Backbone visits Innovation Nights to show off Talk Radio

After showing off our integrated phone system, announcing TalkersRadio at the TALKERS New York event and working with TalkersRadio at Radio Day at the UN we returned home to participate in a local high tech happening, Innovation Nights – Boston.

Mass Innovation Nights logoInnovation Nights – Boston is the home of the original Innovation Nights events. It all started in April 2009 as Mass Innovation Nights (MIN) with a website and a monthly event designed to help local innovators increase the buzz around new products and companies.

Every month ten companies bring new products to the event and the social media community turns out to blog, tweet, post pictures and video, add product mentions to LinkedIn and Facebook statuses, and otherwise help spread the word. In the last two years, the events have helped to:

  • Launch more than 500 products
  • Connect dozens of job seekers and hiring managers
  • Profile dozens of local experts
  • Launch a wave of Innovation Nights events around the world (coming soon)

Held once a month (usually the second Wednesday of the month, registration and networking at 6:00 p.m.), presentations start showing at 7:00 p.m., the live events allow companies to show off Massachusetts-based innovation.

While at Innovation Nights I gave a sneak preview of our new integrated phone service that works with Backbone Radio.  Similar to Backbone Radio’s automation, the phone system will be in the cloud.  Now your phone system can go on the road with you along with your automation so you can operate your station anywhere. Chris Day, the Director of Broadcast and Digital Media at Major League Lacrosse recently wrote an article for RadioWorld Magazine about what they were able to do last year with the Backbone Radio service.  They found that what Backbone provides, compared to a traditional broadcast set up, saved them quite a bit of money and made broadcasting very simple.

Thanks to Innovation Nights – Boston for providing the opportunity to show a different audience our new Internet radio phone service.  The connections we made their with the local innovation community are invaluable.  Now we will be working to help our customers launch Talk Radio programs as part of their broadcasts!

TalkersRadio Gets Heard With Backbone Radio

This week we are proud to present a guest post from Michael Grotticelli, Online Editor of Broadcast Engineering, regarding The TALKERS New York 2013 event last week #TalkersNY2013.

Talkers magazine logoBackbone Networks Corporation, the company that is leveraging the latest in Internet streaming radio delivery for all types of professional and college-level applications, was the talk of the town at the recent “Talkers New York 2013” conference on June 6.

The radio industry’s preeminent trade publication, worked with Backbone Networks to stream the conference live at www.talkers.com and officially launch a new 24/7/365 streaming spoken-word Internet radio station called “TalkersRadio.”

We caught up with Michael Harrison at the Talkers New York 2013 conference, where—through a series of keynote speeches and panel discussions—many of the biggest names in talk radio shared their views on the new era of radio.

He evaluated his experience working with Backbone Networks.

“Talkers” publisher Michael Harrison said the Backbone platform represented the perfect conduit for his readers and the industry at large. Among a host of programming, Harrison said the new channel provides a platform for “bridge shows” – those channels that have terminated AM/FM talk show hosts can do a series of final shows to say goodbye to their listeners and/or announce their upcoming plans within a radio show context; and “orphan” programs that do not conveniently fit into prevailing AM/FM station format categories.

All of these types of programs and more are fully supported by the Backbone network and its full-service technology that gets users on the radio within seconds from anywhere in the world that offers broadband online access.

“Our relationship with Talkers is a perfect example of how we provide the required infrastructure and production tools to create programming and get it out to listeners while you concentrate on the creative and promotional side of the business,” said Richard Cerny, president and co-founder of Backbone Networks, in Westboro, Mass. “The radio industry is changing in so many ways, but at the end of the day it’s all about going where the listener is and supplying them with compelling programs.”

To this end, Backbone Networks has developed a platform that straddles both over-the-air and Internet delivery, making getting up and running fast and easy. Cerny said that by “doing all the dirty work” and taking all of the guessing work involved with getting a station up and running, Backbone Networks can make a significant impact of the future of radio.

And indeed, Cerny might be on to something: Many are calling the Backbone cloud-based platform the easiest, most affordable way to start and operate a world-class, professional Internet radio station. All you need is a Mac and a mic. Backbone takes care of everything else.

TalkersRadio has been in development for the past year and a half and is a joint project between TALKERS’s parent company Talk Media, Inc. and Backbone Networks. It will feature a scalable radio platform that makes it extremely convenient and affordable for talk show hosts to do a fully produced program – with live callers and guests – from an amazingly simple technical remote and portable set up.

