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February 2019 From the Publishers of Radio World

4  “Instagram Is the Rising Star of Social Media” 6  “I Believe We Are Only Scratching the Surface” 7  Podcast One Eyes Virtual Reality 9  Bloomberg Thinks Visually in New York 12  Create Shareable Radio, Not Bad Television 13  Wimbledon Broadens Reach With Visual Radio 15  Utica Station Goes Beyond “Eavesdropping” 20  Beasley Puts Video to Work in Philly 21  Dealer Thinks Visually at the Show  “The Joe Rogan 22 Experience” and a Case Study for Broadcasters

27  Your Remotes Can Be More Than Just Audio

Trends in Visual Radio 2019 Trends in Visual Radio

Video’s growing role is evident throughout the radio industry as more and more organizations redefine themselves as true cross-platform providers. Just this past year, more major entities have Paul McLane put compelling video and Editor in Chief visuals to work for their enterprises in dramatic new ways. Meanwhile the role of podcasting video is growing in importance. We return to the subject of visual radio in this ebook, the latest of several in a series that has stretched over several years. For this edition we asked broadcasters, our sponsors and other experts: What video trends are changing how radio people work with video and visuals? What questions are smart facility planners asking? Are there important technologies for video creators that readers need to know about, social media to explore, developing best practices to follow? For example, consultant Mike Henry shares his insights based on his work with VuHaus and other projects. Norm Pattiz talks about the role of visuals, including 360 VR, at PodcastOne. We hear about radio using captioning and transcription; the use of video as part of the distribution of radio channels at Wimbledon; how visual thinking is being used both in-studio and outside at a big-market Beasley cluster; and takeaways from a case study of the popular Joe Rogan podcast. That’s only a sampler. And consultant Gary Kline brings us back to basics with a list of questions to ask yourself before you spend money on video gear. Let me know how we can make our ebooks more helpful to you in your job and career. Email me at radioworld@futurenet.com.


February 2019

From the Publishers of Radio World

28  Your Video Should Enhance Your Audio 30  Content Is Not Just Produced in Studios 31  14 Questions to Ask Yourself

Cover art: Getty Images/artisteer

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


“Instagram Is the Rising Star of Social Media” Mike Henry, co-founder of VuHaus, shares his insights into wise visual strategies


Henry: I co-founded non-profit VuHaus in 2014 with Public Media Company and five public radio stations: KCRW/Los Angeles, KUTX/Austin, KTBG/Kansas City, WXPN/Philadelphia and WFUV/New York City. KEXP/ Seattle joined immediately and now we’re up to 21 public radio and TV stations. VuHaus was founded as an aggregator of public media music videos and evolved quickly into a peer network of music discovery stations with a strong partnership with NPR Music that receives around 7-8 million page views a month. VuHaus has a first-class management team and the greatest music discovery radio stations in America.

Mike Henry is founder and CEO of media consulting firm Paragon and a 2012 Peabody Award recipient. He’s also co-founder and brand manager for VuHaus and works in collaboration with NPR Music on Slingshot.

Radio World: Let’s say I’m one of Mike Henry’s radio clients and I sit down with you and ask, “I have a general sense I should be putting video to use at my radio operation, but it’s kind of daunting. Where should I put my first efforts? And what should I aim to achieve, longer term?” Mike Henry: The first question to answer is “Why do you want to incorporate video?” Is it to add new forms of content to your arsenal, for brand extension on new distribution platforms or to monetize? The answer will guide the strategy. In any situation, the first step is to build out a video production unit (equipment and staff) or partner with a video production firm to do that for you. If the goal is to add new forms of content, then determine what type of content you want to produce and why. If the goal is to extend the station brand on new distribution platforms, then determine which platforms you’re targeting, such as social media (very short-form video), your website (short-form and long-form video) or an external platform. If your goal is monetization, keep in mind that placing your videos on YouTube will not return revenue (just exposure), so landing a sponsor is critical. In public media, VuHaus responds to all three goals — new forms of content, brand extension and monetization through its national sales network.

Smart radio companies aggressively use Instagram as their primary social media tool to push out everything from promotions and live events to concerts and festivals.

Slingshot was created in 2017 in partnership with NPR Music to promote emerging artists from the VuHaus markets and around the world combining content from our network of stations and the distribution power of NPR and NPR Music. Slingshot identifies emerging artists before they explode, and our early artist discoveries include Lo Moon, Jamila Woods, Mt. Joy, Jade Bird and Dermot Kennedy. RW: What other video projects have you been involved in? Henry: Many years ago I re-branded and re-formatted Country Music Television with Brian Phillips, who was the new CMT president at the time. Since then I’ve helped dozens of radio stations start up and maximize their internal video operations and strategies, and I’ve produced many lifestyle videos for WeedStream TV including videos

RW: Describe your involvement in the VuHaus and Slingshot projects.

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


A tweet from VuHaus promotes sessions from WMOT/World Café Nashville. (Click the image to watch.)

and live video streams with recording artists Matisyahu, Fishbone and Thievery Corporation. RW: Are there important new technologies, social media to explore, developing best practices to follow? Henry: As everyone knows, technology moves at the speed of light. One recent example is a new feature on Instagram (videos) that allows you to link to Spotify. My marketing consultants at Paragon, Michele Tharp and Michelle Conrad, live on the leading edge of these changes so that Paragon clients take full advantage of all possibilities to increase distribution. We provide digital audits, video marketing best practices and complete marketing strategies to guide our clients to the highest ground.

The depth of Instagram features allows stations to reach more people because you can post videos and also post Stories, which is growing increasingly popular. Instagram has a lot of analytics to measure audience engagement, demographic, usage, etc. RW: What major organizations have put compelling video and visuals to work? Henry: Public radio stations were way ahead of commercial radio stations because of early investments in video technology, production and staffs. As a first-in leader of video production and distribution, public radio stations remain the radio industry leaders of video. KEXP in Seattle is one of the few stations in the country making substantial fees from YouTube and recently passed over 1 billion video views. They produce 300 videos a year. KCRW in Los Angeles, WXPN in Philadelphia and KUTX in Austin have invested heavily in video and cranked out thousands of videos for many years. VuHaus is the only consumer platform dedicated to aggregating all of the public radio video content on one site.

RW: What social media platforms are hottest right now, and how are radio companies deploying video there? Henry: Instagram is the rising star of social media, and through its partnership with and ownership by Facebook, Instagram has captured the most compelling visual content. Videos on Instagram are the most-watched and engaged with forms of content on all social media. Last year Instagram had 400 million daily Story users, which has gone up since that stat came out. Smart radio companies aggressively use Instagram as their primary social media tool to push out everything from promotions and live events to concerts and festivals. Instagram is also a great way to push out short-form video (under 60 seconds) to drive viewers to long-form content on their website.

RW: What else should radio people know? Henry: Anyone who hopes to move up the ranks in radio can’t focus solely on audio anymore. Radio stations are multi-platform media operations with a radio signal, a website, videos, numerous social media platforms, mobile apps and events. Therefore, radio professionals must not only be expert in audio, but also in video, digital, social, mobile and events. n

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


“I Believe We Are Only Scratching the Surface” Frommert sees the power for radio in captioning and transcriptions


notes that 85 percent of Facebook videos are viewed with the audio on mute. 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.

After five years as general manager of software manufacturer ENCO, Ken 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 webstreamed (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

enCaption is an automated closed captioning and transcription system.

Continued on page 7 ❱

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


Podcast One Eyes Virtual Reality Video and visuals are part of the story at the ad-supported, on-demand audio network


There’s been some tremendous success with dramatic programing; and there’s been some tremendous flops by taking the more conversational podcasts to video. We currently work with A&E, DirecTV, AT&T, Reelz TV, The E Channel, both developing programming for them, and taking their programing and developing it for podcasts. We see a symbiotic relationship.

Norm Pattiz is chairman/ CEO and founder of PodcastOne. He founded Westwood One in 1976, and in 2009 was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame.

We’ve been building studios that are multi-purpose — studios that we primarily use for audio but that can very easily do video.

RW: What role does video play in building podcasting, where the concept from the beginning has been about audio? Pattiz: We use video for promotion — you’ll see PodcastOne spots on cable networks, in social media — [but] the thing that’s getting the most attention now of course is the conversion of podcasts into video. If you can get a podcast that’s got a huge audience of loyal consumers, and do a video version, it almost eliminates the need to do a pilot or a demo. Some of them are successful. Some of them aren’t.

