Smarts Broadcast Systems grew out of a radio station in Emmetsburg, Iowa, and introduced its first software in 1983. In an interview for our recent ebook about trends in automation, we spoke with software developer Johnny Schad and the company’s manager Debbie Kribell.
Radio World: What do you see as the most important trends or capabilities readers should know about in automation?
Debbie Kribell: Working remotely.
John Schad: Yes. Remote control of systems, remotely contributing content, remote management of content, being able to distribute data throughout multiple systems.
Another big item is security. Our systems are Linux-based, so that puts us a little ahead of the game versus Windows-based systems, which are much more susceptible to viruses, such as CryptoLocker-style viruses.
We can still get hit with them though. We have a couple of [products] we’re about to release that will help safeguard data as much as possible. And because we’re Linux-based, we have the network monitoring tools to investigate people trying to attack our systems. We can see them trying from all over the world.
So far we’ve had a pretty good track record of data recovery and blocking the attackers, but we see this as a big issue, especially as we work towards more distributed system, where you’re constantly interconnecting with other machines.
RW: With that in mind, any particular advice for users?
Schad: If you’ve got a system dedicated to, say, production, in your automation system, or any Windows system, be very, very cautious about Trojan Horse emails — somebody emails you saying, “Hey, you’ve won a contest, click here.”
Kribell: Or free music.
Schad: A warranty. Some of them look very deceptive.
Kribell: They’re getting pretty good at it.
Schad: “There was a problem with your bank statement, click here to figure it out.” And in short order, a system can be compromised
Stations adopt virtual private networks, where they put their entire organization essentially behind one LAN that’s spread out over the internet. This is great for functionality, but it also introduces a whole different side of security.
Laptops are most commonly a problem, they’ll get infected and then log into your VPN, bypassing the firewall, and they can contaminate your entire empire if you’re not careful. So really scrupulous use of internet tools.
Kribell: And backup. You can’t have too many.
Schad: There’s no CryptoLocker virus in the world that can stand up against an offsite backup that you’ve safely put in a bank vault somewhere.
Our normal systems have at least two or three automated backups; and we have a product called “Super Paranoid Backup” that allows customers to cycle through USB drives, put those on the server and take them offsite.
RW: Will automation eventually all be in the cloud?
Schad: Sure. Although one has to remember what the cloud means. All the cloud is, is somebody else’s computer. Stations should make use of cloud services; but when it comes to 24/7 automation, and maybe it’s just a control freak in me, but I would rather have the computer that’s running my station under my own roof.
A lot of our customers are located at their transmitter facilities, in rural locations with iffy internet connections. Failure in an internet connection really compromises your ability to get to the cloud.
Kribell: I deal a lot with the traffic, and it’s so important to have control of that data. As Johnny said, the cloud is just somebody else’s computer. If you have a backup on a flash drive, you can pull that out of your purse, because every day you take it home with a new backup on it. It’s much easier and faster than trying to figure out who has it, did we pay for it, trying to find your password. That all takes time; and you’re not in control.
Schad: That said, the cloud will be extremely useful for convenience. We have services now — you could call them in the cloud, although they predated that term — for internet transfer of audio files and storage. But to your question of entire automation being cloud-based, I don’t know that I would recommend that at this stage.
RW: One engineer told me, “Ninety-nine percent of problems I’ve had are caused by Microsoft messing around with the operating system.” You probably have a unique take on that.
Schad: There’s a reason we didn’t choose Windows. And it was not an easy decision. All of our competitors were and are in Windows.
But in the DOS days when we were trying to make the leap from Microsoft DOS to one of the many versions of Windows, we weren’t happy with the result. Windows was meant to have a person sitting in front of it, interacting.
A system could be brought to a screeching halt with a modal dialogue box, where some kind of an error where the whole system comes to a halt or makes a big “dunk” sound on the air.
With Windows you don’t have the control over the sound system the way you do over a system like Linux, which we were able to customize.
That was a big learning curve for us, but we really appreciate what Linux has done for us, because we have complete control over the hardware and software in the operating system. We don’t have to worry about software updates, we control what gets updated and when.
