It’s College Radio Day! Show Your Support

It’s here, today, October 1, —  College Radio Day. This special day was created at William Patterson University in New Jersey by Dr. Rob Quicke to raise a greater, international awareness of the many college and high school radio stations that operate around the world, by encouraging people who would not normally listen to college radio to do so today.

College Radio FundAnd, launching today is the organization’s College Radio Fund, a “common source of funding available to all college radio stations”.  Learn more about what this means to you at the CRD-Fund web site.

College Radio DayStarted in 2011, 37 countries have signed on to College Radio Day. College radio is “the only free live medium brave enough to play unsigned, local, and independent artists on a regular basis,” Quicke said. “Indeed, many famous and successful bands today, owe their initial break to being played on college radio.”

We at Backbone are especially proud to be a sponsor of College Radio Day, as the technology host, of the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System’s IBS Student Radio Network — the largest online network of student-run college and high school radio stations. Dr. Quicke’s creation has not only gained traction, but become a major force in the music and entertainment industries, as well as noncommercial radio. Read more at collegeradioday.com

Please make this the day you rediscover College and High School Radio.  Take this opportunity to scan around for some excellent listening, like what you will find at these stations.

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:

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.

Your Station Anywhere — How Might This Tagline Change Your Radio Future?

Finding the right motto or tagline is tougher than we imagined. We had to struggle to distill our message into as few words as possible, yet convey the essence of what makes Backbone Radio unique.  Our previous tagline was “Internet Radio Simplified”. That expression was correct, but it didn’t tell people how radio can be great again.

Backbone Networks - Your Station AnywhereWe like our new tagline better, because it concisely says what we provide: freedom and power. How’s that? Let’s examine the tagline to see what we mean, starting with the noun.

STATION
Backbone creates Internet radio stations. We aren’t in the business of producing “shows” or time slots on existing radio stations.  A station is a 24/7, round-the-clock entity, and it always has programs running no matter when a listener tunes in.  Maybe listeners will find your station on your station’s website and listen there; maybe on an Internet tuner like TuneIniTunes or dar.fm. Maybe on their laptop, desktop, iPhone or Android, or any of hundreds of devices like Roku or their car’s digital dashboard.

The station is what listeners search for. A program or show is what’s playing when they find your station.  So, your station could include your show, your choice of PSA’s or none at all, shows contributed by your esteemed colleagues or best friends, shows contributed by people who pay you to air them, or any other audio content you choose. That is the importance of the word YOUR.

YOUR
In traditional over-the-air (OTA) radio, your job is at the will of someone else. Ultimately, that other person is the OTA station owner.  He chooses who to hire and who to fire based on fundamental economics, the same way he makes decisions about transmitter maintenance and janitorial services. Your job is always on the line.

You UsYou prove your value by bringing in listeners and creating a following, which in turn brings in revenue from sponsors and advertisers. Your value has to pay for your salary plus millions of dollars worth of annual station operating costs.

Imagine for a moment that you converted that value to a station that had no existing overhead burden; you retain your following, your loyal sponsors and you build your own station.  You are the station owner, and you call the shots.  This is now YOUR station, so where do you put it?

ANYWHERE
This is the key word. Anywhere.  The power of radio has always been its ability to connect with people at a very personal level.  Want to cover a concert or conference, broadcast an interview from the mayor’s office, or do your show from Cancun? You have the freedom to pick up and go out into the community where things are happening making your radio station more personal.

Obviously, you will need some overhead, but how much?  Well, for starters, on the Internet you don’t have to build a tower, so no requirement for real estate, not to mention permission from the FCC, FAA or any other government bureau.  And you don’t have to sit in the same old studio day after day. You are free to take your studio with you…anywhere.

Liz Claiborne Radio RowBecause your Backbone Radio station resides “in the cloud”, your live studio can simply be “a Mac and a mic”, plus maybe a small mixer, in your backpack. As long as you can find an Internet connection (WiFi, 3G/4G, WiMax or other) you can be broadcasting live. Your other hosts for your other shows can similarly go live from their Macbooks from wherever they are at the time.

