John Tesh and Connie Sellecca Donate to KCOD College Internet Radio

We’re proud to report that musician and radio personality John Tesh and his actress wife Connie Sellecca have generously donated broadcast hardware, Apple iMac computers and Backbone software & services to KCOD, the student-run radio station of The College of the Desert, in Palm Springs, CA.  The gift grew out of a panel discussion at the Dec. 3, 2011 Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) Conference in Los Angeles where Mr. Tesh was a panelist.

Tesh SelleccaWith this gift, KCOD, launched in the Spring of 2011, is the newest member station in the IBS Student Radio Network by Backbone (IBS-SRN).  The school notes that the station “has generated tremendous interest from students, broadcast professionals, potential sponsors, local politicians and the surrounding community.”  See more on the KCOD blog.
Listen to KCOD online.

From Wikipedia:
John Tesh is an American pianist and composer of pop music, as well as a radio host and television presenter. His 10-year-old ‘Intelligence for Your Life Radio Show‘ reaches 14.2 Million listeners/week, and is syndicated by Teshmedia on 400 stations in US, Canada, and the UK. Tesh has won six music Emmys, has four gold albums, two Grammy nominations, and an Associated Press award for investigative journalism. Tesh has sold over eight million records. His live concerts have raised more than $20 million for PBS. His NBC Basketball Theme has been hailed as one of the top three sports themes of all time. He is also known as the longtime co-host of the television program Entertainment Tonight. He has previously worked as a sportscaster for the Olympic Games, a news anchor and a reporter.

Never lose a listener

From time to time, we plan to invite notable industry experts to contribute to our blog about running your Internet radio station.  This is the first of those occasions, and we’re excited about it.

The primary thing that drives any radio station is content. That content drives listeners and builds your special community.  Today’s article is a conversation with Geller Media International President and author Valerie Geller.  Valerie was named 2011 recipient of the Conclave’s highest honor – the Rockwell Lifetime Achievement award for broadcasting.

Valerie GellerVALERIE GELLER Author – Beyond Powerful Radio- A Communicator’s Guide to the Internet Age for Broadcast, Podcast, Internet & Radio (Focal Press 2011)

Whether you podcast your show, are running an internet college station or “broadcasting” live over the airwaves, you already know – radio isn’t just “radio.” Audiences get their entertainment, music, news, and information – their “radio” on many platforms. There’s a lot of “noise” out there – competition for the time and attention of your listeners. That’s why it’s vital to insure that what comes out of the speaker (or mobile device) is relevant. They want relevant CONTENT. Audiences are fickle. According to PPM, we also have proof – they’ve generally got a SHORT attention span. Chances are, while they’re listening to your show, they’re also multi-tasking.

So what can you do to grow your audience and keep your listeners listening longer?

I coach talent all over the world and work one-on-one with air personalities – They all want to know “What’s the formula?”

The formula is simple: Listeners come when they are informed, entertained and engaged, they leave when they are bored. The success formula for growing radio audiences is based on deeply engaging your audience – by working with these three “Powerful Radio” principles:

1. Tell the truth
2. Make it matter
3. Never be boring.

HOW DO YOU “NEVER LOSE A LISTENER?

Beyond Powerful Radio coverThis KEY issue is a question I am asked, all over our planet. And the answers for keeping your audience, and getting them to listen longer, are pretty similar all everywhere on earth, whether I’m working with DJs, news reporters, talk hosts or producers in in the United States, Canada, England, Australia, Europe and Africa. The answer is: NEVER BE BORING.

To Create Powerful Radio: Your content must be relevant. If your listener is not engaged, or bored, it’s the kiss of death, he or she either “zones out” or TUNES out. When that happens, your listeners either leave the station mentally, or tune out physically, their attention goes elsewhere. One clue is to try to avoid “manufactured topics for air…” Always ask yourself:
If you would not talk about this subject OFF air, WHY are you talking about this on your show?

WHY DO LISTENERS LEAVE? WHAT MAKES ‘EM GO?

Think about it. Have you ever sat in your car, stuck in traffic waiting for the traffic report to come on? You WORK IN RADIO. You KNOW when that report is coming, so you wait. Or maybe you’re waiting to hear a song title. You want to find out the CD or the artist, but somehow you zone out…the report came and went or the song title came and went, and YOU MISSED IT? WHY? Because the person on air did NOT make it matter.