RW: If your users have a need for technical support, what’s in place to help them quickly?
Schad: In some ways I see tech support as our product. It’s almost consultation-level interactions with our customers. Often we are the number they call when they just don’t know what else to do; and often a problem has nothing to do with us, we just happen to know.
I just had a call from a customer a 4 o’clock Sunday morning. He had no audio over the air. We troubleshot everything with the Skylla system and found audio on the program channel but no audio on the external air monitors. I sent him after his STL link.
We don’t just say, “It’s not our problem, call us back when you fix it.” We want to get to know the customer. And when you get to know the customer, you don’t leave them hanging.
Kribell: Our normal support is 8 to 5 Central time, but we do emergencies 24/7. They are not just a number, they’re a person to us, almost like family.
RW: Do people have a contract for a monthly fee, or is it a one-time thing?
Kribell: You get free support for six months when you buy the system, then you can pay it monthly, quarterly or annually. It’s very reasonably priced. We’re like a way cheaper employee.
RW: On the traffic and billing side, what are the important trends?
Kribell: Being able to access your data remotely. EDI, the Electronic Data Interchange, has been a big one with agencies, we’ve been doing that for quite a few years, though I still get people who have never used it.
Traffic is still at the basics — getting that order in, getting it on the air, then billing it, doing your affidavits to verify that it ran. That’s not really changing.
RW: How do you feel about the health of the U.S. radio industry and the customer base that you rely on, the people who are your clients and our readers, this whole ecosystem that we work in?
Kribell: I feel good. It depends on how you’re doing it. If you are taking care of your local market, doing the ballgames and the remotes and the home shows, you’re present, you’re not just music on the air. You are involved in the community, fundraisers, the parade downtown in the summer.
When they are involved in the community, I see them continuing to grow.
Now, the pandemic has absolutely kicked every one of us. This hurt, none of us were expecting this. But those stations that turned around to help, they’re staying alive.
We had stations giving away advertising to keep their clients alive on the air. When they’re doing local, they’re not only helping themselves, but they’re helping that community.
Schad: I grew up in radio and I have been hearing predictions of radio’s demise since I was a kid. MTV — video is going to kill the radio star, that kind of thing.
The industry is amazingly flexible and resilient, and it has found a new home online. It’s feeling out what it can do there, but everybody has hit on the idea of content provision as being key to its survival and relevancy.
The people we market to most are small- and middle-market stations. That’s definitely our strength. These are the most resilient people, they come up with all kinds of crazy ways to keep their stations relevant in the community. We love being a part of that.
RW: You mentioned a pending new security offering.
Schad: We’re calling it Portcullis, like the gates at the castle that close down. We think that it’s going to help secure our stations against certain kinds of attacks. Nothing is 100%, but we sure want to cut down on vulnerability.
It’s going to be distributed in stages, the basic version first. Later updates will be free.
RW: What else should readers know?
Schad: The industry is losing a lot of its engineering talent, and as engineers retire, it’s getting harder to find willing people to step in. The IT world is a seductive one. Your average IT person isn’t going to be standing on a metal transmitter floor below a thousand-foot lightning rod in the middle of a thunderstorm trying to get a transmitter back on the air.
It’s a difficult job and it’s getting harder and harder to find engineers. That’s something the industry has to contend with.
Kribell: Also, sometimes people can get in — for lack of a better way to say it — a rut. If you’re still doing certain things manually —your weather, or countdowns or health shows manually — we have ways to automate that.
Schad: Sometimes, users already have features that they didn’t know they have.
AKG has unveiled the Ara, a two-pattern USB condenser microphone that should find use with content creators and musicians.
Ara captures 24-bit/96 kHz audio, offering two pickup patterns that allow users to either focus on a single source or everyone in the room. As the mic is largely intended for podcasters, bloggers, gamers, videoconferencing and for recording voice and instruments at home, the directional front (cardioid) pattern captures sound directly in front of the mic while rejecting sound from other sides. Meanwhile, the Front + Back (omnidirectional) pattern picks up sound evenly from all sides, enabling the recording of interviews with multiple speakers.
