Major League Lacrosse — Broadcasting via Internet Radio

Radio World logoEvery week last season Major League Lacrosse broadcast at least one game live. Initially starting with the ESPN feed of the game of the week, transitioning to their own broadcasters and then to taking live calls before games and during half time. And Backbone was with them every step of the way and for that opportunity we are grateful! In traditional broadcast media doing a live remote (or outside broadcast) is very expensive. There are lots of moving parts and pieces to coordinate. The set up and tear down alone is quite time consuming. With Backbone’s help, Major League Lacrosse took steps to simplify what they needed to do to get their broadcasts on the air.

MLL Championship at Harvard StadiumAfter talking to traditional broadcasters and getting quotes on what it would take do these remotes the old way they turned to Backbone. We showed them how “With a Mac and a Mic” (and an Internet connection) they would be able to take their show on the road from week to week and run a very high quality broadcast. This week they told their story to Radio World Magazine in the streaming edition.  It is a great read and even mentions things we have in the works . . . but not announced.  Stay tuned for more about what we have been up to.

Emmanuel Goes Mobile With Internet Radio Broadcasting

HigherEdTechDecisionsWe often write on our blog about how our stations are using or service to reach their audience. This time HigherEdTechDecisions did that for us. Their lead article today is on Emmanuel College ECRadio.

It is a great summary of what Emmanuel College radio is doing and how easy it is for them to operate a station and perform live remotes.

IBS Student Radio Network Election Coverage . . .

Be sure to tune into Fisk and Simmons College radio for their perspective on the election.

Fisk University WFSK logo88.1FM WFSK Presents:  Live Election Night Coverage of local, statewide & national races beginning right after the polls close at 7pm.  Co-Anchored by Sharon Kay and Ron Wynn, WFSK will present on the ground perspective from key battleground states such as Ohio, Wisconsin & Virginia.

Hear the excitement as the returns come in from around Tennessee and other states.  WFSK hopes you get a chance to tune in during the course of this historic election coverage.  They stream at www.wfskfm.org or on Dar.fm or TuneIn.

Simmons College will be covering the election also but with a bit more of a slant toward Massachusetts politics because there school is not far from Romney headquarters.  The stream at Simmons College Radio or on Dar.fm and TuneIn.

Internet Radio Concert Promotion — 100,000 more attendees, no extra porta-potties

Eighteen years ago this week, in a previous life, George and I helped produce and broadcast Woodstock ’94 (Mudstock), and it was quite an experience, with 350,000 people in attendance. This week, we got to participate in another weekend concert, Outside Lands in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and I marvel at how differently big events can now be covered.

outsidelands logoAt Woodstock, we had dozens of television trucks and vans with satellite uplinks, requiring connectivity to and between the two stages, which was our primary responsibility as “fiber optic gurus”. For the most part, all of these broadcasters were on site to provide live news feeds for networks and local stations, as well as the occasional celebrity interview.  The complexity and cost was huge, while virtually none of the concert entertainment was broadcast live.

Outside Lands Stage - 2012Fast forward to 2012.  Over the last few months, in partnership with TuneIn, we’ve enjoyed exploring how today’s music festivals can build their reach to a worldwide audience, without breaking the budget of the event promoters.  We started out with New York’s Hot 97 Summer Jam hip hop festival in June, helping Emmis Communications promote the event exclusively on TuneIn radio the week leading up to the concert, then live Internet radio coverage of the show, and then best-of the concert the week following.  It was a major hit.

So, with that success, Emmis decided to do similar promotion for their Power 106 concert in Los Angeles later that month. It, too, was a big success.

That brings us to Outside Lands–August 10-12, 2012.  TuneIn assembled the team for this broadcast, with not only Backbone Networks but also a professional broadcast team with deep experience in branded radio stations, RFC Media from Houston, TX.  Unlike Woodstock, this concert was broadcast live, and it required no trucks, no satellite uplinks and a minimal crew…all with just “a Mac and a mic”.RFC Media Tent - Outside Lands

Results?  It was unquestionably another big success.  While Golden Gate park only holds about 65,000 people for an event like this, through Backbone Internet radio and TuneIn, over 100,000 unique listeners around the world tuned in for nearly half a million listener sessions.  What amazes me is that a regional concert in San Francisco can pull listeners from all over the world, as you can see in the listener cluster “hot spot” map for the concert week (click to enlarge).

Outside Lands Listener MapLike every other business activity, concert promotion has now been changed by the Internet, specifically Internet radio in this case. Going forward, we will learn even more about how to have the greatest impact and highest return on a very small investment.  We’ll share that with you.

Next up for TuneIn, RFC Media and Backbone: The Bumbershoot Music Festival in Seattle on Labor Day Weekend.

Peace, love and radio.

