Behind The Stories

NPR Needs The Sounds of Your City

UPDATE: The email address to submit sounds has been corrected below.

When you think about where you live, what sounds come to mind? In Washington, D.C., the sound might be the click of a camera shutter made by tourists. But what about your city?

  • Kids splashing in a pool?
  • Train whistles?
  • A pick-up basketball game at the neighborhood court?
  • Foghorns?
  • The clatter of pots and pans at your favorite restaurant?
  • Construction equipment?
  • Crickets chirping in the early evening?

The NPR Cities Project is seeking out the sounds you hear every day that make where you live unique. Your sound could air on All Things Considered or the brand-new TED Radio Hour, or become part of a multimedia interactive.

Simply record a sound file and send it to us:

  1. Go to a place where you can hear your favorite sound and start recording.
  2. Say your full name slowly and clearly. Then: "The sound of (YOUR CITY NAME) is (NAME OF SOUND)."
    For example: "My name is John Smith. The sound of Columbus, Ohio, is the lunch-time crowd at the deli on my street."
  3. If you stumble, just pause, take a take breath, and try again.
  4. Record the sound for at least 60 seconds.
  5. Give it a listen (with headphones if possible) and make sure it came out clearly. Feel free to try it out a few times and then choose your best take.
  6. Upload the file to Soundcloud and tag it #nprcities.

Or, for iPhone users, try this:

  1. Go to a place where you can hear your favorite sound.
  2. Open the "Voice Memos" app on your iPhone. (Every iPhone has it; if you can't find it, check the Utilities folder.)
  3. Press the red record button on the left, and then hold the phone up to your ear as if you were making a call.
  4. Say your full name slowly and clearly. Then: "The sound of (YOUR CITY NAME) is (NAME OF SOUND)."
    For example: "My name is John Smith. The sound of Columbus, Ohio, is the lunch-time crowd at the deli on my street."
  5. With your phone still recording, get as close to the source of the sound as possible. Record for at least 60 seconds.
  6. If you stumble, just pause, take a take breath, and try again.
  7. Record the sound for at least 60 seconds.
  8. When you're done, press the record button again to stop. Then press the button on the right to access your recording. Give it a listen (with headphones if possible) and make sure it came out clearly. Feel free to try it out a few times and then choose your best take.
  9. When you're satisfied with the recording, highlight your file and click the "share" button. Email it to cities@npr.org nprcities@npr.org. Type your name in the subject.

[NOTICE TO USERS: NPR reserves the right to read on the air and/or publish on its Web site or in any medium now known or unknown the emails, audio clips and photographs that we receive. We may edit them for clarity, brevity or format and identify authors by name and location. By sending us a photograph, email or audio clip, you agree to these terms. For additional information, please consult our Terms of Use and Privacy Policy.]

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