The Broadcast Tech newsletter landed in inboxes again today. If you missed out, you should totally sign up. If not, here’s some of the highlights:

  • Google is directly encouraging object-based radio production, with their new Google Assistant Audio News feature. This new feature creates on-demand news bulletins based on ‘AI’, essentially splicing stories together from multiple news outlets. If you’re a news outlet wishing to participate, they have released content guidelines and technical specifications. Is your newsroom setup to produce news this way?
  • AWS have just released ‘Ground Station‘ – a new product that allows you to lease time on their network of satellite ground stations. They support low and medium-earth satellite, in frequency bands such as S, X and UHF. I don’t know enough about satellite technology to know if this is useful to broadcasters at all, but it sure looks interesting!
  • Some researchers in the Netherlands have developed a wideband web-based SDR, which allows you to listen to shortwave radio from your web browser. Do you know of anything similar for FM?
  • Axia has released a new console that doesn’t have any outboard ‘Studio Engine’ box (or any local I/O). Just plug a LAN cable direct into the console and suck down all your existing AES67 and/or Livewire audio – brilliant!
  • Have you seen Node-RED lately? This is an open-source visual programming tool, with modules to connect to hundreds of different devices and protocols. They market it as ‘flow-based programming for the Internet of Things’, but you could quite easily think of it along the same lines as broadcast macro/event-driven programming systems.
  • I totally missed this news back in July – Telstra (Australia’s biggest telco) launched a trial of LTE-B (essentially multicast over 4G LTE networks). They said unicast streaming on their AFL football app peaked at 143Gbps prior to this trial, but their LTE-B trial is only for Samsung S8 & S9 devices – it’d be interesting to see how much bandwidth they’ve saved and what sort of real-world issues they encountered.
  • Radio stations are steadily getting on board with MetaRadio – my new product that makes now-playing song data ridiculously easy. It now supports 13 different automation systems, and about 16 different outputs (RDS Encoders, Streaming Encoders, WordPress, etc.).
  • WordPress 5.0 has just been released. The key change is the new Gutenberg block-based editor – a highly controversial change in the WP community, but a concept I think is long overdue. Back in 2013, I wrote an article about CMS architecture. Much to my surprise, WordPress seems to be delivering on this more than any other major CMS (combine Gutenberg with the WP JSON API, Custom Post Types, and Meta Fields, and you have quite a powerful CMS – ignoring all the legacy cruft kicking around under-the-hood). I’ve used Gutenberg on a couple of sites now, and my major concern is that the implementation is not quite ready for prime-time.