Things I Learned About Talk Radio Last Week

New Media Seminar 2012 logoLast Thursday I got up early and took the 5:45am Acela Express from Providence to NY Penn Station for a full day of the most interesting conference I’ve been to in many years.  It was TALKERS Magazine’s annual New Media Seminar, where some 350 talk radio stars and producers shared their view of where the industry is headed.  And I loved every second of it. I won’t even try to give you all the detail of the day, but I will give you a few nuggets that relate to our business at Backbone.

First, the First Amendment is still a ball in play, and we got that message from all sides.  No less than Sean HannityEd Schultz and Gov. David Paterson impressed upon the crowd that boycotts and retaliation are uncalled for when the listener can easily “change the dial”.  Of course, our Internet radio “dial” now allows for thousands of choices, with each of those stations having virtually unlimited freedom of expression.  Which brings me to my second point, Tom Leykis.

The persistent message all day was that talk radio is changing right before our eyes, whether it’s in slow motion or as a blur.  That technical change is the transition from terrestrial to the Internet.  The operational message is that nobody’s job is secure in traditional radio, you must prepare for the change now.  “Don’t expect to drive to work and park next to the building with the tower. The tower will be gone, and so might you.”

Panelists and talk show hosts Lionel and Tom Leykis talked about the importance of career preparedness, and it was Leykis who was the day’s most specific panelist about this subject. He tells us that while you still have a job in traditional radio you must get to know your sponsors and accumulate a database of your fans, because you will wish you had done both when you are out on your own, trying to start up your own station, like he did.  He told me later he took a couple of years and created his own station the hard way, not the Backbone way.  But he succeeded, and Leykis represents the future for many of the future-looking panelists and conference attendees.

Holland CookeIn another session, talk radio consultant Holland Cooke was, as you would expect, full of great ideas and tips on how to bring more people to your Internet radio site and station.  We were all warned not to try to take notes while he presented, because he threw more at us than we could keep up with. (“If you work on-air, at a local radio station, your job, as-you-know-it, is toast.”)  The first thing I did when I got back on the return train home was to buy myself a bunch of hyphenated domain names to increase my SEO.  You don’t understand?  Contact me, or better, Holland, at talk-radio-consultant.com and ask him.

Because of conflicting vacation plans, I won’t be able to attend the October version of this Seminar in Los Angeles, but we won’t miss out.  George and Paul will be there for sure.

You should, too.

P.S.  Michael Harrison, CEO of Talkers announced at the beginning of the Seminar that this would be the last “New Media” Seminars, because he’s been hosting them for 15 years, and this media is no longer “new”.  It will henceforth simply be called Talkers Seminar. Meanwhile, I notice in today’s news that Blogworld Expo is just now changing its name going forward to NMX, New Media Expo.

Backbone Radio YouTube Channel – Internet Radio Simplified

You-Tube logoOver the years we have given a lot of training sessions on Backbone radio.  Afterwards many people said, “that was simple”.  With that kind of response we felt that we were doing the right thing by providing the personalized service of one to one online training sessions, going to conferences or even a few visits.

Since it is so simple we decided we should just do a quick set of videos on how easy it is to get started with Backbone radio.  So today we are launching a playlist of videos on how to operate Backbone radio along with our new tagline, “Internet Radio Simplified”.

There are only four videos:

  1. Installation and Configuration
  2. Loading Content
  3. Creating Rotational Playlists
  4. XTSR Station Training Video

The first two are quite short, less than 3 minutes a piece.  The third one, while a little over 7 minutes, provides a bit more depth on rotation and how it can be used as a powerful programming tool for your station.  There is a forth one from XTSR at Towson University, this is the video they use if for the training for their station operations.

http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL44AC0624A240407E

In launching Backbone Networks YouTube Channel we found a number of other great videos created by our stations or by our friends in the industry.  Even if you are already a customer and use the software daily please watch. Leave comments here or on our YouTube channel about what you think.  We would appreciate your feedback on what you like and what we could to to improve them going forward.

We are also looking for additional topics for short videos on using the our service.

Your Internet Radio Station’s Reach Just Expanded, Now What?

TuneIn logo whiteThe reach of Backbone Internet radio stations keeps growing, and today there’s another way for your audience to find yours.  Yesterday, TuneIn announced that their powerful “TuneIn application will be featured prominently in T-Mobile’s Music Hub, which is part of the T-Mobile(R) Mall, a digital storefront available as a free download in Google Play.”

As Mark Ramsey said in a recent blog, Is Radio Losing “The War of Attention”:

Radio’s challenge is not to adapt its legacy technology for new devices, since this requires consumers to demand those devices because of that technology (look how well that worked for those HD table radios).  Its challenge is to create content that demands attention and nurture that attention across platforms and devices where consumers already spend their time.

With over 150 different devices, including new car radios, carrying your station via TuneIn, its small wonder that Internet radio listenership is growing at a rate of 50% annually. Clearly, they will be able to find you, now it’s your challenge to hold their attention and keep them listening. And the only way you can do that is with compelling content.  Be different and be heard.

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