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“I Believe We Are Only Scratching the Surface”

Frommert sees the power for radio in captioning and transcriptions

Ken Frommert
Ken Frommert

A new Radio World ebook returns to the topic of visual radio and explores its trends in 2019. Among the interviews in the ebook is this one with Ken Frommert.

After five years as general manager of software manufacturer ENCO, Frommert was named its president in 2017. He has overseen expansion of its product line into TV automation, automated closed-captioning and visual radio. 

Radio World: Your company has been offering video-related tech for radio for a while: automated camera switching, music video playout, graphical overlays and so forth. In general, how far along is the radio industry at integrating video and “visual thinking” into its operations?

Ken Frommert: Visual thinking is an interesting term, and certainly applicable to the way radio broadcasters are adopting the medium. Visual radio first took off internationally, but it continues to gain popularity in the U.S. market.

I believe we are only scratching the surface. Radio stations are still learning how to monetize and provide another medium. ENCO has been providing visual radio solutions and will continue to evolve those solutions as they are adopted.  

RW: “Captioning in radio” sounds like an oxymoron, but I understand that ENCO captioning now is finding interest in the radio side. How does this fit into what radio wants to do with video?

Frommert: Many live radio programs are web-streamed (even audio only), and captioning can provide accessibility for listeners and avoid potential litigation for not providing captions. Many listeners or viewers also prefer to read captions over listening: A recent study notes that 85% of Facebook videos are viewed with the audio on mute.

[ENCO DAD Is a “Game Changer” for WAHS]

Other benefits include instant transcripts to be used online to accompany the pre-recorded video or audio and used for search and discovery, as well as SEO reasons. We do this and more with our enCaption live automated captioning appliances. 

RW: Are there important new technologies for video creators that readers need to know about?

Frommert: We think that NDI is going to play an important role in managing video and audio workflows in visual radio applications.

[Network Device Interface is an open protocol developed by NewTek to enable video compatible products to share video across a local area network. –Ed.]

NDI allows you to handle multiple camera feeds and video/audio signals over a single connection, which is important in minimizing clutter and connections in crowded radio studios. It also establishes a stronger foundation for IP-based production workflows.

ENCO has already broken ground in this area with our recent announcement of NDI compatibility within our products, including enCaption.

RW: What are some of the intriguing options you see for captioning in streaming radio?

Frommert: We see tremendous opportunity to generate automatic transcriptions of pre-recorded files in a broadcaster’s archives, including on-demand content such as audio and video podcasts. Think of how this can help newsrooms, for example, to quickly unleash clips and stories with accurate captions — and do it much faster than previously possible. It is a perfect complement for a visual radio broadcast online. 

For more about this topic, read the free ebook “Trends in Visual Radio 2019” at radioworld.com/ebooks. Also watch for the May 8 issue of Radio World, which will feature a Buyer’s Guide section on products that support visual radio.

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