Remembering Fritz Kass, A Monumental Figure

This past weekend we attended the memorial service for Frederick “Fritz” Kass who passed away last month in upstate New York. Anyone who met Fritz Frederick "Fritz" Kass, IBS CEOunderstands what a powerful, yet kind individual he was and how deeply he will be missed by his family, friends, and everyone associated with the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS), the all-volunteer college radio association he built and ran over the past 58 years.

Fritz was truly a one-of-a-kind man with an illustrious career spanning many fields, from his military combat experiences as Navy Captain, to his success as an entrepreneur, to his active participation in community organizations and civil aviation. Please take a moment and reflect on a very brief summary of a very big man’s life here.

We at Backbone were fortunate to meet Fritz and IBS a dozen years ago and help fulfill Fritz’s vision of an online network of IBS affiliated college and high school radio stations. He envisioned helping students and faculty advisors implement the professional practices they learned at the many IBS conferences around the country. We are grateful for the opportunity to operate that network on behalf of IBS, and we’re proud to have been associated with Fritz in creating it. IBS and the IBS Student Radio Network will continue to go forward continuing Fritz’s mission, ever remembering his keen vision and love for college and high school radio and the students who make it.

Backbone Focusing on the Hot Topics at NAB 2019

Total Podcast and Radio Production & Streaming in the Cloud

The annual NAB Show in Las Vegas is invigorating, allowing us to reconnect with old friends and recalibrate our technological focus. Among this years top ten hot topics are Content in the Cloud, Streaming, and Podcasting, all of which you’ll see in operation at Booth N6319, Backbone Networks. No other company on the show floor will bring together such a completely virtualized radio production environment, all operating in the cloud to guarantee Your Station Anywhere.

Look closely so you can find our diminutive stand, where a student crew from Robert Morris University Radio will be broadcasting live — demonstrating how they produce live and automated shows in the cloud, stream them, and automatically generate and publish podcasts — with just a Mac, a mixer, and a couple of mics.

What to check out at Backbone Networks, Booth 6319:

  • Backbone Production Suite™—The whole turnkey bundle for a complete radio station, or any of its component modules, including:
    • Backbone Radio™ — Professional streaming radio station in the cloud, live and automated, always-on 24/7
    • Backbone Talk™ — Broadcast multi-line call-in phone system, PBX in the cloud, take/make calls from anywhere, streamlined for online and AM/FM stations, as well as talk-show podcasters
    • Backbone Co-Host™, with LUCI® Global — Unlimited SIP/OPUS remotes and multi-location shows with no boxes or hardware; just laptops and smartphones; conference directly with Talk callers
    • Backbone Hub — Cloud assistant for automated production, Podcast publication, Alexa® briefings, and scheduling live audio and FTP show syndication to AM/FM stations; included with Backbone Radio™
  • New 3rd Party Hardware — including an exciting new mix-minus portable mixer for sports and talk radio remotes, and new hardware concepts for creating your own robust cloud.

See you in Las Vegas!

Junior Radio to Major Leagues—To Alexa and Beyond—with new Backbone Hub

Q: How does a Midwestern junior high classroom radio station manage to produce and deliver dynamic on-demand audio the same way as a champion NBA team or 24/7 nationwide sports network?
A: By harnessing the hottest cloud technology to reach an exploding “smart speaker” audience, including Backbone Hub, cloud based on-demand audio production and distribution software for Alexa flash briefings and Google Home, podcasts and radio automation FTP feedsAmazon’s Echo “Flash Briefings”, as well as other outlets—using Backbone, of course.   (more about Lincoln Jr. High, below)

Automatic Alexa publishing for radio stations and moreBackbone Hub™, the incredible, new product set in our “cloud-based” ecosystem, is both a multi-destination distribution engine for your recorded content and a hands-free production tool that adds music and pre-rolls to your dry voice recordings. The result is an automated workflow allowing one person to remotely—via iOS® or Android®— record a spoken segment, and have it dynamically gift-wrapped with music and simultaneously delivered to Alexa, Google Home, AM/FM automation systems, and even as a podcast, with no further effort. (We’re announcing Backbone Hub at NAB 2018 in Las Vegas—Booth 5721— and previewing at IBS NYC).

