WordPress Radio – WPR.FM – Get Involved

Since my involvement in WordPress some 9 years ago, I followed the various audio and video productions pertaining to WordPress with great interest. As the technology of podcasting became more prevalent and easier to produce, there were many new productions about WordPress that came and went. Recently though, there have been a lot of really good shows that have been released on a regular basis that have provided a well-rounded set of listening choices. I believe the time has come to engage in a community based strategic alliance of these shows in the form of a 24/7 streaming audio station.

Thus, the formation of WPR.FM. WordPress Radio.

WordPress RadioAt first, I was unsure how to go about starting a streaming radio station. As a podcaster of 8+ years, streaming was always viewed as the “old” way of doing things. This was more commonly profiled due to lack of bandwidth or mobile portability. Nowadays with modern carrier technology able to stream anywhere we are, I feel the stars have aligned to create an audio channel that’s all ours. I approached my friend “Mr. Oil” who runs FralNet, a UK-based host provider and he liked the idea so much that he graciously offered to help get us up and running at no cost! He helped me with the setup, and in 10 minutes, we were streaming to the world!

Now that the connections were made and the “on-air light” has been illuminated, it’s time to get the DJ’s in their proper rotation. Ideally we would like to see the following shows in the programming lineup: WordPress Weekly with Jeff Chandler, WordPress Plugins A-Z with John Overall and Marcus Couch, Your Website Engineer with Dustin Hartzler, The WordPress Chick with Kim Doyal, WP Watercooler with Chris Lema, Jeff Tucker and cast, DradCast with Brad Williams and Dre Armeda, Matt Report with Matt Medeiros, Weekly Web Tools with Dave Jackson and others like WP Bacon, Apply Filters and my own 3 minute news segment of The Daily Plugin. And that’s just who I listen to. There are probably tons more that I am missing.

From an additional content perspective, how cool would it be to get Q&A segments from WordCamps or Meetup Groups? How about a monthly “Industry Night” show where EVERYONE who produces a show all gets on a call and goes around the table talking WordPress? I think our community would get a lot of benefit from this. We also have the ability to stream live, so the possibilities are only limited by what content is available to us.

So we have a WordPress stream, now what?

Site Design and Development
The next phase will be site builds and profiles for all the content, shows and presenters. This is where I am looking for the community for help. If this is a project that you believe has merit and you’d like to volunteer to help with the site build, please let me know.

App Creation
If you have experience in APP development for both Android and iOS and would like to work on the APP project with us, we welcome your participation there as well. Our goal is to create a free stream companion app that can be played on the go and have all the appropriate show information about both content and hosts.

Content Programming
We’re looking for help with programming the station as well. As we start receiving more submitted content from the WordPress Community, it will be important to keep a high standard with regards to the production elements. We’d like to make this a professional station with station IDs, show introductions/lead-ins and fresh WP news content every day. If you are an experienced audio editor, we would enjoy your participation as well.

For everyone else, I invite you to tune in! The stream is already live and can be listened to on our splash page one any device, in any format.

So what do you think of the concept? Let me know what ideas you have and what I may have missed.

14 Comments


  1. Wow! Cool idea. I’ll have to give up the idea that I can listen to every episode of every WP podcast. :)

    It would be worth including CommPress by Troy Dean and Video User Manuals. There’s also a new podcast coming sometime from Bronson Quick and Jason Resnick called WP Dev Table.

    In terms of filling in time, you could also have a segment where some of the old episodes are played. It would be interesting to hear podcasts from 5 years ago again, including some of the retired ones (WP Podcast, etc).

    As far as creating mobile apps go, not against the idea as such, but it may be simpler to leverage existing apps such as TuneIn Radio (ie get it listed there so people can listen through that).

    Cheers,
    Stephen

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  2. Oh and Matt Medeiros has some other WordPress Podcasts through his slocumstudio.com site..