How big it’s going to get — converting podcasts to television shows or movies or streaming or what have you — that’s yet to be proven. But it’s certainly something that lots of companies in the video space are looking at. RW: If I visited your main production facilities, would I see a lot of dedicated video facilities? Pattiz: Our facilities are not designed primarily for video; what you would see is built-in lighting and places where you can plug video equipment in easily. Our studio in Beverly Hills is primarily for podcasting. But it’s also in the early stages, [and] we have a lot of influencers. The crews from Bravo are in shooting video of our hosts, many of whom work for them, all the time. The same thing goes on [with] other partnerships. Our “Ladygang” program is now on E. When you have influencers who come from “Bachelor Nation,” somebody like Kaitlyn Bristowe, the cameras are in here all the time. You’ve got Shaquille O’Neal and Adam Carolla, there are all kinds of video applications taking place based upon their schedules.

❱ FROMMERT, continued from page 6

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 prerecorded 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. n

Continued on page 8 ❱

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


A few of the podcasts offered by PodcastOne.

❱ PATTIZ, continued from page 7

We have video facilities here in our main studio in Beverly Hills, and we have video capability at our studios in Burbank, which are the Adam Carolla studios. We’ve been building studios that are multi-purpose — studios that we primarily use for audio but that can very easily do video. As a matter of fact, in lots of our studios we’ve got 360 VR cameras. RW: Tell me how that came about. Heather Dubrow, left, hosts “Heather Dubrow’s World,” about trends like Pattiz: The folks from Mad TV came to see health and wellness and her experiences on “The Real Housewives of Orange us and talked about wanting a partnership County” and “Botched: Post-Op.” She and sidekick Natalie Puche are with in 360 video, because they recognized Scheana Shay of “Vanderpump Rules,” who also hosts a podcast. that the nature of our medium and the staged production? connection between the host or subject matter and the Pattiz: Standup; we have a lot of comedians. And live consumer was so strong. How cool would it be if you podcasts, like Carolla, who’s the platinum standard of could actually put them in the studio, in a seat next to podcasting in terms of the size of his audience and the Adam Carolla? revenue he generates. He’s out doing live podcasts all We’ve shot a lot of 360 videos. We don’t see a tremenover the country. dous demand yet; I think that’s going to be a function of So with an audience his size, if he’s performing in how the 360 VR industry makes the glasses and the audio Minneapolis and we’ve got a consumer in Dubuque, pieces, how simple they make them. Right now you can that consumer, for a very few dollars, can experience the get very cheap versions, but the best cost a few hundred same thing that somebody who has traveled, bought a dollars. Samsung, when they came out with their Model ticket and sitting in the audience is doing. 7, was giving away 360 video glasses along with the purThe nature of our partnership hasn’t required us to do chase. I think school is out on that. much more than provide access to our programming and We have a lot of hosts who do live performances from our hosts at this point. It’s been a risk-free journey so far. all kinds of venues. What interested me was not just putAs it gets more successful, of course it’s going to have to ting the podcast audience in the studio, in virtual reality, be invested in, most probably, by the partnership, includbut also the possibilities of recording in 360 VR the live ing us. performances, so that you could provide audio consumWe’re watching it very carefully. Has it made any major ers with the ability to go to live events, or consume a live waves yet? I don’t think so. But it is a cool thing to do, event that they wouldn’t be able to go to otherwise, for a to reinforce that we’re in the business of doing the cool few bucks, in virtual reality. things, getting there first and making breakthrough moves. n RW: For example? Are you talking about a performance of a TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


Bloomberg Thinks Visually in New York By Paul McLane A good example of how radio organizations are integrating visual thinking into new facility designs comes from Bloomberg, which recently debuted the Bloomberg-Interactive Brokers Studio, a multi-platform broadcast facility in New York City. The studio, designed by Roger Goodman, is intended to support simultaneous radio and video production. The facility has graphics display capability of 7680 x 1080; two Information Canvases that use flexible LED technology to display market data, news and content; 10 cameras; and intelligent automation for operator-less video control. The studio, home to the company’s marquee radio programs, is sponsored by Interactive Brokers. It consists of a circular glass studio in a high-trafficked area of Bloomberg’s headquarters. The Panasonic AW-HE40

HD PTZ cameras “are integrated throughout the space, providing a comfortable interview experience and compelling visual presentation, which will also allow for future television broadcasts,” Bloomberg stated in a press release. “For the first time, radio anchors will have the ability to create graphs, charts and other visual elements while on air. These elements will enhance the simulcast of Bloomberg’s radio programming on YouTube.” Key technology components include a Wheatstone LXE2924 Audio Mixing Console, Heil PR40 microphones, DesignLED Flexible LED solution, eight Bloomberg Terminal Screens, an ETC lighting control system with Rosco Pica and Micro Cube series lights, and a proprietary control and automation system built by Bloomberg. Read more about this studio in the March 1 issue of Radio World. n

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


Visual Radio is booming in United States. Radio Networks see the impact that visual radio can have using MULTICAM Systems. Streaming a visual show to social media gives loyal listeners a new approach to the shows they already love. WBAL TALK RADIO AND 98 ROCK IN BALTIMORE GIVES LISTENERS A NEW EXPERIENCE WITH MULTICAM SYSTEMS.


Talk WBAL and 98 Rock of Baltimore are taking visual radio to new heights. “Our goal is to increase the unique content we generate, and MULTICAM systems allows us to do that,” says Drew Pinkney, Radio Chief Engineer at WBAL and 98 Rock. “We set up an automated video system that would allow scheduling of feeds, recording of content, and relieve the need for an operator for each show. We have a dedicated digital person for our sister FM station 98 rock, who does nothing but switch shows and edit content. The MULTICAM system allowed us to add a new WBAL LIVECAM stream without increasing her duties. “We have integrated WideOrbit with MULTICAM, so when certain audio elements are played (show opens, etc) a matching video graphic is activated. This also is part of our goal for monetizing this video stream in the future. We use a Wheatstone LXE console and the Wheatstone AOIP streams are used to activate our camera shots so truly when a guest is at mic 5, the cameras adjust to show that guest at mic 5. It truly is automatic. Our Programming staff like it so much that we are expanding it to our FM Station, 98ROCK, so their “LIVEWIRE” video stream will have the same functions. We look forward to adding more 98ROCK talent to the LIVEWIRE video streams with the new MULTICAM system this year. “We now have a true online video stream everyday for WBAL for multiple day parts that gives our listeners a new way to interact and see our hosts,” concludes Drew Pinkney.

NHPR have been able to greatly expand their reach of radio programs and political coverage content using MULTICAM. Visual radio has taken radio by storm in the last three years. MULTICAM Systems is proving to be a leader in their field by providing all the tools radio stations need to produce Visual Radio. Rebecca Lavoie – Digital Director, and Joe Thayakaran – Director of Technology took the time to discuss How MULTICAM is taking their studio to the next level.    RJ Perkins, Broadcast Engineer / IT Specialist at NHPR, explains the setup: “We have our MULTICAM computer SDI inputs connected to a Blackmagic VideoHub router. This gives us the ability to have more cameras around the facility than any other studio. With MULTICAM’s MultiRoom module, we are able to create presets that include different settings and camera sources. The user simply loads a preset and MULTICAM communicates with the VideoHub router to route the selected camera sources to the correct outputs.” Joe Thayakaran, Director of Technology, stated: “Most of our streaming sessions are special events with an operator on MULTICAM. MultiRoom lets us easily switch camera sources into the system when we have special sources in the other studios. We also use the DVI input to grab video streams from our studio PC to incorporate them into our video stream, be it a composition of camera source and PC video stream, or just the video stream. The text and graphics are a great feature. It allows us to make a more complete production.” Rebecca Lavoie, Digital Director, says: “We have been able to greatly expand the reach of our radio program and political coverage content using MULTICAM. In the months since we’ve been using the system, we’ve broadcast live streams of our Weekly New Hampshire News Roundup radio program on Facebook. We have also broadcast and recorded live streams of political debates, interviews with elected officials, and special news events such as our 2018 Midterms Elections coverage. For us, MULTICAM was possible by the great supporters of NHPR.”

WBAL Talk Radio testifies to the cutting edge technology of MULTICAM and their one of kind AI technology to quality visual radio.

According to NHPR, MULTICAM has certainly taken its place as an industry leader in the world of visual radio.

