Alt Newspaper Teams with Community Radio to Serve New England’s Second City

New England’s second largest city has its first community “media station”, a term coined by Talkers Magazine. Worcester Magazine, the city’s alternative newsweekly, has teamed with Unity Radio, a community-focused online andBackbone powers newspaper radio station low-power FM (LPFM) radio station, to create “ a joint venture unlike anything else in the Worcester media landscape”. The station’s technology, unlike traditional stations resides in “the cloud”, virtualized — without physical hardware, bricks or mortar.

The new media enterprise, which is based on all the elements of Backbone’s Production Suite™, was “soft-launched” during the city’s municipal elections November 7. The station intends to draw upon the resources of both WoMag and Unity’s non-profit parent, Pride Productions, as well as popular, local talk radio talents, like veteran morning host and news director Hank Stolz.

Backbone powers community radio

Worcester Magazine at local elections on Unity Radio, powered by Backbone

During election night, Unity Radio set up operations in Worcester City Hall awaiting ballot counts, where they interviewed candidates (using Backbone Producer™), took listener phone calls (Backbone Talk™), and aired studio-quality remotes from reporters with smartphones around the city (Backbone Co-Host™ with LUCI™ Global). The live production was streamed online (Backbone Radio™) and fed through a low-latency IP connection (Backbone Syndicate™) from the cloud to Unity’s new LPFM transmitter located several miles away.

Read more here: “Worcester Magazine, Unity Radio announce online station

TALKERS 2017, The All-Star Game of Talk Radio

Talkers 2017If you’re really into talk radio, you know what an incredible institution Talkers Magazine is and the important role it plays in the talk radio industry. You probably already receive your daily email briefing from “the Bible of Talk Radio” and you’re familiar with the Heavy Hundred rosters of Talk and of Sports Talk Radio. Well, then, I don’t have to tell you what an awesome feeling it is to walk into a room full of some of the industry’s most illustrious radio talents, standing shoulder to shoulder ready to meet with and learn from each other.

Backbone is incredibly proud to be invited to sponsor the Talkers 2017 event in New York City on June 2nd, and we want everybody to know that we’re dedicated to “The New Era” of talk radio that this event celebrates. If you haven’t had the opportunity to attend an annual Talkers event, I strongly encourage you to take this opportunity to learn from the big dogs in the business. It only happens once a year, just like the Super Bowl, and it’s an event you will always remember.

See you there.

LUCI in the Cloud with Backbone

We have a big announcement to make, and we’re going to the IBC2015 conference in Amsterdam to tell about it. The news is that Backbone has teamed up with Amsterdam-based Technica Del Arte BV, the creator of LUCI® Live, to introduce two new intertwined products that we think represent a major advance in radio broadcast technology—one that captures, delivers and manages studio-quality live feeds from a station’s remote co-hosts, guests and field reporters, who require nothing more than an iOS smartphone or tablet. (Android coming soon.)

Iphone, Mobile Phone, Smart Phone.

Studio Quality Remotes, Guests, Co-Hosts

The two new products that make this possible are LUCI® Global and Backbone Co-Host™, complementary cloud-based radio “backhaul” services. When married together, they allow talk radio stations to produce live programming from anywhere in the world with the simplest of equipment and no physical infrastructure.

The LUCI product series has been bringing high quality “reportage” from the field for about ten years now, and their licensed LUCI Live app is accepted as the gold standard for turning mobile phones into remote broadcast platforms. Their new LUCI Global iOS app takes this concept a big step forward—the easy-to-use app is free on the iTunes store for anyone who wants to contribute professional audio content to any broadcast station around the world. That is, any station that subscribes to be listed in the LUCI Global directory. Imagine the incredible network of live correspondents who will become available to stations around the world, and the number of news outlets available to freelance reporters everywhere!

Backbone Co-Host is the software used by the radio station to receive, answer, conference and manage these incoming feeds, in full studio quality. The software, like all Backbone software, runs on a Mac. Like our phone system in the cloud, Backbone Talk™, it uses the intuitive call screener/producer and host/talent screens. Those stations that use both Backbone Talk and Co-Host are able to conference together remote guests, co-hosts, reporters, as well as listeners on the telephone network. All of this takes place in the cloud, managed by the host and screener, wherever they happen to be at the time. Remember, Your Station Anywhere.

See more about LUCI Global and Backbone Co-Host.

Visit LUCI at IBC 2015, Stand 7.C09, Hall 7, where representatives of both companies will be on hand for business and technical discussions. RAI Center, Amsterdam, Sept. 11-15, 2015.