Ara’s essential functions, including pattern selection, mic mute and a headphone volume knob, are located on the front of the mic for easy access; a 3.5 mm-1/8-inch headphone jack allows latency-free monitoring.
Ara’s compact footprint and mounting options aid its use in both desktop and studio scenarios, allowing users to set it on a desktop using the included yoke and base stand, or attach to a boom or standard mic stand. They can also record on the go with a mobile device and optional adapter.
Included accessories include a two-meter USB-C to USB-A cable, a 3/8-inch to 5/8-inch threaded mic stand adapter and a free registration card for Ableton Live 11 Lite recording software. Ara works with all major live-streaming, video conferencing and music-recording applications. Price: $99.
Send your new equipment news to email@example.com.
(This article originally was prepared as part of Radio World’s preview of the NAB Show so it cites only sources who planned to present at that convention. The NAB Show subsequently was cancelled. — Ed.)
Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are rapidly carving out an important place in the toolkit that radio broadcasters use to manage tower sites more efficiently.
Drone-based tower structure surveys are used widely now to diagnose the health of RF systems and broadcast structures. In addition, tech departments use drones to take elevated RF measurements to analyze signal coverage and validate antenna radiation patterns.
The Federal Aviation Administration approved the commercial use of drones in August 2016. Industry experts say this unleashed an industry loaded with potential applications for broadcasters, including using video and still photos of broadcast antennas and their structural components for preventive maintenance measures.
“This is still a relatively new industry, where there’s so much creativity and potential. The integration of the technology has made a dramatic impact on broadcast operations,” one executive-level engineer told Radio World.
The FAA’s small unmanned aircraft rules (Part 107) allow a range of businesses, such as radio broadcasters, to use unmanned aircraft that weigh up to 55 pounds including their onboard systems. Drones must remain within line of sight of the remote pilot and be used during daylight hours.
The maximum altitude is 400 feet, though an exception allows more height when operating within 400 feet of a tall structure such as a broadcast tower.
“When surveying a tower, a drone is commonly permitted to fly an additional 400 feet above the top of the tower, if the aircraft remains within 400 feet of the tower laterally,” according to one expert.
Advocates say drones can more easily determine the integrity of transmission lines via infrared camera inspections and more safely and accurately assess antenna performance by limiting the amount of tower climbing and drive-by coverage analysis. While nothing can replace an actual physical inspection, they say a drone can help reduce the number of climbs, verify asset locations and heights on a structure, and increase safety.
A number of broadcast tech companies have expanded into unmanned aircraft services since 2016 as UAS have gained in popularity.
Paul Shulins, president of Shulins Solutions, said drones, used effectively, can help cut costs and increase safety margins for both humans and broadcast systems.
“The main operations that broadcast engineers use drones for are visual tower inspections, thermal tower inspections and antenna pattern verification measurements.” He said broadcasters are quickly discovering the advantages.
“Costs for tower crews vary wildly across the country, but in general it is fair to say that drones are less expensive to operate than hiring a tower crew. They can also be deployed with very little notice, operate in a wider range of weather conditions and provide perspectives not possible with a tower crew,” Shulins said.
Unmanned systems are becoming a preferred method for RF pattern verifications, he said, for reasons of both cost and safety.A drone-based FM and HD Radio measurement system from Sixarms.
“Drones have a clear advantage because typically these measurements can be made within a single day, where ground-based measurements can take several days or even weeks to accomplish. Helicopters are commonly used for pattern measurements as well, but are much more expensive to operate and are limited on how low they can fly.”
Recently, affordable, gyroscopically controlled infrared cameras have come on the market at a reasonable cost, Shulins said, though he added that drones will never replace human tower climbers for certain operations.
“What (drones) can do is help tower crews by pointing out areas in advance where problem exist though photos, saving time and labor.”
Jason Schreiber is managing director of RF measurement and consulting firm Sixarms, which has developed specialized RF measurement payloads to attach to drones. He says new RF measurement instrumentation can be adapted and installed on a drone and allow for automation and reliable data capture. In addition, the data can be used to optimize antenna patterns and verify radiated power.
