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Three tips to improve community radio from Radio Hack Day

TrafoPop's LED jacket for Radio Hack Day
TrafoPop's LED jacket for Radio Hack Day

Last weekend we had the pleasure of attending Radio Hack Day in Berlin at Supermarkt. For three days we tested, talked and listened to amazing radio including our live broadcast using Airtime. Joining us for the three day extravaganza were Airtime radio broadcasters and hackers NTS Radio and Resonance FM, both from London. These stations have been using, but also hacking Airtime to better suit their stations. We were thrilled to hear about their advancements in the technology and invited them to join us to hack Airtime with the interested community of radio hackers in Berlin.

However, we didn't stop there; we also invited the team from TrafoPop to join our team for the weekend. We tested the current prototype TrafoPop LED jacket with dozens of LED pulsing in the rhythm of the Airtime stream – and took it for a test to the street. We received an overwhelming response, and discovered a new way to get new listeners for your radio: wear your logo as LEDs on your jacket! 

TrafoPop's LED jacket for Radio Hack Day

TrafoPop's LED jacket for Radio Hack Day

Talk, hack and win

On the first day a series of amazing speakers presented their work including Paul Osman from Soundcloud and showed us some of their work producing APIs. Yasmin El Rafie from SverigesRadio, a public broadcaster in Sweden showed us how they are using social media and Bastian Obarowski discussed how journalists must use these new tools to their full advantage in order to get the most out of today's technology. Aside from these great presentations six groups got started with their hacks and the countdown began until Sunday when the final presentation and prizes would be awarded.

Day two started promptly at 10 am with presentations from Fabian Hemmert, who showed us what could be made from spare parts for true radio hacking. Nici Beckendorf discussed how radio is marketed today and how RMS and AS&S function. During the afternoon session the topic of Youtube for radio stations was covered and in the evening everyone headed to Pony Bar to celebrate the closing of the second day.

On the final day we enjoyed the presentation of all six hack projects and presented prizes to the top three. In third place was REGIOCAST who showed how radio data can be transmitted to and from the station and be used to incorporate news analysis. In second place was INHEAR, who developed a dashboard for incorporating social media feeds in radio broadcasts. First prize went to Max Tillich and Luke Klein from Productgang with an app, which allow users to search through the radio archive and broadcast snippets of content to their social networks online.

What we learnt

We had a very inspiring three days and from this, we were able to take away a few important tips for Airtime.

  1. The community is your backbone. We were amazed about what other developers have been doing with Airtime – and we want more. Immediately after the event we took action and organised more support for our community – watch that space, lots of cool things are happening there!
  2. "Agree on technology. Compete on content" was personally one of my favourite quotes during the event. Ben Poor from UK Radio Player hit the nail on the head with this statement. There are way too many radios out there suffering from and fighting their technical set up which keeps them away from focusing on producing great content. This is what Airtime is for – provide you with awesome software and help you make your radio rock!
  3. More events! Not only has Airtime proven to be an awesome tool to live broadcast events, but also it is so much fun being at events and showing everyone Airtime that we decided to do that more often. Next up events: Hack/Hackers in Berlin and Mozilla Festival in London.

You can also find all our recordings of the event on our SoundCloud account and check out all official videos of the event!

  • We just released Airtime 2.4, the latest version of Airtime. Now you can edit your audio's waveforms and cross fade between individual tracks.