Internet radio at TCEA 2016 in Austin Texas!

TCEA Radio

TCEA Radio Booth

Last week I traveled to Texas for the TCEA 2016 Conference where I was asked to present on running an Internet radio station. I spoke on the history of radio and how it has transitioned over the years from monaural, terrestrial AM radio broadcast to full digital internet broadcasting.

While touching a bit on the Backbone technology the main meat of the presentation was more about the production aspects of running an Internet radio station. Running a radio station requires a lot of content and a lot of people working together to produce compelling programming for your listeners.

It was very interesting the number of schools interested in broadcasting! About half of those in my session were there as part of their writing and journalism programs. Being Texas, there was quite a bit of interest in broadcasting the football games and using the broadcasts to teach sports journalism.

This is a trend that we are seeing where a number of our schools are running their radio stations as part of their journalism programs. We are also seeing this with commercial customers too where many journalism outlets are broadcasting and podcasting quite a bit.

It is quite a bit of work to run a station, a full week of programming is 168 hours! Often the most interesting and compelling programming is something that resonates well with the community of the station. A high school is one of the centers of the community and it is a great place for students to learn about story telling and connecting with their audience.

I’d also like to thank Scott Floyd and our friends at White Oak Independent School District for setting up and running the TCEA Radio Station. They broadcast new educational technology product reviews, expert interviews, conference updates and wrap-ups, as well as opportunities to win the latest SWAG!

Overall, it was a great experience and a good reason to leave New England in the winter!

For those of you that want the slides from the session here they are:

 


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.

 

 

Nieman Lab on the Future of Local Journalism

Nieman Lab LogoThe Nieman Lab, part of the Nieman Foundation for Journalism at Harvard, just ran a lead article by Joseph Lichterman on the how local newspapers are hoping online radio can be a growth area. Nice mentions of a number of our customers, the Omaha World-Herald, Hersam Acorn Newspapers and the Boston Herald.

The article confirms what we have seen over the last few years, a blurring of the lines between traditional media outlets, television, newspapers and radio. More and more outlets are becoming what Michael Harrison from Talkers Magazine calls a media station. From the article:

As Internet radio and podcasting have become more prominent in recent years, a number of local newspapers — from small community chains like Hersam Acorn, which owns 18 local papers, to metro dailies like The Boston Herald — have launched online radio stations.

It’s easy to understand why else Internet radio might be appealing to local newspapers. Radio has traditionally a local business — bound by the strength of a transmitter’s signal the same way a newspaper was defined by how far delivery trucks could drive in the morning. Local news and talk radio has been reduced to just NPR stations — if that — in many markets, leaving a potential market open. And the same force that worries terrestrial broadcasters — the coming of the connected car, where tuning into a podcast or streaming radio station is just as easy as finding something on your FM dial — is a potential opportunity for newcomers.

Most large metropolitan newspapers have a significant presence in the community. Radio is another way to get the news out.

With the release of Backbone Talk we have made it easier for stations to get on the air, get out of the studio and connect with the community.  We anticipate helping more local newspapers find their voice through radio. How do you see the industry evolving? Leave you comments below.

 

 

Alt Weeklies to Launch Online Radio Station

Association of Alternative Weeklies logoNetNewsCheck logoA nice article about how local newsweeklies are responding to the changing media landscape.

The Association of Alternative Newsmedia (AAN)  represents 115 alternative newsmedia organizations throughout North America. AAN member publications reach more than 38 million active, educated and influential adults in print, on the web and on mobile devices.

AAN’s mission is two-fold: to provide services and leadership that ensure the success of its members; and to strengthen alternative journalism through advocacy and education.

There are a wide range of publications in AAN, but all share these attributes: an intense focus on local news, culture and the arts; an emphasis on point-of-view reporting and narrative journalism; a tolerance for individual freedoms and social differences; and an eagerness to report on issues and communities that many mainstream media outlets ignore.

Fundamentally journalism is about reporting news whether in written, visual or audio form. AAN members are great reporters and journalists. They often provide a perspective not provided elsewhere. Online radio has a worldwide reach and putting a station together with the support of the broader association will provide a platform that will help get the word out.

