Airtime Takes to the Internet
     

The authors are with RAG Radio Production.

ARCHIESTOWN, Scotland — Just over a year ago we started a radio production company, RAG Radio Production. Our aim was to produce radio programs for other stations from our own studio. After a few months we decided that the way to move forward was to establish a radio station of our own as well. After much searching we found a reliable and affordable streaming company and one that could also offer other benefits such as the use of own programs for broadcast and also the ability to play out scheduled programming via a reliable calendar.

Lessons

Airtime was at that time a new software program on the market. It seemed to cover all the bases we needed at that time: a streamer which was scalable to handle high or low numbers of listeners and with an easy-to-understand calendar which allowed repeat programs at the touch of a switch.

 SourceFabric
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When we originally installed the program we did find it a little bit complicated but that might have been due to our broadcast inexperience. In order to get fully up and running we had to have a Skype call with one of the tech lads who stayed with us until the system was fully up and running. He also ironed out a few problems we had with the way we used it.

Once we were up and “on-the-air” we found out that we did not really understand the different things we would also need in the very near future. It became quickly apparent we needed a way to log on outside DJs who worked from home or from their own studios.

With the introduction of Airtime 2 this became available to us. They added a separate platform for outside DJs to be able to log-in to the stream with the use of a secure password. They log in to the stream and at the end of the show log out which allows the calendar to pick up control and revert it back to the main stream.

You can give DJs one of three levels of accounts. A DJ’s account allows them to see the calendar but not use it to add or delete programs. A manager’s account allows them to see and use the calendar so they can add shows into the calendar or delete shows from it. A full administrator’s account allows them to do all we can within Airtime environment. Obviously at that level we only allow trusted people to use that log-in because they can delete other user’s accounts. In giving others the permission to do these things it cuts our time down from having to upload shows, place shows in the calendar, etc.

It is unfortunate that Airtime doesn’t have a live module (I am assured this is in the pipeline). In order to do live broadcasts you need to use an outside program linked to Airtime. This was a bit hard at the start to work but together with the Airtime technical folks we got it running.

One of the biggest problems we have encountered is the calendar playback. Airtime would seem to forget to stream out from time-to-time. We used to send an email to Airtime within a few hours if it had not corrected itself. Even when the fault was ours they would do it in a courteous and friendly way.

If the program has one fault it is that it does not give average listening figures for your reports at a glance. We approached them and one of the technicians devised a small program for us which he sends to us every month in order to do our licencing quarterly report.

As for the cost, the product is like buying modules to add on as needed. You can run as small or as large as you want, and if you need something different they are always there to make a program designed for you and your needs. This makes it a very good value and we can work out our own budget in advance knowing we can expand or shrink to fit our needs.

We have found the whole program to be very stable, with few problems occurring. The whole time we have used Airtime the servers have always stayed active with no noticeable offline time. Any problems we have had have mainly been small glitches to the system and have been corrected speedily.

For information, contact Josh McLain at Sourcefabric in Ontario at (312) 789-5659 or visit sourcefabric.org/en.


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