Now in its fourth year, NAB’s Pilot Innovation Challenge, part of the association’s business incubator, Pilot, is now accepting proposals and has announced a new component for this year’s program. For the first time, Pilot will provide support to a pair of winners so they can develop a prototype to be presented at the 2020 NAB Show.
The prompt for this year’s Pilot Innovation Challenge is to build an AI character that can have conversations with individual viewers, listeners or consumers, with character traits that can be defined and trained by the broadcaster.
Individuals, teams, companies, academic institutions and nonprofit organizations are eligible to submit proposals, with up to five finalists selected by a panel of judges by the end of November. Of those five, two winners will be granted as much as $150,000, relevant mentorship and feedback during the development of their prototype. They will also be invited to the 2020 NAB Show, April 18–22, in Las Vegas to demonstrate the prototype.
The deadline to apply for the Innovation Challenge is Oct. 18. Interested applicants can review the judging criteria and apply here.
The post NAB’s Pilot Seeking Proposals For AI-Inspired Innovation Challenge appeared first on Radio World.
Community radio attracts so many talented individuals who devote time managing and shepherding stations through many adventures. Virtually all of these people do what they do for the love of their local stations. So, at a time of the year when many community media organizations are nearing the end of the fiscal year, this is a gentle encouragement to think about these selfless individuals and their futures.
To be sure, no one is getting rich off running a community radio station. But that isn’t an excuse for keeping them destitute either.
My timeline the last few months has been dotted with stories of talented community radio general managers, journalists and other leaders leaving for greener pastures. The departures all have a similar ring: opportunities you can’t pass up and offers that are too good, among other reasons. Less in the public eye are issues stations can improve upon.
Not every station has the resources currently to afford staff. But if your community radio station does have staff, attracting gifted people and keeping them happy means more than promising them a fulfilling role. It means valuing their contributions by treating them like professionals who care about your organization.
Not enough of us give thought to drawing in and retaining the best people. Moreover, having limited resources is used not as a challenge to do better, but a rationalization to do nothing. Thus the backchannel stories are troubling: staff who had to take extra jobs to support their families on a station salary; stations that asked for 60-hour work weeks and little appreciation; stations that would not offer health insurance; unions that failed to advocate for even a cost of living increase in a decade or more. The most problematic boards and senior leadership in these scenarios suggest a community radio job as a privilege and other audacious proclamations directly opposed to labor fairness, diversity and equity.
And we wonder why stations struggle. Look not much further than turnover and a lack of investment in people who care.
I speak about these matters from a place of compassion for stations, but also direct experience with station myopia. I worked for a community radio station for years without a penny extra in wages. Like many station staffers, I accepted such because the organization was meaningful to me. However, I suspect a lot of station staffers make similar excuses. In the end, this acceptance does not make for forward-thinking dynamics. It may contribute to dissatisfaction instead. And the people who should act to make these situations better are only emboldened to advocate for quasi-austerity or, worse still, inaction.
As many nonprofits get ready to kick off the new fiscal year, don’t be that station. Don’t treat the people who love your organization and give so much of their time and ideas to its betterment like people whose lives you should not care about. And don’t fall back on the collective shoulder shrug to address the needs of community radio.
Different community radio stations are faced with different local conditions, so it is impossible to be prescriptive about how organizations should remedy these matters. However, a commitment to change is a start. From staff evaluations to studying area pay trends to investigating healthcare options, there is a lot boards and senior leaders can do. Equity and fairness starts at home.
The new edition has AoIP tips, emergency operations kits for public radio stations, the transmitter remote controls of yore, battle lines in the translator interference debate, our preview of the Radio Show in Dallas and much more.
“Tech Tuesday” and Lessons From the Cowboys
Read about the convention’s fresh new feel, its day devoted to technology, and highlights of the three-day event including business ideas from Dallas Cowboys’ Chief Brand Officer Charlotte Jones Anderson.
Stitcher’s Flexible New Facility in Manhattan
The company moved into new headquarters and built studios for creating podcasts; find out what’s in them.
ALSO IN THIS ISSUE:
- Smart Speakers Grow Even More Important
- Jay Tyler’s Top AoIP Trends
- About the EBU Media Technology Pyramid
The Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic, Oct. 15–17, is a highly anticipated annual event for radio broadcasters. Like a miniature NAB Show it offers a wealth of information from a show floor along with useful sessions. Radio World is previewing several of those upcoming sessions.
Tim Wright is a senior engineer for the Cumulus Radio Station Group in Chicago. He’s taking a look at the using the Raspberry Pi computer system in a broadcast environment in “Nuts and Bolts: Building the Perfect Pi,” Oct. 15, 7 p.m.
Radio World: The Raspberry Pi is still unknown to a lot of radio broadcast engineers. What is it and how can it be of use in a radio broadcast environment?
