It’s all about reach. Reaching the drive time listeners via car radio, reaching the mobile users through their iPhones or mp3 players, reaching everyone possible. Now a new advance and a shift in how streaming and encoding is handled look to extend that reach.
StreamAudio has just debuted a system that will allow radio stations to reach listeners using a variety of mobile devices and computer platforms without the need for additional computers or engineers on the station end of the equation. “Multi-Format Streaming” is supposed to give radio stations the ability to stream in the global standard MP3 format while simultaneously providing streams in Windows Media, AAC, AAC Plus, and OGG. These formats will allow listeners to receive a stream from the station using nearly any player or computer operating system such as Windows, Mac, and Linux while also reaching many mobile devices.,Smart phones will often not even need the installation of an applet in order to listen.
According to Darren Harle, StreamAudio’s President, “The problem that broadcasters face trying to provide streams in multiple formats is the additional cost of not only the delivery of the content, but also the extra equipment and physical space required at the station to provide the ‘source streams’ to their streaming vendor (and hence to their listeners) in multiple formats. By managing the format conversion at our data center, broadcasters can now use the critical space at their studios for other purposes. What makes StreamAudio’s Multi-Format Streaming package different from that offered by other providers is that only a single computer is required at the station. This hardware/software system sends a single ‘source stream’ to StreamAudio’s data centers where the transcoding to multiple formats is performed; which then allows StreamAudio to deliver the multiple formats to the broadcaster’s listeners. Of course, this eliminates the need for engineers at the radio station to manage and maintain additional hardware/software systems as would be required with other streaming vendors.”
So, simultaneously we see extended cross platform reach coupled with an eduction in both hardware and labor hours spending for the stations. I’m sure that we will be seeing more innovations like this in the near future as radio continues to stretch its 21st Century legs!