“The automation, accuracy of signal capture, ease of flight, large altitude range and easy deployment make drone-based RF measurements a more attractive setup than the traditional van with a 30-foot pump-up mast. All broadcast standards can be measured, including AM radio, DRM, FM and HD Radio, VHF and UHF ATSC and DVBT as well as DAB,” he said.
Sixarms uses its off-the-shelf Airborne Radio Measurement Systems (ARMS) software and hardware to measure and characterize broadcast antenna patterns to help identify any installation and manufacturer defects.
He said the use of machine learning and AI to capture critical RF information will continue to grow and further expand the applications of drones for RF measurement.
Drones are being used not only to perform visual tower inspection but to identify damage and structural defects, Schreiber said, by making use of thermal imaging for hot spot analysis as well as being fitted with LIDAR (light detection and ranging) to help with automated structural analysis.
“Sophisticated capture algorithms interweaved with drone-based positional data allow for unprecedented accuracy and reporting functionality.”
The burst of drone activity in U.S. broadcasting is leading to more innovative tools and ways to use data, said Phil Larsen, VP of airborne operations for QForce, part of QCommunications.
“The RF contour is not just a report to be filed away anymore. It is now a tool, one to assist broadcast engineers and help the listener receive a better signal. The drone allows for engineers to review data immediately upon the aircraft landing,” he said.
Larsen hopes to see the broadcasting industry reach the point where a fixed drone is stationed at all tower locations that can remotely operated or programmed to fly routinely or whenever needed.
“Drones and the sensor capabilities are by oneself growing expeditiously, thus the use case will increase.” He said QForce offers a means of installing a drone at each location and the ability to fly inspection operations at any time of day all year long without the need of a pilot, autonomously. “This is specifically useful for hard-to-reach locations.”
There are some limitations to using drones near broadcast towers. The FAA has specific rules surrounding the inspection of broadcast towers. Operators must be familiar with FAA Part 107.65 rules, experts say.
In addition, Larsen said some broadcast tower applications do require FAA waivers or special permissions.
Keith Pelletier, vice president of antenna manufacturer Dielectric, said drones are a much more economical way of collecting data than traditional field measurements and equipment.
“Dielectric has developed a way to characterize the antenna azimuth and elevation patterns with the data collected by the drone. Typically this was done with a van with a large mast, which included multiple runs of data and thousands of points of collection to be analyzed to determine if the antenna was performing per the antenna manufacturer’s specifications,” he said.
The company’s involvement began when drone measurement companies started having difficulty with the waivers required and time spent on waiting for approvals. Dielectric came up with a method of collecting all the data required at the 400-foot level so no waivers were required.
Dielectric is able to assess whether electrical characteristics of the antenna are correct when measured only in the near field. “The Dielectric solution is to draw the entire array to analyze the near-field elevation pattern and compare that data to the near-field elevation pattern measured by the drone. The 3D rendering and analysis is done utilizing High Frequency Simulation Software, or HFSS,” Keith Pelletier.
Essentially the antenna’s far-field elevation pattern as simulated in HFSS is compared to what Dielectric measured at the factory to validate if its modeling is correct, said Pelletier.
“We then take the near-field elevation data collected by the drone to see if it matches up to the same cut in HFSS; and if so we know the far-field elevation pattern when formed is correct.”
There are several training programs available to get FAA Part 107 licensing, which is required for any type of commercial work. The exam requires an applicant to become familiar with FAA airspace regulations and a variety of other rules.
“It’s important to keep airspace safe. The hobby-type drones are fun but are not necessarily safe around towers, guy wires and high RF environments,” Shulins told Radio World.
“Either training and licensing yourself to operate a drone, or hiring a skilled licensed pilot with the right equipment and skillset to safely fly your tower and accurately interpret the results, is the smart thing to do.”
The perception of any given consumer is apt to change over time about any number of things, be it brand quality, trustworthiness or favoritism.
But a new study proposes that consumers’ perception — at least when it comes to media consumption and revenue — may be a permanent change.
