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Radio Pros “Social Distance,” Companies Offer Software Trials and More

COVID-19 mitigation protocols are kicking in at all levels for broadcasters

Radio professionals and audio companies are beginning to heed the call for social distancing while continuing to do their jobs as first informers during this critical time, as of Wednesday morning.

The Society of Broadcast Engineers asked its chapter chairs to refrain from holding in-person meetings for the next two months. Instead, SBE encouraged them to meet virtually through any capabilities you may have available to you,” according to an email shared by Chapter One Chair Paul Kaminski.

Westwood One‘s blog explored how the coronavirus situation has “shifted the American workforce and altered habits,” including percentages of people working from home. Ipsos did a national study for Cumulus and Westwood One. Read the findings. 

Artificial intelligence company Veritone says its three main AI offerings — Veritone Essentials, Attribute and Digital Media Hub — will be free for the next two months. The company hopes its cloud-based software will mitigate “business disruption” from coronavirus and the sudden shift to remote work. 

Alan Peterson's temporary basement studio
Alan Peterson’s temporary basement studio

Radio World friend and national production director for Radio America Al Peterson wrote in to share how he’s handling his new work from home situation. He’s quick on his feet: “Within two hours of the notification, I had this mess assembled and patched together from old idled components stored in my basement and garage. One dual-core computer was set up as a DAW using Reaper software and FTP’ing show files back and forth to the network. A second underpowered PC handled VoIP duties, with everything mixed through a 1997 Mackie 1202 connected to long-retired M-Audio Delta audio interfaces. Talkback was via an MXL ribbon mic and, with no landlines coming into my house anymore, the ‘call-in’ line was my cellphone jerry-rigged to the Aux I/Os of the mixer.” 

Peterson told RW he plans to improve his setup over the weekend — “I’ll be ‘prettying up’ the cabling for safety, adding to my VoIP capabilities and mounting everything to make sense and not topple down on me.” 

He also pointed out that Cockos Inc. is offering a temporary gratis license for the Reaper audio production software to help those social distancing.

Beasley’s WMMR uses metadata to urge listeners to practice social distancing, wash their hands and communicate other coronavirus advice.

Streamer TuneIn has introduced a Coronavirus News channel populated by local stations and national networks, as well as relevant podcasts. Importantly, listeners can search by state to ensure they’re up to date on the situation in their area. 

Radiodays Europe announced the 2020 event has been rescheduled for Dec. 13–15. It will still be held at Portugal’s Centro de Congresses de Lisbon. All tickets purchased for the original March dates will be honored.

In Philly, radio engineer Benjamin Woodring posted this photo on social media noting the use of metadata by radio station WMMR to send public health messaging.

The New Jersey Broadcasters Association sent out an email to members with information about COVID-19 and urging them to follow protocol to prevent the spread of the disease.

Analysts are also beginning to consider how the pandemic may affect ad spend. James Fennessey shares his predictions in an article for Media Village.

To learn more about broadcasters’ efforts earlier in the week, check out our industry updates from Monday and Tuesday