A misconception: Pace and tempo do not equate ENERGY. “Energy” does not equate MAKING IT MATTER. Storytelling makes it matter. A storyteller who CARES about what he or she is presenting is what always works. This is NOT an acting job. If it means something to the person on air, it’ll matter more to the audience. Part of telling the truth is being authentic, and genuinely caring about what you are talking about on air. Always focus on WHAT IS IN THIS FOR THE LISTENER?

WHAT ARE LISTENERS NOT GETTING FROM YOU?

When a listener leaves either mentally or physically and actually switches off the station, here is what is NOT happening. That listener is NOT engaged. He or she is BORED. ZONED OUT. Looking for another station or immersed in his or her own thoughts.

Try the following Powerful Radio techniques to engage your audience:

1. USE THE WORD “YOU.”
If there was a magic word to guarantee you could get the attention of a listener would you use it? Of course. And there is such a word. Radio’s Magic Word is: “YOU.” Always talk to the individual. Of course, logically you know intellectually that when you are talking on the radio you are in reality, talking to more than one person, but on the radio, the magic, the connection, the power of radio, is based on the feeling of intimacy between the presenter on air and each individual person listening. It never works as well on radio to talk to all those “folks” or “People out there listening” or “all of you…”

2. USE YOU instead of “I.”
Whenever you can, always try to talk to one individual. If you use YOU instead of We-Me-I or Us, listeners feel the deeper, and true connection. Think of the difference, “I have tickets to give away” or “You can win tickets.”

And it’s not just radio. A few weeks ago, I went looking at houses with a friend who has just had twins and they need more space. The estate agent said: “Now, this would be your kitchen over here. The bedrooms are upstairs, the guest room is in the back. Here, you could knock out a wall and make this an open plan. Your garden would be here, in the back…” This REALLY REALLY works.

Replacing YOU for “We, Me. I and Us takes a little time but it is worth the effort, as long as you have patience, and understand that as human beings, it is hard to change old habits. Perhaps you are familiar with the work of Australian based brain researcher Dr. Evian Gordon? (www.brainresource.com) If so, you may already know that according to the research, it takes a 1000 times of repeated behavior before you rewire your brain to change a habit, so KEEP TRYING. I have a stack of bright yellow “post-it” notes. They are everywhere and have the word YOU on them. It helps.

What else makes a listener leave?

3. TOO MANY COMMERCIALS or TOO MANY BAD COMMERCIALS
If you have commercials in your show, ask: Are your commercials causing a listener to tune out because a break is too long, or is the spot simply bad – boring, noisy, off message, or a wrong format fit? The same goes for public radio “sponsorships.” Never be boring. Research shows that your listeners actually like commercials and find them USEFUL when targeted correctly – if you’re in the market for a smart phone and you hear an ad that they’re half price at a local electronics store – you’re happy. You’ve gotten real information about a product or service that you want, and you can save money. When you air these sponsorship messages, the content should be targeted correctly and relevant.

4. GETTING THE LISTENERS YOU HAVE, TO STAY
While, there’s been so much emphasis on developing and getting NEW listeners, don’t forget that we also need to pay attention to keeping the audience you’ve already got onboard. Again, with the amount of choices people have for their time and attention, listeners are easily distracted. So how do you get a listener to listen LONGER?

5. AVOID THE MANUFACTURED TOPIC
As mentioned above, this is important. Try to think about your listener before you put anything on air. Avoid “manufactured topics.” Listeners feel it when it sounds like: “And now here is another topic manufactured to fill a bit on radio!” When they hear that, listeners tend to tune out. Ask yourself: If you are not talking about this OFF air, why is it on the air?

6. WIFM?
Always ask: What is in this for the listener? What’s in it for ME if I give you my time? A quick checklist: Is it interesting? Are they talking to me? Describing things visually? Is there humor? New Information? Talkable topics? Would you talk about this OFF air in normal conversation, if you did not have a radio show?

