Workflow is critical to success

Radio Workflow

Lately I’ve been testing out at online Customer Relation Management software for radio stations called Radio Workflow which is free to use for your first radio station otherwise a paid subscription is required. It’s the first time I’ve seen a case study (in their help documentation) of the process from sales right through to invoicing. Concerns over data ownership and implementing manual procedures when the system perhaps goes offline, are on my radar. Anyone given this software a go?

It makes me wonder how many community stations are out there just running jukebox like radio rather than formatting their hours with IDs, sponsors, community service announcements and very importantly music arranged by format rules rather than all these components very randomised. Is there room for a business to come into the market to provide traffic and music logs prepared for at least community stations via some sort of subscription model. I query this because I know quite a lot of stations struggle to get the human resources to do this properly.

 

SMS

I’ve given RDS a bit of a break for now, replacing with another three letter acronym of SMS (Short Message Service). I’ve always wanted to know how to get text messages into the studio on the cheap. So with the help of an old USB modem/dongle, a $2 Amaysim SIM card, a $10 pay as you go plan (365 day expiry) and software called SMS Enabler it has been tested.

Initially I tried a $5 Pay as You go SIM card (365 day expiry) from ALDImobile but it did not permit use with non phone devices, so I now use that in my emergencies kit with a backup phone.

It would appear that I was quite lucky to get my project phone number to include the station frequency within the number. If you don’t like the number allocated to you or the range to choose from you have to pay a fee to a service provider for a premium number then port it across when possible.

In my test so far, if there is not sufficient signal strength the message can get delayed for over an hour or more, although I haven’t worked out whether the baud rate or RTS/CTS flow is required. Not all USB dongles internet connection software will let you see your preferred service provider signal strength and you can only purely notice by the colour or sequence of a light on the modem. Most people would not realise that most of these devices allow for an external antenna to be added if necessary, I know this especially from trying to do outside broadcasts. A common external (outside the building) antenna is the RFI Wide-band MIMO 4G Panel. The text messages are currently set to send to a studio email address but can go to a number of options including on screen window, database, webserver, auto response or text file.

 

Streaming

How many stations out there are just relaying their FM off-air signal to their internet streaming? what’s stopping you from taking it from the station before the transmission path? I’ve been following the tracking of changes from Oddcast to Edcast to Altacast, it’s rather messy. But I found a link to Winamp 5.61 which allowed let me get a copy of enc_aacplus.dll which lets Edcast or Altacast to stream AAC+ or alternatively just Winamp with the DSP plugin will do the job.