Scripted, Educators’ Media Guide Launches, Backbone Supports K12 Stations

Just released, the media education resource K12 educators have been waiting for: “Scripted” An Educator’s Guide to Media in the ClassroomThis comprehensive, step-by-step “recipe” book is the manual we, too, have been eagerly anticipating. It opens up the world of hands-on mediaScripted, an Educator's Guide to Media in the Classroom experience to students at an age when they can absorb so much more, and at an age when they critically need to develop their lifetime communication and presentation skills.

How does Backbone figure into this? Well, for the last dozen years we have operated the largest college and high school radio network, The Intercollegiate Broadcast System‘s Student Radio Network (IBS-SRN) on behalf of IBS, the 1,000 member, all volunteer college radio & TV association.

Backbone provides the technology infrastructure in the cloud — the 24/7 radio station. Plus, we are happy to populate the station’s automation library with a few thousand free indie music tracks courtesy of Pirate Promotions. However, the entire choice of content and curriculum is up to the school and the teacher or faculty advisor. Historically, that has been a speed bump for many educators when there is very little published guidance to help them build a media program. Scripted, as far as we can tell, is the first such guidebook that starts with easy-to-use 21st century technologies, then actually lays out an extensive set of templates upon which schools can confidently build a curriculum pathway, evaluate progress, project budgets, specify products with the best ROI, and even ways to self-fund the entire program with local business sponsorships.

We want to thank and congratulate the authors, who all happen to teach with Backbone Radio in their respective schools. This, we believe, will be a watershed moment for student-run radio, where every school can now easily create and afford its own broadcast/podcast program, and do it with the guidance of a systematic yet flexible set of proven methods and benchmarks.

We look forward to seeing Scripted become the nucleus of a media movement in education, and we hope to be creating one or more radio networks just for schools that want to extend their reach. See more at https://www.scriptededucators.com/

Broadcast Free—from Home or Anywhere

Powerful Remotes with the Gear You Already Own

Backbone CoHost™ with LUCI Global® apps, Free for 45 Days!

We need to stay safe, and we need to stay on the air. Working from home is no longer just a futuristic perk, it’s our current duty. This should be easy and affordable, and it can be. There is no need to outlay capital to survive, thanks to our unique, integrated Virtualization in the Cloud.

Remote radio broadcasting in the cloud with LUCI and Backbone

Versatile Party Line topology means unlimited remotes using free, downloadable apps. Switching amongst remote feeds available in paid accounts.

Backbone CoHost PL is a fast and easy way for stations to create an always-available “Party Line” conference room for one or more hosts, guests, and correspondents to contribute live audio for your broadcasts. These two-way conversations are enabled by using the groundbreaking LUCI Global service from Technica del Arte and their free, downloadable apps for iOS, Mac, Android, and Windows platforms. LUCI enables these phones, pads, and computers to communicate with and using the same standard formats used by commercial hardware. including COMREX® and TIELINE®.

CoHost PL is a simplified, unswitched version of Backbone CoHost, allowing users to instantly join the broadcast with the touch of a finger. There are no IT settings to configure, no port selections to worry about, and no equipment to purchase or forget in the car. It all works with whatever you’re carrying and over any decent Internet access you can find. (watch video)

Free 45-Day Demo
Backbone is offering a fully functional demo of CoHost PL and LUCI Global to our existing Phone (Talk) and Radio Customers, as well as U.S.-based call-letter radio and TV stations, for 45 days, starting March 30th. Customers who wish to continue with paid service will also get the premium switched version of Backbone CoHost and a full, unlimited version of LUCI Global, for a bundled monthly price of only $275.
To start your free 45-day trial, please email your contact information and a brief note about your organization to: info@backbone.com

“Backbone is Changing The Way Audio Programming Is Delivered”, in The Broadcast Bridge

Our thanks to The Broadcast Bridge for reporting on the role Backbone is playing in today’s “broadcast from anywhere” world. At Backbone, we have quietly focused on building the fully virtualized radio station in our highly reliable cloud, from automation and production Backbone makes collaborative, distributed audio broadcasts easy in The Broadcast Bridgecommunications, to streaming and syndication. Recent events are now spotlighting the importance of agility and geographically distributed, collaborative broadcasts, Backbone’s core strength.

In olden times, you would need a lot of expensive hardware, plus an IT guru, to pull together a highly distributed audio broadcast. When you wanted to include multiple cohosts and roving reporters in studio quality, the IT issues could get tricky, involving port assignments and routing, not to mention the hardware management issues and equipment cost. Add phones to that, with PBXs and hybrids, and the problems compound exponentially with the complexity of the broadcast.

