interview screen in the top right corner.
Casey Newton of The Verge tested out the new tool with Anchor CEO Mike Mignano. While the recording process was a breeze, Newton found the transcript portion lacking, stating that it's "good enough for a rough guide, but way too rough to quote from." The translation to text also appears as one long paragraph, as the technology is not yet able to decipher between the different voices. On the bright side, the transcript did arrive just a mere six minutes after the completed interview.
Mignano's goal is to eliminate the cost barrier for people wanting to record. "We want to make it really easy to make great audio, and so we're making more and more creative tools," he told The Verge.
While this new update is definitely a step in the right direction to "democratize audio," as is Anchor's aim, the company still needs to work on making the audio higher quality, or differentiating it somehow from professional audio. Anchor does have some cool features, such as an option that lets you insert full tracks from Spotify and Apple Music, but it seems imperative to their success that they continue to improve upon these types of innovative ideas.