Some DJs or talk hosts get confused and think Personality means it’s all about YOU. But audiences care about THEMSELVES, not necessarily YOU. In personality radio, many personalities get confused and think if they talk about themselves it will be interesting. But powerful radio is not about YOU, it’s about the listener. The personal is universal, but the private tends to be boring.

7. WHAT DO LISTENERS WANT?
Your listeners want to be informed and entertained and have fun. They want new knowledge. If they are alone in room or alone in a car maybe they just do not want to feel alone. Listeners are hungry to feel connected in a somewhat isolated world that they find themselves in.
A listener wants to a connection to or “feel at home” with or comfortable with the person on air. They like to feel they “know” the person on air. Sometimes listeners like a little help in making up their minds, say, they are not completely certain of what they may think about a subject or topic, here they can get enough information or opinion or viewpoints to make up their minds. And in commercial radio, when the spots are effective, listeners say they like to learn about bargains, new products or services. And if a listener is having a down or despairing black moment, he or she wants to be lifted out of that mood.

8. GIVE THEM ‘TALKABLE’ TOPICS
We are lucky. Most people out there listening do not have exciting lives or careers. Because of this, listeners also desire “talkable topics.” They want to be able to turn the radio off and have ideas and interesting new things to say to people.

9. MAKE THEM LAUGH
Listeners also want vicarious experiences. They like to be taken on journeys they cannot get to on their own. And everybody loves to laugh. If you can make a listener laugh, it’s like handing them a solid chunk of gold.

10. TELL THEM SOMETHING NEW
Listeners to your station like to be in the know, they like learning new things. (They also appreciate help with their “show prep” for dinner, just in case they don’t have anything interesting to say to the people in their lives.) It works if you can give them material THEY can talk about. Listeners also want you to get ahead and lead them and give them ideas, things to think about.

11. SPEAK VISUALLY
Radio is an imagination medium. Even with photos and video on the internet, the spoken word can create powerful word pictures. Use these “colors” in your paint box to engage listeners. Remember to use details to speak visually and to paint word pictures. Imagine you are talking to one person, and person is a blind man or woman! How would you describe what you are talking about so the listener can “see it?”

12. Topic selection: HEALTH, HEART POCKETBOOK
What are audiences interested in? For years, the Frank Magid study of “health, heart, pocketbook” rules of topic selection applied. Today there is a new one. In addition to health, (personal safety) heart (touching emotion of any kind) and money stories, the newest category is Transformation. How YOUR life as a listener can be better tomorrow than it was or is today because of what you’ve heard on air. Radio stories and topics showing a listener what is possible. You don’t have to settle for the life you have. It can get better. This RIVETS audiences. (Think Oprah, think Extreme Makeover, DIY fixit shows, etc)

13. INSPIRE
Finally, listeners ALL want to feel good. If you can do that, you have that audience completely with you. And if you don’t care, they don’t care. Make it matter!

Valerie Geller’s POWERFUL COMMUNICATOR PRINCIPLES:

  1. Speak visually, in terms your listener can “picture.”
  2. Find, and start with, your best material.
  3. Tell the truth.
  4. Never be boring.
  5. Listen.
  6. Make it matter.
  7. Always address the individual, use “you.” Talk to ONE listener at a time.
  8. Do smooth and engaging transitions & handoffs.
  9. Promote, brag about your stuff.
  10. Brag about other people’s stuff.
  11. Be who you are.
  12. Take risks.  Dare to be great.

All rights reserved. Reprint with permission – Copyright Valerie Geller 2011 – excerpted from “Beyond Powerful Radio. Valerie Geller, president of Geller Media International is a broadcast consultant, trainer, seminar/workshop leader, keynote speaker and talent coach working with radio and TV programmers, managers, on air personalities and broadcast journalists throughout the world, to help grow audiences through creating powerful radio. “Beyond Powerful Radio – A Communicator’s Guide to the Internet Age” is Geller’s fourth book. For more, visit beyondpowerfulradio.com or gellermedia.com. Phone 212 580-3385, email valerie@gellermedia.com, Follow her on twitter: twitter.com/vgeller

Apple TV, now supporting Internet Radio!

Apple TV - iTunes RadioOn Thursday Apple announced an update for Apple TV.  The Apple TV 3.0 update includes support for Internet radio streams.  You can now listen to you favorite Internet radio streams on through your home theatre system!

