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Breaking down barriers to broadcasting with CUNY and Airtime

New York based CUNYCast is using Airtime for live broadcasting | Photo from CUNYCast website (CC BY 4.0)
New York based CUNYCast is using Airtime for live broadcasting | Photo from CUNYCast website (CC BY 4.0)

As a producer of open source Airtime, we are always excited to discover the unique and innovative ways in which our software is being used. Due to the open source nature of the software, we cannot and do not track who downloads and uses our software. This means that we occasionally stumble upon fascinating project like this one by a team at CUNY, The City University of New York.

Through a graduate class on digital humanities, James mason, Julia Pollack, and Martha Joy Rose came up with an idea, CUNYCast

“CUNYcast is live online radio offering students an opportunity to stream audio using original content from classes, lectures, and projects. CUNYCast was born out of a problem: How can students be part of the Graduate Center when they cannot physically be there? When they are there, how can they share what’s happening with everyone who isn’t? CUNYCast’s aim is to empower the Graduate Center broadcast community.”

The project development process

Inspired by another project that utilizes Airtime software, DS106 (we wrote about them last year), the students at CUNY replicated and updated their model to suit their specific purpose.

One of the main requirements of Airtime for the project was that it be able to broadcast live, primarily from a mobile device. Fortunately, Airtime is compatible with both live broadcasting and broadcasting from mobile. This is one of our most requested features and we have documented a few tutorials and blog posts on the topics of both live modes and mobile broadcasting apps and how to use them.

James, Julia and Joy at CUNYCast decided to use the Android app, BroadcastMySelf and the iOS app, KoalaSan. You can learn more about how to use these apps on the CUNYCast tutorials page or read their PDF on how to start your own radio station.

According to the team at CUNY, the goal was to empower the graduate center community by reducing barriers to broadcasting. They wanted to create a free, open source, collaborative platform that would serve to encourage students, faculty, and staff to broadcast “classes, conversations and controversy”.

Breaking barriers to live broadcasting

Creating a platform for their own use was only half of their goal. The other aim with their project was to make this technology and format available to other schools interested in creating their own radio broadcasts. The team wanted to not only build a portal for their graduate center, but also to provide a comprehensive tutorial for other potential users on how to create their own portals.

As James, Julia, and Joy began to formulate their idea, CUNYCast, they quickly came to realize that they were going to be unable to build what they wanted with their current level of coding knowledge. Airtime was a practical and relatively simple tool to use and implement.

Project Manager and Outreach Coordinator, Martha Joy Rose, came from a traditional broadcasting background. “From my experience, getting people and ideas on the air can become a long process,” Joy stated. As we spoke, she remarked on how interesting it has been for her to participate in this process, “Broadcasting on CUNYCast has provided a new arena where we can put technology and power into the hands of the people.”

The project was just launched this spring and plans to gain traction and involvement from students, faculty and staff when classes begin again in the fall.

Airtime software is free and open source, visit our Airtime page for download options, tutorials and more. Interested in managed hosting? Try Airtime Pro free for 30-days. 

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