This new study claims significant shifts in how American consumers perceive, consume and pay for media content. It also reveals media executives’ predictions for the media sector and how well they think they can address emerging challenges.
“Future of Audience and Revenue” polled more than 2,000 Americans, nearly 200 media executives and a series of focus groups about five key verticals: radio, TV, social media, digital publishing and esports.
“This study reveals tectonic shifts in how media is being produced, perceived, consumed and purchased across all levels of society and media,” said Daniel Anstandig, CEO of Futuri Media, which conducted the survey. “The message is very clear to media executives: now is the time to accelerate innovation to keep pace with media’s evolution, or risk being left behind.”
The survey looked at audience habits, media reliability, and the impact of radio broadcast streaming and radio, among other areas.
One of the survey’s most interesting finds: that media consumers now seem to use the terms “radio” and “TV” fluidly when describing media content, regardless of its true source. While it may have been quite clear to consumers 20 years ago as to what they were watching (watching cable vs. watching network TV, for example), focus group members consistently highlighted non-broadcast content when asked to describe their experience with “radio” and “TV.” Consumers used the terms interchangeably when describing audio or video sources. This suggests an evolution in terms of defining what actually is “radio” or “TV” programming.
When it comes to reliability, however, there is no confusion. The study offered that local radio and local TV are considered reliable for clarity and facts. More specifically, when consumers were asked to consider a range of audio and print brands, those respondents named local radio as the most reliable source for clarity and facts. Specifically, the study found that a majority of those responding said they depend on radio for their pandemic news, a finding that seems to demonstrate the medium’s importance for critical updates.
Perhaps not surprisingly, the study found that content consumption has grown even while content teams have been downsized and revamped. And now consumers want even more content. According to the survey, 57% of respondents watched streamed content more often over the past few months. Approximately, 30% listened to local AM/FM stations more often as well as more TV (51%) and social media (48%).
The study also said that the media executives that responded are nervous about the future. There are gaps between emerging issues that media executives considered to be important and their confidence in the industry’s ability to address them. For example, 84% believe it’s important to respond to new and disruptive competitors. Unfortunately, only 54% feel confident in the industry’s ability to do so.
The study also explored the impact of self-driving cars, 5G, broadcast and streaming radio, music streaming, eSports and gaming.
The study was conducted by Futuri, a provider of cloud-based audience engagement and sales intelligence software. They were aided by SmithGeiger Group, a market research specialist. Additional details on the study will be released on Sept. 23. There will be a series of in-depth webinars on Oct. 12.
The Federal Communications Commission has a critical role to play when it comes to addressing the nation’s challenges of climate change, cybersecurity and energy resource management, said FCC Commissioner Geoffrey Starks.
During a disaster, lives may depend on the nation’s public communications sector and those networks rely on power, Starks said during a speech at the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation’s 2021 Virtual Annual Legislative Conference on Sept. 14.
Given the importance of these issues, the FCC must update its rules when it comes to preplanned coordination with energy companies, which includes potentially requiring them to provide some sort of access to backup power during an emergency, he said.
Starks also pointed out the importance of working aggressively to counter cybersecurity threats. He noted President Joe Biden’s recent National Security Memorandum, which calls for a broad government and industry cybersecurity initiative across multiple infrastructure sectors. For the FCC’s part, it is in the process of engaging with federal partners to identify network vulnerabilities.
For example, the commission has started proceedings to block certain foreign telecom companies from being responsible for carrying communications within the U.S. And Starks said the commission has begun the process of finding and replacing nearly $2 billion worth of equipment from what he called “untrustworthy vendors” in the wireless telecom market.
Taking the obvious next step — revoking the authority to import or sell equipment from those same vendors — could impact devices like sensors, webcams and routers used by business, including energy companies. “The energy sector needs to know that our telecom networks are secure and resilient,” Starks said in his speech.
Starks pointed to smart meters as an example of how the energy sector is already using advanced telecom networks. Smart meters not only allow energy companies to monitor the sturdiness of a communications grid but these devices give energy companies the opportunity to easily inform consumers about their energy usage and warn about potentially high energy bills before they are incurred.
