A novel approach to delivering radio content


Who does a national broadcaster turn to with 9 TV and radio stations, each with 20hrs of daily programmes and a need to deliver them locally and cross continental... In a media rich world where viewers habits are rapidly changing they need to add another dimension to radio while maintaining the 'spirit' of a radio programme.
France Tlvisions’ Rseau Outre-Mer1re (formerly RFO), a public broadcasting network operating nine television and radio stations in the French overseas territories, wanted to expand their services and bring their audience a higher level experience with a new type of radio production, involving multiple platforms. Runion1re was the first station to implement the new concept: a cross-media strategy involving filming and streaming a radio programme live, in high definition, on television and the Internet. In one month and a half, the group managed to set up a highly innovative, sophisticated yet affordable and easy to use system enabling a small team to broadcast and webstream radio content across multiple platforms at levels previously considered prohibitive.
Meeting the needs and interests of local communities
All nine network radio stations broadcast more than 20 hours of daily programmes. Their mission: to deliver both intercontinental and regional news and entertainment programming, with a special emphasis on local features that reflect and are geared towards the needs and interests of local communities. In a constant effort to deepen the relationship with their respective communities, the group’s stations dedicate a significant portion of their on-air time to audience dialogue. Yet, the expansion of new technologies and the multiplication of media outlets have led to significant changes in audience habits. In a media-rich world, citizens increasingly seek and handle alternative sources of information and entertainment, sometimes simultaneously engaging in a multimedia or multiplatform type of media consumption. The group then explored new ways of delivering radio content in tune with the needs and interests of a ‘multimedia’ audience.
A new concept involving multiple platforms
"We wanted to bring a new dimension to radio”, explained Robert Moy, Director of the Radio at France Televisions. "Our objective was to give the audience a higher level experience with a new type of radio production involving multiple platforms”. Runion1re, one of the network’s stations based on the Reunion Island was chosen as a pilot-station. Robert Moy and Franois Castellon, Technical Director of Runion1re brought together a team of experts to develop a cross-media strategy which involves filming and broadcasting a radio program live in high definition on television and the Internet.
Multi-camera, network-quality productions in HD
Many radio stations offer streaming services online. Yet, many times, they rely on the use of webcams, which results in a static shot. The group wanted the show to be the most vibrant and dynamic as possible, to "invite" the audience on stage and have faces to place with the names. "It was not just about filming the show and transmitting the images on television and the Internet" said Robert Moy. “While maintaining the ‘spirit’ of a radio programme, the cross-media strategy in place was to take advantage of each medium, allowing for some video effects and editing (clips, stills, titles and graphics), the use of multiple, remote controlled cameras, and a network-quality, video stream in high-definition”.
A complete, easy-to-set up and affordable solution, suitable for a any-size studio
To set up their cross-media strategy, Runion1re needed an integrated and cost-efficient technical solution that was easy to set-up and manage, but could also fulfill the functions of a production control room in a very small studio. Too bulky and expensive, traditional production systems would not meet the needs of the production. Another important consideration was that the system had to be implemented before the end of the season, meaning that the team only had one month and a half to set up a technical solution without incurring huge additional costs in manpower, systems or infrastructure. After a thorough review of existing technologies, the station was equipped with NewTek TriCaster portable live production system in HD/SD and remote controlled cameras. “Compact, easy to set up and operate, affordable and very complete in terms of production tools and functions, TriCaster was the perfect solution for our production needs”, said Robert Moy.
‘Sept Huit’: the first crossmedia radio production in HD
A cross-media radio pilot project was implemented in June, 2010. Every day, from Monday through Friday, Sept Huit, a one-hour radio morning program is filmed, recorded and streamed live, in high definition, on television and the station’s Internet website. Listeners, television and web viewers also have the possibility to access VOD versions of the show on the website. On the air, headphones on and notes in hand, radio hosts deliver, as always, the major features of the morning. The news, press reviews, weather forecasts, traffic information, humor, interviews and debates are delivered, as well as cultural, sporting and political columns, with one or several guests who were previously announced on the station’s website. Just like television, and unlike traditional radio shows - speakers are treated to a makeup session.
Behind the Scenes
In a small adjoining room within the station, an operator controls three to four remote controlled cameras distributed around the studio while two TriCaster operators handle the entire video production and streaming. "We operate from a very small room within the station" explained Thierry Techer, graphic designer and Cross-Media Project Manager at Runion1re. " Small enough to fit in a very small sized room, NewTek TriCaster in HD/SD provides control of the entire video production with the possibility to connect up to eight cameras. It is the perfect combination of all the tools and functions we need to provide the audience with high-quality video, including multi-channel HD switching; audio mixing; HD editing; full HD live streaming and media player capabilities, allowing an operator to add titles and graphics from a dedicated title station”. An integrated production solution, TriCaster is easy to learn and operate with the flexibility for one person or a small team to simultaneously produce, live stream, broadcast, project and record HD and SD network-style productions. A single operator can switch between multiple cameras and virtual inputs, while inserting clips, titles and motion graphics with multi-channel effects.
A Renewed Experience
Building on its success, the cross-media experience was renewed in September. For Runion1re, the solution proved to be advantageous from a technical and financial point of view, and feedback from the audience has been positive. The group plans to extend the cross-media experience to other programmes and network stations.

Tags: radio | iss051 | multi-camera | network | N/A
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