Indiana Junior High Club Sets Example in College Radio Network

Lincoln Junior High School Radio Station Storm RadioIn the largest network of online college and high school radio stations, you would expect the biggest, most senior or most affluent of the student radio clubs to maintain the leadership role for its sister affiliate stations. However, a new affiliate station in Plymouth, Indiana has stepped up to become one of the nation’s most active and successful online stations, even though the station comprises the youngest group of broadcasters in the IBS Student Radio Network—and said to be the only 24/7 junior high radio station in the United States.

In little more than six months from launching Digital Storm Radio, the students of Lincoln Jr. High School, under the direction of Ms. Paula Neidlinger, have established their station as living example of what student-run radio can achieve. Not only have they brought home three first place awards from this year’s premier college IBS College Radio Awardbroadcasters’ conference in New York City and tackled the task of creating their own staff training videos, but they have found the elusive formula for funding their radio station through local sponsorships.

Winners in News, Sports, Talk
Last month at the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System’s 75th annual International Conference, the LJH Digital Storm team Lincoln Junior High School Radio Award Winnerswere finalists in five categories in the high school division, walking away with three wins: Best Spot News:  Trenton Arveson, Nikki Laucis, and Brittney Klotz;  Best Sports Update:  Soren Houin and Shaun Frantz; and Best Sports Program:  Adam Hunter and Korey Kopetski.

Storm Radio is one of the few “high school” stations to schedule live call-in talk shows, and has been a beta partner in testing our recently announced Backbone Talk™ broadcast phone system in the cloud. The LJH radio team saw this as an opportunity to put their own spin on documenting a new technology, so they applied their media expertise and made their own training video showing how to configure a mixing board for “mix-minus” and how to screen phone calls through their Mac® computers. We are proud to feature this video on the Backbone YouTube page.

How are they funding the station?
Tackling one of the most important, and difficult, subjects in broadcast media, the team have secured six sponsors from their community, including a funeral home, a pizza parlor, a Ford dealership and Coca Cola. Junior High Radio club finds community sponsorsIn addition to performing live reads, the students have produced commercials for each sponsor. These spots run throughout the day and night, using the Backbone Radio automation system.

More about Storm Radio
Storm Radio, is one part of the Interactive Media program at Lincoln Junior High (Plymouth, IN), which is a new program this year.  The radio station is a 24/7 Internet Radio with the call tag – STORM RADIO – “Ride the Waves.”  The radio station is Internet based, so it’s available through the TuneIn App on iOS and Android devices, the LJH DigitalStorm website-http://www.ljhdigitalstorm.com/ , and the Internet at: http://tunein.com/radio/Storm-Radio-s231710/    Students research, write, create, and broadcast daily and provide 100 percent of the programming.

 

 

High school students share lessons from series on Boston Herald Radio

Brian Foster, a junior at Excel High School, speaks on air in the Herald Radio studio with Joe Battenfeld and Erica Moura during a visit the Boston Herald.

Brian Foster, a junior at Excel High School, speaks on air in the Herald Radio studio with Joe Battenfeld and Erica Moura during a visit to the Boston Herald.

The biggest sport in Boston might really be politics, and Boston Herald Radio is giving the youth of New England a voice in the events. The city’s “watchdog newspaper” tells how students from area high schools were honored guests on a half hour special show to discuss their view of the political landscape.  Read the article here.

Boston Herald Radio is produced digitally online using Backbone Networks technology and service, and is carried worldwide online and terrestrially in the greater Boston area.  Backbone Networks also operates the largest network of student-run college and high school radio stations.

 

It’s College Radio Day! Show Your Support

It’s here, today, October 1, —  College Radio Day. This special day was created at William Patterson University in New Jersey by Dr. Rob Quicke to raise a greater, international awareness of the many college and high school radio stations that operate around the world, by encouraging people who would not normally listen to college radio to do so today.

College Radio FundAnd, launching today is the organization’s College Radio Fund, a “common source of funding available to all college radio stations”.  Learn more about what this means to you at the CRD-Fund web site.

College Radio DayStarted in 2011, 37 countries have signed on to College Radio Day. College radio is “the only free live medium brave enough to play unsigned, local, and independent artists on a regular basis,” Quicke said. “Indeed, many famous and successful bands today, owe their initial break to being played on college radio.”

We at Backbone are especially proud to be a sponsor of College Radio Day, as the technology host, of the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System’s IBS Student Radio Network — the largest online network of student-run college and high school radio stations. Dr. Quicke’s creation has not only gained traction, but become a major force in the music and entertainment industries, as well as noncommercial radio. Read more at collegeradioday.com

Please make this the day you rediscover College and High School Radio.  Take this opportunity to scan around for some excellent listening, like what you will find at these stations.

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.