Starks’ colleague, Acting Chairwoman of the FCC Jessica Rosenworcel, has already taken steps to address security in communications across the U.S. Rosenworcel recently named members to a key advisory panel to a federal advisory committee that provides recommendations to the FCC to improve security and reliability of communications systems in the U.S.
Rosenworcel called the Communications Security, Reliability and Interoperability Council “one of the nation’s most impactful cybersecurity partnerships.” The revamped council will include government departments, public broadcast stations, private companies, telecoms, industry organizations and private organizations.
“I see deep parallels between the energy sector and telecommunications sector — both face some serious challenges, but the future also holds tremendous promise,” Starks said in ending his speech. “Let’s keep pushing to fulfill that promise.”
The post FCC’s Starks: Climate, Energy and Safety Are Key Priorities appeared first on Radio World.
As Zacks Equity Research sees it, “One company to watch right now is Entravision Communications.”
The company’s shares have been on the rise across 2021. Still, Zacks wonders if EVC is undervalued.
As the first half of 2021 ended, Cumulus Media could count itself among a select group of publicly traded broadcasters that were enjoying strong interest in investors on Wall Street. Shares reached $14.75 after bottoming out at $9 on May 4.
With hours remaining in trading on September 17, Cumulus shares are moving closer to that six-month low point, punctuating a 90-day decline for the company’s stock.
It has been tied to the company’s Flint, Mich., radio stations yet has a signal that’s based in Lapeer and covers such Michigan towns as Sandusky and Almont, to the east of Port Huron and Midwestern Ontario.
Now, Townsquare Media has decided to part ways with this outlier. The buyer? A religious noncommercial broadcast operation.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — The recently launched nonprofit industry organization representing Low Power, Translator and Class A TV Stations is giving its seal of approval to the “Local Journalist Sustainability Act.”
Says association executive director Michael Lee, “This legislation is surely a sensible investment in the all-important issue of local media trust and transparency.”
Riverfront Broadcasting, led by Carolyn Becker, has attracted national attention for its operations in the Heartland of America.
With operations in such markets as Yankton, S.D., Riverfront is now scaling back in a small way. It is saying goodbye to an AM, FM and FM translator serving a small city in Iowa.
Kagan, the media research group within the TMT offering of S&P Global Market Intelligence, has just released its review of all of the broadcast media transactions seen between January 1 and June 30, 2021.
For RBR+TVBR readers, the results aren’t much of a surprise. Yet, Kagan’s Volker Moerbitz’s assessment is still a striking one: the first half of 2021 registered a total deal volume that was less than the average monthly deal volume in any of the years between 2011 and 2019.
Thank the Lord for the brokers involved.COMING OCTOBER 4: HAS COVID-19 FOREVER IMPACTED MEDIA DEAL VALUES?
The Fall 2021 RBR+TVBR Special Report, available to all subscribers of the RBR+TVBR Afternoon Headlines E-mail, features an in-depth report on the state of the transactions marketplace. Adam R Jacobson chats exclusively with some of the nation’s leading brokers, and gets their assessment of the deal-making landscape as 2022 nears. IT’S ONLY IN THE DIGITAL AND PRINT EDITIONS OF THE FALL 2021 RBR+TVBR!
Less than 48 hours after a New York Federal District Court Judge declined to honor its request for summary judgment in a case focused on copyright infringement brought against the operation by the nation’s “Big Four” broadcast TV networks, Locast on September 2 suspended its operations.
Now, that suspension has become a permanent cessation of business activities, thanks to a ruling Wednesday from the 93-year-old judge overseeing the case.
Nearly one year ago, the radio industry, along with the NAB, started their salute to Radio’s 100 years of service in the United States. While radio stations exited in the 1910s, it was the might of Westinghouse and its KDKA in Pittsburgh that brought Radio into the 1920s as a force to be reckoned with.
One of those early radio stations that predates KDKA didn’t get its commercial license until its relocation to Boston in 1931. Before then, it was located in Springfield, Mass.
