Backbone provides support for The Bottom Line

The Bottom LineFundamentally we believe that the best radio is when the station gets close to the community. That is often done by getting out of the studio to broadcast events.

Shortly we will be releasing our Backbone Talk product that provides a cloud based phone system for screening calls and placing them on the air. We will also include a couple of add-on options, a high-fidelity guest line and a digital off-air call recording feature that is integrated into Backbone Radio’s automation service.

The Omaha World-Herald and their primary internet radio show The Bottom Line with Mike’l Severe have been using the pre-release version of Backbone Talk. Like our Backbone Radio product, Backbone Talk is a phone system in the cloud. Placing certain broadcast components enables you, the broadcaster, to get closer to the action.

Radio World logoRecently Jeff Bundy, who oversees the internet radio effort at the Omaha World-Herald, wrote an article for RadioWorld about what it was like to use Backbone Radio and Backbone Talk to start up their radio station and get it on the air. Jeff said:

In the eight months we’ve been using Backbone, we have broadcast live remotes from locations in the baseball village outside the college world series and just outside Memorial Stadium for home Nebraska Cornhusker football games. We paid to have an Internet connection dropped at the locations and we were able to go live easily.

Many in the The Bottom Line audience live for these events. We’re just happy that we can enable them to do this in a very simple fashion. If you are looking at starting an internet radio station let us know how can help you with your efforts.

 

Radio Entrepreneurs Interview

I recently had a great time visiting with Jeffrey Davis as a guest on the daily Radio Entrepreneurs show that runs from 6:00PM to 7:00PM.

Radio Entrepreneurs shares the stories of entrepreneurship in the interest of giving more exposure to innovative and fast moving New England companies– and creating a knowledge pool for the enrichment of the entrepreneurs’ community around the world.

Jeffrey and I spoke about what it takes to work in radio today and how Backbone’s technology enables station owners and content providers  to have lots of flexibility in their operations.

Visit their web-site to listen live! Or, listen to their audiocasts for a great source of business and entrepreneurial knowledge targeted to the radio industry.

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.

Mayor Menino, Internet Radio Pioneer

Being in the broadcast business I cross paths with a lot of media makers. Mayor Menino was the very first in studio guest on Boston Herald Radio on their launch day, August 5th, 2013. It was my pleasure to be there when he came into the studio with Joe Sciacca.

Hillary Chabot and Jaclyn Cashman interviewed him as part of their show Morning Meeting. The Herald had recently moved to the Boston Innovation District — the Mayor was the greatest proponent of the growth of that area of Boston, and I think he was really very interested in a new media project getting launched there, and wanted to give it his blessing.

That was Mayor Menino, always looking to connect with the community and push things forward.

 


Radio Hires the Internet Star

Mark Ramsey

Mark Ramsey

This week we have a guest post from veteran media strategist, researcher, and trend-maker  Mark Ramsey, president of Mark Ramsey Media.

As we are in the middle of the season filled with college radio events, Mark has allowed us to republish Radio Hires the Internet Star from his blog. This short story is a great lesson about how old media can use new media to drive engagement, as well as how a few new media stars understand the power of old media better than some who work in it.

Andrea Russett

Andrea Russett

What’s the best way to develop new talent?

Is it to steal from the switchboard and upgrade to sidekick?

Is it to place a blind ad in an industry trade?

Is it to hire or voice-track a good-enough talent from another market where that talent’s awareness in this market is zero?

You could steal somebody from across the street.

Or you could do what Phil Becker did.

Phil went to the Internet.

But he didn’t recruit just anybody.  He went for the locally-based YouTube talent who already has an audience and a following – over 250,000 YouTube subscribers and more ethan 100,000 Twitter followers to be exact.

And she’s 16 years old.

Phil is GM/Director of Content for Oasis Radio Group and his new talent, Andrea Russett, is the newest star at Oasis’s HOT 107.9 in Fort Wayne, IN.

Watch this chat with Phil about what his team did and just how well it’s working:

Since that post Andrea Russett’s popularity has continued to skyrocket. I expect we will be hearing more from her.

Visit the Hivio site for the upcoming audio festival event where Andrea Russett will be one of the speakers.

Glenn Ordway goes back “on the air” with Sports Talk Boston

Sports Talk Boston logo

I have listen to sports radio in Boston for years and along with many of my friends am a bit of a sports radio junkie. I was one of the early listeners to WEEI when they were on 850 AM.  Glenn Ordway and his Big Show was always part of the mix. They provided great analysis and commentary and did it in a very entertaining manner. The Whiner Line segment was always good for a few laughs. Unfortunately he parted ways with WEEI a little over a year ago.

Glenn Ordway - Sports Talk Boston

Glenn Ordway
Sports Talk Boston

I had heard for months that he would be coming back and thought that he had found his new spot on Sirius as a weekend host on Mad Dog Sports Radio. With a large national audience and a great stable of sports talkers like Chris Russo and Dan Patrick I figured that Glenn was set. I was wrong. Glenn still has a large tie to the local Boston community and many wanted him back on the local dial but his vision is larger than that.

