TALKERS Magazine Profiles Backbone’s Cloud Strategy

We keep a fairly low profile at Backbone, working in the background while our esteemed stations take center stage. After all, we simply provide all or most of the technology infrastructure for our clients’ “white label” radio stations. That’s why it’s such an honor to be called into the limelight by “The Bible of Talk Radio”, as TALKERS Magazine was dubbed by Business Week Magazine.

I want to thank Mike Kinosian, TALKERS’ Managing Editor for telling the Talk Radio world about what Backbone has been doing to help the broadcast industry and hosts during this long COVID crisis, as well foster media learning in K-12 through college radio curricula.

See the full article at Talkers.com.

Scripted, Educators’ Media Guide Launches, Backbone Supports K12 Stations

Just released, the media education resource K12 educators have been waiting for: “Scripted” An Educator’s Guide to Media in the ClassroomThis comprehensive, step-by-step “recipe” book is the manual we, too, have been eagerly anticipating. It opens up the world of hands-on mediaScripted, an Educator's Guide to Media in the Classroom experience to students at an age when they can absorb so much more, and at an age when they critically need to develop their lifetime communication and presentation skills.

How does Backbone figure into this? Well, for the last dozen years we have operated the largest college and high school radio network, The Intercollegiate Broadcast System‘s Student Radio Network (IBS-SRN) on behalf of IBS, the 1,000 member, all volunteer college radio & TV association.

Backbone provides the technology infrastructure in the cloud — the 24/7 radio station. Plus, we are happy to populate the station’s automation library with a few thousand free indie music tracks courtesy of Pirate Promotions. However, the entire choice of content and curriculum is up to the school and the teacher or faculty advisor. Historically, that has been a speed bump for many educators when there is very little published guidance to help them build a media program. Scripted, as far as we can tell, is the first such guidebook that starts with easy-to-use 21st century technologies, then actually lays out an extensive set of templates upon which schools can confidently build a curriculum pathway, evaluate progress, project budgets, specify products with the best ROI, and even ways to self-fund the entire program with local business sponsorships.

We want to thank and congratulate the authors, who all happen to teach with Backbone Radio in their respective schools. This, we believe, will be a watershed moment for student-run radio, where every school can now easily create and afford its own broadcast/podcast program, and do it with the guidance of a systematic yet flexible set of proven methods and benchmarks.

We look forward to seeing Scripted become the nucleus of a media movement in education, and we hope to be creating one or more radio networks just for schools that want to extend their reach. See more at https://www.scriptededucators.com/

“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.

Remembering Fritz Kass, A Monumental Figure

This past weekend we attended the memorial service for Frederick “Fritz” Kass who passed away last month in upstate New York. Anyone who met Fritz Frederick "Fritz" Kass, IBS CEOunderstands what a powerful, yet kind individual he was and how deeply he will be missed by his family, friends, and everyone associated with the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS), the all-volunteer college radio association he built and ran over the past 58 years.

Fritz was truly a one-of-a-kind man with an illustrious career spanning many fields, from his military combat experiences as Navy Captain, to his success as an entrepreneur, to his active participation in community organizations and civil aviation. Please take a moment and reflect on a very brief summary of a very big man’s life here.

We at Backbone were fortunate to meet Fritz and IBS a dozen years ago and help fulfill Fritz’s vision of an online network of IBS affiliated college and high school radio stations. He envisioned helping students and faculty advisors implement the professional practices they learned at the many IBS conferences around the country. We are grateful for the opportunity to operate that network on behalf of IBS, and we’re proud to have been associated with Fritz in creating it. IBS and the IBS Student Radio Network will continue to go forward continuing Fritz’s mission, ever remembering his keen vision and love for college and high school radio and the students who make it.

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.

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.

 

 

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.

Tools for DJs – Spinitron, playlist management for Internet radio

Spinitron LogoWe are always looking for ways to help our radio stations operate more effectively and efficiently. We have recently come across a great tool to help DJs with a lot of their day to day efforts, Spinitron. Eva and Tom have put together a great solution. Let me tell you a bit more about what it does.

Spinitron is an online playlist management solution for non-commercial educational and community radio stations. It is all web based; there is no software to install. It provides sophisticated features for playlist data entry (manual & automated) and dynamic online publishing. It solves your data storage, archiving and security issues. You can integrate station schedule, current and historical playlists, as well as other custom elements, into your web site. You can put “Now Playing” on your home page, webcast stream, mobile apps, RDS and others.

With an advanced database design, Spinitron offers powerful data manipulation and analysis features. Compile Top-30 charts (or however many you like) with filtering by genre, time period, etc. Generate unlimited reports for CMJ, ASCAP, BMI, SESAC and SoundExchange. Track the popularity of artists, disks and songs. Query how often certain disks get played. Produce reports of what DJs at the station are playing to give to record companies and promotional agencies. Stay connected with your listeners.

Watch for other interesting developments as we start working together with them on a few projects.  Discover Spinitron with a 30-day no-obligation free trial. Contact: Eva Papp at eva@spinitron.com or 617-233-3115 to learn more.

IBS Student Radio Network Election Coverage . . .

Be sure to tune into Fisk and Simmons College radio for their perspective on the election.

Fisk University WFSK logo88.1FM WFSK Presents:  Live Election Night Coverage of local, statewide & national races beginning right after the polls close at 7pm.  Co-Anchored by Sharon Kay and Ron Wynn, WFSK will present on the ground perspective from key battleground states such as Ohio, Wisconsin & Virginia.

Hear the excitement as the returns come in from around Tennessee and other states.  WFSK hopes you get a chance to tune in during the course of this historic election coverage.  They stream at www.wfskfm.org or on Dar.fm or TuneIn.

Simmons College will be covering the election also but with a bit more of a slant toward Massachusetts politics because there school is not far from Romney headquarters.  The stream at Simmons College Radio or on Dar.fm and TuneIn.

IBS Student Radio Network stays on the air, Sandy has no impact

Sandy SwirlWhile hurricane Sandy has come and gone its impact is still being felt all of our stations stayed up and on the air.  A good number of our college radio stations had school canceled and did not have access to their studios but they all remained on the air.  This is enabled by the cloud based design and architecture of Backbone Radio and provides two major benefits.

The first is that your station is always available in the cloud.  Your station is not running the servers, we are.  And we have designed them to stay up and operational virtually all the time. When there have been outages in the past they are quite small and are often handled without the station’s intervention.

The second is that your studio is mobile.  A few of our stations did not have access to their studios so could not broadcast live.  If they planned ahead they could have broadcast live from anywhere there was an Internet connection.

Tres Wiggins, Marymount Manhattan: “We were on the air live when we could get an internet connection– but ran on backbone automation otherwise throughout, and working on post-storm coverage now”

Let’s hope the clean up goes well for all of those impacted.  With our stations continually on the air they will be out there to bring you updates.