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  3. I love the idea of a 24/7 WordPress radio network. I thought about this idea when I started WordPress Weekly but I didn’t want to manage all of those different shows needed to fill time and really, there wasn’t much of any WordPress podcasting going on at that time. Things are different now. All sorts of WordPress podcasts are springing up with different topics, viewpoints and skill levels. I don’t know if there is enough content to fill up 24 hours, especially fresh content but I like the idea of doing flashbacks of established shows such as mine, the original WordPress Podcast, and throw in some of WPCandy’s. Of course, Marcus or whomever is running the show would need to get permission to air those shows but I don’t see why not, just as long as we are not modifying them in any way such as injecting advertising and such.

    I also see this as becoming a starting point for syndication. I think up and coming WordPress podcsters would find WPR.FM to be the most helpful in getting out there to an established audience versus having to start from scratch. As long as the Podcast hosts are not exchanging money to determine when their shows air on WPR.FM, I think it will work out amongst everyone. I personally don’t care when my shows air because they air live for my specific audience every Friday at 9 PM EST and that is who I am catering to, not the WPR audience.

    I’m with Stephen Cronin in that you should leverage existing mobile apps before creating them. For example, Winamp on the iPhone can be used for the Winamp stream and then there is the quicktime audio stream. I don’t think you’ll need to create a custom app for awhile. As long as the stream shows meta data information that can be displayed in the mobile app, those apps should suffice.

    I tuned in a couple of times but because it’s just one continuous stream of audio, it’s hard to figure out how much longer the show is or which point of the show I started listening to. Radio runs by strict timelines but podcasting does not. So not sure how to address that.

    I’m throwing my hat in the ring to help contribute to the station. I’d like to get some sort of physical merchandise with those call sign letters, for memorabilia.

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  4. Personally, i can’t remember the last time i tuned into a radio station (both local and via iTunes). Honestly, this most likely won’t be for me (downloaded podcasts in a playlist works for me). However i’m glad to see the idea being considered and support it (of course I don’t have a podcast so that means jack).

    I’m curious though – lots of “new” podcasts coming into the picture recently. I would want to see these stabilize and grow before relying on them to fill time on a station.

    Along similar lines I wouldn’t mind to see the WordPress community form an actual network (similar to 5by5.tv or http://www.muleradio.net). At least the former example has a continuous broadcast, like a radio station.

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  5. Thanks for the feedback everyone.

    I know there are varying degrees of usage and application for a stream. It’s not for everyone, and certainly experimental at this phase, but I’m looking forward to seeing where we can take this as a community. Though I am the founder, I certainly don’t want this to be considered my own project. This is for the WordPress Community at large.

    There is a lot of content out there that is scattered throughout many sources and platforms (video, podcasts, interviews, etc) that would make excellent audio programming. Who knows.. we might even coin a new term. Instead of the DJ it’s now the WPJ.

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  6. When I first heard about this idea, I was very excited by it (and still am). Now that I’ve slept on it, I’ve thought of some issues that need to be worked through.

    Firstly, who is the target audience? If it’s the same as most of the podcasts, then it’s relatively small. Sure, there are lot a WordPress developers out there, but it’s a small audience in the bigger picture, especially if you’re trying to work out a business model.

    Ah, business model.. Is there one? There probably should be if you want to ensure it will keep going beyond the excitement of the first year or two. Are you planning to keep it totally free? Or will there be advertising? If there’s advertising, does some of that revenue flow back to the podcast owners? If so how is that managed in a fair way.

    The podcast owners will need to agree to sign up. I’d guess the free podcasts would be agreeable, as it’s more exposure. However, podcasts that run ads may have an issue if the station ads (or ads on other podcasts) conflict with their ads.

    Also, in terms of using it, I’d probably stream while I’m sitting at my computer, but my main podcast consumption happens on my phone while I’m commuting or exercising. My 3G plan has a limit of 1GB per month, so I typically don’t stream while I’m out. So my primary listening will be via a Podcast app that downloads the episodes, rather than a streaming radio station.

