“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.

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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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…]

Now connect to Backbone Co-Host using LUCI Global for Android

Luci Global for AndroidOur partners at Technica del Arte have just unveiled a version of LUCI Global for Android, lending incredible mobility to your broadcasts. It is now available for download from the Google Play store.

[Read more…]

Congratulations to the Boston Herald, finalist as national media ‘Innovator’

Boston Herald Radio - Backbone RadioWe love it when our customers are recognized for their achievements. The Boston Herald was just named one of three national finalists for the prestigious Innovator of the Year award by the Associated Press Media Editors for creating Boston Herald Radio and integrating the new platform with their multimedia newsroom.

The Boston Herald was one of our first integrated media customers, and they have spurred us to add new functions and features to our Talk Radio products. We are proud to have a part in their continuing success.

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.

 

 

Broadcast Beat Review of Backbone Talk

Broadcast Beat MagazineWe’d like to thank Jeff Adams for taking the time to review Backbone Talk, our Voice over IP (VoIP) Talk Radio Phone System for Broadcast Beat Magazine. In the review he walks through the product showing how you screen calls, make notes, place certain callers on a blacklist and put them on the air.

 

There is quite a bit there to see in the video review. What you might not get from watching the review is the quality of the calls. The connections between the caller and the talent determines the overall quality of sound you would hear. For example, if some one calls in from a mobile phone with little signal you will hear the degraded quality. The connection from the cell-phone to the tower would most likely be weakest link.

Old wireline phones use a narrowband speech codecs like G.711 which in general are optimized 300–3400 Hz audio. For standard phone calls Backbone Talk uses the G722 Codec. G722 provides improved speech quality due to a wider speech bandwidth of 50–7000 Hz. G.722 samples audio data at a rate of 16 kHz (using 14 bits), double that of traditional telephony interfaces like G.711. The result is superior audio quality and clarity. A difference you can certainly hear.

We will be writing more on this topic and ways that we are delivering high quality audio for our customers. Please leave your comments below on what you would like to hear from us on this topic.

 

 

Backbone provides support for The Bottom Line

The Bottom LineFundamentally we believe that the best radio is when the station gets close to the community. That is often done by getting out of the studio to broadcast events.

Shortly we will be releasing our Backbone Talk product that provides a cloud based phone system for screening calls and placing them on the air. We will also include a couple of add-on options, a high-fidelity guest line and a digital off-air call recording feature that is integrated into Backbone Radio’s automation service.

The Omaha World-Herald and their primary internet radio show The Bottom Line with Mike’l Severe have been using the pre-release version of Backbone Talk. Like our Backbone Radio product, Backbone Talk is a phone system in the cloud. Placing certain broadcast components enables you, the broadcaster, to get closer to the action.

Radio World logoRecently Jeff Bundy, who oversees the internet radio effort at the Omaha World-Herald, wrote an article for RadioWorld about what it was like to use Backbone Radio and Backbone Talk to start up their radio station and get it on the air. Jeff said:

In the eight months we’ve been using Backbone, we have broadcast live remotes from locations in the baseball village outside the college world series and just outside Memorial Stadium for home Nebraska Cornhusker football games. We paid to have an Internet connection dropped at the locations and we were able to go live easily.

Many in the The Bottom Line audience live for these events. We’re just happy that we can enable them to do this in a very simple fashion. If you are looking at starting an internet radio station let us know how can help you with your efforts.

 

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.