We first talked to Glenn in January as he laid out what he wanted to do in bringing his show to the internet and more broadly establish a station and a national brand that has local flavor. Glenn liked that we could help him broadcast over the internet in a manner that was familiar. We provide him his Internet radio automation, live assist, phone screener, live caller audio, podcasting and all sort of statistics.

Well, through the miracle that is the internet, he launched his station Sports Talk Boston.  Glenn went back on the “radio” last Monday with his own show, The Big Show Unfiltered, in his regular time slot, 3:00PM-6:00PM. He is back with some of the old crew like Pete Sheppard and Steve Buckley along with a few new wrinkles like Internet radio phenom Alex Reimer. You can call into the show at 617-500-2257.  If you would like to text, the number is the same, 617-500-2257.  

One of the big draws on his old show was the Whiner Line. Well, the Whiner Line is back and unfiltered. If you want to call in to the Whiner Line the number is 617-600-7183. That segment has been recreated and is available as a daily podcast

To hear the new show you can listen on your computer through TuneIn. Or you can download the smartphone app from either the Android store or the iTunes Store. The app is also available on over 300 devices and in 60 cars so you can listen most anywhere. Once downloaded open the app and search for “Big Show Unfiltered“.  Starting today he will be simulcast on Sirius 108 and XM 206.

Glenn expects to take his show on the road. We’ll let you all know when he schedules one. Let us know if you have any questions about tuning in and listening . . . or a whine you would like to make.

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.

Internet Redistributing Power and Opportunities in Talk Radio

This week we are proud to present a guest post from Michael Harrison, Editor and Publisher of Talkers Magazine.

Michael Harrison - Talkers Magazine

Michael Harrison – Publisher and Editor, Talkers Magazine

The inevitable course of radio and associated media toward the converged digital “media station” is now becoming a reality.  The radio station has transformed from a capital and debt-intensive, bricks-mortar-steel (and license) based facility to a laptop-cloud-backpack anywhere entity.  The barriers to entry have been stripped away, leaving traditional AM/FM station owners holding an ever-depreciating bag.

At the same time, radio talent abounds.  Today, there is a greater abundance of engaging radio hosts than at any time in recent memory, many unable to find an AM/FM radio gig.  Fortunately, online radio is a welcome, if amorphous, vehicle to showcase these individuals.  The pervasive question then becomes “How does the listener find me?”  The answer lies in the concept of the content “platform” replacing the station “infrastructure.”   In other words, it pays to put an online broadcast entity on a prestigious platform.

A good example of this is the Boston Herald Radio station, launched in August 2013, whichBoston Herald Radio Logo combines the immediacy of a 100+ person major newspaper newsroom with well-known on-air talent to become the “other” talk radio station in the city. Working with Backbone Networks Corporation, the Herald was up and running in a matter of weeks, conducting a series of mini-debates in Boston’s preliminary mayoral race.  There was no capital equipment to buy, other than a couple of computers, a mixing board and a few microphones, and listenership continues to grow.  Content, not transmitter wattage, makes the difference.

Talkers Radio logoAnother example, closer to home, is Talkers magazine’s TalkersRadio, an experimental online station we created to provide a platform for self-produced “bridge shows,” hosted by terminated AM/FM talk show hosts that are between gigs or plunging into the new medium, and “orphan” programs that do not conveniently fit into prevailing AM/FM station format categories.  We think of Talkers Radio as an experimental theater – a stage upon which established talk show hosts can try out new ideas and program concepts that might be too risky to test on their far more rigid terrestrial radio platforms. TalkersRadio is emblematic of the Content Platform — forming a nucleus for talent to find a forum and listeners to find the talent.

To create TalkersRadio, we called upon Backbone Networks, our technology partner, to build a network for hosts in any part of the world.  Their cloud-based broadcast production and automation tied in perfectly for our plans for a 24/7 schedule of live and automated programming.

At each host location, we suggest a simple equipment package composed of a MacBook® Pro laptop computer, a basic mixing board such as the portable Mackie® ProFX8, Sennheiser HD203 Pro DJ headsets and couple of Shure® 58 microphones.  This mix of equipment has proven to be ideal for taking the show on the road for remote broadcasts, such as breaking news and sporting events.

The other necessary item is a solid connection to the Internet.  In the studio, that could be DSL or a cable modem with at least 128 kbps upstream bandwidth.  In the field, hosts will use venue wi-fi, wired Ethernet, or rely on 3G/4G or WiMax access.

What distinguishes compelling talk radio is a host’s ability to interact with co-hosts and listeners, and that is where a multi-line call-in telephone system is key.  The Backbone Radio product offers, in addition to interfaces for host and producer, a complete multi-caller phone system, with a Mac interface for the host and, if desired, a call screener.  Since the phone system also resides in the cloud, no phone lines, handsets or extra equipment is necessary.  Consequently, events like the Talkers Conferences or the RAIN events are simple and easy to broadcast.  Our studios are wherever our talent and their laptops are, and signals go direct to the Internet without anyone “back home” having to flip a switch.

