I often make lengthy recordings of spoken word for Internet distribution - lectures, public debates, etc. The resulting wave files have a highly uneven level - from whisper-quiet (questions from the audience) to moderate (main speakers, close to the mic) to very high (applause, etc.) It is quite tedious to go over a two-hour long wave file, select it bits but bits and manually amplify or de-amplify parts as needed to achieve some uniformity.
I thought this would be an obvious feature to include in various sound editing apps (I'm on Windows), but in fact the opposite is the case. The various "normalize" functions only work across multiple tracks, but not within a single waveform. I use Sony Sound Forge primarily, and Sony's support tells me nothing like I need is available there.
I don't really know much about sound processing, so perhaps there is something obvious that escapes me. Basically, I'm imagining a feature that would "even out" the volume within a single waveform. (Normalization doesn't.) Is there a way to automate this process?