Tiffany Shackleford - AAN Executive Director

Tiffany Shackleford

One way they hope to help the alternative newsweeklies is to extend their reach to other media.  TiffanyShackelford says sponsors — particularly groups who want to reach the “young independents” in small and medium markets, that alternative media attracts — “are already showing interest,” she added, “I think there is an opportunity for a lot of these advocacy groups who either won’t or can’t buy public radio because they have more stringent rules on sponsorships,” she says.

The article in NetNewsCheck is a great read on the current state of the industry and its future potential. If you are a newspaper and would like to expand your reach via radio we’d love to talk to you.

Extending Newspaper Brands through Online Radio


I just got back from the AAN Convention in sunny San Francisco where I was on a panel with Jeff Lawrence the Publisher of DigBoston. Our panel was on using Online Radio as a way for the Alternative Newsmedia to extend their brand.

The session was well attended and Jeff is quite passionate about his paper, DigBoston and the opportunity to extend their brand in the community. With many of the large major metropolitan newspapers cutting their budgets the “Alts” have become the arts and entertainment newspapers in the community. It is only natural for them to run a radio station as a way to broaden the appeal of what they already provide to the community.

The does not mean adding online radio will be easy, it will be a challenge, but one worth taking, particularly in the age of the internet. He gave a number of examples where in just a few months he was able to find sponsors for certain types of programming. The common thread was live and community based.

My part of the panel traced the history of the “media” industry where media was viewed through their specific type of media, newspapers, television and radio. Each media had a certain business model with which they needed to comply. For example, with radio, there was only so much spectrum, you needed to get an FCC license and there were restrictions on the amount of media properties you could own. On the capital side you needed to build a studio with specialized equipment and people to run that equipment.

Today with the Internet you do not need an FCC license to run an online radio station. There are few if any restriction on ownership of media properties and the ability to set up and run an online radio station is quite inexpensive. While there are differences between newspapers and radio there are tremendous synergies. The time is now to get into the market and extend your reach.

Contact me if you would like to see the version with speaker notes!

PRX Launches Remix Radio App!

PRX RemixThe digital vault over at PRX is brimming with audio stories.  A few years ago, using Backbone Radio technology, they launched an XM satellite radio channel (XM 123) to showcase the best short pieces from PRX.org plus select podcasts. The channel quickly went from satellite to internet to broadcast. The PRX Remix channel listed in the Public Radio Player app, too.  A channel this great deserves its own App.

Enter the PRX Remix App, an app that brings listeners a curated mix of the most compelling radio stories, fascinating interviews, audio documentaries, and intriguing sounds from popular shows like Radiolab and This American Life to podcast gems like The Moth, StoryCorps, 99% Invisible, The Kitchen Sisters, and WTF with Marc Maron.

Apple App Store Badge

Google Play Badge

Aiming to be the greatest radio station of all time in your pocket, PRX Remix for iPhone and Android showcases a virtually endless stream of ear candy handpicked from all corners of the audio universe by PRX program director Roman Mars, who was recently named one of Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People,” and the respected editorial team at PRX, the award-winning public media company. Creating a completely new listening experience that is fresh, thoughtful, and highly addictive, PRX Remix confirms that the digital era has sparked a new golden age of storytelling.

Drawing from PRX’s growing catalog of over 40,000 audio works by independent producers as well as local stations, PRX Remix offers over 2,400 short audio pieces, with new selections added on a weekly basis. At any given moment, listeners might journey seamlessly from Texas, where the Kitchen Sisters chronicle the history of the Frito, to the sounds of a Los Angeles intersection captured by Random Tape, a radio show dedicated to “the finest auditory ephemera.” In between, listeners will meet raconteurs from The Moth, be dazzled by the world’s brightest minds from TEDTalks, and be moved to tears and laughter by StoryCorps.

To mark the launch of the PRX Remix app, Mars selected his list of must-listen audio stories, all of which are in regular rotation on PRX Remix.

Roman Mars’ Top Ten Must-Listen Stories on PRX Remix

  • Ben Franklin death ray – The Memory Palace
  • Birth of the Frito- Kitchen Sisters
  • Red, White and Blue Bus – Third Coast
  • NIKKO- Concrete Commando – 99% Invisible
  • The Ground We Lived On – Sound Portraits
  • Beep, Beep – David Weinberg
  • Talk to Me About Love – Jill Dorothy Summers
  • Thao Nguyen Grandma – Stagedive
  • Nick: Home School to High School – Radio Diaries

With PRX Remix, listeners can hit play, lean back, and enjoy a steady stream of audio delights or skip through the selections to discover new favorites. The app keeps an archive of all listened-to stories so users can enjoy again, easily share with friends and post to social media. And for people on the go, in the subway, or on a remote stretch of highway, the app preloads up to one hour of audio without a network connection.