To access the radio streams choose “Internet” from the main menu and “Radio” from the drop down.  This weekend’s IBS Palooza event will be available on Apple TV and we will be adding all of Backbone’s other stations shortly.

Also, within iTunes radio you will note a new designation.  Backbone’s high fidelity AAC streams will be designated as AAC Internet Audio streams.  Stations that broadcast in AAC audio provide a higher quality sound at a lower bit-rate.

Tune in this weekend for a listen.

Backbone Enables World’s First HTTP LIVE Streaming Internet Radio Stations

New streaming protocol promises more robust connections andability to traverse firewalls. IBS Student Radio Network will adoptHTTP Live Streaming in iPhone’s College Radio Tuner application

Two cutting edge college radio stations are making history as the first Internet stations to stream in the new HTTP Live streaming protocol. With the help of Backbone Networks Corporation, Long Island University WLIU-BK and Goucher Student Radio have become the first stations to add HTTP Live streaming to their broadcast offerings. This station upgrade is part of Backbone’s plan to further expand IBS Student Radio Network (IBS-SRN) station listenership by adding both HTTP Live Streaming and Shoutcast protocols to the current RTSP streams currently offered by the network to a variety of additional players on iPhone, iPod touch, computers and other devices.

Backbone LogoHTTP Live Streaming is the HTTP-based protocol which enables the College Radio Tuner App to seamlessly stream through firewalls, routers and proxy servers.

Shoutcast is the popular streaming protocol used by a number ofInternet radio stations, directories and tuners. Adding Shoutcastsupport extends Backbone’s powerful automation to this popular protocolfor all our stations. “IBS’ current iTunes and iPhone capabilities havebeen tremendous in connecting our member stations to the world. AddingShoutcast and HTTP Live Streaming will make our college and high schoolradio stations even easier to find and hear,” said Len Mailloux,Chairman of The Intercollegiate Broadcast System. “These extensionsgive us the chance to reach out to new listeners around the globe andshare the excitement and fun that is college radio.”

The first two HTTP Live stations, WLIU-BK (Long Island University,Brooklyn Campus) and Goucher Student Radio (Goucher College; Towson,MD), are important members of the IBS Student Radio Network. Backbonewill be upgrading all IBS-SRN member stations by the end of 2009.Backbone’s free College Radio Tuner App for iPhone and iPod touch nowsupports HTTP Live Streaming stations. In addition, during thisprocess, Backbone will be adding Shoutcast and Icecast streamingcapability to all stations, enabling them to be listed and found innumerous online streaming directories.

About IBS-SRN

In 2007, Backbone Networks Corporation, in cooperation with theIntercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS), launched the first trueInternet radio network, one that specifically aims to enhance thestudent radio experience. The IBS Student Radio Network enables studentoperated stations to syndicate live and produced programming amongmember stations, as well as automatically access a vast amount ofroyalty-free programming from worldwide third-party sources.

About IBS

The Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) is a nonprofitassociation of mostly student-staffed radio stations based at schoolsand colleges across the country. Over 1,000 IBS member stations operateall types of facilities including Internet – Webcasting,closed-circuit, AM carrier-current, cable radio, FCC-licensed FM, LPFMand AM stations.

About Backbone

Founded in 1990, Backbone Networks Corporation has its roots indeveloping television and radio software, especially content productionand delivery applications. Its founders are pioneers in developingtechnology for the broadcasting industry. They have supplied softwareand systems for some of the highest profile broadcasters and theirevents.

Free College Radio Tuner launched for the iPhone

Backbone Networks Corporation today announced its College Radio Tuner application for Apple’s iPhone® and iPod Touch® is now available from the iTunes App Store®. This free application showcases the growing IBS Student Radio Network, a collaborative effort between Backbone and the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System.

The College Radio Tuner allows a worldwide mobile audience to find and listen to cutting edge, student-run Internet radio stations. It allows the user to scroll easily through a list of stations, find and click to play live internet radio right on the iPhone or iPod touch, whether connected via WiFi, 3G or Edge networks.

The College Radio Tuner automatically searches for and adds new stations as they become available. Initial release of the tuner includes a complement of twenty five participating IBS-SRN stations, with more joining every month. Among these initial participating stations are those affiliated with Oklahoma State University, Goucher College, and Methodist University.