Boston Herald Radio Announced, Marks “Tipping Point”

Boston Herald Radio LogoMonday, July 29th, was an important day for both Boston and Backbone as one of the great “watchdog” newspapers announced the launch of its Internet news/talk/sports radio station, Boston Herald Radio. The new station is built on the technology of—or as the Herald says, managed by—Backbone Networks Corp.

We view this as a watershed moment for both newspapers and Internet radio. It’s one of the very first implementations of Internet radio designed to actually expand the brand of a major U.S. newspaper, providing new reach to its audience while maximizing the productivity of its writers and news staff.  It also is one step further in legitimizing Internet radio as a medium for real time news, talk and sports content.  It’s not just for hobbyists and DJs anymore.

Boston Herald Front Page 072913We note that this moment is also what Talkers Magazine publisher Michael Harrison has been predicting for years, the convergence of print, radio and video (yes, the Herald has that, as well) into the Media Station. It was Talkers Magazine that broke this story yesterday.

Of course, we are thrilled that the Boston Herald selected Backbone as its technology partner in this venture. Backbone is the only full service Internet radio platform that provides virtually every operational element of a professional radio station, making it incredibly easy and fast to set up and broadcast, including live remotes from anywhere. Backbone services include integrated talk-radio multi-caller phone-in system, live assist, powerful automation, podcast generation and listener stats and maps. We’re also very happy that our friend, ex-WEEI personality and voice of Boston College football and basketball, Jon Meterparel, will host the afternoon drive slot alongside Jen Royle.

Stay tuned for further news, and please see more coverage at the following links:

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.  

Your Station Anywhere — How Might This Tagline Change Your Radio Future?

Finding the right motto or tagline is tougher than we imagined. We had to struggle to distill our message into as few words as possible, yet convey the essence of what makes Backbone Radio unique.  Our previous tagline was “Internet Radio Simplified”. That expression was correct, but it didn’t tell people how radio can be great again.

Backbone Networks - Your Station AnywhereWe like our new tagline better, because it concisely says what we provide: freedom and power. How’s that? Let’s examine the tagline to see what we mean, starting with the noun.

STATION
Backbone creates Internet radio stations. We aren’t in the business of producing “shows” or time slots on existing radio stations.  A station is a 24/7, round-the-clock entity, and it always has programs running no matter when a listener tunes in.  Maybe listeners will find your station on your station’s website and listen there; maybe on an Internet tuner like TuneIniTunes or dar.fm. Maybe on their laptop, desktop, iPhone or Android, or any of hundreds of devices like Roku or their car’s digital dashboard.

The station is what listeners search for. A program or show is what’s playing when they find your station.  So, your station could include your show, your choice of PSA’s or none at all, shows contributed by your esteemed colleagues or best friends, shows contributed by people who pay you to air them, or any other audio content you choose. That is the importance of the word YOUR.

YOUR
In traditional over-the-air (OTA) radio, your job is at the will of someone else. Ultimately, that other person is the OTA station owner.  He chooses who to hire and who to fire based on fundamental economics, the same way he makes decisions about transmitter maintenance and janitorial services. Your job is always on the line.

You UsYou prove your value by bringing in listeners and creating a following, which in turn brings in revenue from sponsors and advertisers. Your value has to pay for your salary plus millions of dollars worth of annual station operating costs.

Imagine for a moment that you converted that value to a station that had no existing overhead burden; you retain your following, your loyal sponsors and you build your own station.  You are the station owner, and you call the shots.  This is now YOUR station, so where do you put it?

ANYWHERE
This is the key word. Anywhere.  The power of radio has always been its ability to connect with people at a very personal level.  Want to cover a concert or conference, broadcast an interview from the mayor’s office, or do your show from Cancun? You have the freedom to pick up and go out into the community where things are happening making your radio station more personal.

Obviously, you will need some overhead, but how much?  Well, for starters, on the Internet you don’t have to build a tower, so no requirement for real estate, not to mention permission from the FCC, FAA or any other government bureau.  And you don’t have to sit in the same old studio day after day. You are free to take your studio with you…anywhere.

Liz Claiborne Radio RowBecause your Backbone Radio station resides “in the cloud”, your live studio can simply be “a Mac and a mic”, plus maybe a small mixer, in your backpack. As long as you can find an Internet connection (WiFi, 3G/4G, WiMax or other) you can be broadcasting live. Your other hosts for your other shows can similarly go live from their Macbooks from wherever they are at the time.

And since your archived programs and audio, syndicated content, and a very powerful automation system also reside in your station in the cloud, just stop your live broadcast session, and your automated program schedule takes over. Your studio is wherever you are, and your station is always on the air.

So, that’s it in a nutshell. YOUR STATION ANYWHERE.  It is a complete radio station, you are in control, and you are free to take it wherever you want without limitation. Now you know what we meant by our tagline and how Backbone is changing radio forever.