We’ll tell you more about our sports clients later, but first here is what Indiana’s Storm Radio is doing, from Literacy Shop Talk


“Alexa, Give Me LJH Storm Radio Flash Briefing For Today”

BY: PAULA NEIDLINGER – FEB• 20•2018 Twitter: @PNeidPrepare self-directed learners to think critically about the messages received and created by media

Are you completely confused by the title? If I captured your attention- please continue reading to find out how you can use the Amazon Echo in the classroom for student podcasts and Internet radio stations.

Yes, your students’ podcasts and radio shows can now be heard through the Flash Briefing setting within your Echo/Alexa device. What an exciting opportunity for all students. Their voices can now be heard beyond the classroom walls. Aren’t we all searching for global audiences? What an exciting opportunity for all students and teachers.

Within my mass media classroom structure, students have the opportunity each day to have their voices heard through our Storm Radio program. We are now finishing our fourth year with Backbone Networks, the provider of our classroom Internet radio station. Backbone has enabled our classroom station to operate 24/7 using an integrated radio automation system, which streams to a worldwide audience and automatically creates listener logs and reports for me on a regular basis. With no more than a Mac, mic, and audio board, we operate Storm Radio from the classroom 24/7. Students write and produce their shows daily, utilizing school, community, and world news. Additionally, our Lincoln Jr. High student DJ’s entertain calls from their listeners using our Backbone Talk broadcast phone system. This system provides engagement with our audience in Plymouth, Indiana, and beyond.

Now, let’s continue with the “BIG” news! Using backbone’s new product ‘backbone hub’, we are now able to deliver media from our
radio database automatically as an Amazon Alexa flash briefing — as well as stream that same content on air and deliver to a podcast RSS feed. If you own an Echo Device, check out our podcast through the Flash Briefing content on your Echo/Alexa device.

Directions:

  • Open your Alexa app
  • Go to settings
  • Scroll down to Flash Briefings
  • Search Content for LJH Storm Radio
  • Enable Content
  • Ask Alexa for your Flash Briefings Update each day

Yes, it’s that simple. Providing students with the opportunity to have their voices heard, both within the walls of Lincoln Jr. High and beyond, is possible through an Internet radio program. Not only can you listen to Storm Radio through our LJH Digital Storm website and TuneIn app, you now can hear the latest news each day through Flash Briefings on your Echo device; just say, “Alexa, give me my LJH Storm Radio Flash Briefings today.”

Are you excited now? Think of all the possibilities for student podcasting. I’d love to hear from you. My students are always eager to connect through the “Radio Waves.”

Alt Newspaper Teams with Community Radio to Serve New England’s Second City

New England’s second largest city has its first community “media station”, a term coined by Talkers Magazine. Worcester Magazine, the city’s alternative newsweekly, has teamed with Unity Radio, a community-focused online andBackbone powers newspaper radio station low-power FM (LPFM) radio station, to create “ a joint venture unlike anything else in the Worcester media landscape”. The station’s technology, unlike traditional stations resides in “the cloud”, virtualized — without physical hardware, bricks or mortar.

The new media enterprise, which is based on all the elements of Backbone’s Production Suite™, was “soft-launched” during the city’s municipal elections November 7. The station intends to draw upon the resources of both WoMag and Unity’s non-profit parent, Pride Productions, as well as popular, local talk radio talents, like veteran morning host and news director Hank Stolz.

Backbone powers community radio

Worcester Magazine at local elections on Unity Radio, powered by Backbone

During election night, Unity Radio set up operations in Worcester City Hall awaiting ballot counts, where they interviewed candidates (using Backbone Producer™), took listener phone calls (Backbone Talk™), and aired studio-quality remotes from reporters with smartphones around the city (Backbone Co-Host™ with LUCI™ Global). The live production was streamed online (Backbone Radio™) and fed through a low-latency IP connection (Backbone Syndicate™) from the cloud to Unity’s new LPFM transmitter located several miles away.