Stations originate their programs in superior quality MPEG-4 AAC format, the same international standard Apple® uses for its iTunes Store® offerings. The College Radio Tuner is the first RTSP/RTP/AAC player for the iPhone and iPod Touch, bringing the open standards supported across the rest of the Apple product line, including QuickTime®, to these devices.

In addition to streaming music and other audio to the iPhone, the College Radio Tuner also displays album or station image art, as well as embedded text listing artist, song title, album name, and other information The tuner also provides clickable links to the station’s web site, to the iTunes Store, where listeners can purchase and download the playing song, or to a call-in phone number that the iPhone automatically dials to facilitate listener interaction and talk radio segments.

Station-controlled automation software is supplied by Backbone, who provides central networked hosting for all IBS-SRN member stations. Stations can broadcast both live and automated radio program material,including remote live coverage of school sporting events and concerts. Backbone CTO George Capalbo added, “The Student Radio Network provides community within and among the schools, and it enhances their ability to communicate with alumni, the student body and their families.”

In contrast to commercial radio, IBS Student Radio Network stations are typically run by students rather than professional staff. Programs are a result of both school curricula and student club activities, and include events that involve their schools, communities and the development of the arts. Last fall, the IBS-SRN held IBS Palooza, the Internet’s first multi-venue music festival where participating schools independently showcased local independent musicians and bands, broadcasting simultaneously over a weekend long concert. Schools shared live feeds among stations on the IBS Student Radio Network. A spring IBS Palooza is scheduled for April 2009, and will be available free on the College Radio Tuner.

For the actual press release please see PRWeb.

Public Comment on CRB record keeping rules

Fred Wilhelm started a discussion about the CRB record keeping rules.  The complete article on the CRB record keeping is in the recent P2Pnet.

Well, I wanted to add my piece to this so I responded to Fred from the perpective of our customers, the web-casters.

Backbone Networks, as an internet radio aggregator, has an additional concern regarding web-casters. This concern would be true if the rumored standard ISP charge for music is implemented. Web-casters would still have to pay a performance royalty for streaming music to listeners with the ISPs that had implemented the charge. This is music for which the listener already has a right to hear. In other words, the streaming royalty would constitute a double payment.

For listeners of web-casters on ISP services that pay the license fee Backbone would like to see the streaming royalty rates waived however the reporting requirement remain. This would eliminate the double payment while at the same time providing the information back to SoundExchange to enable appropriate allocation to the artists.

Webcasters provide a service to their listeners, they program their shows to highlight new music and other programming that keeps their audience engaged. As such they are helping listeners find new music, i.e. some of the 7500 artists you reference. Anyone who has listened to Radio Paradise, Soma FM, BaGEL Radio, AccuRadio, Pandora or one of the IBS-SRN college radio stations know that these web-casters add significant value to their listener communities.

While we believe that the current royalty rates are way too high and are slowing the adoption of internet radio, this solution would at least help lower the cost web-casters bear for streaming to listeners on those ISPs. This may even help the web-casters that provide the added value of progamming interesting playlists for their listeners to continue to operate.

Separately we have a few additional broader concerns for web-casters. These are:

– The worldwide nature of the internet enables a worldwide audience. However, the complexity to report in the US is multiplied dramatically as the stream crosses borders. This friction in the system is a drag to the overall health of the music industry and internet radio.

– The royalty rates are tied to a particular transmission medium yet the listeners do not make such a distinction. We would support “broadcast neutrality” for the rates and ask that the rates be normalized between terrestrial, satellite and internet transmission. What we find most strange about the rates is that they are highest for internet transmission yet those streams are the most valuable because of the information and statistics that are associated with them.

I bring up this point because as an internet aggregator we would only support providing additional reporting to SX in exchange for reduced rates. Further, the more information provided the lower the rate should be. This data is extremely valuable and should not come for free. To me I think that the full requested information associated with each play is about equal to the current royalty rate.

We are all for finding workable solutions that promote artists while enabling web-casters to operate in a profitable manner and not all web-casters agree with our position but we believe that it is directionally correct and fair to the artists and web-casters.