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.

 

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.

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.  

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.

Things I Learned About Talk Radio Last Week

New Media Seminar 2012 logoLast Thursday I got up early and took the 5:45am Acela Express from Providence to NY Penn Station for a full day of the most interesting conference I’ve been to in many years.  It was TALKERS Magazine’s annual New Media Seminar, where some 350 talk radio stars and producers shared their view of where the industry is headed.  And I loved every second of it. I won’t even try to give you all the detail of the day, but I will give you a few nuggets that relate to our business at Backbone.

First, the First Amendment is still a ball in play, and we got that message from all sides.  No less than Sean HannityEd Schultz and Gov. David Paterson impressed upon the crowd that boycotts and retaliation are uncalled for when the listener can easily “change the dial”.  Of course, our Internet radio “dial” now allows for thousands of choices, with each of those stations having virtually unlimited freedom of expression.  Which brings me to my second point, Tom Leykis.

The persistent message all day was that talk radio is changing right before our eyes, whether it’s in slow motion or as a blur.  That technical change is the transition from terrestrial to the Internet.  The operational message is that nobody’s job is secure in traditional radio, you must prepare for the change now.  “Don’t expect to drive to work and park next to the building with the tower. The tower will be gone, and so might you.”

Panelists and talk show hosts Lionel and Tom Leykis talked about the importance of career preparedness, and it was Leykis who was the day’s most specific panelist about this subject. He tells us that while you still have a job in traditional radio you must get to know your sponsors and accumulate a database of your fans, because you will wish you had done both when you are out on your own, trying to start up your own station, like he did.  He told me later he took a couple of years and created his own station the hard way, not the Backbone way.  But he succeeded, and Leykis represents the future for many of the future-looking panelists and conference attendees.

Holland CookeIn another session, talk radio consultant Holland Cooke was, as you would expect, full of great ideas and tips on how to bring more people to your Internet radio site and station.  We were all warned not to try to take notes while he presented, because he threw more at us than we could keep up with. (“If you work on-air, at a local radio station, your job, as-you-know-it, is toast.”)  The first thing I did when I got back on the return train home was to buy myself a bunch of hyphenated domain names to increase my SEO.  You don’t understand?  Contact me, or better, Holland, at talk-radio-consultant.com and ask him.

Because of conflicting vacation plans, I won’t be able to attend the October version of this Seminar in Los Angeles, but we won’t miss out.  George and Paul will be there for sure.

You should, too.

P.S.  Michael Harrison, CEO of Talkers announced at the beginning of the Seminar that this would be the last “New Media” Seminars, because he’s been hosting them for 15 years, and this media is no longer “new”.  It will henceforth simply be called Talkers Seminar. Meanwhile, I notice in today’s news that Blogworld Expo is just now changing its name going forward to NMX, New Media Expo.

IBS Student Radio Network covers the NH Primary recap

Tuesday was the first in the nation primary held in New Hampshire.  It was a great day as Emma Bisogno from Simmons College Radio, Joseph Jack Horgan from Emmanuel College Radio and Leona Smith from Zumix Radio covered the event.  Elena Botkin-Levey, director of Zumix Radio was there to help everything run smoothly.  This is the first time the IBS Backbone Student Radio Network has covered a Presidential primary election.”  We’d like to thank Talkers Magazine for sponsoring radio row and for making it a great day.

Sununu with IBS-SRNHere is a summary video put together by Talkers Magazine on the event.  Many of the talkers would like us to look beyond entertainment and become engaged in the political process.  An interesting thing to note is how these talkers view their audience as a community.  The difference between twenty years ago and today is the number of tools that they can bring to bear to grow their community, network and footprint.  Twitter and Facebook are used in real time for audience feedback, questions, topics and even news items.

We have lots of pictures of the student radio network stations broadcasting from the event. There is also more on the topic as the lead article in today’s Talker’s magazine summary.

While there we caught up with Oliver Janney, the faculty advisor for Goucher College radio, while he was working the primary for CNN in Manchester.  Great job covering the primary!

What an outstanding on-the-job learning experience this proved to be! We’re proud that our member stations have such a ready reserve of talent to cover world class events like this.  We hope this is just the beginning for our stations and their unique network.