Mayor Menino, Internet Radio Pioneer

Being in the broadcast business I cross paths with a lot of media makers. Mayor Menino was the very first in studio guest on Boston Herald Radio on their launch day, August 5th, 2013. It was my pleasure to be there when he came into the studio with Joe Sciacca.

Hillary Chabot and Jaclyn Cashman interviewed him as part of their show Morning Meeting. The Herald had recently moved to the Boston Innovation District — the Mayor was the greatest proponent of the growth of that area of Boston, and I think he was really very interested in a new media project getting launched there, and wanted to give it his blessing.

That was Mayor Menino, always looking to connect with the community and push things forward.

 


Why I’m a Happy S.O.B.

Richard CernyEven though I’ve lived in central Massachusetts for decades, in my heart I’m still a South Omaha Boy. When I was a kid, I delivered the weekly shopper called The South Omaha Sun. Warren Buffett bought that, although we didn’t know who he was back then.  More recently he bought the big paper in town, the Omaha World-Herald, the prestigious daily that my family read.  If you wanted to know anything, you got news print on your fingers.

Times have changed, and so has the Omaha World-Herald.  Not the part about prestigious, but about the inky fingers.  This month the OWH launches one of the country’s first online radio stations run by a major newspaper.  What pleases me even more is that the flagship newspaper of Berkshire Hathaway Media chose Backbone Networks to create the station for them. The

Omaha World-Herald logo

Why Internet radio? Mike Reilly, executive editor of the World-Herald, said in a post by Tom Shatel on Omaha.com that the traditional newspaper audience continues to evolve as a tablet or Internet audience. This move is about following — or perhaps leading — that audience.station will use Backbone’s late beta-stage talk radio phone system to take calls from listeners during broadcasts, as well as a few new features we’ve developed specifically for talk, sports and news radio.

We’re in an age where our audience is growing, but it’s growing into digital space,” Reilly said. “It’s growing online. All the industry trends tell us that people want options online other than reading words. They want to listen.

Reilly said he and World-Herald Publisher Terry Kroeger and Larry King, vice president of news and content, have discussed this move for two years. Only a handful of newspapers in the U.S. have their own online radio show, but that number figures to increase in the future.

One of my favorite quotes is from Wayne Gretzky,” Reilly said. “You skate to where the puck is going, not to where it’s been. I think about that quote as I think about this project for us. We see the future of radio, so we’re going there.

The Bottom Line on World-Herald Live

“We’re not very far from ‘Star Trek.’ ” — Mike’l Severe

Mike'l Severe headshot

Mike’l Severe
The Bottom Line

The World-Herald’s first program is a sports talk show, “The Bottom Line”, which runs Monday through Friday from 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. CDT, and features World-Herald sportswriters, entertainment writers and news writers.

Mike’l Severe, a well known local sports/talk personality will host the show, which he says will cover a combination of sports, entertainment, movies and dining out. Severe makes the move after nearly 10 years as co-host of “Unsportsmanlike Conduct” on radio station KOZN.

This is a new age for newspapers,” Severe claimed. ” The responsibility now is to get to the next level. I still want to have that tangible product in my hand. The question is, how do you supplement it, hour by hour, minute by minute?

For years, it was always ‘read it tomorrow.’ Now, if you want to talk about it right this minute, pick up a phone and we’ll talk about it right now.

Extending Newspaper Brands through Online Radio


I just got back from the AAN Convention in sunny San Francisco where I was on a panel with Jeff Lawrence the Publisher of DigBoston. Our panel was on using Online Radio as a way for the Alternative Newsmedia to extend their brand.

The session was well attended and Jeff is quite passionate about his paper, DigBoston and the opportunity to extend their brand in the community. With many of the large major metropolitan newspapers cutting their budgets the “Alts” have become the arts and entertainment newspapers in the community. It is only natural for them to run a radio station as a way to broaden the appeal of what they already provide to the community.

The does not mean adding online radio will be easy, it will be a challenge, but one worth taking, particularly in the age of the internet. He gave a number of examples where in just a few months he was able to find sponsors for certain types of programming. The common thread was live and community based.

My part of the panel traced the history of the “media” industry where media was viewed through their specific type of media, newspapers, television and radio. Each media had a certain business model with which they needed to comply. For example, with radio, there was only so much spectrum, you needed to get an FCC license and there were restrictions on the amount of media properties you could own. On the capital side you needed to build a studio with specialized equipment and people to run that equipment.

Today with the Internet you do not need an FCC license to run an online radio station. There are few if any restriction on ownership of media properties and the ability to set up and run an online radio station is quite inexpensive. While there are differences between newspapers and radio there are tremendous synergies. The time is now to get into the market and extend your reach.

Contact me if you would like to see the version with speaker notes!

We’re Part of the 27% and Proud of It

Internet Radio InfographicA recently released infographic from BrandSavant.com indicates that 53% of online Americans listen to “streaming audio” in one form or another. It distinguishes among three large categories: Personalized radio (Pandora and iTunes — music), On-Demand Music (esp. Spotify), and Live Streaming (TuneIn, Backbone and others).  Music, music and everything.

This could alternatively be framed as: Robot DJ, Infinite iPod and Radio.  Certainly, Pandora and Spotify perform their functions with wonderful precision, but neither fills the function of real online radio any more than MTV and VH1 complete the cable television experience.

Twenty-seven percent of the people, and we think that number will soar when in-car dashboards are better connected, listen to the thousands of live streaming stations available on tuners like TuneIn. And, what is the composition of the programming on these stations?  Much of it is music, some of it personally curated by talented program directors, and some of it produced on autopilot.  It takes a lot for a station to stand out among the crowd.

At Backbone, we’re fortunate to work with clients who really know what it takes to make radio great.  We work with faculty advisors who understand traditional radio and teach their students how to apply that experience into online radio which represents their colleges and high schools.  We work with seasoned news organizations and professionals to create compelling talk radio that engages listeners and callers from around the world.  We work with professional and Division 1 NCAA teams and leagues who create an exciting blend of live play-by-play with interactive halftimes and 24/7 team-related sports content.  This is real radio.

Music is wonderful, whether you listen to it passively or actively grab it on-demand.  But there is much more to radio than music, just as there is much more to music than radio.  We love being part of the 27% of the radio you can’t get from Pandora or Spotify.

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: