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.

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Backbone Networks on NAB Show Live 2016

April is always fun. It’s NAB time. This year our focus was on integrating “live radio production” elements, a topic we aimed at radio engineers and radio producers. While there, we announced the Backbone Production Suite, made an appearance on NAB Show Live and attended other events, including the Public Radio Engineers Conference, the RAIN Conference, BEA and other extra-curricular activities. [Read more…]

How Internet Radio Royalties Flow

We, naturally, get a lot of calls from professionals interested in starting their own Internet radio stations. After we explain how easy it is to launch and operate a complete radio station in the cloud, using our Backbone Radio and Backbone Talk services, we are usually asked about how Internet radio royalty rights are handled and paid. Recently we found an excellent visual aid to help you follow the money, and we want to share it with you.

As you probably already know, broadcasters are responsible for their content, as well as any and all royalties that need to be paid on their stream. If you are a customer of Backbone, you have seen this laid out in the Backbone Networks Terms of Service, where section 2 lists the station’s responsibilities. Chief among them is that the broadcaster must have or must secure the rights to the content that they are broadcasting.  In other words, you must own the content or you must get a license to broadcast it, especially to stream it.

Let’s assume that you have secured those rights either with a direct license or a statutory license. Where do the Internet radio royalty payments go? The Future of Music Coalition and the Berklee College of Music have put together a great infographic on how this works.

royalty-flow-radio

Royalty Flow for non-interactive Internet Radio

As you can see, terrestrial radio broadcasters are not required to pay royalty payments for performances, but non-interactive Internet radio broadcasters are. Nonetheless, Internet radio continues to grow, while terrestrial radio continues to decline.

We hope you enjoy this infographic. Please let us know if it helps you envision the flow a little better.

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.

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.

 

Radio, Comrex and open standards

Comrex logoAt Backbone we take pride in using open standards where possible. We have found that one of our local radio industry neighbors, Comrex, does too. Their product line has consistently applied the best in current technology to the specific needs of broadcasters. 

We’d like to thank them for the shout out about working together in support of some of our mutual customers. While it is a bit pre-mature to announce the Backbone product it is safe to say we think our Internet radio customers will find a great new way to distribute their content in the near future.

Equipment for Online Radio Remotes

Our customers often ask us for guidance on what equipment to purchase in setting up their radio stations, especially their remote broadcasts, when running Backbone Radio. There are virtually limitless configurations that can be supported, and often the answer is “it depends.”  The answer is often colored by your budget, what you are trying to accomplish with your live remote and your preferences in equipment and operation.

Jon Meterparel and Jen Royle at JJ Foleys

Jon Meterparel and Jen Royle at JJ Foleys

Let us lay out some of the basics.  First,you will need a Macintosh® computer. Clearly a portable Macintosh like a Macbook Air makes it easier to carry the equipment. If you want more screen real estate, the 13-inch Macbook Air may be a better choice than the 11-inch version.

For audio input into the Macintosh it will depend upon our needs at the site. For example you may need just 2 microphones for play by play and color at a basketball game and all you need is something like an M-Audio M-Track. For Microphones it is really a matter of taste. We have been using Shure 58’s and have found them to be quite reliable. Headphones with good sound isolation are also critical. Again it is a matter of taste and we have found the Sennheiser HD-205 II. One of our customers is using an Audio-Technical BPHS1 combo headset and condenser microphone. It simplifies the set up and makes it easier to transport the remote kit.

Of course the most important thing is an internet connection that is rock solid. Many venues now have an Internet drop so you can use that. We recommend that you go to the venue the day before the remote to test the network connection and clear up any issues you may have with firewalls and spotty service. Still, that leaves you with a single point of failure. To address this we also have a portable WiFi device in our remote kit. Which one to get is often up to your location, the coverage available from the providers and how congested the network could get during the remote.

Imagine running your show on an AT&T network at the Meadowlands with 90,000 people uploading YouTube videos, pictures to Facebook and all sorts of other traffic. That could impact your ability to get a consistent network connection. We have found that in major metropolitan area where Sprint has WiMax coverage it is a great solution. Longer term you may want to find a solution for where you find you are running the most remotes.

As the telecom networks are built out further I expect it will become easier to get a reliable network connection. Something to track going forward. We have put together a page of devices and items that we have used along with those of some of our customers. If you use something different and it works great please let us know. Happy broadcasting.

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!