Backbone Networks also operates and hosts the largest network of college and high school noncommercial educational (NCE) radio stations, as well as public radio, commercial and sports radio stations.

Our thanks to Mike Grotticelli for this guest post.

If you want your talk show on the Internet’s first world-class Talk Network, contact Talkers.com.

If you want to start and your own 24/7 professional radio station, with live on-air from anywhere production, automation in the cloud, and radio streaming worldwide, give Backbone Networks a call and see what the future of radio looks (and sounds) like.

TALKERS Magazine to Launch TalkersRadio

TalkerRadio Backbone SigningTo Debut to Broadcast Entire “Talkers New York 2013” Live. TALKERS magazine announces the launch next week of “TalkersRadio” – a 24/7/365 streaming spoken-word internet radio station that will be available to listeners on the trade publication’s website, www.talkers.com and feature a unique brand of stationality that, as publisher Michael Harrison describes, “views the world through the lens of the talk media industry.”

TalkersRadio’s mission will be to serve as:

    1. a laboratory for interesting new concepts and talent in talk;
    2. a farm system to help develop deserving up-and-comers;
    3. a real-time stage for talent to audition for specific jobs and opportunities;
    4. a platform for “bridge shows” – a new device by which suddenly terminated AM/FM talk show hosts can do a series of final shows to say goodbye to their listeners and/or announce their upcoming plans within a radio show context;
    5. a vehicle for “orphan shows” – programs that do not conveniently fit into prevailing AM/FM station format categories;
    6. a showcase for new and adventurous programming concepts and ideas; and
    7. a medium to exclusively broadcast TALKERS magazine live events such as the annual convention next week and Talk Radio Day at the United Nations the following day.

TalkersRadio will also carry several “regularly scheduled” programs to give it, as Harrison describes, “the feel and consistency” of a real radio station.  Some of these will be talk shows about the industry and others will just be talk shows about life in general.  “The key,” according to Harrison, “is most of the programming will be the type that is unavailable elsewhere.”  TalkersRadio has been in development for the past year and a half and is a joint project betweenTALKERS parent company Talk Media, Inc. and Westborough, Massachusetts-based firm Backbone Networks Corporation.  It will feature a leading-edge concept in broadcasting technology developed by Backbone that makes it extremely convenient and affordable for talk show hosts to do a fully produced program – with live callers and guests – from an amazingly simple technical remote and portable set up.

According to Harrison, “Our partners at Backbone are technical wizards.  Having them power this operation will give us the flexibility and means to really make a significant contribution to talk radio as both a cultural art form and a 21st century-rooted business — the ongoing mission of TALKERS magazine.”  Further developments about TalkersRadio will be posted in the coming days and weeks.

Tools for DJs – Spinitron, playlist management for Internet radio

Spinitron LogoWe are always looking for ways to help our radio stations operate more effectively and efficiently. We have recently come across a great tool to help DJs with a lot of their day to day efforts, Spinitron. Eva and Tom have put together a great solution. Let me tell you a bit more about what it does.

Spinitron is an online playlist management solution for non-commercial educational and community radio stations. It is all web based; there is no software to install. It provides sophisticated features for playlist data entry (manual & automated) and dynamic online publishing. It solves your data storage, archiving and security issues. You can integrate station schedule, current and historical playlists, as well as other custom elements, into your web site. You can put “Now Playing” on your home page, webcast stream, mobile apps, RDS and others.

With an advanced database design, Spinitron offers powerful data manipulation and analysis features. Compile Top-30 charts (or however many you like) with filtering by genre, time period, etc. Generate unlimited reports for CMJ, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange. Track the popularity of artists, disks and songs. Query how often certain disks get played. Produce reports of what DJs at the station are playing to give to record companies and promotional agencies. Stay connected with your listeners.

Watch for other interesting developments as we start working together with them on a few projects.  Discover Spinitron with a 30-day no-obligation free trial. Contact: Eva Papp at eva@spinitron.com or 617-233-3115 to learn more.

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.