That could explain why the current owner of that Bay State giant, WBZ-AM 1030, is sparking a 100-day centennial celebration for the station on Sunday.
A provider of AI-driven audience engagement and sales intelligence solutions for media has unveiled a selection of principal conclusions from a just-released study conducted in partnership with SmithGeiger.
The biggest finding? There are “tectonic shifts” in how Americans perceive, consume and pay for media content. There are also big changes in how media executives see the sector progressing into the 2020s, putting clouds over their confidence in their ability to address emerging challenges.
From the People News page: Kristen Delaney will retire from iHeartMedia Albany at the end of the year.
She is area president for iHeartMedia Albany, a position she has held for more than 10 years, overseeing 15 stations in Albany, Poughkeepsie and Sussex, N.J.
According to a company summary of her career, she began in broadcasting in 1989 as an account executive in Utica, N.Y., and worked in sales until 1996 when she was promoted to local sales manager.
She joined what was then Clear Channel Radio in 1999 in a general sales manager role in Albany, and later was director of sales and then market manager there.
She is also on the board of the New York State Broadcasters Association and the Capital District Radio Association.
“Throughout her time at iHeartMedia, Delaney, along with her teams, helped raise millions of dollars for the Bernard & Millie Duker Children’s Hospital at Albany Medical Center and WGY’s Christmas Wish,” the company said.
iHeartMedia Markets Group President Hartley Adkins was quoted in the announcement saying, “Rarely do you see someone so inspiring and skilled at their profession as Kristen Delaney.”
Send news of engineering and executive personnel changes to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Supply Side is a series of occasional interviews with industry service providers and manufacturers.
Jamie Ashbrook is marketing manager at Radio.co, based in Manchester, U.K. He replied to questions via email.Jamie Ashbrook
Radio World: For those unfamiliar, what is Radio.co?
Jamie Ashbrook: Radio.co is a platform to host and manage your own radio station online. Think of it like the middleman between you and your listeners.
But let’s face it, talk is cheap. Take a tour of what we can actually do. From choosing your station’s name to broadcasting live to thousands of listeners worldwide, Radio.co has your online radio needs covered. So take a quick on-demand tour.
RW: Who started the company, and who owns it?
Ashbrook: James Mulvany (on both fronts). He’s the man with the plan. Mr. Head Honcho.
Having a love for both radio and business, a fresh faced James launched Wavestreaming way back in 2008. Starting off as a one-man band, the company quickly grew along with the product. In just a few years, thousands of broadcasters were using the platform. But there was a problem: Technology moves fast, quickly outdating the system.
To simplify things and stay ahead of the curve, Wavestreaming was torn down, then rebuilt into an easier solution that anyone could pick and use. In 2015, Radio.co was born.James Mulvany
James was there every step of the way. And I feel that’s a good thing, to see a founder who owns the company and gets actively involved to improve things on a day to day level.
RW: Your website is headlined “Want to start a radio station?” and it seems targeted to those who want to create audio streams on the internet. Are there offerings for actual broadcasters as well?
Ashbrook: Yup. So there are actually a variety of people from different walks of life that use Radio.co. Whether that’s small community stations like Shady Pines Radio, big Glastonbury style pop up events like ComplexLand or student-led radio like the University of Manchester’s Fuse FM, there’s something for everyone.
RW: What is Radio.co’s flagship product, and what sets it apart?
Ashbrook: Tricky question. There’s no one aspect that’s considered “flagship.” Radio.co is designed to be an all-in-one solution for broadcasters. But what makes it stand out is how easy everything is to get up and running. If you were gonna time yourself, it’d take roughly two minutes to launch your own station.
In saying that, there are a few features that spring to mind:
- iOS & Android Apps: Put your station in listener’s pockets.
- Talk Shows: Invite guests to record collaborative shows in your browser.
- Alexa Skill: Let listeners tune in with their voice on compatible Amazon Echo devices.
- News Bulletins: Play news on the hour every hour from your preferred news provider.
- Mixcloud Integration: Upload your DJ Mixes directly to your Mixcloud account.
- Listener Requests: Take song requests from listeners automatically for playout on your station.
