Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS) and Backbone launch true Internet Radio network

Backbone Networks Corporation today announced that, in cooperation with the Intercollegiate Broadcasting System (IBS), it is launching the first true Internet radio network, one that specifically aims at enhancing the student radio experience. The IBS Digital Radio Network will use Backbone’s advanced client-server radio software to enable student operated stations to syndicate live and produced programming among member stations, as well as automatically access a vast amount of royalty-free programming from worldwide third-party sources such as Trakheadz.com.

Network stations will be offered collections of news feeds, royalty-free music from emerging and alternative independent artists, and other programming that will be available only to stations on the Network. Member stations will be able to draw programming from one another through shared server databases, as well as have access to each other’s live feeds, including sporting events and concerts. A simple laptop computer with a wireless card will enable a school correspondent to cover remote events, including play-by-play coverage of “away” games.

“This type of network and the sharing it enables is what college radio is all about”, said Fritz Kass of the Intercollegiate Broadcast System, “we look forward to the new and innovative programming this network will enable for our member stations”. “Internet webcasting and streaming is another medium to get radio out to the masses.”, said Michael Keith, Professor of Communications at Boston College and the author of The Radio Station, “Establishing an Internet radio network is an event that will transition the future of broadcasting and enable more independent voices to be heard.”

The IBS Digital Network builds upon Apple’s QuickTime MPEG-4 AAC, the worldwide streaming standard, as its streaming format. Conforming to this standard not only ensures universal acceptance across all listening platforms, but it also enables each school to partner with the Apple’s iTunes store in preparing material, including artist/album annotation and cover art images that display to listeners’ free QuickTime or iTunes players. Stations only need an Apple Macintosh computer, a microphone and a simple DSL connection to be on the air. All program automation software is provided by Backbone, as well as all server storage, streaming broadcast bandwidth and automated reporting software.

Although there has recently been substantial industry-wide consternation regarding webcasting royalties, IBS Digital Network member stations, as non-commercial entities, will be covered by a maximum royalty obligation of $500 per year, according to the recent CRB ruling. Stations will, with a mouseclick, be able to generate RIAA-compliant listener logs precisely specifying the per-performance records required by the CRB.

A 25-school proof-of-concept pilot project commences this spring and runs through early September. Upon this successful pilot run, additional IBS member schools will be added to the network in the fall.

Backbone Networks personnel will be available at the National Association of Broadcasters (NAB) exhibition, booth SL6709, to discuss the IBS Digital Network in detail with interested parties, including schools and content providers.