More information on WBAL: https://www.wbal.com More information on 98 Rock: https://www.98online.com

To hear and see more from NHPR experience, visit https://www.nhpr.org

www.multicam-systems.com ADVERTORIAL

Create Shareable Radio, Not Bad Television Your goal is to capture, share and celebrate the most emotional, exceptional audio content By Dan McQuillin The author is managing director of Broadcast Bionics. A decade of helping some of the world’s largest broadcasters visualize great radio has informed the following tips and tricks. They represent both the art and science of creating contagious content, distilled from the successes and failures of some of visualization’s pioneers. Radio visualization has a troubled history. From simple webcams in the studio to sophisticated multi-camera productions complete with music videos, its historic attempts involved considerable effort, disruption and investment, only to result in disappointing, often single-digit viewing figures, if anyone was watching at all. There were notable exceptions, but only a few. The demand for watching long-form live radio remains unproven. But visualization as part of social media strategy has transformed the returns of installing cameras in the studio. We encourage stations to think of visualization not in terms of producing bad television but making “shareable radio,” helping transform the best radio content to become shareable, searchable and discoverable on the most powerful platforms on earth. Radio has always painted better “pictures” than television; but as far as social media is concerned, an actual picture or video is worth millions more clicks, likes and shares than a thousand spoken words. Using visualization, we have enabled radio content to reach millions more listeners, engage younger demographics and empower passionate audiences to share and discover amazing radio for themselves. How you film, what you share and where you share it will make all the difference between a handful of views or millions of active engagements.

rifice the intimacy, immediacy or simplicity of radio’s workflow. Don’t let visualization change your output; the great audio you already produce is what your audience desires. Video is just the carrier for that audio. The good news is the same emotive and exceptional experiences and great storytelling that make fantastic radio also deliver the most engaging social content. CAPTURE EVERYTHING!

The advantage of using a system of installed cameras with automated switching is that it enables you to capture everything. While some highlights can be predicted, the biggest viral moments from the stations we work with have come from clips recorded when it was least expected. When these unique driveway moments are captured, they can be clipped and shared with remarkable results. SHARE THE EMOTIONAL

Ultimately your listeners will not engage with your content or brand out of any innate desire to reward you. We are all now in the habit of sharing our emotions and experiences to reward and delight our friends. Your audience wants to share the experiences and emotions from your best content. Visualization fits that content for the platforms that allow them to share it. If you make someone laugh, they want all their friends to


The golden rule for visualization is: Don’t break radio. Radio already creates compelling content that our audiences love and react to. As we add cameras to capture and share those experiences, it is important not to sac-

Continued on page 14 ❱

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


The AELTC achieved approximately 500,000 views on two broadcasts of the 2018 men’s semifinal between Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic.

Wimbledon Broadens Reach With Visual Radio Grabyo Producer platform lets AELTC produce and distribute radio channels directly to social media By Alexandra Willis

don’t watch any other tennis throughout the year. Our ambition is to ensure that we are reaching fans whatever their attraction to Wimbledon — be it the social atmosphere, the garden party occasion, the fashion, the flowers, the food, the famous faces — we hope to elevate these aspects to any Wimbledon fan on any platform.

The author is head of communications, Content & Digital, for the AELTC. It is a subsidiary of The All England Lawn Tennis & Croquet Club Ltd. and conducts day-to-day operations of The Championships at Wimbledon. The competition for consumer’s attention is increasing. As new and different platforms continue to fragment audience behavior each year, we work hard to find new and innovative ways to deliver The Championships to fans across the world. While we aim to deliver content on every platform, we do this to reach fans where they spend their time — across TV and radio, the official Wimbledon.com website, our apps on iOS, Android and Apple TV, and across our social media platforms. While many sports fans tune in to follow the biggest names on their march to any given trophy, one of the things that makes Wimbledon unique is its ability to draw people in for more than just the action on the courts. In fact, more than 50 percent of our TV audience


In 2014, we began working with Grabyo, the cloudbased video platform, to deliver real-time video clips to social media. Five years later, we have expanded what we do to a range of digital and social content experiences, including, for the first time, delivering visual radio to Facebook for The Championships 2018. Given the breadth of a normal Wimbledon day, we recognized we had an opportunity to reach fans who were unable to watch live TV coverage of The Championships, but they were able to listen live. Grabyo’s Producer platform allowed us to produce and Continued on page 14 ❱

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


❱ WIMBLEDON, continued from page 13

distribute the Wimbledon Radio Channel and Wimbledon Centre and No.1 Court Radio Channels directly to social media for the first time, adding visualizations, images and animations to the audio broadcast to paint a picture around the experience. Delivering visual radio to social media allows us to leverage the interactive and community features of live streaming to Facebook. We found that fans listened for longer while discussing the matches using comments in the social broadcast; during three matches last year, the streams generated around 60,000 comments. Visual radio broadcasts were available for the Ladies’ Singles Final between Serena Williams and Angelique Kerber, the Gentlemen’s Singles Semi-Final between Novak Djokovic and Rafael Nadal and the Gentlemen’s Singles Final between Novak Djokovic and Kevin Anderson. The results were encouraging with almost 750,000 listeners, over 500,000 for Djokovic vs. Nadal alone.

were delivered using a browser-based app for animations and graphics, with options to add real-time (moderated) comments from fans, live polls layer imagery and data such as live score updates. Like any major sporting event, our big challenge is to ensure we reach as many fans as possible, on the right platforms, at the right time. Not everyone can make it to The Championships or watch on TV during the fortnight, so many fans rely on our digital products and social media to follow the action. Using a platform like Grabyo helps us to extend our production capability so that we can maximize our limited window for the time that we have. Being able to reach fans wherever they may be, and extend their choice of medium, presents hugely exciting opportunities for the future. We didn’t really know what to expect from visual radio, but the popularity of the audio broadcasts certainly exceeded our expectations. The challenge now is to build on it for 2019. And, of course, come up with another example of using innovations such as this one to bring to life all of the many characteristics that make Wimbledon so special. n


Thanks to Grabyo’s web-based platform, we launched this service without any investment in additional hardware or production services. The visual radio broadcasts

❱ SHAREABLE, continued from page 12

trust your own content and place it in your audience’s hands.

laugh. If you make them cry, inspire awe or provoke anger, audiences will instinctively share these emotions and experiences with their friends, if we enable them to. Though your audience is not rewarding your brand, the station should consider carefully the physical branding of the studio and invest in microphone windshields, onscreen logos and graphics to ensure wherever your stunning viral content ends up, you not only get the credit you deserve but enable ways for that new audience to connect back to the station.


Beyond social, the best visualized radio content can also now appear in response to Google and YouTube searches. From search, linking, recommendation and the serendipity of surfing, radio content is given a far wider reach and longer lifespan. Through transcription, radio doesn’t just become searchable and linkable, but we are even seeing radio read first in muted timelines before the “listener” clicks to listen. There are challenges to fitting content to these platforms; but the rewards have proven exceptional to those willing to engage their audiences. We have helped radio stations achieve millions of views from clips that consist largely of fat middle-aged men in large headphones, sitting in a room, talking to themselves. Clearly it is not the power of the images that audiences are reacting to. Everything we help our clients achieve is first and foremost about capturing, sharing and celebrating the most emotional, exceptional and compelling audio content. By fitting amazing audio to the platforms and habits of our audiences, visualization has finally shaken off its troubled past and become a critical part of radio’s future. n


There are few radio shows that could command a large viewing audience in their entirety. But most shows have exceptional moments that are invaluable when streamed on platforms such as YouTube live or Facebook Live. As well reaching a topic-specific live audience, these streams have a distinctly positive effect on your page rank via the mysterious Facebook algorithm. Along with emotional video clips, the organic reactions and response to streaming content and video clips are recognized and rewarded with a far greater reach than the promotions, memes, click bait and listicles that too often dominate station pages. You will be amazed by what happens when you

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


Utica Station Goes Beyond “Eavesdropping” WIBX will expand its visual efforts thanks to simulcast arrangement with local TV station


Before the meeting ended, we were no longer talking about a half hour or hour program once a week, we were discussing all three hours of the show, five days a week. It was like this amazing opportunity just dropped into our laps. Prior to this, the only chance we had to expand our AM radio station’s reach was with an FM translator, and it didn’t seem like that was in the cards. I’ve been doing morning radio since 1989 and I’ve spent a year trying to get coverage on TV newscasts. Now we were talking about a full simulcast. It was beyond my wildest dreams.

Bill Keeler is a morning radio personality on WIBX(AM), a Townsquare Media station in Utica, N.Y. In 2015, “WIBX First News With Keeler” began simulcasting in the mornings on Nexstar Broadcasting Group’s local channel Fox 33, while a Nexstar TV news program began simulcasting on the radio station in the evenings.

I hear more and more people saying to me, “Hey, I watch you every morning.”