Read more here: “Worcester Magazine, Unity Radio announce online station

TALKERS 2017, The All-Star Game of Talk Radio

Talkers 2017If you’re really into talk radio, you know what an incredible institution Talkers Magazine is and the important role it plays in the talk radio industry. You probably already receive your daily email briefing from “the Bible of Talk Radio” and you’re familiar with the Heavy Hundred rosters of Talk and of Sports Talk Radio. Well, then, I don’t have to tell you what an awesome feeling it is to walk into a room full of some of the industry’s most illustrious radio talents, standing shoulder to shoulder ready to meet with and learn from each other.

Backbone is incredibly proud to be invited to sponsor the Talkers 2017 event in New York City on June 2nd, and we want everybody to know that we’re dedicated to “The New Era” of talk radio that this event celebrates. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend an annual Talkers event, I strongly encourage you to take this opportunity to learn from the big dogs in the business. It only happens once a year, just like the Super Bowl, and it’s an event you will always remember.

See you there.

At NAB 2016—Backbone Targets Talk Radio Producers

Amid the dizzying confusion and litigation surrounding music services and the direction of commercial music-radio, Backbone Networks has established itself as the technology partner for emerging online sports, news and talk radio stations. For NAB 2016, the Company is announcing Backbone Production Suite™, an integrated set of cloud-based talk radio tools now used by online and AM/FM stations, promising “Your Station Anywhere”.

Backbone’s objective at NAB 2016 (Booth #N6732) is to connect with radio producers and Backbone Radio at NAB 2016engineers who understand the opportunity unleashed by cloud-based radio broadcasting. The Company will illustrate how cloud-based production is turning radio “inside out” and how this nexus can turn terrestrial and online radio organizations into allies rather than adversaries.

While we all use the cloud for one purpose or another, independent radio producers are actively developing businesses by creating online radio stations for veteran radio personalities in different cities, without having to leave town themselves. Using Backbone Production Suite, producers are able to tweak the audio, execute stop sets, screen callers, tie in remote hosts and guests, record shows and publish podcasts, program automation in the cloud, stream archives, and deliver shows to AM/FM stations anywhere on Earth.

Creating unique, live radio today requires capturing content where and when the action is taking place. With mobile devices, virtually everyone can be on the scene and broadcast in studio quality. To turn that into a professional broadcast, however, still requires a professional producer. With Backbone Production Suite, that producer can stay home and work in the cloud.

“The idea that I can very easily program, schedule and tweak a radio station from wherever I am with my MacBook® is cool and amazing enough, but the idea that we can go live from anywhere with broadband is just awesome.” — John McDermott, Vice President, Programming at DGital Media, Founder of Alternative Sports Talk Radio, and Former VP, Comedy & Entertainment at Sirius/XM

For existing AM/FM stations, this presents an array of new opportunities in distributed production.

Talk Radio Production in the Cloud

Integrated Talk Radio Production in “the Cloud” for Your Station Anywhere offering new programs by tapping into an even larger world of independent talent and outsourced production. Taken individually, the elements of the Production Suite — Backbone Radio™, Backbone Talk™ and Backbone Co-Host™ — are similarly relevant for production in terrestrial stations, providing radio production and streaming, phones and reportage, respectively.

Backbone Networks Corporation is a technology company that provides software as a service for radio production, automation, hosting, and streaming. At NAB 2016, Backbone will also be offering a sneak preview of its cloud-based syndication capability, which operates on a central switching software fabric called the Backbone Bridge™.

Backbone will also demonstrate how Production Suite integrates with an innovative, new service called LUCI Global® by Technica del Arte, that gives stations access to remote reporters, guests and co-hosts, in studio quality, using the free iPhone app.

Backbone commercial clients are primarily in the sports, news and talk radio space. Among them are major league sports teams, leagues, including MLL Radio and FNTSY Radio, and independent sportscasters; news organizations, including The Boston Herald Radio (the Associated Press’ Innovator of Year for 2015) and Omaha World-Herald Radio; and numerous talks show programs, including MotorWeek’s Goss’ Garage.

In the non-commercial/educational (NCE) broadcast sector, which is significantly more music-based, Backbone provides the high fidelity production and broadcast technology powering our nation’s largest online network of college and high school student-run radio stations, the IBS-SRN, on behalf of the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System. Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) is your trusted experienced resource for over 75 years for information, action, and help with college radio, TV, webcasting, podcasting, streaming, and high school radio.