    What about the rest of the target audience? How do they consume WordPress audio? Is there demand for this? I suspect that there will definitely be some that will stream while they are working, but it would be good to gauge the demand.

    Perhaps we should run a survey asking people whether they’d use it, how often and long they’d listen, what they’d listen to (old episodes, audio from WordCamp talks, user generated content, any particular podcasts, etc), whether advertising would be a problem, how they’d listen to it (computer vs phone), etc.

    Also, to run it properly will take a lot of effort. I know you want others to jump in and I’m sure some will, but the effort shouldn’t be underestimated. All the more reason to have a sustainable business model.

    I still think this is an exciting and amazing idea, but it’s important to consider some of these issues. My 2 cents anyway!

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  7. @Stephen Cronin – Thanks for your input. I agree it needs a scheduled format and that is all being planned out. I obviously don’t want to say TOO much because I have to make sure I can get accomplished what I claim before I reveal it to the entire community.

    There are no plans to run commercials or advertising on the stream, though the hosts are free to talk about whatever they want in their shows. I am not editing anything.

    We’re going to have some fun with this. It’s not just podcasts on shuffle. Once you’re rolling, the first thing you’ll hear when you tune into the stream is that day’s current news and latest plugins. THEN the additional clip/podcast content starts.

    Also, I have really been having fun with the branding of W P R DOT F M as a “station jingle”. I’ve got some pretty well known voiceover friends who are going to give this the old school treatment when it comes to station IDs and branding of the station.

    I think the idea didn’t happen previously because there wasn’t enough consistent content. Now there appears to be plenty of shows that have been putting out content week in and week out, which motivates new shows to follow suit.

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  8. This is a great idea, and some very interesting points and suggestions in the comments.

    I’m a Howard Stern fan and I like what they’re doing with their channels in regards to programming and this is what I can see for a WP-centric network. Podcasts of all levels and subjects, including dev, business, beginner, maybe some little “news” clips between shows, that sort of thing. Oh, and perhaps a team of live reports from various WordCamps. Heck, even short content shows like covering Meetup presentations.

    If done right, it could really become quite a behemoth of content relevant to WordPress users of all types and skill levels.

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  9. @Adam W. Warner -You’re on my wave, as that’s exactly how I envisioned it as well. So far all the hosts are 100% on-board. As we get more and more involved, it will be more creative and more popular on all levels.

    My next edition of my usual post, “The Daily Plugin will have an audio companion narration clip as well so that I can also add that content to the stream, in addition to being a resource for those on the go. With 2-3 more people making short, 3-4 minute segments, it will provide a nice mix with the podcasts and longer presentations that we play.

    Other streams like Webmaster Radio actually cut up the podcasts in 18 minute segments to they can run their commercials. I really don’t want to get into doing this, as it would be crossing the line of editing someone elses content, which I’m not in favor of.

    Any other comments or suggestions from folks out there? I am loving the conversation.

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  10. This reminds me of the Twit live feed, except it’s not live. I appreciate being able to just tune in whenever I want. My main concern would be that the quality is going to vary a lot. There are quite a few WordPress podcasts which I struggle to listen to for more than a few minutes before they start to hurt my ears and I fear that may be what stops me listening to this station.

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  11. @Ryan Hellyer – Actually we have full capability to do LIVE programming as well.

    Regarding Audio quality.. I would only publish things that were of an acceptable standard. The stream itself is 128K, which is more than ample for voice/talk and easy on the ears.

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  12. Marcus

    I remember, I saw this post a while back. Justin Tadlock has a new media theme Socially Awkward, that he launched earlier today. When I saw it – I thought of this post! If you need a hand with some of the effort let me know, I’d be glad to lend a hand.

    Here is a link to the theme Socially Awkward.

    I hope this helps

    Regards

    Ruairi

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