Radio World: How did this arrangement come about? Bill Keeler: We were in a meeting with executives from Nexstar, which owns the ABC, Fox and MY TV network stations in the market, and our goal was to brainstorm ideas on how our morning show and AM radio station could partner with their stations. It was their general manager who wanted their 6 p.m. news simulcast on our airwaves and really wanted their popular meteorologist as the official “weather person” for our station and three other sister stations in the cluster. My idea for what we wanted was to produce a onehour, or half hour “best of” television program that would air weekly on one of their stations. He countered with, “I think we have the ability to simulcast a portion of your program live on our Fox station.” I remember that statement ringing in my ears and I was saying to myself, “Do not act too excited! I can’t let him see that my jaw just hit the floor!” After that, the meeting’s conversation went in an entirely different direction; but all I could think about was that this station would be open to simulcasting our program, live. I was astounded. So as the meeting ended, I calmly asked if he could describe his vision of what a live simulcast would look like.

We certainly had a lot to work out, including the mandatory closed captioning requirement, a seven-second profanity delay, commercial content, etc. Within 60 days, we debuted with one single static GoPro camera that took an overview shot of the studio and fed our audio. RW: Why is this arrangement a good fit for a market like Utica? Keeler: I think the fit would work in any radio market today, to be honest. It’s perfect for a news/talk AM station that’s looking to expand their audience. Our show matched because it’s really connected to the community with local topics, as well as national issues, entertainment and contests; it’s kind of like every FM morning show I’ve ever done without the R-rated material and more of an emphasis on news. We certainly didn’t invent the concept; but doing what Stern or Imus did, or even Dan Patrick, on a local level in morning drive was unique. I really think the format of the program and not the market is what makes this a good Continued on page 16 ❱

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


❱ WIBX, continued from page 15

a.m. — that is, it’s one continuous feed with no breaks. When we’re running commercials on the radio, there’s a video shot of us in some cases leaving the studio, bringing guests in, prepping for the next break, etc. It’s almost like eavesdropping on a radio show. I explain it this way: Wouldn’t it be awesome if your radio had a feature where you could look at a screen and see what’s happening in the studio? That’s basically what we’ve been doing as we’re asking people to treat their televisions like a radio. The only difference is that if something is happening in-studio and you want to see it, you get to look. Otherwise, consider it a radio. Now, as we go into our fourth year, we’re about to make the move to a multi-camera, live-switched program, something more like a Dan Patrick-type program on a local level.

fit. Although it’s probably easier to cut a deal like this in Utica than it would be in a market like Boston. I give a lot of credit to management from Townsquare and Nexstar, who were both able to work out any business complications by saying nobody makes money off the simulcast. We’ll each benefit from the exposure and the other positives that are included for both companies. RW: Radio shows have been video simulcast in one form or another for some time, but this feels like an unusual application. Keeler: The fact that we’re on the local Fox affiliate is a big deal for us. There were other stations available in this cluster; but the thought was that by putting it on one of the “big four” channels, it would add to viewership. Also, the unique part of this simulcast is that it’s turned on, or goes live, at 6 a.m. and it automatically shuts off at 8:58

An advertisement highlights various ways to hear the show. Other ads tout WIBX on Alexa.

RW: How do you keep the show from being very static, with the familiar “jock at the mic” visual? Keeler: This is the road we’re about to go down. For three years, we’ve run this as one single static camera as if viewers are eavesdropping on our show. I always felt it didn’t matter what was on the screen, because it was the audio that was king. The content of the radio show is why people were there. What I found was that people just turned it on and listened while they were getting ready for work, eating breakfast, and everything else one might do in the morning. In the beginning, radio people said things like, “It’s boring because there’s nothing happening.” I always argued that people are tuning in for the show, and every once in a while there’s something worth watching. We could never justify investing in equipment and bringing in someone to switch the show. This was the best we could do and it was certainly better than not having it. I also focused on the fact that you get to see what we really do when the mics are off. All I know is that it worked. Now I’ve figured out a way, through a closed captioning sponsor, to pay for new cameras, a switcher and a video delay unit to launch a multi-camera feed that will look much more like one of the national shows, and we’re just going to have our sports guy switch the show. This probably won’t be perfect; but my idea is to make it simple and not too complicated and ultimately, it will be so much more amazing than one static shot. Let’s be honest, radio shows are already playing around with this stuff on Facebook Live and other platforms. We’re just

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


The familiar static shot will soon be replaced by a multi-camera setup.

doing it on a local TV affiliate three hours a day, five days a week. For us, we’ve completely expanded our potential audience; and the TV station gets a free morning show five days a week. Additionally, with closed captioning, we might be the only local morning radio show in the country that is available to the hearing impaired. I think that might just be the coolest thing of all.

Another issue is that this simulcast is completely out of our hands. It’s a stationary camera with an audio feed that goes from our studio to the TV station. We have no means to utilize the video and archive it at our end to use further on other platforms. Once we start switching and running everything from our radio studio, all of that will change. Also, the FCC requirement for closed captioning can lead to some pretty big expenses.

RW: What kind of listener/viewer feedback have you encountered? Keeler: I hear more and more people saying to me, “Hey, I watch you every morning.” Clearly it’s working. It’s also convenient for people and really helps with our accessibility. Sometimes AM radios have static in the house, or in some cases people don’t even tune into AM radio like they do an FM signal. I have a lot of people that have said, if it weren’t for the TV, I wouldn’t be able to listen.

RW: Anything else we should know? Keeler: We started this as an experiment. Initially, when we were told it was going to be one stationary camera, I was quite disappointed. Now, looking back on it, we were able to spin it as “eavesdropping” on our show, and that really worked. This next step is a whole new ballgame. Currently, we forget about the camera and probably don’t even think about it being there. In radio we can be so very casual when it comes to attire and the things we’re able to do in the studio. Having a TV camera on you for three full hours creates a whole new world of issues that have to be considered. Furthermore, when we start doing multi-cameras and closeups, we’re really going to have rethink the way we carry ourselves during the show. Everything from clothing to facial expressions and running down the hallway for a bathroom break now becomes an issue. n

RW: What unexpected bumps did you encounter? Keeler: Well, during political season the TV station didn’t want our political commercials on their airwaves for legal reasons. That was a huge pain because we had a lot of political spots for a local congressional race. So it was crazy trying to balance back and forth and feeding an alternative spot down the audition channel to the TV station. It was about three months of hell!

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


Multiple platforms means more ways to engage with your audience As media consumption has changed, more and more of your audience is using multiple screens at once. As of 2019, 53% of media consumers use social media while watching television or engaging in some other kind of media. This statistic is intimidating, but it’s also an opportunity to innovate with your programming. Multiple media platforms allow you to access entirely new audiences. How would you take advantage of this trends? For Rob Chickering, an assignment to broadcast remotely from a campaign trail was the perfect opportunity to experiment with visual radio. Rob is an experienced radio engineer who handles back-end radio and television production for Blaze Media. “I recently celebrated 30 years in radio, and after being a radio guy for the majority of that time, in the last two or three years I’ve taken on a lot of responsibilities for television production,” said Rob. “It’s been really fun and I’ve started to get the hang of it.”

Return video afforded by LiveShot is switched between a camera shot and a prompter feed by TheBlaze.

“Being able to connect to the public internet without getting a private IP address makes things really easy,” said Rob, “and being able to monitor the remote unit from anywhere is terrific. I can usually pre-wire a set-up, so whoever is in the field just has to plug a few things in without thinking about it. There aren’t a lot of buttons, so it’s hard to mess up, which is great. And you can reconfigure the unit to dial out if it has internet, all those kind of basic things that the non-technical user might need.” “And if you are a technical user, the products are terrific,” said Rob. “They have all the features that you need - contact closures to bring a light through, tools for the host to be able to signal back to the othComrex LiveShot Studio rackmount IP video codec installed at er side, and more. All of those things are built into TheBlaze. the box.” “One of my favorite things about Comrex gear is the erRob purchased a Comrex LiveShot as part of a mobile gonomics of the packaging. The equipment is perfect for the production set-up several years ago for a tour during the 2016 user and robustly designed,” said Rob. “The LiveShot portable election. “Because Comrex audio products are so solid, I had is field-built, just like the ACCESS portable. And it’s always confidence that LiveShot would work well for us,” said Rob. ready to go out in the field - I don’t think I’ve ever had a piece “The technical concepts and features from the audio codecs of Comrex equipment not work. It feels like it’s military spec also exist in the video products. LiveShot comes with the it’s built tough.” error correction and robustness that I expect from Comrex. “Tech support has also been really terrific,” said Rob. There wasn’t even a question for me when we made the decision to buy it.” “We’ve never had to sit hold for an hour. We’re always able to Because Rob was familiar with Comrex audio products, get ahold of a technician who is knowledgeable and ready to he found it easy to use LiveShot. “When you jump into the help us with whatever problem we’re having.” LiveShot, it’s really no different from an audio codec. The “In general, Comrex has earned the trust of people like CrossLock portal is a little different, but the ideas are the me,” said Rob, “and as long as that trust is maintained, I’ll same, and you’re using a similar keep using Comrex equipment.” interface.” To learn more about LiveShot, Rob found that CrossLock, visit www.comrex.com/ LiveShot’s suite of reliability tools, products/liveshot-portable or made broadcasting even simpler. contact info@comrex.com.