With Backbone in the cloud, all you need is a Mac laptop, a portable USB mixer, a couple of mics and headsets, all situated wherever you call your main studio(s). Your call screener and/or producer can be local or in another city, with a separate Mac. Then, you only need a smartphone (or tablet or laptop) for each of your remote contributors and collaborators, thanks to the free, downloadable LUCI Global app for iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows. All the calls and remotes are mixed in the cloud and managed by your producer, screener, or primary host.

Even though there are plenty of powerful features built into this integrated suite of services, it’s incredibly easy and intuitive to use. Please contact us when you would like to take it for a 30-day test drive.

COVID Virginia Station Helps Listeners Be “Together in Isolation” — Radio World

COVID Virginia Radio Station with Backbone NetworksThe TV/Radio industry is suddenly embracing the benefits of cloud broadcasting as the world fights against COVID-19. In the new Radio World, read how one Roanoke resident has quickly launched a powerful emergency radio station with the help of his community and Backbone Networks, using the gear they already own: laptops and smartphones.

COVID Virginia Radio, via BackboneCOVID Virginia, a hyper-local station created by veteran radio reporter Bill Trifiro, promises to be a template for communities in dealing with national, regional, and local crises. Bill recognized the importance of employing an integrated cloud approach like Backbone Production Suite™ in terms of ease of use, quality, reliability, and affordability.

The station’s cloud-based core, donated by Backbone, provides live radio assist, automation, streaming, terrestrial syndication, multiline call-in phones with SMS handling, studio quality remotes, multiple co-hosts from their homes, podcast generation and hosting, and a branded website with HTML5 player.

With Backbone’s cloud topology your station can:

  • Produce better broadcasts, made easier, by more people, at a lower cost
  • Avoid specialized equipment, just use your laptops and smartphones
  • Scale up to as many remote contributors as desired via the downloadable LUCI Global app
  • Manage phones and take calls from anywhere
  • Eliminate the IT issues of complex studio equipment
  • Transmit professional sound, rivaling conventional hardware solutions
Backbone Talk Radio Production Suite, in the cloud

Manage all broadcast communications on one Mac® screen.

During this COVID pandemic and beyond, your Backbone friends want to help in any way we can. We think Bill’s brilliant concept is a game changer in battling this threat and perhaps threats to come.

If you are an existing AM/FM/TV station or municipality, please contact us. We have a limited number of slots available for a 30- to 60-day “free trial”, maybe longer. If you want to keep or repurpose it when this all goes away, it’s less than $700/month, fully loaded, including unlimited LUCI Global users and usage.

 

 

 

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Remembering Fritz Kass, A Monumental Figure

This past weekend we attended the memorial service for Frederick “Fritz” Kass who passed away last month in upstate New York. Anyone who met Fritz Frederick "Fritz" Kass, IBS CEOunderstands what a powerful, yet kind individual he was and how deeply he will be missed by his family, friends, and everyone associated with the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS), the all-volunteer college radio association he built and ran over the past 58 years.

Fritz was truly a one-of-a-kind man with an illustrious career spanning many fields, from his military combat experiences as Navy Captain, to his success as an entrepreneur, to his active participation in community organizations and civil aviation. Please take a moment and reflect on a very brief summary of a very big man’s life here.

We at Backbone were fortunate to meet Fritz and IBS a dozen years ago and help fulfill Fritz’s vision of an online network of IBS affiliated college and high school radio stations. He envisioned helping students and faculty advisors implement the professional practices they learned at the many IBS conferences around the country. We are grateful for the opportunity to operate that network on behalf of IBS, and we’re proud to have been associated with Fritz in creating it. IBS and the IBS Student Radio Network will continue to go forward continuing Fritz’s mission, ever remembering his keen vision and love for college and high school radio and the students who make it.

Backbone Focusing on the Hot Topics at NAB 2019

Total Podcast and Radio Production & Streaming in the Cloud

The annual NAB Show in Las Vegas is invigorating, allowing us to reconnect with old friends and recalibrate our technological focus. Among this years top ten hot topics are Content in the Cloud, Streaming, and Podcasting, all of which you’ll see in operation at Booth N6319, Backbone Networks. No other company on the show floor will bring together such a completely virtualized radio production environment, all operating in the cloud to guarantee Your Station Anywhere.

Look closely so you can find our diminutive stand, where a student crew from Robert Morris University Radio will be broadcasting live — demonstrating how they produce live and automated shows in the cloud, stream them, and automatically generate and publish podcasts — with just a Mac, a mixer, and a couple of mics.