Tim Wright: The Raspberry Pi is a single board SOC (system on a chip) computer that is about the size of a deck of cards. It runs a ARMCore version of Debian Linux in a standard configuration but can also run Ubuntu Linux, several other more obscure OSes, and Windows 10 IOT (If you like the Microsoft [non]security model). The basic Raspberry Pi model lists at $35 US so it is a very cost effective solution for those broadcast applications that would normally require a full blown PC to just loaf along and do one thing.
RW: What is a good and useful studio project?
Wright: I have implemented several applications for the Raspberry Pi for our studios and transmitters for Cumulus Chicago. We will be showing, hands-on, several of these applications at the “Nuts and Bolts” session of the Wisconsin Broadcasters fall show. My first application was porting Anthony Eden’s Livewire Simple Delegation Switcher to the Pi. At that point it only ran on Windows in a windowed configuration. I needed a border-less configuration with large buttons to use as a monitor routing panel to select which audio went to overhead speakers in Sales, Promotions, and common areas. Since the code is open source, I modified it to fit my needs. Since that time, Anthony has posted Raspberry Pi configuration instructions on his GIT repository web site.The Raspberry Pi version of the Livewire switcher that Tim Wright has developed.
My second project was for the transmitter sites. I developed a temperature sensor (thermometer) that outputs SNMP data for ingestion into my icinga2/Grafana-based “Heads Up Display” in the TOC. I have also developed several types of multistream monitors for web streams, and a studio clock that interfaces with Livewire right now, and WheatNet is in the works.
Additional applications that are possible but not necessarily practical, include an IP-based STL/TSL, decoding HD Radio using a Pi and an SDR dongle, DHCP server, multimedia displays, KODI home theater, etc.
Use your imagination, or as they say, “Imagine the Possibilities.”
RW: Can it be used in networking?
Wright: The Raspberry Pi family, with the exception of the $5 Pi Zero, support networking. The currently available versions 3B and 4 support both wired and wireless networking, with the 3 at 100 Mbps and the 4 at gigabit speed.
In addition there are third-party hardware additions that allow POE (Power over Ethernet) of the Pi. Since it is a full-blown Linux system, you can do anything that Linux is capable of.
RW: Its simplicity, small footprint and low power consumption would seem to make it a natural for backup uses. Tell us about that.
Wright: Not just backup uses. I have a web server that has been running on a Pi original model for years quite happily.
I did an analysis of PC vs Pi, since any of the projects discussed in the session can and will run on PC hardware as well. In bottom line terms, what can be done for $900 with a PC can be done for $130 with a Pi and is a tiny fraction of the space. A typical PC consumes 150 W of power and the Pi is 5 W. Do the math — total cost of ownership.Tim Wright’s Raspberry Pis at work.
RW: Have you worked with the new Raspberry Pi 4 yet?
Wright: I just purchased a half dozen of the Raspberry Pi Version 4 in all the various models (1 GB, 2 GB and 4 GB RAM versions) specifically to use at the WBA for hands-on demonstrations. It took four trips to Micro Center to get them all, because they cannot keep them in stock. Needless to say they are a popular commodity. Be warned, the Version 4 Pi requires a different HDMI cable, power adapter and case, since, following the Apple mantra, why would we want to be backwards hardware-compatible. The larger memory footprint is really only necessary in the minority of applications since Linux runs quite fine with the standard 1 GB. I can imagine that with the dual HDMI ports on the Version 4, the increased CPU speed and cores, and the gigabit networking capability, the Pi could even be used as a digital audio workstation. I have successfully run, as an experiment, a 24-track editor on the Pi 3, so the 4 is even better.
I am setting up all the demo systems with VNC access and Webmin access via HTML, so attendees can use their laptops to play with the systems as if it were a local PC.
The post Wisconsin Broadcasters Clinic Preview: Raspberry Pi appeared first on Radio World.
Vearl Pennington, DW05CB, Burlington, Ohio, DW06BC, Mount Sterling, Kentucky, and DW10BM, Morehead, Kentucky
Radio World’s new ebook “AoIP for 2020” is our biggest to date; find it at radioworld.com/ebooks. This article is one in a series exploring that topic. Author Dee McVicker handles marketing and communications at Wheatstone.
There is far more to AoIP than routing and connecting things. It is because of AoIP that we can pan studio cameras at exactly the right moment or load an entire studio of controls onto a tablet, for example.
Where is this all going?Jay Tyler
Here are the top five AoIP trends, according to Jay Tyler, Wheatstone’s director of sales, who has been involved in hundreds of studio projects.
Native AoIP across distances. There’s a lot of sharing going on these days, from sharing VOs and bumpers between sister stations and sports venues to putting everything into one main operating center for several stations scattered across a region. Being able to move native IP audio and control across distances is why. The cost savings are significant in terms of staff, infrastructure and workflows, and disaster recovery doesn’t get much better than having your essential operation up in a cloud or in another Zip code while dealing with a disaster situation in the studio.
