Visual Radio Metapost: Looking Back
This year, Insanity launched its visual platform – mostly to showcase how radio can be professionally visualised on a shoestring budget.
This post aims to solve some of the less technical problems with launching a visual radio platform, and how we solved them.
When To Stream
Big question: when do you have the cameras on? In fact, it’s not so simple. Don’t forget that with visual radio you have lots of different platforms to stream on.
For us, we almost always stream on our website. As we don’t market this stream extensively, it doesn’t subtract from the impact of the platform.
For special events, we stream on Facebook and YouTube. Facebook draws our biggest audience engagement figures, as you can already target your audience as they’ve probably liked your page.
This was the biggest issue for us.
Community radio in the UK, like all other stations, have PRS and PPL licenses to cover music streaming, both on terrestrial, and online. The wording of these license terms is very vague, but our interpretation is that a visualised radio stream, with the original station audio, counts as a simulcast. The only downside is that this limits our distribution on third party platforms – when we do, we need to be very careful not to include music. As long as you have some factor of control (even if that’s just the ability to start or stop your stream) over the platform you’re broadcasting on, you are probably within terms of the license.
Although the services we stream on have music licenses of their own, automated filters are unforgiving and overzealous.
But on-demand, we can completely avoid that issue, as per our social media guidelines, OD content should ideally be one link or idea.
(Remember, we are not your lawyers – please seek legal advice on the terms of your music licensing contract if you’re unsure!)
Getting The Presenters Onboard
Not everyone wants to live stream their show. During the first scheduling term after launch, about ten of our hundred shows decided not to stream themselves on the platform. After a few months, that number dropped to one.
Remember, the radio studio isn’t becoming a TV studio – there’s no pressure on looking amazing on camera.
With the rise of social media, video has become the online first-class content – not audio. Providing just something to go with that audio is exactly what visual radio is about.