What to check out at Backbone Networks, Booth 6319:

  • Backbone Production Suite™—The whole turnkey bundle for a complete radio station, or any of its component modules, including:
    • Backbone Radio™ — Professional streaming radio station in the cloud, live and automated, always-on 24/7
    • Backbone Talk™ — Broadcast multi-line call-in phone system, PBX in the cloud, take/make calls from anywhere, streamlined for online and AM/FM stations, as well as talk-show podcasters
    • Backbone Co-Host™, with LUCI® Global — Unlimited SIP/OPUS remotes and multi-location shows with no boxes or hardware; just laptops and smartphones; conference directly with Talk callers
    • Backbone Hub — Cloud assistant for automated production, Podcast publication, Alexa® briefings, and scheduling live audio and FTP show syndication to AM/FM stations; included with Backbone Radio™
  • New 3rd Party Hardware — including an exciting new mix-minus portable mixer for sports and talk radio remotes, and new hardware concepts for creating your own robust cloud.

See you in Las Vegas!

Junior Radio to Major Leagues—To Alexa and Beyond—with new Backbone Hub

Q: How does a Midwestern junior high classroom radio station manage to produce and deliver dynamic on-demand audio the same way as a champion NBA team or 24/7 nationwide sports network?
A: By harnessing the hottest cloud technology to reach an exploding “smart speaker” audience, including Backbone Hub, cloud based on-demand audio production and distribution software for Alexa flash briefings and Google Home, podcasts and radio automation FTP feedsAmazon’s Echo “Flash Briefings”, as well as other outlets—using Backbone, of course.   (more about Lincoln Jr. High, below)

Automatic Alexa publishing for radio stations and moreBackbone Hub™, the incredible, new product set in our “cloud-based” ecosystem, is both a multi-destination distribution engine for your recorded content and a hands-free production tool that adds music and pre-rolls to your dry voice recordings. The result is an automated workflow allowing one person to remotely—via iOS® or Android®— record a spoken segment, and have it dynamically gift-wrapped with music and simultaneously delivered to Alexa, Google Home, AM/FM automation systems, and even as a podcast, with no further effort. (We’re announcing Backbone Hub at NAB 2018 in Las Vegas—Booth 5721— and previewing at IBS NYC).

We’ll tell you more about our sports clients later, but first here is what Indiana’s Storm Radio is doing, from Literacy Shop Talk


“Alexa, Give Me LJH Storm Radio Flash Briefing For Today”

BY: PAULA NEIDLINGER – FEB• 20•2018 Twitter: @PNeidPrepare self-directed learners to think critically about the messages received and created by media

Are you completely confused by the title? If I captured your attention- please continue reading to find out how you can use the Amazon Echo in the classroom for student podcasts and Internet radio stations.

Yes, your students’ podcasts and radio shows can now be heard through the Flash Briefing setting within your Echo/Alexa device. What an exciting opportunity for all students. Their voices can now be heard beyond the classroom walls. Aren’t we all searching for global audiences? What an exciting opportunity for all students and teachers.

Within my mass media classroom structure, students have the opportunity each day to have their voices heard through our Storm Radio program. We are now finishing our fourth year with Backbone Networks, the provider of our classroom Internet radio station. Backbone has enabled our classroom station to operate 24/7 using an integrated radio automation system, which streams to a worldwide audience and automatically creates listener logs and reports for me on a regular basis. With no more than a Mac, mic, and audio board, we operate Storm Radio from the classroom 24/7. Students write and produce their shows daily, utilizing school, community, and world news. Additionally, our Lincoln Jr. High student DJ’s entertain calls from their listeners using our Backbone Talk broadcast phone system. This system provides engagement with our audience in Plymouth, Indiana, and beyond.

Now, let’s continue with the “BIG” news! Using backbone’s new product ‘backbone hub’, we are now able to deliver media from our
radio database automatically as an Amazon Alexa flash briefing — as well as stream that same content on air and deliver to a podcast RSS feed. If you own an Echo Device, check out our podcast through the Flash Briefing content on your Echo/Alexa device.

Directions:

  • Open your Alexa app
  • Go to settings
  • Scroll down to Flash Briefings
  • Search Content for LJH Storm Radio
  • Enable Content
  • Ask Alexa for your Flash Briefings Update each day

Yes, it’s that simple. Providing students with the opportunity to have their voices heard, both within the walls of Lincoln Jr. High and beyond, is possible through an Internet radio program. Not only can you listen to Storm Radio through our LJH Digital Storm website and TuneIn app, you now can hear the latest news each day through Flash Briefings on your Echo device; just say, “Alexa, give me my LJH Storm Radio Flash Briefings today.”

Are you excited now? Think of all the possibilities for student podcasting. I’d love to hear from you. My students are always eager to connect through the “Radio Waves.”

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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.

Warriors Sound uses Backbone to Connect with Fans

Warriors Sound RadioAs you would expect, the Golden State Warriors have a huge following on social media. As of today they have over 9.1M likes on Facebook, 2.39M followers on Twitter, and 3.2K followers on TuneIn. This creates a wonderful opportunity to use their Warriors Sound online radio station and podcasts to engage with their fans who would like to hear more about the team and what they are doing. [Read more…]