Generating fresh content for radio ministries

From ingest to playout
Once an AWR audio file is ingested into the system, Mediator automatically verifies and renames it before and assigning it to the relevant broadcaster. This saves a lot of repetitive manual activity and eliminates the possibility of human error. Mediator's internal scheduler dictates which file is to play and at what time. All file movements are electronically logged to ensure that files are ready when and where required.

 

Mediator gives AWR the resources it needs to repurpose content for multiple platforms. programmes created for broadcast via radio and satellite can be seamlessly converted into podcasts for general internet-based distribution as well as for specific platforms such as the Apple iPhone, laptops or the Megavoice Ambassador low-cost solar-powered audio player. Mediator can also process text, photo and video files.

 

Mediator's integral playout automation allows AWR to automate the aggregation and publication of shortwave radio and podcast content to 13 distribution sites worldwide. Seven of these sites forward content to a variety of third-party automation systems, while the remaining six distribute transcoded audio and metadata to staging media for web-based podcasting.

 

4_-_AWR_coverage_mapAWR coverage
Implementation
The Pharos Mediator system installed at AWR runs on a blade server powered by an Oracle database. AWR's Mediator generates content and pushes it out to the Amazon cloud platform. The Amazon cloud distributes AWR's content worldwide and forms a secure bridge between the listener-access content-request interface and Mediator. Once the content is generated, an AWR web interface operates as a front end to the cloud.

 

Listeners request audio files simply by pressing a play icon on the relevant AWR web page. The requested file is then pulled from the nearest server on the Amazon cloud, ensuring efficient distribution. Audiences access only the local layer, each specific listener's file audio file request being played directly to the user.

 

Mediator's remote approvals workflow uses desktop browse to trigger a cumulative XML export of new and approved content. This is picked up by Google's FeedBurner and transformed into iTunes and other metadata-rich podcast formats.

 

"Mediator provides a single platform handling incoming content, quality control, scheduling, asset management, statistics and reporting," comments AWR global resource engineer Andrew Gungadoo. "It frees our operators to focus their efforts on content and reduces the risk of implementing new distribution technologies as these become available."

 

5_-_AWR_iPhone_App_display_examplesIphone display
"Preparing content using Mediator allows our audience to search our programmes using keywords in their own language," adds AWR web manager Marvin King. "Someone interested in Russian programmes addressing topics such as alcohol-addition, family life, or salvation will be able to search for these. Mediator also provides us with productivity features such as automated quality control which makes it easier for managers to check file integrity before programmes go online."

 

Summary
The Adventist church has a long history of media-based communication, having grown out of the Millerite movement of the 1840s which made intensive use of print media. Pharos Mediator gives AWR a highly efficient basis for the co-ordination of its radio broadcast activity, and to expand its reach via the internet. File-based content received online or via CD from 80 regional studios is ingested to Mediator, checked if necessary for editorial or technical quality, and then transferred to transmission servers with the option of additional spot check prior to being made available on-air or online. Online listeners gain the freedom to hear AWR productions without waiting for a scheduled radio transmission and can also access post-transmission archived content. Mediator provides a single fully co-ordinated content management structure controlling workflow from ingest right through to on-air and online playout.

 

David Kirk
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