Sunday, January 02, 2005

Radio Automation Software 2005 on a budget!

Media Develoment Loan Fund (MDLF) launched the Campware initiative in March 2001 as a platform for open source solutions for independent news media organizations in emerging democracies. The initative is coordinated by MDLF's new-media arm, the Center for Advanced Media--Prague (CAMP).

LiveSupport is a Campware project that aims to create a free and open source automation software package for radio stations. While maintaining a wide set of features, the project places special emphasis on ease of use. LiveSupport is intended for use by many different types of radio stations, and includes features found in high-end commercial radio automation packages. The target release date is 1 February 2005.

Why We’re Making LiveSupport

There are virtually no working Open Source radio management solutions available at present. The relatively affordable commercial solutions, on the other hand, mainly support proprietary audio formats and lack remote radio management capabilities.

On many projects LiveSupport’s developers have worked on in the past, the Internet has proven to be a reliable replacement for transponder systems. In addition, the cost factor makes the Internet an especially attractive distribution system for independent radio projects. Yet there is no radio automation software that is capable of including the potential of the Internet.

LiveSupport software will be installed on a PC located in the radio studio. The PC sound card will connect to the transmitter or the transponder system, delivering the audio to other distribution mechanisms such as a satellite uplink. The radio producer will work on the LiveSupport machine to handle all daily operations as well as scheduling automated programs.

Within an online network, LiveSupport will allow users to work in one radio station and administer remote stations via the Internet. For example, due to financial or legal constraints, a small independent radio station may be able to attain regional broadcast licenses but not a national one. With LiveSupport, it would be able to administer its affiliate regional stations from a central studio.