Podcast Show Notes – what Radio could learn

Some more thoughts I have been having about what Radio can learn from podcasts.

One thing I find useful about podcasts are their show notes. These are often links directly to the stories and/or website mentioned, equipment talked about and sponsors of that podcast plus a rundown of topics is sometimes included. The big benefit of this is whilst the show is on I am often walking to/from work and don’t have a means of writing things down but I don’t have to – often the links are “in the show notes”.

Now I am thinking primarily of BBC Local Radio here but commercial radio could use it with their sponsors to help engagement. Wouldn’t it be much better for them on air instead of reading out website addresses they just say “for the website links head to the programme page on our website”. This doesn’t need to be confined to website links as it can contain contact details and more specific details of requests/appeals plus a photo or two. BBC Local is tending to rely on Facebook to give this info and added edge simply because it is simpler to achieve. I shall simpler to achieve as I believe the ‘ibroadcast’ system is capable to adding notes to show (let me know in the comments if this is true)

These show notes could also have timecode in them allowing the listener to be able to jump to that particular point when the interview begun. I often see tweets from presenters saying “Great having x on the show today – listen again on the iPlayer (scroll to 47:30 in)” or those tweets come from guests on the show. This would enable more SEO for the BBC Website plus those appearing and enable better sharing of content via social media. It would also help if in the future you wanted to ‘atomise’ the content and use it in a similar way to the way NPR do for their NPR One App.

Podcasts can do it. Here for example I will link to the in point in my podcast, Desert Island Geek, where I spoke to Christian Payne AKA @documentally about how he ended up being a sheep farmer for 6 years. I can then link or embed the player to an earlier part of that same podcast where he spoke about his book choice to read during his time on the island.

Along similiar lines the URLs of the individual shows should be improved to be, for example, www.bbc.co.uk/essex/monk should get me to the Dave Monk show on BBC Essex and his latest programme should be front and centre with listen live if he happens to be on air at the time.

Please let me know your thoughts on my thoughts in the comments below.

P Squared Myriad Upgrade from v3 to v4

Below is a little document I made up after upgrading the Myriad Playout system at Hospital Radio Chelmsford (www.hrc.org.uk). It uses SQL Authentication as the method of linking to the database rather than windows authentication but this should not be a problem for station running less that 10 playout instances.

Hope you find it useful for your install.

Software Needed:-

SQL Server software (SQL 2008R2 Standard or Express recommended)
SQL Native Client software (needed for each workstation – 32bit version) sqlncli_x86.msi
Latest P Squared Full Release software i.e. Myriad Playout / Myriad Autotrack (along with relevant licensing details)

Optional:-

P Squared Bootstuff software to auto launch software on completion of set tasks i.e. server share available.
Firewall Exceptions batch file from P Squared Forum – http://forum.psquared.net/6688/SQL-Firewall-Exceptions

Prep:-

1 – Backup all of your ‘Myriad’ folder contents.

Installation:-

Server

1 – Run Windows Update to ensure server is up to date.
2 – Install SQL Server software
2.1 – Recommended practise is software installed on system (c:) drive and data directories location is set to D: drive i.e. d:\psquared\myriad.
2.2 – Create user in Management Studio with sysadmin and public rights
2.3 Run Windows update again to ensure SQL server software is up to date.

Autotrack Workstation (recommended to install Autotrack before Playout)

1 – Run Windows update to ensure machine is up to date.
2 – Install Native SQL Client software on machine
3 – Install Myriad Autotrack
4 – Connect to SQL server using SQL Authenication with user details you created on server (this allows anyone to log onto windows on the machine and it not affect the access to the Database).
5 – Once Autotrack is installed and licensed go to File – Import/Upgrade Database and choose your Autotrack Database found in the ‘Autotrck’ folder on your server. This upgrade can take some time and your system will look like it is not responding but just leave it alone!
6 – Run the user importer tool to import your current v3 users.
7 – Run the application and ensure it loads correctly and click on ‘allow’ to any firewall requests. 8 – Run the firewall exceptions batch file on workstation.

Playout Workstation

1 – Run Windows update to ensure machine is up to date.
2 – Install Native SQL Client software on machine
3 – Install Myriad Playout 4 – Connect to SQL server using SQL Authenication with user details you created on server (this allows anyone to log onto windows on the machine and it not affect the access to the Database).
4 – Run the application and ensure it loads correctly and click on ‘allow’ to any firewall requests. 5 – Run the firewall exceptions batch file on workstation.

Gotchas

1 – When entering the server details do not leave anything of the pre-existing text before /SQLExpress. If your server is on a domain you may need to enter the whole domain string rather than just server\SQLEXPRESS.

2 – Don’t forget to install the Native Client software else things just won’t work.