Beasley Puts Video to Work in Philly Huge food donation project is just one example of cluster’s use of video, both in-studio and out Rodney Byrd is assistant chief engineer for the Beasley Media Group in Philadelphia.

Photo by Chorus Photography


Fanatic simulcasts his show on NBC Sports Philadelphia. RW: What is your video “air chain,” how is content collected and what platforms are used to manage it? Byrd: For Preston & Steve, there are six PTZ cameras in the studio, being fed into a TriCaster located outside of the studio. We also have use a Comrex LiveShot to do stunts offsite and feed it back into our TriCaster for both studio viewing, and live streaming. The stream is hosted by Livestream, and our website has a plugin for video storage/playing.   RW: What is the Campout for Hunger and what role does video play in that project? Byrd: The Campout for Hunger is the single largest food donation in the country, and it’s hosted by our morning show on WMMR.

Radio World: What role do video and visual thinking play in your operations? Rodney Byrd: Video has been a focal point for our operations for over 10 years in the Philadelphia market. Going back to the days when everyone wanted to have a webcam in the studio, we started to think about the way video could help enhance programming. Rather than just have a camera streaming everything a jock was doing, we used it as a way to get people to click and go “backstage” on our website. The “Preston & Steve” show on 93.3 WMMR has been using a studio camera since they arrived at the station. Even in the infancy of video for radio, we’d use the camera to allow listeners to see what we were doing for some of the more unique themed segments of our show. Some of our big events like the Cardboard Classic (think a massive themed sledding competition, but the sleds can only be made out of cardboard, paint and glue) created desire to let the audience actually see what was happening, not just hear it. We had an external company help document and do recap videos. The station saw a big potential here, and we expanded our staff to have a video person. Now, every show is multi-camera recorded and streamed, and we’re putting segments up on-demand with Xfinity, and we’re offering video as part of our sales strategy. We also now are doing weekly live hits for the local Fox affiliate’s morning show, and our afternoon drive host for 97.5 The

The Campout for Hunger logo

Starting the Monday after Thanksgiving, Preston & Steve camp out in a trailer for a week outside of the stadiums raising food and money for Philabundance. Our program director, Bill Weston, has always said that if our morning show goes on the road, we need to be able to do the show the same way we do it in a studio. This means that the same way we stream video in studio needs to be a part of our remote broadcast.

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


To accomplish this, the students at Neumann University, under the direction of my former intern Sean McDonald, bring out their equipment and provide an 8+ camera broadcast. We have video walls in the tent to entertain the audience who are there watching the show, and we also stream to our website and social media platforms. The morning show likes to do things big and sometimes crazy, so Sean and the students, along with Nick Murphy from the video department of WMMR, mobilize to ensure that stunts happening outside the tent are able to be viewed by the show and the audience. This includes live drone feeds from Ferris wheels, can drops and more. The students are also recording one or two other cameras that are not a part of the broadcast. The footage from these cameras is used to make small recap videos every 20 to 30 minutes that we play on the big screens during commercials. We want to make sure that the audience who comes down to give their time and money feel like they are getting a great show and know how much we appreciate their generosity. RW: Do you have tips or cautionary words for other broadcasters? Byrd: Plan your videos. The biggest trap is to think that everything needs to have a video. In a world where YouTube, SnapChat, Instagram, TikTok

and more are flooding us with content, you have to remember to keep your brand at the focus for what you do. Traffic reports or entertainment news doesn’t need to be made into a video. Utilize video as a tool to engage your audience; don’t just stream or go live because you can. n

NEWSWATCH DEALER THINKS VISUALLY AT THE SHOW The people who sell equipment are also thinking visually these days. Consider how broadcast dealer BSW is planning its booth at the spring NAB Show. BSW will broadcast live on Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of the show, with a four-camera setup and highlighting interview segments with various manufacturers that BSW represents. The program will be hosted by Mike West and streamed to its social media platforms including Facebook, YouTube Live and Twitter. A screenshot of a BSW interview from last year’s NAB Show, with voice talent Joe The equipment complement will Cipriano, left. include consoles from Wheatstone, cameras by Marshall Electronics, HDVmixer and a choice of EV and Shure microphones.

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


“The Joe Rogan Experience” and a Case Study for Broadcasters The old dream of digital convergence is alive and well in 2019 By Travis Gilmour

news first on a content-rich landing page. People moved desks, changed titles. Then planning meetings (and elaborate workflow charts) on how we would shoot our local productions, transcode them and upload them to the internet — on YouTube, podcasting apps and wherever one could in the day. Then we experimented with ripping audio from local TV productions to fit into the FM schedule. We were “converging” our platforms. All in all, it was pretty cool. What happened next is what’s interesting. What happened was, basically, not much. I don’t want to undersell it; a lot of people put a lot of meaningful work into this shift. But in the end we didn’t

The author is co-owner of Video Dads, an Emmy award-winning production company.

If you’ve worked in broadcasting for more than a few years — going back before the “digital transition” period of the mid to late ’00s — you’re probably all too familiar with the idea of media convergence. In plenary sessions and glossy trade publication pages, we heard about “future-is-now” ideas under snappy, perhaps hyperbolic headlines like “TV on the Radio: The Platform Is Dead, Long Live the Platform” or “Digital Distraction: Strategies for the New Normal in Media Overload.” These were heady times indeed. When I was working as a “digital native” (read: 20-something) staffer at Alaska Public Media in Anchorage, Alaska — the local PBS and NPR affiliate — I was skeptical of these ideas, or at least of the fear it seemed to engender in our management. But I was (and still am) eager for the enthusiasm to experiment, to do things differently, to break down old broadcast silos and work on producing content, regardless of platform. It was less than 10 years ago, but it feels like longer. It happened, as things do, little by little, then all at once. After months of board retreats and strategic planning sessions, we began to see the Joe Rogan’s live streamed YouTube podcast in progress. Here, at about noon on a weekday, Joe “future” happening. is talking with Brian Cox, shown, an English astrophysicist. Of his 4.4 million subscribers, 44,000 First, installing robotic cameras in are watching live. This is not an insignificant number of folks to be watching an astrophysicist our radio studios. Then completely (other than Neil Degrasse Tyson perhaps) talk about anything. At the time of writing, the show has rebuilding our web presence, putting 2.6 million views. TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


become a different organization. We didn’t create a sea change of how the audience consumed our usual TV and FM products. New audiences and revenue didn’t come in, at least not in earth-shattering ways. Did we do it wrong? If I have any concrete retrospective criticism of our early efforts at “platform convergence” as a dual licensee, it’s that we were too early to the party, for the technology, our audience and new audiences that have emerged in the years since. What’s funny is that, at the time, we were convinced we were too late. When we began in about 2010, dominant platforms like YouTube (Google), Facebook and Amazon hadn’t figured out the live stream, at least not in a way that affect media consumers. Netflix had begun streaming content, but it hadn’t begun to be the disruptive force it would become. Podcasts were definitely a thing but not with

With this in mind, I thought it might be illustrative to look at what successful podcasters are doing to realize the “platform convergence” many of us tried and fizzled out at in the earlier aughts. CASE STUDY

Standup comedian, reality TV host and UFC commentator Joe Rogan started his independent podcast in 2009, around the time we at Alaska Public Media were installing robotic cameras in the studio to capture a GoPro-esque version of our weekly talk radio programs. In fact, you can still watch Joe’s first attempt on YouTube — “Joe Rogan Experience #1 — Brian Redban” features about 10 minutes of fiddling and desktop computer clicking at the top of the show, as if Joe and the producer weren’t sure if they were indeed “on the air.” An inauspicious start, perhaps, but representative of how we all felt at the time. We were in the same boat — celebrities are just like us! In fact, our studio setup was 20 times nicer than his at the time. Chances are you weren’t watching that first live stream of “The Joe Rogan Experience.” But today, at Episode #1241 (and counting), its growth and innovation are fairly undeniable. In fact, in Episode #1241 featuring fellow podcaster Sam Harris, Rogan explains that about half of his audience is now watching the program on YouTube, where he has about 4.5 million subscribers. When Rogan features a high-profile, hard-to-get interview on his podcast — someone like Elon Musk — a live stream does create a true broadcast event, rivaling anything on broadcast today. It’s a podcast, but it’s video. And it happens during the middle of the day; and people watch it. One could argue that the success of these programs is less about the format or use of technology, and all about the talent of the individuals hosting them. I’m not going to argue that point; an amazingly talented, curious host is a huge part of any program’s success. But it is worthwhile to break down some of the specific strategies, innovation mentalities and tweaks to the format that this programs has implemented, especially that which may be replicable by us mere mortals in small markets.