Future of Music Coalition event today

fmc12-bannerToday, you can listen to in on the Future of Music Coalition Summit.  Here is the current schedule of events:

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM
Welcome+

9:05 AM – 9:25 AM
In Conversation: Tim Westergren of Pandora

9:30 AM – 10:10 AM
Expression Obsession: IP Enforcement & Internet Openness

10:15 AM – 10:35 AM
In Conversation: Daniel Raimer of RapidShare

10:40 AM – 11:40 AM
Presentations from Artist Growth, CASH Music, HugeFan and Songkick

11:40 PM – 12:50 PM
LUNCH: In Conversation with Thomas Frank, Sascha Meinrath & Rebecca Gates

12:50 PM – 1:30 PM
Radio-active: Internet Broadcasting and Artist Compensation

1:35 PM – 2:30 PM
Making Music-Making Work for Working Musicians

2:30 PM – 2:50 PM
Keynote: Senator Ron Wyden

2:50 PM – 3:10 PM
Artist Revenue Streams Presentation: Leverage

3:10 PM – 3:50 PM
Why Pussy Riot Matters

3:55 PM – 4:35 PM
The Intersection of Data, Policy and the Arts Sector

4:40 PM – 5:15 PM
Election Day Aftermath & The Arts

5:20 PM – 6:00 PM
In Conversation: Merrill Garbus, Thao Nguyen, Chris Walla and Jordan Kurland

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Gibson Guitar Washington D.C. Showroom
Cocktail Party hosted by MailChimp

* All items and speakers subject to change

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.

IBS Student Radio Network stays on the air, Sandy has no impact

Sandy SwirlWhile hurricane Sandy has come and gone its impact is still being felt all of our stations stayed up and on the air.  A good number of our college radio stations had school canceled and did not have access to their studios but they all remained on the air.  This is enabled by the cloud based design and architecture of Backbone Radio and provides two major benefits.

The first is that your station is always available in the cloud.  Your station is not running the servers, we are.  And we have designed them to stay up and operational virtually all the time. When there have been outages in the past they are quite small and are often handled without the station’s intervention.

The second is that your studio is mobile.  A few of our stations did not have access to their studios so could not broadcast live.  If they planned ahead they could have broadcast live from anywhere there was an Internet connection.

Tres Wiggins, Marymount Manhattan: “We were on the air live when we could get an internet connection– but ran on backbone automation otherwise throughout, and working on post-storm coverage now”

Let’s hope the clean up goes well for all of those impacted.  With our stations continually on the air they will be out there to bring you updates.

IBS Student Radio Network underwriting opportunities

IBS LogoOver the years many of the members of the IBS Student Radio Network have asked about finding sponsors and underwriters for their shows, segments and stations.  This week we are launching a pilot program to work with some of the schools in finding underwriters and sponsors.

In the last year our stations have taken well over 1M listener connections.  As the school year progressed the audience engagement increased by over 50% as measured by the average length of a listener session.  Clearly the efforts of the schools to promote their stations and streams is making an impact.

Building off the success of the live events Backbone helped to power over the summer, from the HOT 97 Summer Jam in New York, to the Outside Lands in San Francisco to the recently concluded Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, we will start this year off with a bang by broadcasting the Jamaica Plain Music Fest on the Simmons and Emmanuel College station streams.  These streams are available in the TuneIn tuner.  For this weekend they will be at the top of the college radio section as a sponsored link.

The college demographic is clearly a target that sponsors and underwriters would like to reach.  What better way than through the campus taste makers of the college radio stations.  If you are interested in being a sponsor or underwriter please contact us at underwriting@studentradionetwork.org.

Clear Channel creates an inflection point for the radio industry

I got an special email from the Radio And Internet Newsletter (RAIN) yesterday morning titled:

“Game-changing” CC deal trades AM/FM performance royalties for digital break.

Clear Channel RadioThis is a very interesting development, rate parity for Clear Channel across broadcast mediums. We have commented for years that the Copyright Royalty Board/SoundExchange rates tilt the playing field toward traditional terrestrial broadcasters and away from the nascent digital broadcasters that use the Internet.

IHeartRadio logoFavoring one type of broadcast medium over the other makes no sense, and John Hogan Chairman of Clear Channel Media and Entertainment agrees:  “This new agreement expands label and artist participation from just digital to terrestrial broadcast radio revenues in one comprehensive framework that will give all of us a great incentive to drive the growth of the digital radio industry and allow everyone to participate financially in its growth. This market-based solution helps bring the best in music to radio listeners wherever they want to hear it”

To date there has been no commercial business that can afford the SoundExchange per play royalty rates.  Overall this agreement signals a change in the broadcast industry. Going forward terrestrial and digital might be viewed as one, where the playing field is leveled between broadcast mediums and all can participate in the resulting revenue streams.

All I can say is, it is about time.