And probably a load more I’m forgetting about. Not to mention, there are plenty of help guides, new features, and quick support that makes Radio.co the ideal package for broadcasters no matter the size.RW: Who are some of your customers that we would recognize?
Ashbrook: We’re not one to kiss and tell (ok, we are a bit). But we’ve had some awesome people and businesses walk through our doors over the years.
(Deep breath) A.C. Milan, VICE, Parker’s Kitchen, The Barbican, Australian Government Department of Health, Primavera Sound, M&C Saatchi, Soho Radio, Honest Burgers, Whiskas, Hotel Coastes, Smoke BBQ, Brit Asia TV Café Mambo, Philadelphia Parks & Recreation, Whalebone Magazine, Everton FC, Cult Records, PHMG, and Complex.Users of Radio.co at Shady Pines Radio
And a load more we can’t talk about just yet. But there are a few independent stations you might not know like Boogaloo Radio, Melodic Distraction, Diversity Radio, and Foundation FM that are worth checking out.
RW: What is the most important trend or challenge in 2021, for the people who are your customers?
Ashbrook: Covid changed everything. Most people have been stuck at home, so they turned to the internet to stay connected with others. The result? We saw 10 times more broadcasters every month than we usually do.
In terms of challenges, the biggest ones are those nearest to the starting gate. Things like how to set everything up, equipment needed, and reaching the right audiences. But all are addressed in our Radio University, Blog and even over on YouTube.
RW: What else should we know?
Ashbrook: Radio changes. No matter what medium comes along next, radio has adapted ever since its inception in the late 19th century.
Frankly, Radio.co is just one piece of the puzzle. But we’re happy to help broadcasters share their voice to a wider audience. Whether that’s a local community, nationwide or internationally, I’m just excited to see what happens next.
In saying all that, I’m always happy to chat, so if you’ve got any questions (yes you, the reader), drop me a message at email@example.com. And hopefully I can help.
By Rob Dumke
A new television viewership report from the spot cable arm of the company that owns Peacock, NBCUniversal and Universal Studios, as well as Comcast, finds that streaming “consistently” serves as a strong complement to traditional TV ad campaigns.
This was based on research conducted during the first half of 2021 from Effectv, the ad sales division of Comcast Cable.
The two individuals at the helm of the nation’s largest audio content production and distribution company are preparing for a presentation on Wednesday at the Goldman Sachs 30th Annual Communacopia Conference.
Bob Pittman, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, and Rich Bressler, President, Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer, of iHeartMedia will participate in a question and answer session at the highly regarded investor event.
They’ll be chatting it up starting at precisely 2:05pm Eastern on Sept. 22.
A live webcast of the session will be available to the general public at the start of the session through a link on the Investors homepage of iHeartMedia’s website (https://investors.iheartmedia.com/).
A replay of the video webcast will be available in the Events & Presentation section of iHeartMedia’s Investors homepage.
What did iHeartMedia stock close at on September 16? Visit the Wall Street Report now at RBR.com’s homepage for a quick glance at all of broadcast media’s publicly traded stocks.
According to Nielsen, the return to the classroom had an effect on monthly TV and streaming viewing.
The Gauge, Nielsen’s snapshot of viewing trends, showed a leveling of viewership after three months of steady growth.
The August data reveals that streaming maintained a 28% share of total TV viewing, compared with broadcast TV (24%) and cable (38%).
Children 6-17 years old viewed about 7.5% less than the previous month.
Nielsen said that drop was offset a bit by a 0.5% increase in overall TV viewing. The slight uptick was attributed to adults tuning in to broadcast programming such as the Olympics.
By Rob Dumke and Adam R Jacobson
“Broadcasting locally but driving national results,” Davis Broadcasting Inc. has stood out in the markets in which it operates radio stations in for its commitment to localism.
Now, its President and CEO has personally written to those in favor of a resolution that would prevent the levying of any new performance royalty payments on Radio.
While the biggest piece of legislation on Capitol Hill designed to do this is largely dead, recording industry advocacy group musicFIRST on Monday will seek to resuscitate it.