Note: An adaptation of this post will appear in Broadcasters’ Show Daily at NAB 2016 in Las Vegas, as will the following full page ad for Backbone Production Suite.Backbone Talk Radio Production Suite Ad NAB 2016

LUCI in the Cloud with Backbone

We have a big announcement to make, and we’re going to the IBC2015 conference in Amsterdam to tell about it. The news is that Backbone has teamed up with Amsterdam-based Technica Del Arte BV, the creator of LUCI® Live, to introduce two new intertwined products that we think represent a major advance in radio broadcast technology—one that captures, delivers and manages studio-quality live feeds from a station’s remote co-hosts, guests and field reporters, who require nothing more than an iOS smartphone or tablet. (Android coming soon.)

Iphone, Mobile Phone, Smart Phone.

Studio Quality Remotes, Guests, Co-Hosts

The two new products that make this possible are LUCI® Global and Backbone Co-Host™, complementary cloud-based radio “backhaul” services. When married together, they allow talk radio stations to produce live programming from anywhere in the world with the simplest of equipment and no physical infrastructure.

The LUCI product series has been bringing high quality “reportage” from the field for about ten years now, and their licensed LUCI Live app is accepted as the gold standard for turning mobile phones into remote broadcast platforms. Their new LUCI Global iOS app takes this concept a big step forward—the easy-to-use app is free on the iTunes store for anyone who wants to contribute professional audio content to any broadcast station around the world. That is, any station that subscribes to be listed in the LUCI Global directory. Imagine the incredible network of live correspondents who will become available to stations around the world, and the number of news outlets available to freelance reporters everywhere!

Backbone Co-Host is the software used by the radio station to receive, answer, conference and manage these incoming feeds, in full studio quality. The software, like all Backbone software, runs on a Mac. Like our phone system in the cloud, Backbone Talk™, it uses the intuitive call screener/producer and host/talent screens. Those stations that use both Backbone Talk and Co-Host are able to conference together remote guests, co-hosts, reporters, as well as listeners on the telephone network. All of this takes place in the cloud, managed by the host and screener, wherever they happen to be at the time. Remember, Your Station Anywhere.

See more about LUCI Global and Backbone Co-Host.

Visit LUCI at IBC 2015, Stand 7.C09, Hall 7, where representatives of both companies will be on hand for business and technical discussions. RAI Center, Amsterdam, Sept. 11-15, 2015.

Indiana Junior High Club Sets Example in College Radio Network

Lincoln Junior High School Radio Station Storm RadioIn the largest network of online college and high school radio stations, you would expect the biggest, most senior or most affluent of the student radio clubs to maintain the leadership role for its sister affiliate stations. However, a new affiliate station in Plymouth, Indiana has stepped up to become one of the nation’s most active and successful online stations, even though the station comprises the youngest group of broadcasters in the IBS Student Radio Network—and said to be the only 24/7 junior high radio station in the United States.

In little more than six months from launching Digital Storm Radio, the students of Lincoln Jr. High School, under the direction of Ms. Paula Neidlinger, have established their station as living example of what student-run radio can achieve. Not only have they brought home three first place awards from this year’s premier college IBS College Radio Awardbroadcasters’ conference in New York City and tackled the task of creating their own staff training videos, but they have found the elusive formula for funding their radio station through local sponsorships.

Winners in News, Sports, Talk
Last month at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System’s 75th annual International Conference, the LJH Digital Storm team Lincoln Junior High School Radio Award Winnerswere finalists in five categories in the high school division, walking away with three wins: Best Spot News:  Trenton Arveson, Nikki Laucis, and Brittney Klotz;  Best Sports Update:  Soren Houin and Shaun Frantz; and Best Sports Program:  Adam Hunter and Korey Kopetski.

Storm Radio is one of the few “high school” stations to schedule live call-in talk shows, and has been a beta partner in testing our recently announced Backbone Talk™ broadcast phone system in the cloud. The LJH radio team saw this as an opportunity to put their own spin on documenting a new technology, so they applied their media expertise and made their own training video showing how to configure a mixing board for “mix-minus” and how to screen phone calls through their Mac® computers. We are proud to feature this video on the Backbone YouTube page.