Newsroom Software

At HR Chelmsford we have recently upgraded one of our studios or really just made a new studio in what was the production area. We installed another copy of Myriad and purchased a mixer from Psquared – the SRM which integrates with Myriad via USB. The next thing was software to enable us to run a newsroom efficiently compiling our own bulletins from material provided via IRN and self written local stories.

I came across Airscribe from Impishfish and version 2 of their software. Last week Ken, who runs the company, kindly came down to visit us and check over the system and give us some training. There are a few bugs with it at the moment which he is working on ironing out for us but I am pretty happy with it.

There are some details on the Impishfish website but basically it pulls down the text and audio from the IRN Net Newsroom plus text from any RSS feeds you put into it. You can then add these stories along with any locally written content which you can attach audio files to into a bulletin. You can re-arrange the bulletin running order and then when you press on read the screen fills up with the bulletin which you scroll through with the arrows keys pressing the 0 key when you want the audio to play.

Very simple and for HR and community radio stations good value too.

Nextrad.io write up

Last week I attended the Nextrad.io conference at the Magic Circle in London. As with most radio things I attend I have various hats on when listening to people talk. I have my BBC World Service hat on most of the time but I also have a Hospital Radio hat on having been involved in HR for over 20 years and I also have a podcasting hat and general radio loving hat on too. So I was greatly looking forward to this event.

It was designed for people who ‘do’ radio and I would say I ‘do’ it in various places. The talks were short, either 9 or 18 minutes long. This meant a packed programme. Here are some things I took from the event.

Nik Goodman spoke about the Top 5 things that work in radio across the world – Entertaining, Emotion, Creativity, Storytelling, Honesty are the things I got down. It was an enjoyable talk.

Francesca Panetta from the Guardian Audio team spoke about why podcasts are different from radio. I have podcast since October 2005 and although have been quiet with my podcasts recently is something I am interested in still. Her main points were

  • You don’t need to follow the old ‘cue – package – backanno’ style of radio presentation.
  • It can be brave
  • It’s in stereo – most of the time you are being played on headphones
  • Treasurable
  • A Space for Innovation

Steve Martin (who I have a bizarre relationship with, having done some work with him in the past and have spoken to on the phone but he doesn’t know what I look like in public yet we work in the same building) did a talk about Creative Perils which he has put on his website was enjoyable and made me think about promotions in radio.

The Prison Radio association spoke about their work in the UK and it was an interesting talk and one I could turn around to my work with Hospital Radio. They had some targets for their radio.

  • Make them think
  • Make them feel inspired
  • Make them feel emotional
  • Mark them feel good
  • Mark them reflect
  • Mark them dream

Paul Chantler (a man who employed me once but probably didn’t know he did) spoke about Libel and Slander which although not a sexy subject did make me think about the way many Hospital Radio stations probably break these rules all the time and that they need to be careful – perhaps I should ask him to attend an HBA conference?

Steve Ackerman from Somethin’ Else spoke about the company and some of the projects he has been involved in and it was refreshing to hear about audio being used outside of radio. As a technical sound person it also gave me a little view as to something else I could do with my audio/radio skills outside of the BBC. They have worked on a iphone app called Papa Sangria and did some work with Wrigleys on a game called Nightjar – both of which are audio based games.

The final session which made me write things down was from Dick Stone. All about prep and he has written this up on his blog here so again won’t recite it.

I must also mention Mark Channon who did a session all about remembering things. This was a breath of fresh air and acted as a good ‘wake up’ session during the afternoon.

Conclusion – it was an enjoyable day and I did learn some things I could take with me but I think mostly it showed me what else is going on around the industry. It is quite easy to remain enclosed within the BBC bubble but in these changing times it is important we all look out else we could find ourselves outside the school gates without any friends. Hopefully another one next year.

Radio Presenters: Tools for reading stuff from the web on air

So with the ability to surf the web whilst on air in most studios I thought I would share some web-tools you can use which may make reading text from website easier to do whilst on air. Now of course plenty of people will say “well you should edit the text and make it more radio friendly” but sometimes you either can’t be bothered or you run out of time.

So the first tool is called ‘Readability’ and is available here. You setup readability on the site and then create a bookmark for it (it works with safari and firefox, maybe IE) then go to the site you want to read from and when on that site click on your ‘Readability’ bookmark. It takes whichever website you are on at the time and strips out all the distractions such as ads and flash banners and gives you the main text in an easy to read layout.

The second tool is called ‘Autoscroll’ and is available here. Now after you have sent your webpage through Readability. Create a bookmark from the Autoscroll site and click on it and this will start automatically scrolling the webpage for you – just like autocue on the tv. You can control the speed of the scroll etc with the number keys.

It is worth giving them a go and see how you get on. I have found them very useful – Matt