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.

 

 

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.

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.

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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.