Here at Netmix, we had a great holiday season. And we hope you did too! While we've been celebrating the New Year, we've also been quite busy with our heads down in our laptops tracking and squashing bugs in the next release, 2.3.0. It's been a while since our last newsletter, so we thought now is as good a time as any to get out an email blast to keep you updated with our progress. We also want to connect with the 50+ new email subscribers who signed up for the newsletter since our last blast!
A much-needed facelift for the Show Page
One can look as far back as 2001 to a post on Nikki Blight’s blog to see Nikki Blight’s reveal of the Playlist feature of what today has morphed into the Radio Station plugin you may be using. It’s been over 8-years since the idea was formed and features like the Show page creator, Playlists generator, On-Air Host/DJ and Upcoming Show widgets were introduced. Development stopped in 2015, which means for the past four-years, layout issues haven’t been addressed. When we took over the plugin last June, we dug in to learn as much as we could about Radio Station and a few glaring issues revealed themselves.
JetPack Related Posts and Sharing Split Content Sections
We found many sites using Radio Station, where JetPack is active and Related Posts and Sharing are turned on, do insert the respective modules between the Show description and the Playlist and Blog Posts, effectively separating the features of the plugin from each other. We think this may cause confusion as to what the plugin is supposed to cohesively display when JetPack jumps in the middle.
This issue happens because of the way Radio Station loads each of the content sections separately in the code. The original layout was programmed well before JetPack and its associated Related Posts and Sharing features became insanely popular. It has yet to be addressed, so we are updating the layout of Radio Station so that all sections load before these popular JetPack modules. While you can turn off Related Posts per page or post type and you can disable the Sharing bar, for those sites using these tools it will be a welcome change.
Why You Should Not Use the Show Description to Archive Content
Another issue we uncovered is when station websites use the main text field for Show Description to add a continuous stream of content, as shown in the screenshot here.
We understand why site admins are using the Show Description in a similar manner to a blog post. They simply may not know to use Blog > Add New, then attach the post to the Show Page using a meta box inserted into the post editor, as shown in the screenshot below.
Using this method, the blog post will be added under the Blog Posts heading as the last section of the show page.
There are a few things that happen when using just the Show Description for archive content:
First, someone has to scroll the entire page to find the exact archived content they are looking for.
Second, they cannot use the WordPress site search to find the content nor can they use a Google search, because the piece of content is in a long, running stream and not a separate post object unto itself.
Third, you can only share the Page in social media and not each individual archived piece of content. There’s no specific URL to add to a social post, which means it can’t pull any Open Graph metadata for a specific post and display a title, image, and excerpt once the social post is published in Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, or any social network that uses Open Graph to display the post object.
Sure, someone could search Google for the archive content and Google might point you to the Show page, but even then Google might return the page and you’d have to scroll the page to look for the content in the search query. Since it’s mixed in with the other content, it’s difficult to link to.
And, the Featured Image can then also be used with Open Graph if you’re selecting the image in the Open Graph setting using by SEO plugins with Social Meta features like our favorite plugin, All in One SEO PackLastly, say you want to use a Podcast plugin like the Blubrry PowerPress plugin we recommend. You can only have one audio enclosure on a page or post, so you’ll need to use the Posts engine in WordPress to create your archives and then generate your Podcast feed. If all your audio embeds are on a single page, there’s no way to generate a Podcast feed as your shows archive. That’s a missed opportunity to publish your show archives to Apple Podcasts,Google Podcasts,Stitcher, and other Podcasting aggregators, as well as having each individual archive show found in search.
Given all the above issues we’ve uncovered, there’s yet another issue we found with page builders like Divi Builder.
When you want to use the plugin with modern page builders like Divi or it’s popular competitor, Elementor, the way the plugin is set up now, it’s based on the WordPress Twenty Twelve theme. We’ve found that when using a page builder, only the Show Description is included in the Divi page when you use the method to rename a Divi page template to “show.php.” The other elements are then left off the page and there’s no workaround. It makes Radio Station difficult to use with modern page builders, so we’re working on improving the way the plugin loads its content, which should resolve this issue.
And, since Radio Station’s layout hasn’t been improved since it’s inception, it’s really time for a facelift. The following screenshot is a wireframe of what Radio Station might look like in version 2.3.0, which we are working on now.
The purpose of this new layout is to help reorganize the content in a way that works for any mobile responsive theme.
Here’s a list of additional fixes we’re going to make:
1. Featured Image is currently being used for Show Logo, when it really should be used as a banner. Maybe it’s a photo of the hosts in the studio or a large banner. You decide, but Featured Image should have never been used for a Logo, so we’re adding a function to keep Featured Image and have it load the image the width of the page below the Show Title. Then, we’re going to have a Show Logo, just like you have an avatar on Twitter, Facebook, or any other social network. You’re featured image then becomes your page’s “Cover” banner and there’s a separate area for your show’s logo.
2. I’ll mention this here now, but it’s not coming in the Free version, but will be in a future PRO version. We’ll be adding support for the following utility and social links with icons representing each. There are already fields for Email and Website, but you’ll now see icons on the Show page next to the Description and under the new logo area. I mention it because it’s displayed in the screenshot below.