“We are all story-driven by nature, so we designed PRX Remix to be the single best source for your awesome audio fix,” said Jake Shapiro, CEO of PRX. “This isn’t yet another aggregator app – there are stories in PRX Remix you won’t find anywhere else.”

In addition to the iOS and Android apps, PRX Remix streams 24/7 on satellite radio (XM Channel 123), online at www.prxremix.org, and on a growing number of public radio stations across the United States, including Boston, Seattle, Cincinnati, and Charlotte. The PRX Remix app was developed by PRX with funding support from the National Endowment for the Arts. It is among the first mobile projects to receive a grant from the NEA’s Arts on Radio and Television fund.

 

Your Community Radio – What About LPFM?

It’s a beautiful thing when a technology like ours can simultaneously give a worldwide reach to a community and still be the most affordable, effective way to communicate with local residents. That’s the message we will be bringing to two conferences in May in both Boston and San Francisco.

MassAccess WGBH composite logosFirst on May 3rd at WGBH in Boston, at the MassAccess Spring Mini Conference, we will meet with local TV stations and community media centers from across Massachusetts.  Then, at the end of the month in San Francisco at the Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference, we will meet with media centers from around the United States to discuss how to employ radio to promote civic engagement.

Alliance for Community Media LogoOf course, you would expect us to be promoting Internet Radio for communities – we’ve been serving city-wide school districts and community youth centers for a few years now.  What we hope to achieve at these conferences is to help communities find an effective way to integrate their “hyperlocal” (LPFM) terrestrial radio with their Internet radio operations, and save money in the bargain.

Some of the topics we hope to discuss include:

  • Reaching out with both smart phones and FM radios
  • Engaging communities better through live, remote broadcasts
  • Operating a station with a staff of one…or fewer
  • Creating professional presence with minimal capital equipment
  • How to share audio content with/from other communities, self-syndication

This appears to be a pivotal year for community radio, and we want to be a part of it.  We hope to see you at one of these events.  Please let us know if you’ll be attending.

Future of Music Coalition event today

fmc12-bannerToday, you can listen to in on the Future of Music Coalition Summit.  Here is the current schedule of events:

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM
Welcome+

9:05 AM – 9:25 AM
In Conversation: Tim Westergren of Pandora

9:30 AM – 10:10 AM
Expression Obsession: IP Enforcement & Internet Openness

10:15 AM – 10:35 AM
In Conversation: Daniel Raimer of RapidShare

10:40 AM – 11:40 AM
Presentations from Artist Growth, CASH Music, HugeFan and Songkick

11:40 PM – 12:50 PM
LUNCH: In Conversation with Thomas Frank, Sascha Meinrath & Rebecca Gates

12:50 PM – 1:30 PM
Radio-active: Internet Broadcasting and Artist Compensation

1:35 PM – 2:30 PM
Making Music-Making Work for Working Musicians

2:30 PM – 2:50 PM
Keynote: Senator Ron Wyden

2:50 PM – 3:10 PM
Artist Revenue Streams Presentation: Leverage

3:10 PM – 3:50 PM
Why Pussy Riot Matters

3:55 PM – 4:35 PM
The Intersection of Data, Policy and the Arts Sector

4:40 PM – 5:15 PM
Election Day Aftermath & The Arts

5:20 PM – 6:00 PM
In Conversation: Merrill Garbus, Thao Nguyen, Chris Walla and Jordan Kurland

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Gibson Guitar Washington D.C. Showroom
Cocktail Party hosted by MailChimp

* All items and speakers subject to change

Future of Music Coalition’s E-Summit + Backbone Internet Radio

This week’s guest blog post is from Charles McEnerney, Principal, Layers Marketing and Host,Well-Rounded Radio.  He is helping to coordinate this event and working to get the word out well beyond the actual conference.

fmc12-bannerOn Tuesday, November 13th, the Future of Music Coalition will hold its 11th annual Summit in Washington, DC, this year at the New America Foundation from 9 AM-6 PM EST / 6 AM-3 PM PDT.  This year’s event is now at capacity and sold out!