Independent producers and startup podcast production companies have found a model that works, and people are making real money. the kinds of audiences we see today. Even if we saw these coming, in the local bush leagues the audience wasn’t there. Without that, we were guessing at how any of this should work — at how programs should look, feel or be staffed. For us, like many early adopters, our nascent attempts generated relatively low numbers, added an increasingly ambiguous workload to already limited staff and quickly became at risk of being filed under “we tried that, it doesn’t work” or “our audience isn’t interested in that” — two unfortunate mantras of the seasoned broadcast manager. Today we’re reading headlines and conference schedules with a different set of ominous phrases, like “The Podcast Revolution: Boom or Bust?” or “The Golden Age of <insert streaming platform here>.” It seems broadcasters are continually hit with newer, scarier and more urgent FOMO, fear of missing out, at every turn. Legacy media fear and loathing may be at all-time highs, but there is real traction and convergence success happening. Independent producers and startup podcast production companies have found a model that works, and people are making real money. If we need evidence, see how digital juggernauts are making big acquisitions in the podcast space. Spotify is buying podcast production company Gimlet, a company with deep public media roots and DNA, for $200 million.


Most podcasts started from humble beginnings, often out of a home studio or garage, the most famous of which is probably “WTF With Marc Maron,” where he hosted President Obama in his garage. Joe Rogan is no different, though what he has built is now housed in what they affectionately refer to as a compound. The fandom of “The Joe Rogan Experience” is big and dedicated enough to have developed a large Wiki encyclopedia for the show, across a couple of websites, Continued on page 24 ❱

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


program, host, guests and flow of conversation. We’re looking for ways in which we can learn from how this program works. This is a big one, though it may come off as a subtle difference to some folks. Joe refers to his producer as “Young Jamie,” which in my mind is a reference to his digital-nativeness, even though he’s in his 30s. The program relies heavily on real-time Google-fu abilities to pull up pertinent information, verify and factcheck statements made by host and guest, and generally realize the same techniques that office chair warriors use to further their arguments in “The Joe Rogan Experience,” like many popular podcasts, has fostered a cottage industry of unrelated the comments sections of social fans/entrepreneurs who document the programs and the equipment used, and use Amazon Affiliate media. program links to profit from selling materials referenced in the show. The site jrelibrary.com is where I Whether the question be “What found a detailed list of gear used on the podcast. year did Patrick Swayze’s Road House come out?” or “Are there ❱ EXPERIENCE, continued from page 23 any peer-reviewed studies that show this claim is valid” detailing all the big and small trivia of its past and preswith Joe Rogan, Jamie is on it. If the information is availent. There I found exactly what mics (Shure SM7B), board able on the internet, it’s on a monitor for review by the (Behringer XENYX X1222USB), on down to the cameras host, guest and audience within moments. Is it ironclad and TriCaster the show is using. This is useful information, journalistic research? Uh, no probably not. Does it allow perhaps, and you can find it yourself if you’re interested. for wide-ranging, impromptu and often highly compelBut I would say don’t bother. ling conversations with an astounding range of guests, I am purposefully not choosing to focus on this elemany of which can last over three hours? Absolutely. ment of the industry, important as it may seem, because Rather than be sequestered to a booth, Jamie is in the I believe that focusing too much on the bits and bobs of room — and will interject when needed. He’s also runa studio setup is a bit of a red herring. Those of us in the ning the board, live switching the TriCaster multi-camera training and consulting world talk about this as “Gear setup, monitoring and troubleshooting the feeds, and Acquisition Syndrome” or the belief that the retail therapy just generally making the technical show happen. This of building a big B&H cart will help us achieve our goals, isn’t a case of trying to do more with less, but rather a or at least give us an excuse for our failures when finance valuable source of synergy and focus for the program. rubber-stamps “no” on our purchase order request. They don’t have to have a behind-the-scenes crew to The fact is, in 2019 you likely have every bit of equipmake the show work. As a result conversations can turn ment you would need — a laptop, principally — to be on a dime, ideas that were not budgeted for can be not only up and running but able to innovate in interestexplored, and the untethered time footprint the internet ing ways. So I say forget about the gear and start thinkallows can be exploited. ing about content and strategy. This is also a producer who understands the platforms on which the show and its audience operate, who is THE PRODUCER IN MULTIPLATFORM 2019 seemingly immersed in that internet culture and how it Joe Rogan is pretty open about how he doesn’t maintain operates. a huge staff at the podcast. If what he describes is accuFor example, when the content that Jamie is pulling rate, he does a lot of the booking, scheduling and related up is potentially copyrighted material — say a Michael pre-production work himself. What he does have is crucial: Jackson music video or other waveform picked up by the a skilled, nimble and omnipresent producer/engineer. YouTube algorithm and flagged — he has developed a Jamie Vernon is a part of almost every podcast Joe workflow for cutting the audio in the feed while allowing produces. But I’m less interesting in him as a personality Continued on page 26 ❱ than I am in looking at his role and how it impacts the TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


❱ EXPERIENCE, continued from page 24

it to continue in the audio-only podcast — a nod to just how important YouTube monetization is to an endeavor like this. While broadcasters might look at a technique like this and think “Wow, I don’t think we can get away with that,” it’s just one example of the types of innovation necessary to be on the leading edge of the Wild West that is internet content culture in 2019.

Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey, which generated quite the internet furor. After the interview, journalists, activists and folks on down the line to internet conspiracy theorists had a bone to pick with the show; and if you listen to the show and look at the commentary, there were definite problems. Did Joe press the CEO hard enough on some of the more controversial decisions Twitter has made in a number of hot-button areas? Not really. Is Dorsey also in charge of other companies that advertise on “The Joe Rogan Experience”? Yes. And the list of grievances goes on. What’s worth looking at with the Dorsey fallout is the direct and transparent way in which Rogan addressed these criticisms. It’s not a formal apology or ignoring the problem; rather he spent a decent amount of time in subsequent episodes being accountable to the audience, showing genuine curiosity about the ideas people raised, even when they were accusatory or harsh. And believe me, folks on Twitter can be harsh. I don’t know that we would see this kind of head-on acknowledgement of failure, and perhaps growth from it, in real time on a more traditional media produced show. Maybe we should. There is talk of having Dorsey back for a follow up. We’ll see if that materializes.


If you search the internet for other articles about the Joe Rogan podcast (and there are many), you’ll find a mix of mostly cultural criticism — whether it be the choice of guests and their politics or perceived politics, the lack of journalistic rigor, the overt masculinity of the program in general, the list goes on. While my intent has never been to be a defender of him or his point of view, I would say the critical odds of have been stacked against Joe.

If there is one great challenge for broadcasters and media organizations in terms of content, it’s that for talented people, building something for yourself … is easier than ever, and perhaps more satisfying and personally enriching.


Perhaps I undersold our work at Alaska Public Media in the earlier part of this essay. We had lots of exciting opportunities, were nominated for and won awards, had national partnerships, recruited new talent and broke a lot of ground. They have since gone on to produce successful podcasts, gotten new grants and additional awards. But if we can’t look back at our earlier efforts and feel just a little cringe, are we truly growing? I left in 2014 to start my own little production company and build my own business. It wasn’t because we had stopped, or failed, or given up, but because I learned that being part of an established media organization and steering a legacy battleship is harder than it looks. So maybe it’s me who gave up. If there is one great challenge for broadcasters and media organizations in terms of content, it’s that for talented people, building something for yourself — a podcast, a YouTube series, even a production company — is easier than ever, and perhaps more satisfying and personally enriching. In order for the old guard to compete, I think they need to start taking a close look at these successful and rising independents. They need to let industry criticism and negativity bias take a break. They need to learn what they can, and try to figure out how they can make it work for them. No need to reinvent the wheel, the podcast or the future of content. Go on the internet and steal it. Steal it shamelessly. n

In broadcasting, like many public-facing industries, it’s easy for us — and perhaps more so for upper management — to fall victim to negativity bias. If we get negative feedback, whether it be from a major support, colleague or simply a Twitter troll, we give it a disproportionate weight. It’s a real thing; whole programs have been changed by a few snarky remarks or hastily sent nasty-gram emails. If we want to be effective in the world of the internet and social media, we have to learn to let this go. At least sometimes. The remarkable thing about Joe Rogan and other highly successful podcasters is their ability to interact with their audience — the internet at large — in a healthier, perhaps more skeptical way than a larger, legacy organization might. Many of these successful folks have a background in standup comedy, which perhaps explains their sense of self, thick skin and healthy skepticism of other people’s critiques. They can be defiant; but they can also be transparent and address things head-on in ways that work well. One example happened after a recent episode, with

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


Your Remotes Can Be More Than Just Audio Comrex sees radio using video tools to delineate its brand and accentuate its value


While they can perform well on marginal networks, thanks to a set of very sophisticated suite of reliability tools, if there is no useable network there won’t be anything to broadcast to your listeners/viewers. A common misconception is that our devices depend on cellular networks and the public internet. In reality, we make IP codecs that work on a variety of IP networks including 3G, 4G and the public internet; and while these networks are 90 percent to 95 percent reliable, having a good contingency plan in place is important for the success of your broadcast.

