A new radio station has gone live in the UK, taking its cue from public access television networks.
Upload Radio allows anyone to upload a radio program to the station, and for content creators to book a slot for transmission. The broadcast radio stations are carried on DAB in three separate areas in the UK, one covering much of South London and Surrey. They are also available online (live and on-demand), including in Radioplayer. Slots are currently �20 (US $25) per hour.
The benefit of broadcast radio is one of scale: DAB broadcasting has six times more listening than internet radio in the UK, and internet radio services and podcasts both suffer from a lack of discoverability. Upload Radio qualifies for inclusion in Radioplayer�s station list since it is broadcast radio.
Programs go through a manual approval process, to ensure adherence to the UK�s broadcasting rules. Shows can contain music, since the station holds broadcast and music licences; or can be rebroadcasts of podcasts, infomercials or other types of programming. The availability of music programs, and their availability within Radioplayer, makes Upload Radio more attractive for a wider genre of programming than podcasting.
Matt Deegan, the founder of Upload Radio and Creative Director of the station�s owners, Folder Media, told RADIO Magazine how the station�s systems worked.
�The core one is that we’ve built, from scratch, is the Upload Platform. The platform is a web app that allows people to register and upload their shows. It’s written in PHP with the Silex framework, it’s hosted on AWS with all audio stored in S3. The app manages all of the elements of users, shows, episodes and schedules. It also provides the rules for the system, integrates the payments (through Stripe) and manages the onward distribution of the station for live and on-demand.�
�The playout side is potentially very simple. An upload hour is two promos, part 1, two promos then part 2 and repeat. We started building our own playout, thinking that we’d need to have physical racks to feed the DAB networks and other outlets in our office. I loved that the webapp was entirely cloud based so wasn’t overjoyed to be doing some of it here with all the issues around UPS, maintenance etc.
I then visited RCS to talk to them about replacing MasterControl with Zetta for our other radio project Fun Kids. Upload came up in the discussion and they suggested that Zetta could playout the stations and they could host the playout at their offices. Cloud radio playout – my heart lifted! Working with the RCS guys we wrote some software that takes the daily schedules and audio and inserts them into the live playout machines. We’ve also installed all the DAB encoders at their offices. It’s brilliant to have them look after this and it increases redundancy for the overall system.�
Matt Deegan believes that the station�s concept can be used elsewhere. Along with Folder Media�s CTO David Madelin, the station�s platform is available for other broadcasters.
�We’ve built the platform as something that can be deployed for other markets. You could replicate what we’re doing with Upload Radio on DAB, HD or analog radio anywhere in the world, or use it to run a non-commercial community station for the internet.�
Commercially, the station plans to vary the price of broadcast slots by demand, in much the same way as airline tickets work. Matt Deegan also hints at differing prices for brands who may wish to use Upload Radio on a regular basis.