How are they funding the station?
Tackling one of the most important, and difficult, subjects in broadcast media, the team have secured six sponsors from their community, including a funeral home, a pizza parlor, a Ford dealership and Coca Cola. Junior High Radio club finds community sponsorsIn addition to performing live reads, the students have produced commercials for each sponsor. These spots run throughout the day and night, using the Backbone Radio automation system.

More about Storm Radio
Storm Radio, is one part of the Interactive Media program at Lincoln Junior High (Plymouth, IN), which is a new program this year.  The radio station is a 24/7 Internet Radio with the call tag – STORM RADIO – “Ride the Waves.”  The radio station is Internet based, so it’s available through the TuneIn App on iOS and Android devices, the LJH DigitalStorm website-http://www.ljhdigitalstorm.com/ , and the Internet at: http://tunein.com/radio/Storm-Radio-s231710/    Students research, write, create, and broadcast daily and provide 100 percent of the programming.

 

 

High school students share lessons from series on Boston Herald Radio

Brian Foster, a junior at Excel High School, speaks on air in the Herald Radio studio with Joe Battenfeld and Erica Moura during a visit the Boston Herald.

Brian Foster, a junior at Excel High School, speaks on air in the Herald Radio studio with Joe Battenfeld and Erica Moura during a visit to the Boston Herald.

The biggest sport in Boston might really be politics, and Boston Herald Radio is giving the youth of New England a voice in the events. The city’s “watchdog newspaper” tells how students from area high schools were honored guests on a half hour special show to discuss their view of the political landscape.  Read the article here.

Boston Herald Radio is produced digitally online using Backbone Networks technology and service, and is carried worldwide online and terrestrially in the greater Boston area.  Backbone Networks also operates the largest network of student-run college and high school radio stations.

 

Why I’m a Happy S.O.B.

Richard CernyEven though I’ve lived in central Massachusetts for decades, in my heart I’m still a South Omaha Boy. When I was a kid, I delivered the weekly shopper called The South Omaha Sun. Warren Buffett bought that, although we didn’t know who he was back then.  More recently he bought the big paper in town, the Omaha World-Herald, the prestigious daily that my family read.  If you wanted to know anything, you got news print on your fingers.

Times have changed, and so has the Omaha World-Herald.  Not the part about prestigious, but about the inky fingers.  This month the OWH launches one of the country’s first online radio stations run by a major newspaper.  What pleases me even more is that the flagship newspaper of Berkshire Hathaway Media chose Backbone Networks to create the station for them. The

Omaha World-Herald logo

Why Internet radio? Mike Reilly, executive editor of the World-Herald, said in a post by Tom Shatel on Omaha.com that the traditional newspaper audience continues to evolve as a tablet or Internet audience. This move is about following — or perhaps leading — that audience.station will use Backbone’s late beta-stage talk radio phone system to take calls from listeners during broadcasts, as well as a few new features we’ve developed specifically for talk, sports and news radio.

We’re in an age where our audience is growing, but it’s growing into digital space,” Reilly said. “It’s growing online. All the industry trends tell us that people want options online other than reading words. They want to listen.

Reilly said he and World-Herald Publisher Terry Kroeger and Larry King, vice president of news and content, have discussed this move for two years. Only a handful of newspapers in the U.S. have their own online radio show, but that number figures to increase in the future.

One of my favorite quotes is from Wayne Gretzky,” Reilly said. “You skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been. I think about that quote as I think about this project for us. We see the future of radio, so we’re going there.

The Bottom Line on World-Herald Live

“We’re not very far from ‘Star Trek.’ ” — Mike’l Severe

Mike'l Severe headshot

Mike’l Severe
The Bottom Line

The World-Herald’s first program is a sports talk show, “The Bottom Line”, which runs Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. CDT, and features World-Herald sportswriters, entertainment writers and news writers.

Mike’l Severe, a well known local sports/talk personality will host the show, which he says will cover a combination of sports, entertainment, movies and dining out. Severe makes the move after nearly 10 years as co-host of “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” on radio station KOZN.

This is a new age for newspapers,” Severe claimed. ” The responsibility now is to get to the next level. I still want to have that tangible product in my hand. The question is, how do you supplement it, hour by hour, minute by minute?

For years, it was always ‘read it tomorrow.’ Now, if you want to talk about it right this minute, pick up a phone and we’ll talk about it right now.