#HOWTO: Radio Edits

9 Jun 2017 - 14:15


Written by Dominique Jacobs


Radio edits are important to the livelihood of a musician. Granted, with the advancements in the Internet and digital media, there are other mediums by which to distribute your music. In South Africa, access and distribution has always been a problem. Television and radio have always been the predominant mediums by which people can receive information. And with music, the problem is no different. Since the 90s, it has become a general practise to have singles which are made for radio.

Often, nowadays, most artists need to have a radio edited version of their track in order for it to be broadcast on radio. Radio edits (aka clean edits) are tracks which have vulgarity and references to obscenity removed for radio broadcasting. A radio edit is an alternative version that has been re-mixed and edited in order to be better fitted than the original track so as to get used on commercial radio.  This is done to fulfil decency standards with ICASA (Independent Communications Authority of South Africa).  Also, tracks need to be edited to reduce to between 2 to 3:30 minutes.

A lot of people create tracks for single-release or album release and they’ll send that track to radio stations which we cannot playlist or use those tracks. It needs to be edited in order to adhere to radio regulations. UCT Radio doesn’t accept tracks that aren’t clean. Joel Mullis is a sound engineer who is well-known in the music industry for making radio edits says, "For a long time, that basically meant going in and chopping out the cuss words, but one thing that I got known for was making the clean edits part of the song."

There are software programs that are readily and freely available. Audacity (Windows) and Logic (Mac) are simple and straightforward editors. Also, Audacity is free (mahala)! If you’re using Audacity, highlight the piece of audio with the swearword and you click ‘Reverse’ under the ‘Edit’ tab. It reverses the swearword but keeps the beat intact. Listen back to the track and make certain that it doesn’t reverse at a high-hat or high-pitched sound because this will distort the sound.

*Audacity download link here

Having a song that’s applicable for radio makes it easily acceptable and playable. Radio edits are a musician’s calling card – it’s the best way to introduce your music to an audience that you may not have been able to reach on your own. They’re an industry standard. And soon you won’t have to make radio edits and the original tracks you generate will be satisfactory to go straight to radio. At UCT Radio, it seems to be a trend whereby we receive music that doesn’t adhere to ICASA standards. It’s a great feeling for an artist to hear their artist on radio just as it is for someone to hear their favourite song being played on-air.


**If you're wanting to submit music to UCT Radio, be sure to include the name & details of your record label; the name of the track's producer and the date of the track's publication.