Looking for a brilliant idea

Dear Beta Team,

as some of you might know, I have been involved in a start-up business since a few months ago which is partially funded by the EU and the German ministry of economy and technology. Unfortunately, it turned out that our idea (a central ad server for German terrestrial radio stations) wouldn’t work, and I also didn’t get along with my two partners very well, so we decided to abandon the project.

The funding we got is actually some kind of scholarship I receive, 12 months in total, whereof 6.5 still remain. Even though the original business idea failed and the original team split up, I am not getting the opportunity to continue the project on my own. I just need to come up with a new idea. Quickly.

So what I am looking for is an idea for a new, cutting-edge product or service. Based on mAirList perhaps. Something the users have been looking for forever. Something they would pay me enough for to earn my living. Oh, and no, I don’t think it could be mAirList itself, because it must be a new product. But of course it could use the same technology. And of couse I can still develop and sell mAirList. It’s just that I need an (additional) new idea in order to receive that funding. Which would be a unique opportunity for me to start my own business.

You guys know alot about the radio business. If you have any thoughts about this, please let me know. Feel free to answer in English or German.


Okay …

I know you’re working on a music scheduler in V3, so what about something similar (but hopefully different enough to pay your wages!) that will be of use to many of us?

I’m talking about an advertisement booking system, accounting package, and scheduler. I hope you know the sort of thing I mean?

Ideally, such a system (let’s call it mAirSpots unless that means something obscene in German!) would be able to do all of the following:

[ul][li]maintain a list of customers, including contact names and numbers, invoice and business addresses, e-mail, web site, mobile (handy) phone numbers, etc.[/li]
[li]maintain a list of campaigns (a campaign is a single ad. or a set of ads. for the same client, whose airtime for a given time period—maybe a month?—is all booked at the same time); each campaign has a 1-to-1 relationship to a customer. mAirSpot would also note the requested times of day for playing out the ad., maybe using a grid of hours and weekdays, or just dayparts?[/li]
[li]be able to easily create repeat campaigns (i.e. same ad/set, same or different time/day of broadcast, same/different campaign length [e.g. week, month, 3 months])[/li]
[li]maintain accounts for all campaigns, including part-payments, refunds, reminder letters/e-mails/SMS etc.[/li]
[li]compile ad. breaks for broadcast (as mAirList Containers, possibly? or as M3Us?), including rotation of ads. and compliance with the customer’s requests for dayparts for broadcast, and the station’s rules for numbers of ads. per break at various hours of days of the week[/li]
[li]maybe link to the mAirList Event Scheduler for traffic management, to automatically ‘inject’ ad. breaks into the main Playlist?[/li][/ul]

Is that the kind of ‘meaty’ project you were thinking of? :wink:

PS: If you do proceed with this, I’d like to claim a free FULL licence for whatever you come up with, on behalf of Leith FM, right now!!! ;D

PPS: I’m also happy to come up with a more detailed system requirements and specification document for you, and to discuss the project further.


A very nice idea, Cad - and exactly the one we started with last year (and now failed). It was supposed to be an online system, and the ad breaks would have been readily compiled as a single MP3 file, instantly delivered to all involved stations. Further features included on-air logging using audio fingerprints, listener measurement for internet radios etc. Unfortunately, the German stations that we targeted at weren’t interested in our system. Mainly because of “political” issues. And too many parties (stations, marketing cooperations, …) involved. And the stations were afraid of losing control when an automated system was involved.

By the way, Google tried to so the same thing in the US, and they encountered many similar problems. And now Google Audio Ads will soon be history.

So, what’s your next idea? (Yes, you will of course receive a free license!)

One thing which came into my mind was the “radio automation for the visually disabled” idea. As far as I know, there is no such software yet. But how many people would want to buy it?

OK, but to clrify: what I was suggesting was ‘merely’ a system which a station could use internally to manage their own ads., spot breaks, bookings, and billing. But if that’s not a possibility because it would be too similar to what you originally planned (though without the ‘external’ elements), then fair enough.

As to the ‘visually disabled’ playout: I know that we have at least one ‘blind’ presenter on LFM, and there’s michi on the Forum of course (!). I think that with the large number of community stations in the UK, it’s likely many if not all of them would want to be ‘socially inclusive’ and have ‘blind’ presenters if they don’t already. For example, our ‘blind’ guy at LFM does present the show, but he always has a sighted person acting as his tech. operator.

Then there is the issue that most stations already have a playout system in which they will have invested a lot of time and probably money. (In the UK, p-squared’s Myriad is a market leader.) So they might not want to invest in a second playout system ‘just’ for their visually impaired people. I don’t mean to be negative, just stating a fact! Of course, once they see ‘blind’ mAirList, stations might be tempted to switch to mAirList as their main system? :wink: I just don’t know.

I also don’t know of any other playout system specifically for the ‘blind,’ if that helps.

I’ll let you know if I think of any other brilliant ideas. It’s a shame you couldn’t develop a traffic management system (like mAirSpot or thinking about it, mAirTraffik might be a better name!), but I’ll keep pondering.


How about this:

An automation system (based on mAirList) running on a server. A presenter can connect to it with another copy of mAirList (the “client”) and “take over” that instance as if it was on his local PC. He can use it just like an ordinary copy of mAirList. Whatever he does (startig/stopping players etc.) is performed on the server. Some sort of transparent remote control. Additionally, his live signal (microphone etc.) is sent to the server and integrated into the master signal synchronously. When he disconnects, the server falls back into automation mode and waits for the next DJ to connect.

This would me much more professional than the current way internet radios work, with everyone running his own automation system, and the ugly drop-outs when Shoutcast switches from one source to another.

Does anything like this exist already?

Sounds interesting, and no, I’m not aware of anything else that does this; though some of the larger (i.e. more expensive) automation systems mention similar capabilities.

Presumably, if the ‘remote DJ’ was doing a local mix of tunes, that could be sent to the server as his/her ‘live signal?’ In other words, they could send music as well as just a mic. signal?

We’ve had some people wanting to do this on Leith FM (contributing remotely), but have not had any sensible, controlled way to let people ‘drop in’ in that way, so a project like that would definitely be of interest to us.

My only worry/question would be: would the ‘mAirList server’ need to be the studio playout PC? Or would the server be a separate box which the studio PC would ‘use’ just like a remote user would? Our situation would require the actual playout to feed into the desks so the players and Cartwall would be on their own faders, since most of our output is live-assist.

Oh, and we are about to have a re-fit to give us a proper second studio. Right now, the plan is for each studio to use its own separate playout PC. If the ‘remote access’ would require just one playout ‘box,’ that might cause some problems (would we split the feeds to go to both desks? would we actually need to use two servers?).

Still, it does sound like a good idea!


Hi Torben, take a look at campcaster (uses linux) for such a playout system that you describe.


Station Playlist is capable of listening for a remote stream and then relaying this when present. Should no audio be present on the remote stream, local playout resumes.

An ad scheduler (that is affordable) Cads original suggestion is something missing, an example of such is here:


Though even this is not affordable to community stations.

Hello Torben, a very old thread but wish to give you another idea - this time away from radio but still working with audio.

An application to simplify the production of talking news papers for the blind (digital editions), I have on demo 1 such software application that retails for less than £400 for installation on 3 pc’s.

The whole recording and duplication process takes place within the application which also allows for external audio editors as those (2 of) built-in are simple editors. The whole package designed for technicians tha may not be so adept with digital audio editing.

After editing the application also exports the audio files ready for duplication on CD or for duplication as mp3 - handling 14 usb copies at once.

I’ve been careful not to mention the application but should you be interested just PM me.