The NAB Show is only a few weeks away, and Radio World is asking exhibitors about their plans and expectations. Jim Hammond is the chief strategy officer for Radio.Cloud.
Radio World: Jim, who and what is Radio.Cloud?
Jim Hammond: Radio.Cloud is not only the first completely 100% native cloud radio content management, production and automation platform for the radio industry, it’s in many ways a new operational model for radio. It increases the efficiency, the program quality and revolutionizes the way distribution for networks, syndicators and radio group programming distribution works.
RW: Who founded it, and where is it based?
Hammond: Our CEO Christian Brenner, from Munich, Bavaria Germany founded our parent company, NexCast in 2002 and at that time traditional radio services were the core business — including building studios, operating transmitters and distributing network shows via satellite. In 2019, Christian and his development team designed the new platform and by the end of that year the first FM stations switched their operation to Radio.Cloud.
Our office in the U.S. is in New York, with team members in Ohio and Texas. Our infrastructure is in Virginia (AWS and Microsoft Azure), with backup on the West in similar facilities.
RW: Your website says the company’s mission is to “move operations out of the server room and into the cloud.” Which operations, exactly?
Hammond: All the heavy lifting is done in the cloud like the content management, the AI based audio archive, voice-tracking, playlist management and voice content transcription. Only one small computer (we call it Edge Gateway) is at the studio or transmitter side to hand over AoIP/AES or analog signals to the on-site infrastructure. The Edge Gateway communicates with the cloud, but is able to continue the broadcast stored content even in case of an internet outage. Using a simple browser on any device, any number of users can contribute or edit content for broadcast at any station, anywhere. We also support virtually any audio file type, so ingest is very straightforward.
RW: Can you give examples of some current users of the platform?
Hammond: In North America, Throwback Nation Radio Network has several stations being served by Radio.Cloud. We’re also in discussions with other program providers and groups to support their content creation and distribution needs as well. Since we started in Germany just over three years ago, we have 160 channels there, many national DAB (Digital Audio Broadcasting – Europeans version of HD Radio) or regional and local FM stations.
RW: What is your own role at the company?
Hammond: I am the Chief Strategy Officer, with the responsibility of charting the course of the company in North America and building a great team to support our efforts. Having worked in radio since 1969, the last 25 in the automation/playout industry, I think we have a good feel for the needs of radio groups, networks and individual stations. I have never had so much fun as I have with Radio.Cloud.
RW: What else should we know about it?
Hammond: We will be debuting the next generation of our product at the NAB in booth N7307 with many new features that have been requested by users. The development team is comprised of over 20 full-time software engineers designing, coding, testing and integrating.
Radio.Cloud Booth: N7307