The opportunities are just reemerging for talk radio luminaries, all with the help of online technology and the content platform.  This is a big departure from what we once knew as talk radio, and it is only the beginning.

TalkersTV Records Video Documentary Tour of the New Boston Herald Radio

Boston Herald Radio LogoAt the one-month point following the launch of Boston Herald’s new online radio station, Talkers publisher Michael Harrison stopped by with his video camera and was given a “point of view” guided tour of the newspaper and its newly born multimedia initiative – Boston Herald Radio.  The tour was guided by Boston Herald editor-in-chief Joe Sciacca, Boston Herald Radio executive producer Tom Shattuck and George Capalbo of Backbone Networks.  Here is a short version of Michael Harrison’s visit.

The result is an informative one-hour documentary tour of one of talk media’s leading-edge hot spots. To view Michael’s not-to-be-missed content please go to the TalkersTV box in the upper right column of the Talkers.com home page by clicking here.

Legendary Programmer David Bernstein Named GM of TalkersRadio

We’re thrilled to learn that TalkersRadio, the new 24/7 Internet Talk Radio station being developed as an experimental “skunkworks” and farm system for talk shows, will be managed by David Bernstein. From Talkers Magazine, Wednesday July 3, 2013 edition.

Legendary Programmer David Bernstein Named General Manager of TalkersRadio.
David Bernstein
Prolific radio industry programming and management executive David Bernstein has been named general manager of TalkersRadio, the online experimental talk radio station being developed by TALKERS magazine for launch in mid-August.  Bernstein, a leading talk industry consultant and talent coach, has served as PD, OM or GM of such heritage stations as WOR, New York; WRKO, WBZ, and WAAF, Boston; WTIC, Hartford;  WPRO, Providence; and KVON, Napa/San Francisco among others as well as VP/programming of Air America.

Kevin CaseyTalkersRadio will operate as a 24/7/365 streaming station located on the TALKERS website (www.talkers.com) with links strategically situated on major aggregating portals and websites on the internet. Its primary target audience will be members of the broadcasting industry itself, serving as what TALKERS VP/executive editor Kevin Casey describes as a “laboratory or somewhat of a ‘skunkworks’ where we can experiment with talk shows that fall outside the typical and safe fare found on AM/FM radio.”  Casey continues, “It will be an industry farm system, gym and spring training camp all rolled into one where new show ideas and programming concepts can be developed in a professional setting with high standards but without the restraints of commercial, ratings or corporate pressure that currently restrict most professional operations from doing what radio MUST do to survive in the long term, and that is to take chances.  It will not only be a place to nurture new talent but a platform upon which current well-known players can work out new approaches to their craft. We are doing this as service to the talk radio industry, which, of course, is keeping with the mission of TALKERS magazine.”

Michael HarrisonOn announcing the appointment, TALKERS publisher Michael Harrison states, “The acquisition of the full time services of David Bernstein is a major coup for us – one that we have been working on for almost a year, while he’s been finishing up a number of projects for which he was responsible as president of Bernstein Talent.  I have known David for almost 25 years and consider him to be one of the most intelligent, creative, versatile and talent-friendly radio managers I have ever met.  He is a man of vision and integrity.  All of us at TALKERS are absolutely delighted!” Bernstein states, “This is a radio ‘dream job’ and I am enthusiastic beyond words about the challenge ahead whereby I can hopefully be part of an initiative that will ‘make a difference’ in the radio business.”  His responsibilities in the new position include scouting, recruiting and developing talent for TalkersRadio as well as advising its day-to-day operations and entering into strategic partnerships with other broadcasting operations.  He states, “We will be developing Talkers magazine logoTalkersRadio as a showcase and workshop for new programs to play ‘out of town’ so to speak in front of listening audiences before they open on the big stages of the business.  TalkersRadio will give some suddenly-terminated hosts the opportunity to do farewell shows for their listeners and ‘bridge shows’ to carry them to their next gig. It will be a place for ‘orphan shows’ that don’t quite fit existing AM/FM formats to get an airing and see if they have traction.  We will give some existing high-profile talent the opportunity to do programs about subjects that they are not ‘known’ for doing within their present situations.  For example we are in discussions with a major political news/talk personality who has always had the desire to do a show about metaphysics and parapsychology – stay tuned, it will be mega-cool.”

In addition to his responsibilities with TalkersRadio, Bernstein will advise operations of its sister platform PodJockey (“a boutique for outstanding podcasts”) and assume a seat on Backbone Logothe TALKERS editorial board.  He can be contacted at david@talkers.com. TalkersRadio will utilize the groundbreaking software developed by its technical partners Backbone Networks of Westborough, Massachusetts, revolutionizing the convenience and accessibility of remote spoken word internet broadcasting.