RTC - Radio automation software

In Cape Verde, RTC's 5 radio stations are streamlining their procedures and sharing their content with the help of NETIA.

RTCCape Verde's public broadcaster chose Radio-Assist 8 and NETIA's support services to allow its five stations to work with a common solution for the secure exchange of news stories and archives as well as high quality duplexing. This is the story of an ongoing technical project.

rtc cabo verde radio software« Number One in terms of audience, RCV (Radio de Cabo Verde) is facing fierce competition from several private radio stations in the archipelago's main towns and cities,» explains Alcides Hortas, Director and Finance Manager of the Radiotelevisão Caboverdiana (RTC) group, Cape Verde's national public broadcaster. « We decided to go digital at RCV and to undertake technological modernization of the station in order to provide better delivery of public service broadcasting and better working conditions for our staff.» In 2008, RTC embarked upon this transition to digital, furnishing its 5 radio stations, based on the four islands of Santiago, São Vincente, Sal and Fogo, with digital equipment, in particular NETIA radio automation software and a broadcasting system.
«Being geographically spread out and using heterogeneous systems, our previous tools have proven over time to be unable to provide us with an effective system to implement our new digital strategy,» emphasises Francisco Monteiro, Director of Research and Planning at RTC. «So, in 2010, we decided to opt for a unique, professional system taking into account all of our requirements: from media acquisition to editing, and programme scheduling as well as broadcasting and archiving
The economic challenges involved with this project are particularly critical for RTC: the fully integrated and centralized solution shared between the 5 stations must support digital media that are increasingly cheaper compared with obsolete analogue media. And harmonisation between the stations must help them to share programmes and archives, increase the versatility of individuals and, as a result, reduce costs. Also from a commercial point of view, the NETIA solution must increase the number and variety of the programmes to be broadcasted by increasing productivity.

Radio-Assist 8 chosen for its integration and value for money

To make a decision regarding its new digital production and audio broadcasting solution, RTC wrote a complete set of specifications and issued an invitation to tender. To decide between the candidates, the Cape Verde broadcaster also met with its counterparts in France and Portugal to see how the different solutions work and to compare them.
«At the end of this rigorous process, we chose the NETIA solution based on 5 main criteria,» says Francisco Monteiro. «Radio-Assist 8 is the most comprehensive solution for the features we need, it is an excellent value for money, and the demonstrations we were given were very convincing. It was recommended to us by Radio France and, last but not least, its architecture is the most suited to our specific technical issues and workflow.»
Indeed, RTC's technical issues are not straightforward. The 5 stations are geographically separate so that they cover the whole archipelago, but they must each be capable of producing and broadcasting programmes with the same level of quality. What's more, they must also be able to share their programmes and archives as efficiently and securely as possible. To summarise, they must operate as a network, sharing unique and common databases.

Dynamic sharing of programmes between the islands with NETIA's network architecture

RTC's previous, traditional technological choices only met part of this strategic need: programmes were exchanged upon request by manually transferring files via the FTP communication protocol. Each station then had to manually re-index the transferred content before it could broadcast it.
«With Radio-Assist 8 and the network architecture designed and implemented by NETIA's consultants, this content is shared automatically and, more importantly, it is dynamic,» continues Alcides Hortas. «Each station has its own Radio-Assist 8 server for more secure acquisition, editing and broadcasting of content, but the 4 islands share a common database of their programmes, physically installed in Praia (on the island of Santiago). This secure database is synchronised in real time whenever new content is created, making content instantly accessible to all of the stations.» This same principle of redundancy is also applied to the 3-month legal archiving requirement and the archiving of important stories that are likely to develop over time.
«In this way, all of our procedures are optimised,» adds Francisco Monteiro. «Before, journalists and technicians worked with several applications, often incompatible with one another, which often led to technical and security problems. Now, the 32 journalists working for the Praia and São Vicente stations have a single, secure platform to work on their news stories, for example to edit them and make them available for broadcast. This professional versatility and integration of the whole process cuts broadcasting times. We will soon be able to produce much more content of much higher quality for the same budget.»

A stronger partnership between NETIA and RTC

cabo verde radio softwareThe way we work has also changed. In the past, each station broadcasts national programmes with two one-hour switches to regional programmes. With Radio-Assist 8 and the network architecture, they can all take part in the broadcasts, through simulcasting, or broadcast their own stories directly over the national channels. And Radio-Assist 8 also gives station managers the visibility they need to monitor the on-air, from ingest to archiving, with accurate control indicators relating to «who did what and when: control of their playlists has become stricter and more relevant. «Radio-Assist 8 is a tool shared by the stations but also used across the different departments,» stresses Francisco Monteiro. «The solution is used by journalists to edit news dispatches, by the presenters and the in-studio operators for programming, design of the RCV and RCV+ («young» version of RCV) programme scheduling and broadcasting, and finally by the station managers for control and management of broadcasts
«As well as the many expected improvements, we really like working with NETIA,» concludes Alcides Hortas. «We feel it is a partner we can truly rely on: the consultants combine product expertise and architecture know-how, which enables them to develop the architecture into a network designed just for us as we deploy Radio-Assist 8 on the different islands. They are responsive and in tune with our own teams. And we also benefit from NETIA's training services on our sites, for skill transfer to the people actually using and coordinating the solution, which makes them more efficient and independent, two benefits that are really important for island-dwellers!»

RTC : a public service mission to develop new ways of thinking

RTC (Radiotelevisão Caboverdiana), the national broadcasting organisation of Cape Verde, provides a public broadcasting service to all of Cape Verde's islands. Dealing with the news, it provides everyone with a platform and sparks debate on various civil, social, cultural, sport and scientific stories. Its objective? To promote a stronger communitee across the archipelago, RTC has two radio stations, which broadcast in Portuguese and in Creole: RCV (Radio de Cabo Verde), a general radio station, and RCV+, a station especially geared towards young people. RTC radio is broadcast from 5 stations on 4 islands: Santiago (Praia, the capital, and Assomada), São Vicente, Fogo and Sal. RCV offers daily regional localisation to make it more relevant for its listeners.

For more information: www.rtc.cv

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