And since your archived programs and audio, syndicated content, and a very powerful automation system also reside in your station in the cloud, just stop your live broadcast session, and your automated program schedule takes over. Your studio is wherever you are, and your station is always on the air.

So, that’s it in a nutshell. YOUR STATION ANYWHERE.  It is a complete radio station, you are in control, and you are free to take it wherever you want without limitation. Now you know what we meant by our tagline and how Backbone is changing radio forever.

Your Community Radio – What About LPFM?

It’s a beautiful thing when a technology like ours can simultaneously give a worldwide reach to a community and still be the most affordable, effective way to communicate with local residents. That’s the message we will be bringing to two conferences in May in both Boston and San Francisco.

MassAccess WGBH composite logosFirst on May 3rd at WGBH in Boston, at the MassAccess Spring Mini Conference, we will meet with local TV stations and community media centers from across Massachusetts.  Then, at the end of the month in San Francisco at the Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference, we will meet with media centers from around the United States to discuss how to employ radio to promote civic engagement.

Alliance for Community Media LogoOf course, you would expect us to be promoting Internet Radio for communities – we’ve been serving city-wide school districts and community youth centers for a few years now.  What we hope to achieve at these conferences is to help communities find an effective way to integrate their “hyperlocal” (LPFM) terrestrial radio with their Internet radio operations, and save money in the bargain.

Some of the topics we hope to discuss include:

  • Reaching out with both smart phones and FM radios
  • Engaging communities better through live, remote broadcasts
  • Operating a station with a staff of one…or fewer
  • Creating professional presence with minimal capital equipment
  • How to share audio content with/from other communities, self-syndication

This appears to be a pivotal year for community radio, and we want to be a part of it.  We hope to see you at one of these events.  Please let us know if you’ll be attending.

See Live Internet Radio Broadcasts from Las Vegas — NAB, BEA and the RAIN Summit

It’s another glorious April, and that means the broadcast world flocks to Las Vegas, where the National Association of Broadcasters event also attracts a cluster of affiliated conferences, and Backbone figures prominently in several of them.

On Sunday April 7, Backbone and TuneIn will team to broadcast the live proceedings of the Internet Radio industry’s most prominent event, the RAIN Summit (Radio and Internet Newsletter) from the Las Vegas Hotel and Casino.  Speakers and panelists include representatives from Pandora, ESPN, TuneIn, SoundExchange and many more.

Starting on Monday, Backbone will be actively recruiting new college (and high school) radio stations to join the expanding IBS Student Radio Network by Backbone.  Please stop by to visit our exhibit booth at the Broadcast Education Association’s BEA2013 Conference, also in the Las Vegas Hotel (formerly the Las Vegas Hilton).  We’ll show you how schools are taking their stations on the road for live events, using only a Mac and a mic.

And of course, NAB is the most exciting draw in the broadcast world, so we hope to see you there, too.

Internet Radio Takes SxSW Music Live, Worldwide, with a Berklee Finale

South By Southwest just keeps getting bigger and better, and we had the pleasure of bringing a lot of the entertainment live to music fans around the globe this year.  Teaming up with the “Indie Ambassadors” of Presskit.to, we helped create the majority, if not all, of the live radio coverage from Austin.  In fact, in the entire SxSW Trade Show Exhibition, Backbone was the only exhibitor under the category of “radio”.

Ben Maitland-Lewis - Whole Foods, AustinAs we mentioned in our previous post, we planned to broadcast three large events, including one from the Whole Foods“mothership” store and the RockSXSW day party from the world famous Maggie Mae’s Gibson Lounge on Sixth Street.  What we didn’t tell you is our fourth music showcase would be the eighth annual Berklee College of Music’s SxSW Day Party.

See the Berklee Blogs for more photos and artist lineup on this excellent party.

We at Backbone are proud to have the opportunity to work with Presskit.to on these productions, and to have helped all of these artists reach a much wider audience from the Live Music Capital of the World.