“We don’t care where music lives,” Tyler said. “We can pull it in or we can control it remotely. We can mix it remotely, send it to your transmitter site, bypass the studios, whatever you want us to do, we can now do it using a combination of AoIP logic controls, codecs and connectivity.”
Native IP for phone-ins, too. Connecting VoIP phones directly into the AoIP network without hybrids or stepping through analog-digital conversions means you can do so much more than just route one or two mic feeds down the phone line. You can split feeds, set up multiple sends, customize talkbacks, routing and conference feeds — all possible now that VoIP phones can connect directly into the native IP audio environment.
SNMP everything. “Everyone wants to know what everything is doing, and they’re doing it with SNMP,” he said. SNMP is a set of standards used for monitoring and managing data from servers, printers, hubs and switches. AoIP networks and devices that are SNMP-enabled have MIB files that define relevant data points for monitoring bitrates, temperatures, signal flow and other network details.
For example, WheatNet-IP BLADE I/O units have MIB files with data points for monitoring as well as alerting if a particular port is dropping packets or if a device is heating up and about to fail. In addition to devices containing MIB files, an SNMP browser or management tool is needed for managing networks.
Virtual interfaces into the network. UIs into the IP audio network are taking many forms today, from signal monitoring and switching control panels to news desks complete with talkback button, metering and weather, sports and stock market feeds. Meanwhile, according to Tyler, standalone virtual mixing consoles such as Wheatstone’s Glass LXE are popular in mid-market production rooms because they’re affordable to set up and use, and extremely serviceable for today’s production needs. With native audio IP able to cross distances as mentioned earlier, we can now tap into and control signal streams inside or outside a facility from any user interface available, whether it’s a multi-touch flatscreen or a mobile phone.
AES67 Everywhere. AES67 is no longer an afterthought. This audio transport standard is becoming an important part of the AoIP landscape as we move more and more audio between network systems. Also up and coming are complementary standards based on NMOS and AES70, which promise to add discovery, control and connection management to the interoperability mix.
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AMSTERDAM — The WorldDAB conference “Radio Distribution Strategies for a Connect World” focused on new and innovative ways to reach and attract audiences in a connected world.The speakers’ panel at the WorldDAB session during IBC2019. (L to R) Patrick Hannon, Graham Dixon, Michael McEwen, Jørn Jensen, Simon Mason, Andrew Murphy, Jordi Gimenez and Jacqueline Bierhorst.
During the event, Jørn Jensen, senior adviser at NRK, highlighted how the advent of digital radio reversed the trend of radio listening figures in Norway. For years the overall listening values had been slightly decreasing, similar to what was happening in the rest of Europe.
In 2019, after the completion of the FM switchoff, the listening figures began to rise again, he explained. Clearly, the need to replace a legacy radio receiver with a new, digital-capable one did not scare Norwegians, driving them to leave radio behind and massively embrace alternative audio platforms.
“DAB gave Norwegian listeners a much wider choice,” said Jensen. “Apart from moving from three to 15 national radio channels, 35% of all radio listening is now to ‘digital only’ stations, which previously did not exist.”
Norwegian broadcasters were able to design new stations for smaller target groups outside the mainstream market. The NRK station P1+ (targeting listeners over 55), for example, rose to 6th position during its first week on air.Jørn Jensen said listeners figures rose in Norway after the FM switch-off.
Also, radio commercial revenues can benefit from the digital radio adoption. Even if the United Kingdom experienced a false start with DAB, after 2010 digital radio definitely had a stable comeback there, and now the U.K. is a leading market for DAB.
Overall radio commercial revenue (including FM) followed the rising trend of digital radio popularity. Patrick Hannon, WorldDAB president, emphasized that overall commercial revenues climbed up by 24% from 2014 to 2018.
NATIONAL BRANDSPatrick Hannon, WorldDAB president, gives a keynote speech and wraps up the session.
“Commercial broadcasters usually see more competition and more costs in the
DAB market,” Hannon said. “But DAB gave them the opportunity to establish national brands, which are transforming the perception of commercial radio in the U.K.” In his opinion, national brands are at the heart of the revenue growth.
The WorldDAB session also focused on the need for broadcast digital radio to secure its place through a fluid distribution mix of the advanced markets are now experiencing all around the world.
The session’s speaker panel also included Graham Dixon, head of radio at the EBU); Michael McEwen, director general for NABA; Simon Mason, head of broadcast radio technology at Arqiva, Andrew Murphy, lead research engineer at BBC R&D; Jordi Gimenez, project leader 5G at Institut für Rundfunktechnik; and Jacqueline Bierhorst, on behalf of Radioplayer Worldwide.
All the speakers agreed that a multiplatform digital radio strategy is necessary to preserve the value proposition of radio in a connected and evolving world.
“We have to maintain trustability and relevance — our content has no value, unless people are using it,” Jørn Jensen concluded.
The post Using Digital Radio to Boost Listening Figures and Revenues appeared first on Radio World.