Chris Crump is senior director of sales and marketing at Comrex.

A big shift we’ve seen in the past few years is the number of radio broadcasters producing full video content to stream alongside of their terrestrial radio broadcasts.

Radio World: How have you seen radio’s use of video and visual components change in recent years? Chris Crump: In the mid-2000s the constant refrain from radio programmers and executives was “radio broadcasters need to focus on becoming content creators.” Since then, social media, streaming video and terrestrial broadcast have all become intertwined and integral to the way that the radio industry has responded to consumer demand and subsequently advertisers. While some might argue that radio has become TV, it seems to us that the radio industry has taken advantage of these technologies to delineate its brand and accentuate its value to the consumer, the advertiser and to the public interest. Comrex has always strived to the develop tools and technology that broadcasters need to help them create the best content possible to help keep listeners engaged and content relevant. RW: What’s the most important thing readers should know about getting the most out of an investment in portable IP video codecs? Crump: Just as with our IP audio codecs, our IP video codecs are about delivering live, two-way content from remote locations. Our IP codecs depend on usable IP data networks to deliver content.

If you aren’t familiar with VSAT, BGAN or ISM band (private Wi-Fi) radios, feel free to contact us so we can provide you some backup transmission path ideas for your broadcast.   RW: Tell us about companies doing interesting work in creating good visual content. Crump: A big shift we’ve seen in the past few years is the number of radio broadcasters producing full video content to stream alongside of their terrestrial radio broadcasts. Using some of the TV-channel-in-a-box systems like NewTek’s TriCaster, RushWorks or HDVMixer, radio hosts and music stations are integrating lower-third graphics, downstream keying/chromakey, advertising and social media streams with multi-camera shots. Our LiveShot IP Video codecs have been used to provide remote contribution audio/video streams for WMMR’s Preston & Steve’s Campout for Hunger live event, Rush Continued on page 29 ❱

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


Your Video Should Enhance Your Audio Don’t let the lure of exciting video tools distract you from your main mission By Dan Slentz

tech. New World Symphony on Miami Beach uses immersive projection systems and has a fairly sizeable video control room to support state-of-the-art audio systems. Though the facility is only about 8 years old, we find that high-def video just simply “isn’t enough.” This summer we migrate fully to UHD/4K. Put simply, UHD is the TV version of 4K. UHD maintains TV’s 16:9 aspect ratio with just a few less pixels, while 4K is the cinema version with a slightly wider picture. With 16 robotic cameras and two manual cameras in our primary performance hall, we certainly have any concert fully covered! Here’s a link to a “behind-the-scenes” video concerning

The author is chief video engineer for New World Symphony and a frequent Radio World contributor who has experience in both radio and TV engineering. When your worlds overlap — radio with TV, audio with video — you may find yourself straddling them. This can be an uncomfortable position, but it is one that offers you opportunity to learn and explore the “melding of technologies.” This is especially true when you work, as I do, at a premier concert hall that places great emphasis on high

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


Wallcasts are special concerts that are fully produced and “aired” live to one face of the building using three 35,000 lumen 4K projectors and supported by 139 Meyer speakers and over 60,000 watts of amplifier support.

great video or visuals require much more than pointing a camera at something. A quality video production requires us to consider a lot of factors that often escape us in radio. For instance, lighting position and color temperature are important to creating depth and for accurate colors. Character generation like “lower thirds” (names and titles) or graphics should be of high quality and proper font size/type to remain clear both when viewed small on computer or smartphone screens as well as blown up on TV fed by a computer that’s receiving your visual stream. Correct lens and camera distance from the talent can make the difference between a simple picture and something that resembles a cinematic movie. These little video tips will make a difference to your “video listeners.” As audio providers, we do want our video to be of the same quality as the audio we provide, because this is part of our brand and our image. Video of poor quality or that is presented as an afterthought truly presents a bad impression about our main work. However, your video should act as a supplement to your audio programming, as at New World Symphony. Before anything else, any video that is provided to your audience should augment the audio. n

work the video production team does in support of New World Symphony and the creation of Wallcasts. These are special concerts that are fully produced and “aired” live to a face of the building that measures about 100 by 60 feet, using three 35,000 lumen 4K projectors, supported by 139 Meyer speakers and over 60,000 watts of amplifier support. However, with a concert hall or any “audio-driven facility” — like a radio station — sound should still be the emphasis. FROSTING ON THE CAKE

For the past few years, traditional radio equipment manufacturers and dealers have been getting into systems to allow video to follow the audio (sometimes automatically) and push out streams that stations can incorporate into their web offerings. Certainly, social media has also opened up many opportunities to delve into “visual radio.” Tradition in TV holds that a station might spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on video equipment but then will throw a few 635 mics or $200 lavs up for audio and call it “good enough.” Radio should be the opposite: The sound comes first. A radio operation (or a concert) may add video support, but the emphasis still should be on the sound, while the picture is the support, the frosting on the cake. At Ohio University one of my professors conducted a test on us students. Each day for a week he showed us programs from videotape; and one day he warned that the tape would be bad but that we should “just sit through it.” The video subsequently went out for about two minutes. We sat staring at the screen and listening intently to the audio. The next day he made a similar announcement, but this time it was the audio that dropped out. Within seconds we all started talking. The prof later pointed out that this demonstrated that audio is key to a great visual or video program. People working in video/TV certainly recognize that

❱ COMREX, continued from page 27

Limbaugh’s live video stream for his premium subscription service, remote video contribution for TheBlaze’s “Glenn Beck Program,” live video contribution for “The Joe Pags Show” on NewsMax TV and many others. We will undoubtedly continue to see new and creative applications of our technology as radio broadcasters continue to enhance their brand and reach. RW: What about working remotely, how is video changing in that application? Crump: We have been seeing an increasing number of talk radio hosts using live video along with their radio show. This really gets into multiple platforms, and it varies by host; but whether it’s FaceBook Live, Periscope or as part of a host’s premium subscription service, there is really a big consumer draw to “see” radio and what is happening in the studio. We have several hosts who have invested in our gear to be able to contribute to cable TV news shows from their home studios or when they are at major events. Regardless of how video is being used to supplement a radio broadcast, it reminds me of the comment by Bill Gates back in the early ’90s: “If your business is not on the internet, then your business will be out of business.” It feels like the same maxim applies to radio and video.  

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


Content Is Not Just Produced in Studios Stan Walbert on what MultiCAM Systems has learned working in and around video


has become the natural extension of FM. People are not only listening to audio anymore but watching videos on their smartphones and tablets. So following the trends of social networks and video platforms is crucial to engage a larger audience. Going to visual means also becoming more interactive. We had phone calls, and now we have Skype, Facebook, Twitter and more instant messaging that people use to react to a show. In Europe, visual radio has been quite popular for three years now, but I see many other countries jumping in that boat.

Stan Walbert is CEO of MultiCAM Systems.

Radio World: What are examples of major broadcasters that are doing good visual radio? Stan Walbert: We’ve provided our Visual Radio to major broadcasters all over the world, in the United States, Canada, Chile, France, Switzerland, Poland, Dubai, Russian Federation and others. Voltage Radio in France is producing a crazy talk show with the system, six guests and only three cameras (two PTZ and one fixed). You should look at what they produce fully automated; it’s like there is a human operating behind. The broadcast quality of the show allows it to be reused by traditional media like TV to broadcast controversial extracts. I like to highlight Radio Lac in Switzerland. They publish a lot of videos and use social networks to spread parts of the show to Facebook and Instagram. Radio Volna in Russia is also a good one; I saw a YouTube video showing a fight between two journalists — it looks like this customer made a good choice by choosing the extra license of Manual mode because they were able to face an unexpected situation that only a human can cover properly.

