Alt Newspaper Teams with Community Radio to Serve New England’s Second City

New England’s second largest city has its first community “media station”, a term coined by Talkers Magazine. Worcester Magazine, the city’s alternative newsweekly, has teamed with Unity Radio, a community-focused online andBackbone powers newspaper radio station low-power FM (LPFM) radio station, to create “ a joint venture unlike anything else in the Worcester media landscape”. The station’s technology, unlike traditional stations resides in “the cloud”, virtualized — without physical hardware, bricks or mortar.

The new media enterprise, which is based on all the elements of Backbone’s Production Suite™, was “soft-launched” during the city’s municipal elections November 7. The station intends to draw upon the resources of both WoMag and Unity’s non-profit parent, Pride Productions, as well as popular, local talk radio talents, like veteran morning host and news director Hank Stolz.

Backbone powers community radio

Worcester Magazine at local elections on Unity Radio, powered by Backbone

During election night, Unity Radio set up operations in Worcester City Hall awaiting ballot counts, where they interviewed candidates (using Backbone Producer™), took listener phone calls (Backbone Talk™), and aired studio-quality remotes from reporters with smartphones around the city (Backbone Co-Host™ with LUCI™ Global). The live production was streamed online (Backbone Radio™) and fed through a low-latency IP connection (Backbone Syndicate™) from the cloud to Unity’s new LPFM transmitter located several miles away.

Read more here: “Worcester Magazine, Unity Radio announce online station

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.

Join the Parties at SXSW — In Person, or on the Radio

South by Southwest (SXSW) is the place to be for music and entertainment, and you can be there even if you don’t have the travel budget. This year Backbone is teaming with Presskit.to as they broadcast a number of parties and showcases from Austin, TX during SXSW — Live on your phone, computer or other device.  We’ll be using the twitter hashtag #SXSWRADIO if you would like to follow along as we move from event to event.

SXSW Presskit.to RadioLeading up to SXSW Events:

Presskit.to will be broadcasting a number of events leading up to SXSW from their studios in Charlestown.  Here are a few:

Wednesday March 6th, 8:00AM

Nobody’s Robots – A Farewell to Piebald – ALL DAY

The final recorded live performance from Boston’s Piebald. We’ll be playing the show from start to finish over and over and over. Be sure to tune in!

Thursday March 7th, 5:00PM

Presskit.to Bus Sessions from SXSW 2012

Featuring stripped down recordings from, I the Mighty, Ximena Sariñana, Crocodiles, Chamberlin, The Shills, Waters, PAPA, The Spinto Band, Herra Terra, Sean Bones, Sun Hotel, Eyes Lips Eyes

Thursday March 7th, 8:00PM

The Life Electric, Live in Studio.  This event is still coming together so check the Presskit.to web-site for more details.

Your current lineup of SxSW events:

Whole Foods Eat n GreetOn Monday, March 11th, 5:00-9:00PM they will be broadcasting the SXSW Full Circle Eat n’ Greet at Whole Foods, presented by Circle Media & Marketing. Stop by the Whole Foods at 4301 W. William Cannon Drive in Austin for a stellar lineup and great food!

RockSxSWOn Thursday, March 14th, they will have another great line up as they broadcast the Rock SXSW day party from the legendary Maggie Mae’s rooftop at 323 East 6th Street in Austin between 11:30AM and 5:30PM.

Focus Event at SXSWLater on Thursday, they’ll be broadcasting an eclectic mix of bands and EDM artists from Big Bangs at 415 East 6th street, Austin between 7:00PM and 2:00AM so TUNE IN!

Follow Backbone and Presskit.to on Twitter and Facebook for more information on these and other events.  For more information visit the main Presskit.to page for SXSW where we will provide continuous updates.

Presskit.to is a small group of entrepreneurs with a diverse, collective background in music, business, technology, and marketing. Their multimedia portfolio solution empowers over 3000 artists and entertainment companies worldwide.

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.

Future of Music Coalition event today

fmc12-bannerToday, you can listen to in on the Future of Music Coalition Summit.  Here is the current schedule of events:

TODAY’S SCHEDULE

9:00 AM – 9:05 AM
Welcome+

9:05 AM – 9:25 AM
In Conversation: Tim Westergren of Pandora

9:30 AM – 10:10 AM
Expression Obsession: IP Enforcement & Internet Openness

10:15 AM – 10:35 AM
In Conversation: Daniel Raimer of RapidShare

10:40 AM – 11:40 AM
Presentations from Artist Growth, CASH Music, HugeFan and Songkick

11:40 PM – 12:50 PM
LUNCH: In Conversation with Thomas Frank, Sascha Meinrath & Rebecca Gates

12:50 PM – 1:30 PM
Radio-active: Internet Broadcasting and Artist Compensation

1:35 PM – 2:30 PM
Making Music-Making Work for Working Musicians

2:30 PM – 2:50 PM
Keynote: Senator Ron Wyden

2:50 PM – 3:10 PM
Artist Revenue Streams Presentation: Leverage

3:10 PM – 3:50 PM
Why Pussy Riot Matters

3:55 PM – 4:35 PM
The Intersection of Data, Policy and the Arts Sector

4:40 PM – 5:15 PM
Election Day Aftermath & The Arts

5:20 PM – 6:00 PM
In Conversation: Merrill Garbus, Thao Nguyen, Chris Walla and Jordan Kurland

6:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Gibson Guitar Washington D.C. Showroom
Cocktail Party hosted by MailChimp

* All items and speakers subject to change

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.

Broadcasting the SF Music Tech Summit

sfmusictech2012Today is the SF MusicTech Summit.  It brings together visionaries in the evolving music, business and technology ecosystem, along with the best and brightest developers, entrepreneurs, investors, service providers, journalists, musicians, and organizations who work with them at the convergence of culture and commerce. We meet to do business and discuss, in a proactive, conducive to dealmaking environment.