As you may know, the Future of Music Coalition is a national nonprofit organization based in Washington, D.C. Founded in June 2000 by musicians, artist advocates, technologists, and legal experts, the Future of Music Coalition works to ensure that musicians have a voice in the issues that affect their livelihood. FMC’s activities are rooted in real-world experiences and ambitions of working musicians, whose perspectives are often overlooked in policy debates.

Over the years, FMC has provided an important forum for discussion about issues at the intersection of music, technology, policy, and law.

I’ve known about the Future of Music Coalition since 2001 and interviewed two of its co-founders,Jenny Toomey and Michael Bracy for my podcast, Well-Rounded Radio, an interview series featuring musicians and music industry thought leaders.

In 2011 I helped FMC with their Artist Revenue Streams research project, where we asked the question, “How are today’s musician’s earning money?” More than 5,000 US musicians and composers took the survey and the final results have been presented at dozens of music conferences around the world to help people understand changes and trends in how to make a living when making music.

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of working with George Capalbo and Paul Kamp of Backbone Internet Radio on the JP Music Festival, a music festival in Boston’s Jamaica Plain neighborhood featuring more than 25 artists. The goal of the festival was to put some of our favorite local musical talent in front of a larger audience, The festival, just in its second year and attracting 1,500 people, was heard by more than 9,000 people over the course of one September day with Backbone’s help.

Working with Boston colleges Emmanuel College Radio and Simmons College Radio and their radio stations to broadcast the concert live, it was also distributed through the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System and TuneIn to reach music fans around the world.

For a tiny, new festival to have this reach was extremely exciting for the festival organizers as well as all the musicians who performed and had the opportunity to reach new ears and fans. It helped get the festival’s brand to a global audience and gave all the participating artists another way to reach potential fans. The webcast also gave our sponsors and underwriters exposure through both the live broadcast and post-event plays.

Given the Future of Music Coalition’s mission “that works to ensure a diverse musical culture where artists flourish, are compensated fairly for their work, and where fans can find the music they want,” we wanted to look at new ways to reach people working in the music industry with this daylong event. Streaming audio from the Summit with Backbone Internet Radio is a terrific way for FMC to do that.

Backbone will help with FMCs streaming the event on November 13th, but they’ve also set up apreview station broadcasting now, which features highlights from past Future of Music Summits to give listeners a sneak preview of the kinds of subjects and ideas to be discussed this year. It was quick and simple to set up the station, using Backbone’s OnAirStudio and OnAirDisplay software.

Ultimately, the Future of Music Coalition is going to reach many more people across the US and through this audio stream, helping the organization to accomplish its mission and goals by educating and inspiring musicians.

The speakers and panels at the Summit will tackle big-picture issues like:

    • new ideas about how musicians are making a living
    • federal policies that impact musicians
    • insights and strategies from music industry insiders

View the full event’s schedule.

It’s a great event for musicians, entrepreneurs, academics, legal professionals, technologists, and media personnel.

Everyone listening to the event from around the US and world can ask questions of our live speakers and panelists via social media, as well via:

Need a reminder? RSVP for the E-Summit on Facebook or sign up for an email reminder from FMC.

Kickstart The American Radio Revolution!

I want to tell you a little bit about a project we are supporting as they near the end of their fund-raising effort.  It is “The American Revolution”, how a radio station, politics and rock and roll changed everything.  It is about the start of WBCN and free form radio in the greater Boston area in the late 1960s.

Bill Lichtenstein - Boston HeraldFor the past five years, as hundreds of supporters have shared their personal collections of rare tapes, photos, and memorabilia, Lichtenstein Creative Media has been producing a feature-length documentary film, The American Revolution.  This innovative Kickstarter fund raising campaign will provide the support needed to complete the documentary, which is being produced for theatrical and PBS release in 2012 by the Peabody Award-winning Lichtenstein Creative Media, in conjunction with the non-profit Filmmakers Collaborative.

The effort has mobilized the public and press in an extraordinary way.  See the WCVB Chronicle story at www.KickstartWBCN.com and the amazing story in the Herald. Support on-line has also been unbelievable.  You can get a flavor if you look at the comments on the Kickstarter site. I hope you can help and we look forward to helping to delivering streaming audio for this project shortly!!