RW: Can you offer tips or pitfalls to avoid? Walbert: It is very important to think about how you want it to look. The studio is not hidden anymore, and you need to make it attractive, with proper lighting for good picture quality. Concerning graphics and visual scenes, I suggest you go step by step. Begin simple, and progressively enrich and extend — but it has to stay clear and neat. Using an artist’s talent to create a graphic chart is a good tip. Your system has to be fully automated; if not nobody will be able to use it because they don’t have time or video skills for that. Focus on your target, your audience, depending on the channel. Maybe use YouTube to broadcast the full show, Facebook for only short one- to two-minute extracts and Instagram for a “best of” with catchy moments. RW: What else should we know? Walbert: Radio content is not only produced in studios. You have journalists in the field, live shows produced outside. And why not different locations and remote studios? For these situations, WebRTC is definitely a good protocol; this peer-to-peer live streaming technology connects people with a minimum of latency. The quality is related to your bandwidth; with fiber connection it can be really amazing. I definitely recommend readers think about that in regard to pushing boundaries of the studio and producing visual radio on the air. n

RW: What do you see as next important trends in how radio broadcasters are using video and visuals? Walbert: Radio is all about audio. Nowadays, visual radio

TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019


14 Questions to Ask Yourself Thought prompts for the manager planning a visual radio project By Gary Kline In an earlier Visual Radio eBook, Gary Kline explored considerations for planning a serious video-ready facility at a radio operation. For this edition we asked him to review key high-level questions to ask yourself. Kline is a consultant and former corporate director of engineering and broadcast IT for several U.S. radio companies, and often speaks to conference audiences and clients about facility design considerations.    Why? Why are we getting into visual radio or video in the first place? We need to be able to articulate the reason, in part because it will help determine the gear we purchase. Are we going live? Are we only producing taped (on-demand) segments or video podcasts? Are we going to capture and produce content from outside the studio (remotes, client locations, third-party studios, concerts)?   What’s the ultimate goal? Is this project about ratings improvement, building traffic for the station website, revenue, etc.? Knowing the goal(s) will help us determine which partners to seek out (video streaming providers, on-demand hosting, Facebook, YouTube Live, etc.)   Who are our stakeholders? An internal team of stakeholders should be assembled and meet regularly. Typically, this would include the station engineer, IT, PD, OM, sales manager and/or GM, digital director, legal, etc., creating a small group of station experts to guide the necessary activities for their respective departments. Otherwise, we may end up with video but no backend way to measure response through analytics and monetize it. Adding visual radio to the mix is not something just one person should be doing on their own; we also don’t want a sales team selling a video package to a client that can’t realistically (or budgetarily) be engineered; and we don’t want to sign service contracts that were not reviewed by legal.

What can we realistically accomplish? Set expectations of what you want the finished product to look like and then weigh those versus budget, existing physical facilities, timeline and resources. Unless we are designing a new studio with visual radio in mind from the start, we are likely retrofitting an existing room to accommodate cameras. This usually requires careful thought. Otherwise we may end up with a boring camera shot that doesn’t draw anyone’s attention for long. Seek out articles written about studio design and best practices for video in the studio. For instance see our previous article on design considerations. What resources will we need? Dovetailing with #4, pay careful attention to resources. There are resources needed to construct; but then there are resources to operate the video system. If we purchase a manual switcher and cameras that need operators, we’ve added something that requires staffing. If we intend to produce video content for several hours each day, all week long, across a couple of stations, we will have a bunch of people who need to be budgeted for (not to mention recruited). There are automatic switching systems that eliminate the need for video switching and camera operators. Each system and method of operation (manual, automatic, semiautomatic) has their pros and cons. Make sure to discuss all of this internally and, if helpful, seek outside experts Continued on page 32 ❱

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❱ QUESTIONS, continued from page 31

to determine what’s best in your situation. In fact, if you have several studios, one solution and hardware package may work in one room while another is better in a different room. One size does not fit all. Therefore, it is so important to have a team of experts in the organization working together to establish the needs. Do we understand the big picture? This encompasses not only the factors mentioned so far but Blair Garner, right, interviews Dierks Bientley and a shorter also longer-term plans for the facility friend in the video-friendly studio of Westwood One’s and organization. Are we converting/ “The Blair Garner Show” at the NASH campus in Nashville. building all our studios at once, or a few over time? Are dipping our toes sources. Do not dive into purchasing video equipment into the world of video with one studio and then maybe (and then installing it) unless you have experience with some others later? And is this a project that might be such things. If someone asked you if you are designing expanded across other locations? The thing to keep in for 4k or 1080, what would your answer be? Could you mind is always this: Am I buying anything today that will speak intelligently about your decision and why? Ask for not be compatible with things I buy in the future? Am help. There are video engineers in nearly every city. There I doing anything now that will impede progress down are experts at many of the vendors you talk to on a regthe road? Am I putting myself into a corner? This could ular basis. And then there is the internet. There are many encompass studio layouts, camera choices, switcher good sources of info. Use them. choices, CDN providers, etc.     Do we understand the required workflow What changes can we anticipate? Nothing necessary in our unique facility to produce stays still very long in broadcast. After all and distribute our video content? I mentioned our careful planning, discussions, reviews, this briefly but it requires lots of thought. installations and product showcasing, Let’s say we intend to produce 30 short videos a week there’s still a good chance that things will change. and post them to Facebook, YouTube and our website. Someone will complain about the lighting. Sales will How will that happen? Who will do it? What’s needed? ask for a feature we didn’t plan on. We may be asked to We’ll need video editing software, graphics capability, produce content for a distributor we had not planned hardware capable of handling video production, easy-toon (and now need special encoding for). Anything can use upload widgets, etc. This will require part-time/fullhappen. So don’t fear change; expect it. Remember #6. time/contract employees depending on the needs and Do your best to not lock yourself in with technology. speed at which fresh content is expected to be posted. For example, if you shop for a video switcher or Do we have space (desks or workstations) allocated for software package and decide to save a few bucks by not these functions? If we produce live streaming content purchasing an “advanced” version, make sure there’s an (morning or afternoon drive time), do we need staff “upgrade” path for later. to monitor or switch cameras/graphics during the   broadcast? Will we incorporate Skype or remote video Do we understand video like we understand guests? What do we need? The good news is that there audio? Most of us in radio have been doing are visual radio systems available to do this today. this for a while. We understand radio tech  nology and everything audio. Our sales Have we identified our vendors? Do we know team understands how to sell radio and NTR. They know where to buy video gear? We want a vendor how to sell the digital products our station or company we trust who has the expertise to assist offers. Video is in some ways similar; it’s content, it’s with decisions. What about software? Do we stored as a file on a computer, it’s something that engagknow the brands of the most popular packages (Final Cut, es the audience. But there are differences too, in both Adobe Premiere, etc.)? Do we know what those pieces of technology and monetization. Seek help from trusted TRENDS IN VISUAL RADIO 2019 Radio World | February 2019



software cost and how they are licensed? Something simple like a monthly cloud plan may require a credit card. Whose card will we use? Little details like this can hold things up. Do we know where we will purchase our lighting? Find a good vendor who can give some free and valuable advice on TV lighting, especially important in the age of HD. How much storage will we need? How much video will we store? For how long? Will we store the final video output with graphics (the dirty feed)? Or will we also collect and store all the ISO camera feeds? That requires much more storage. Will we store video uncompressed or, say, in MPEG 4? Will we store locally or in the cloud? Think about this in the early stages. Again, consider expectations; include storage and retention of produced content as one of your talking points.   Have we considered media asset management? This is how we store data — sometimes a little, sometimes a lot — about recorded video and audio. It may be a simple description like “Billy Joel interview,” or it may be more detailed, even a full speech-to-text conversion so every single word can be searched for. Remember, down the road we may want to find that one time the local celebrity called into the morning show three years ago. We won’t remember the exact date or time, we just know they were on the air or stopped by the studio. We want to find it quickly. Better yet, our audience may want to find it. There are ways to make all this content searchable on Google and your website. Speech-to-text is big business now. It’s affordable and doable, even for a single station. There are visual radio systems that will convert everything to text automatically. Who is running quality control? Make sure a QC manager is appointed to watch the content often. Is the produced product(s) of the quality you expected? How does it compare to other video content you may be competing with for the attention of the audience? How’s the lighting? Audio? Editing? Graphics? Camera angles? Load time? Searchability? What will we do once our visual radio project is completed? Keep learning. Stay up to date on the latest technology, trends in video, and rends in digital strategy; most of all, keep an open mind. Every month there are new products announced that could make your life, or the lives of your colleagues, easier, through greater efficiency, faster production, higher quality. You may read about how a station is using visual radio to do great things; it might be anywhere in the world. Ask whether your setup could do the same thing or if it would need modifications or upgrades. Share the story with your original team including the general and sales managers. Watch the produced content as often as you have time. Remain engaged. n

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