While Backbone will not physically be there we are working with our friends at TuneIn to “webcast” the event.  Before the event starts we are playing audio from previous events and will switch to live programming when the sessions start.

The event has three tracks and we will be broadcasting all three tracks.  If you want to learn about the how music, technology and business come together TuneIn to this event.

IBS Student Radio Network underwriting opportunities

IBS LogoOver the years many of the members of the IBS Student Radio Network have asked about finding sponsors and underwriters for their shows, segments and stations.  This week we are launching a pilot program to work with some of the schools in finding underwriters and sponsors.

In the last year our stations have taken well over 1M listener connections.  As the school year progressed the audience engagement increased by over 50% as measured by the average length of a listener session.  Clearly the efforts of the schools to promote their stations and streams is making an impact.

Building off the success of the live events Backbone helped to power over the summer, from the HOT 97 Summer Jam in New York, to the Outside Lands in San Francisco to the recently concluded Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, we will start this year off with a bang by broadcasting the Jamaica Plain Music Fest on the Simmons and Emmanuel College station streams.  These streams are available in the TuneIn tuner.  For this weekend they will be at the top of the college radio section as a sponsored link.

The college demographic is clearly a target that sponsors and underwriters would like to reach.  What better way than through the campus taste makers of the college radio stations.  If you are interested in being a sponsor or underwriter please contact us at underwriting@studentradionetwork.org.

Internet Radio Concert Promotion — 100,000 more attendees, no extra porta-potties

Eighteen years ago this week, in a previous life, George and I helped produce and broadcast Woodstock ’94 (Mudstock), and it was quite an experience, with 350,000 people in attendance. This week, we got to participate in another weekend concert, Outside Lands in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park, and I marvel at how differently big events can now be covered.

outsidelands logoAt Woodstock, we had dozens of television trucks and vans with satellite uplinks, requiring connectivity to and between the two stages, which was our primary responsibility as “fiber optic gurus”. For the most part, all of these broadcasters were on site to provide live news feeds for networks and local stations, as well as the occasional celebrity interview.  The complexity and cost was huge, while virtually none of the concert entertainment was broadcast live.

Outside Lands Stage - 2012Fast forward to 2012.  Over the last few months, in partnership with TuneIn, we’ve enjoyed exploring how today’s music festivals can build their reach to a worldwide audience, without breaking the budget of the event promoters.  We started out with New York’s Hot 97 Summer Jam hip hop festival in June, helping Emmis Communications promote the event exclusively on TuneIn radio the week leading up to the concert, then live Internet radio coverage of the show, and then best-of the concert the week following.  It was a major hit.

So, with that success, Emmis decided to do similar promotion for their Power 106 concert in Los Angeles later that month. It, too, was a big success.

That brings us to Outside Lands–August 10-12, 2012.  TuneIn assembled the team for this broadcast, with not only Backbone Networks but also a professional broadcast team with deep experience in branded radio stations, RFC Media from Houston, TX.  Unlike Woodstock, this concert was broadcast live, and it required no trucks, no satellite uplinks and a minimal crew…all with just “a Mac and a mic”.RFC Media Tent - Outside Lands

Results?  It was unquestionably another big success.  While Golden Gate park only holds about 65,000 people for an event like this, through Backbone Internet radio and TuneIn, over 100,000 unique listeners around the world tuned in for nearly half a million listener sessions.  What amazes me is that a regional concert in San Francisco can pull listeners from all over the world, as you can see in the listener cluster “hot spot” map for the concert week (click to enlarge).

Outside Lands Listener MapLike every other business activity, concert promotion has now been changed by the Internet, specifically Internet radio in this case. Going forward, we will learn even more about how to have the greatest impact and highest return on a very small investment.  We’ll share that with you.

Next up for TuneIn, RFC Media and Backbone: The Bumbershoot Music Festival in Seattle on Labor Day Weekend.

Peace, love and radio.

Now for the Live Remote – A Huge Concert, Free on the Internet

Last week we told you about the launch of New York’s Hot 97 Summer Jam Internet-only radio station, promoting the upcoming, annual Summer Jam concert this Sunday, June 3rd.  Well, TuneIn and Emmis Communications just revealed that for the first time ever the concert itself will be broadcast free from the MetLife Stadium in New Jersey to the world, exclusively on this same TuneIn station.

As you’ve probably figured out, Hot 97’s Summer Jam station, including all Internet radio broadcast and production, is supplied by Backbone Networks, using Backbone’s unique cloud-based broadcast and automation infrastructure.  The broadcast-from-anywhere, “live remote” capability of Backbone’s infrastructure is what enables professional broadcasters to simplify their event-based Internet radio production, using equipment as basic as “a Mac and a mic”.

The TuneIn connection is what makes a station like this so easy to find and far reaching. “TuneIn takes people places. This collaboration with HOT 97 speaks to the power of TuneIn to expand unique experiences like Summer Jam to wider audiences, taking people to events and places in ways that were never before possible,” said John Donham, CEO of TuneIn. “It is very fitting that HOT 97, one of the few truly global U.S. radio brands, team up with TuneIn to bring HOT 97’s Summer Jam to people all over the planet! We are delighted to be able to do so,” added Rick Cummings, President Programming, Emmis Communications.

Hot97 Summer JamThe Hot 97 Summer Jam 2012 concert kicks off at 7pm EST, with the Festival Village stage beginning at 2pm on Sunday (June 3).

Fans can access the free channel on TuneIn by searching “Summer Jam” on any of the 150 TuneIn platforms including smartphones apps, connected vehicle dashboards, Internet home entertainment systems and online at TuneIn.com.