Tuesday, January 24, 2006

Content management

Our Grad Assistant has been working on our content management system. This homegrown application has become more and more important in our operation. It is a new idea for radio. What we used to think of as a content management system was our automation system and all it did was put audio on the air. But now, you have web streaming, podcasting, online archives, RSS, and more in the works. The next big area to simplify our operation will be to create the capability to create content once and have the servers distribute it in whatever media you want. I wonder if the automation system vendors are working on this too?

Audio over Ethernet

Broadcasters are beginning to see the value of building Ethernet networks into their physical plant. In the past these networks were used for file based audio playout and automation, but now more streaming audio is being delivered over the network. Appliances such as the Axia Livewire system and Audioscience Cobranet do this in hardware. I have found that for quick setup of audio streaming across a local network, VLC is a useful, free program that fits a variety of situations. The executable acts as both a server and a client. It allows you to do traditional http streaming, but also offers more advanced options using Real Time Streaming Protocol (RTSP) or UDP streaming. It even offers multicast streaming. I believe it could even capture audio streams off of NPR's Content Depot network. I hope to get to try it soon that way. UDP streaming is also very useful for one-way Ethernet connections from Studio to Transmitter.