Airtime: the online radio management system you need

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airtime

There are thousands of radio stations around the world — the medium is thriving in both developed and developing nations where internet-radio and the traditional format prevail respectively.

And while stations’ broadcasting goals may vary from entertainment to news to education to marketing, they all share the unifying challenge of managing and scheduling their broadcasts, in an effective and timely manner, to reach the millions of regular radio listeners worldwide.

Interestingly, there has been an explosion in the number of radio stations that broadcast in local languages, providing an extra hurdle for show–creators: how do they create content between many contributors who may speak different languages to one another, and then subsequently broadcast that content in various and multiple languages?

For example, the Democratic Republic of Congo and Uganda sport over 150 radio stations a piece with the latter catering for audiences in 38 different languages — a management nightmare.

Enter Airtime — a free, open source radio management application from Sourcefabric, the Czech non-profit organisation behind Newscoop and Booktype.

Effectively a content-management system (CMS) for radio shows, Airtime runs via the web, through a browser, allowing for remote collaboration on radio content. Intriguingly, its new version, 2.3, is available in 11 new languages and allows for stations to localise Airtime themselves.

This means that one contributor from say, Cameroon, can interact with the application’s interface in his native French, while another in Poland can work in Polish… all on the same show, and on the same broadcast.

Airtime was downloaded 20 000 times last year in over 160 countries so Sourcefabric has identified its user–base and responded fittingly. Even though the app is run via the web, content can be automated to be broadcast on air, digitally as well as online. Version 2.3 takes that functionality and adds localisation.

Radio is clearly still a powerful medium, especially in the developing world, where radio sets are relatively inexpensive and do not require electricity. An ITU document from 2010 reports numbers that speak for themselves: more than 75 percent of households own a radio in the majority of countries while in Africa that number grows to between 80-90 percent.

An application like Airtime is a nod to the medium’s popularity and the challenges its creators face to produce broadcasts on a regular basis.

This means that radio–creators using Airtime can now collaborate without having to worry about communication barriers, and can rather focus on the quality of their broadcasts. After all that is what it is all about, right?

Now that’s convenient. Or should I say wydogny.

New features (full list):

  • Interface now available in Chinese, English, French, German, Italian, Korean, Russian, Polish, Spanish, Brazilian Portuguese and Czech.
  • Listener stats allow stations streaming on the web via IceCast and SHOUTcast to track how many people are tuned into the station
  • A new user management page for non-admin users
  • Airtime scans newly imported tracks for leading/trailing silence and automatically sets cue points to avoid silence
  • ReplayGain, a tool that enables all audio to be broadcast at a consistent volume level can now be switched on and off, plus offset in real-time
  • Liquidsoap memory footprint improvements mean better streaming performance

Airtime 2.3 will be available for download on its dedicated website from 12H00 GMT today.

 

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