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

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.

 

 

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.

 

Spokane Public Radio gets REMIXed

Spokane Public RadioIt is with great pleasure that we announce that KPBZ, 90.3 FM, Spokane Public Radio is on the air!  Our partners at PRX and their Remix Radio service are providing the programming.

REMIX is an experimental radio stream hosted by PRX to showcase pieces from PRX.org and develop new approaches to public radio formats and sounds.  They are a 24-hour semi-formatless remix of amazing public radio stories, cool podcasts, fascinating interviews, and anything else that makes a sound that we find interesting.

Join Remix on the satellite airwaves all over the world on XM 136 or locally in Spokane at 90.3 FM, serving Central Washington, Oregon, Idaho, and British Columbia or online at remixradio.org

That guy you keep hearing is Roman Mars.  He is the host and content curator of the Public Radio Exchange radio stream. His reported and documentary work has most recently aired on Morning Edition, Weekend America, KALW’s Crosscurrents and WBEZ’s Re:sound. Before going rogue, Mars spent over three years at WBEZ’s Third Coast International Audio Festival as the project senior producer and sound designer, developing their weekly documentary radio program and producing the TCF national broadcast specials for Public Radio International. Mars started his radio career at KALW in San Francisco and was best known as host and executive producer of Invisible Ink, an independent literary audio zine. The show received numerous recognitions from the National Federation of Community Broadcasters and was named “Best of the Bay” by the San Francisco Bay Guardian.