Backbone Brings MLL to the Internet
     

BOSTON — Last summer, Major League Lacrosse was looking for a way to simulcast televised games via our new Internet radio station. We needed to take an audio feed from our television broadcast and get it to our radio station in a way that was both easy to use and economical.

Fortunately, we met Backbone Networks, whose Richard Cerny, Paul Kamp and George Capalbo impressed us at a meeting with what they had to offer. Their software seemed like it would meet our needs perfectly.

After completing our first season with Backbone, that first impression has proved to be true.

 
The laptop shows the Backbone Network’s interface during the game.
Backbone’s software makes it easy to do live programming as well as load previously recorded programming, like podcasts, into their servers. Pre-recorded programming can be set to playback at a scheduled time or it can be set into a playlist as part of a rotation of programming.

Learning

Controlled by two pieces of Macintosh client software, Backbone Radio features cloud-based broadcasting and automation. Backbone Radio streams using Quicktime, HLS and Shoutcast and can be heard on computers as well as devices such as the iPhone, Android devices, iPad, Roku and more than 200 others.

Mobility was important to us, as we found that a majority of our audience listens to our station through a mobile app.

The guys at Backbone helped us set up their software on a Mac and taught us how to get up and running in a matter of days. The initial simulcasts went off without a hitch. To stream live, we simply had to hook two computers together through the mic and headphone jacks and broadcast the feed live through the Backbone software.

Once we had established that we could easily simulcast the television feeds, we wanted to explore broadcasting a game live to our station. With Backbone’s help, we were able to put together a remote production kit that we could carry to press boxes and quickly set up for live broadcasting.

The kit consists of a Macintosh, an eight-channel Alesis MultiMix 8 USB mixer, a few Shure SM58 microphones and headphones. These all travel in a backpack and can be set up in about 20 minutes.

Because having a solid Internet connection is key, Backbone helped us determine the reliability of the signal and the upstream bandwidth and, once those were established, we were broadcasting games live with our engineer, producer and two announcers.

With the game broadcasts accomplished, we looked to add live support programming to our weekly schedule. Backbone once again had a solution. Using the equipment from our remote kit, we created a studio where we broadcast a live pregame show, a segment at halftime and a post-game report, as well as live, in-studio updates during the game.

The final piece of the puzzle for us was how to bring guests into our programs. We have players and teams scattered across the country, and we needed a solution that would allow us to incorporate them into our Boston-based studio shows. Backbone had been working on a system that would do just that, and we were able to test the beta version of the software towards the end of our season.

Our plan is to continue to grow MLL Radio, which is available through TuneIn, into a full time station during our season and hopefully even beyond that. Thanks to the help of Backbone, we feel confident that we can accomplish this.

For information, contact Paul Kamp at Backbone Networks in Massachusetts at (617) 848-1176 or visit www.backbone.com.

Radio World User Reports are unpaid testimonials; they are intended to allow equipment users to explain why they chose a particular product. Radio World Product Evaluations, by comparison, are paid articles written by a contributing reviewer, usually an engineer.


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