Among the first parts of Fabrik to be shipped more than 10 years ago, Echocast was created to address a few key challenges in the Radio industry that unfortunately persist even today:
the inability of the on-air team to capture on-air moments live;
the inability to create and publish podcasts in real time without having to rely on workflows that were too time-consuming or technical;
and the lack of quick and easy access to the broadcast programme archive to retrieve pieces of audio for advertisers or compliance.
Echocast has since evolved to the point where it has become a vital content management, archival and compliance tool used extensively across our base of media customers.
Radio Programming teams use it to capture snippets of audio that they'd like to make available for listening beyond the live moment, as well as to record and store useful content they may need to access later.
Content and Production teams use it for publishing and managing on-demand content (either live or immediately after the moment) to the website, mobile app and social media channels.
Promotions and Marketing teams use it to publish featured audio content as part of station promotions and campaigns.
Technical teams use it for compliance and audit purposes by downloading any audio from Fabrik's cloud archive.
As our Media customers across various departments become more reliant on creating and distributing podcasts, we receive feedback every so often about how the live recording and podcast publishing workflows can be improved.
Taking into account our customer feedback, Echocast has received a few updates over the last month to enhance existing functionality and add some new features.
Here's what you can expect to find in the latest update:
Skip & Return to add Podcast Metadata
The workflow of real-time recordings has been improved, providing more options and flexibility upon stopping, saving and publishing the recording. This means that, if you're short on time, you'll be able to skip the capturing of required metadata, and return to complete and publish your podcast at a later time.
New 'Publish none' Category Setting
It is now possible to set a Category's publish setting to either All, Latest or None. This setting impacts what is shown in your public feeds on your website or app, and all recordings, regardless of this configuration, will still be available in your Echocast admin view.
While 'All' is the default, 'Publish latest' is useful for frequent, repetitive recordings (such as News, Sport or Weather) for which your listeners might only be interested in the latest recording in that category.
When configuring your Category as 'Publish latest', the previous recordings available in your public feeds will be automatically unpublished whenever a new podcast is published to that category.
The 'Publish none' setting is useful for podcasts that are required for archival or proof-of-execution purposes, but not necessarily for publishing to your general consumer. This setting is perfect for sponsored audio content such as live-reads or competition moments that must be captured for business purposes but may not be compelling on-demand listening for your audience. And, when used in conjunction with a Preset associated to this Category, 'Publish none' enables a streamlined and consistent recording workflow for your presenters/producers of content.
Increased live-stream buffer
One of the most important components of Fabrik for our broadcast customers is the digital live stream, which enables your live radio broadcast to be transmitted via your mobile app and website.
The way the app or website transmits the live broadcast is that it loads small sections one after the other into the app to make sure that any breaks in connectivity or interruptions to the stream are sufficiently buffered, providing time for the stream to recover from any unexpected interruptions.
In order to make your live stream even more resilient to network interruptions, the duration of that buffer has been extended to allow for a better experience when your listener's connectivity is strained, thereby reducing the likelihood of interruptions to the stream.
Increased time tolerance of missing audio segments
In the past, if there had been an interruption or break in the audio broadcast, Echocast would restrict the ability to request and retrieve a piece of the audio that had been interrupted.
This was fairly limiting in terms of being able to retrieve audio from that section - a feature our Media customers require quite regularly. To ensure all audio (regardless of interruptions) is accessible to those requesting it, this restriction has now been adjusted and is more tolerant to periods of missing audio.
Once having downloaded that audio snippet from the archive, you can then go ahead and edit or manipulate the audio as you see fit.
Echocast was initially engineered to solve a few key challenges in the Radio industry more than a decade ago! Since then, Echocast has undergone a number of iterations, and different parts of the application have been worked on and improved at different times.
Although the application had been maintained consistently over the years, it had come to a point where some of the back-end code and architecture had grown outdated and required quite a bit of work and time to bring it up to date. After this update, you should find that the Echocast application loads and processes your audio more quickly, and that podcast recording, audio archive requests and manual uploads are more reliable and speedy.
Recordings configured with a Preset were occasionally affected when the Pause/Resume recording functionality was used.
The result was that, when the recording was resumed, the assigned Preset would be automatically and incorrectly cancelled and erroneously saved to the General Preset.
Now that this bug has been addressed, recordings categorised with a Preset will record, pause, resume and publish as expected.
More Informative Error Notices
In the past, when an audio archive request or a podcast recording failed, a generic email would be sent to the administrator notifying them of the failure. The email notification is now more useful, containing more information around the error.
In addition, the way technical issues are logged to our Support team has been improved so that we receive more information regarding the issue, allowing our team to be more proactive when diagnosing issues and/or failures.
Content Type Validation on Audio Upload
Additional validation has been added to the audio upload functionality so that invalid content types are flagged before the podcast goes into a Processing state.
Assigning Podcasts to a Blank Category
A bug that caused podcasts to be assigned to a blank Category has been fixed.
Watch our webinar about Echocast's podcasting and content management capabilities.