3. Instead of a link for most recent broadcast, we’re turning that into a button, which will site under the Show Logo.
4. We’re adding a new user role of Editor / Producer, so that the station manager or show host / DJ does not have to give their login to an editor or producer to login and updated content. Any activity log for WordPress can track what users to, so setting up a new role will help delineate who is logging in to update content. All users designated as Editor / Producer will now be listed on the Show Page, which will give credit not only to the hosts and DJs, but also to the team members working on the show.
5. We’re adding two tabs: Posts and Playlists that the user can toggle between on the Show page, so that content is not pushed down the page making the scroll longer than it need be.
6. We’re adding an admin Settings screen, where you will be able to set the master calendar to Grid or List View. On the front end page for your master schedule, the user will be able to toggle Grid or List view, as well.
7. We’re reorganizing the show information at the top of the Show page for desktop and mobile. The Show Description will now have a heading, “About.” Underneath, Schedule will be reworked to make it fit in the center column and we’ll add a designation today for Eastern Standard Time and in a future PRO version, you’ll be able to designate your local Time Zone for display. We’re also planning a Time Zone switcher, so users can switch to their own local time zone. Show Start and End time display is being reworked and a “Repeat” icon will designate shows that are “encore presentations.”
Here’s a look at a wireframe of what we’re planning.
For those who are using the Show description content area, this is going to impact the way you’re publishing your archive content today. This may be a pain point, so we urge you to go back and take all that archived content you added to your show description and create individual blog posts. We think you’ll have two to three weeks before 2.3.0 is ready, so it’s best to get started now.
If you’re not ready to do this, that’s okay. But we think you may wait to upgrade to 2.3.0 until you’ve moved that content to Posts, where the content is supposed to be. This will be great for your SEO and provide you with long-tail Posts that will get incremental traffic. Because when you post all that archive content into the Show Description, you can’t manipulate the SEO like you can with individual Posts.Show Info, Logos, and Featured Image.
We Need Your Feedback
We would love your feedback to better understand your radio station or Internet broadcast outlet. You can also add Feature Requests to the POLL, or you can add your Feature Requests to the Netmix Github page.
The Netmix website is a work in progress. We’re in transition from a blog into a plugin maintainer website. Please don’t mind the mess. We’re working to clean it up, add new content, remove and redirect old content, and otherwise make it pretty.
Here are some ways you can help Radio Station by Netmix grow!
1. Translate the plugin to your language. Currently, Radio Station is translated into 8 languages (we know the translation page says 3 and we’re working to fix that). We’re specifically looking for translations in Portuguese, Chinese, Arabic, Japanese, Hindi (and other popular languages spoken in India), Arabic, and Swahili. For Radio Station to be truly global.
2. Help develop Netmix. Join the Netmix team on Github to help developer the FREE version of Netmix. We’re seeking volunteer contributors in the radio and Internet broadcasting communities to help generate new ideas and further developer Radio Station as the best plugin to manage your radio station for WordPress.
3. Become a Patron through Patreon. Have $1, $5, or $10 to spare each month? Support open-lsource plugin development with your monthly contribution through the Patreon website.
4. Help with Graphic Design – We need some new, modern graphics as you might see at WPMUDEV. We could use your help. We’d also love some help with T-shirt design so that we can sell T-Shirts on our website to raise money for open source development. Get in touch through our contact form.
There are more ways you can help, but this is just the start. If you want to help out in some way, we’d love to hear from you. Just contact us.
Radio Station Demo, Report Bugs, and Get Support
Radio Station Website Design & Development, Digital Marketing
If you’re a radio station or Internet broadcaster in need of WordPress web design, web development, or digital marketing services, please let us know. Our partner, Digital Strategy Works, provides WordPress website design, web development, and digital marketing for a number of established clients. Need help?
It is with our sincere gratitude to Nikki Blight, the original developer of Radio Station, who handed us the keys to the car. We could not do this without the support of our friends, families, partners, colleagues, and most of all, or clients. We understand if you’re not interested in receiving communications from Netmix given our pivot, so please do unsubscribe using the link below if receiving news and special offers from Netmix is no longer of interest to you.
On Friday, October 4th, we released Radio Station 2.2.8. This version was a bug fix release to solve for an issue introduced in 2.2.7.
Page builders are all the rage, but working with them requires some modifications to Radio Station. We're working to think through these issues and come up with a solution that works for all users of the Radio Statin plugin.
- Dutch translation added (Thank you to André Dortmont for the file!)
- Added Tabbed Display for Master Schedule Shortcode (via Tutorial)
- Add Show list columns with active, shift, DJs and show image displays
- Add Schedule Override list columns with date sorting and filtering
- Add playlist track information labels to Now Playing Widget
- Added meridiem (am/pm) translations via WP Locale class
- Added star rating link to plugin announcement box
- Added update subscription form to plugin Help page
- Fix to checkbox value saving for On Air/Upcoming Widgets
- Fix 12 hour show time display in Upcoming Widget
- Fix PM 12 hour shot time display in On Air Widget
- Fix to schedule override date picker value visibility
- Fix to weekday and month translations to use WP Locale
- Fix to checkbox value saving in Upcoming Widget
- Split Plugin Admin Functions into separate file
- Split Post Type Admin Functions into separate include
- Revert anonymous function use in widget registrations
Radio Station is a free, open-source plugin licensed under the GPL. Submit pull requests on Github.
If you love this plugin, please consider becoming a patron.