Category: Radio Station

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Intro to Radio Station for WordPress

We thought it might be neat to post videos from time to time to talk about the Radio Station project and share news, insights, and updates about the plugin. In this video, Netmix founder, Tony Zeoli, talks about how the project came to fruition, advancements to the plugin, and the future of Radio Station.

2.3.3.3 Bugfix Now Available for Download

2.3.3.3 Bugfix Update includes:

* Hot Fix for Upcoming Shows in Widgets were not displaying times if show spanned midnight, e.g. started at 11 pm and ended at 1 am.

We did release an interim 2.3.3.2 last week, but did not send out an email regarding that release.

Here are the included fixes and updates for that release:

2.3.3.2
* Update: Freemius SDK (2.4.0)
* Update: Plugin Loader (1.1.4) with weird isset glitch fix
* Fixed: Current Show for Shows ending at midnight
* Fixed: incorrect AJAX Widget plugin setting value
* Fixed: use page-load data for schedules before transients

Thanks to Tony Hayes, who led the development of this release.

Thanks also to the following users for reporting issues in our Support forum and Gtihub Issues tracker:

@tonyzeoli
@astevens93
@Ajames0807
@cbeattie89
@larryl79

View the complete Radio Station changelog here.

If you have any issues, please submit Radio Station support requests here.

For bug reports and feature requests, please submit to our Radio Station Github page here.

Support Radio Station by becoming a Patron. Your monthly contribution supports the ongoing development of the FREE and open source version of Radio Station.

You can also now list your Radio Station or Webcast in our new Netmix Directory. Submit your listing for FREE until the end of July 2020 and get a do-follow backlink from one of the oldest domains related to online music and radio today!

Radio Station 2.3.2- Now Available for Download

This maintenance and bug fix release is now available for download on the plugin page.

New features in this release include an optional Radio Clock time display above the Schedule – also available as a separate widget or shortcode. The clock displays the current radio time and user time side by side, making it easier for your listeners to tune in to your Schedule from other parts of the world. 

The Current Show, Upcoming Shows and Current Playlist widgets (and shortcodes) now support AJAX loading, which it is recommended to use if you have a page cache (AJAX loading the widgets “busts” the cache to display the currently accurate Show information.) You can turn this on by default via the Plugin Settings, or for each individual widget. 

As a further improvement to the user interface, both Show Shifts and Playlist Tracks can now be saved instantly via AJAX with the click of a button, without having to wait for an Update button page reload. And we have also added arrows so that you can re-order playlist tracks just easily as you can now save them. We’re sure these great additions will save you time as we continue to make Radio Station even better with each release!

On the bugfix side, the main issue we addressed in this release was to use the plugin Timezone Setting for all time calculations throughout the plugin. While this was no easy task, we’re confident this will improve the consistency of all time displays into the future. We also improved the show shift conflict checker logic and fixed an issue users were reporting with the show and override midnight end conflicts, as well as calculating next shows at the end of the schedule week… along with a handful of other minor bugfixes in line with our goals of flexibility and stability. Read the full list of fixes below.

Tony Hayes led the development of this release.

Thanks to the following users for reporting issues:

@astephens93
@neosonic2
@pozitronios
@Fishy49
@mj187
@achanner

2.3.2 includes the following:

  • Update: Plugin Loader (1.1.2) with settings link fix
  • Improved: use plugin timezone setting for all times
  • Improved: show shift conflict checker logic
  • Added:  Radio Clock Widget for user/server time display  
  • Added: AJAX widget load option (to bypass page caches)
  • Added: automated show schedule highlighting (table/tabs/list)
  • Added: playlist track arrows for re-ordering tracks
  • Added: AJAX save of show shifts and playlist tracks
  • Added: post type editing metabox position filtering
  • Added: more display attributes to Master Schedule shortcode
  • Fixed: handling of UTC only timezone settings
  • Fixed: added check for empty role capabilities
  • Fixed: added settings submenu redirection fix
  • Fixed: show and override midnight end conflict
  • Fixed: calculate next shows at end of schedule week
  • Fixed: metaboxes disappearing on position sorting
  • Fixed: move tracks marked New to end of Playlist on update
  • Fixed: override shift array output showing above schedule
  • Fixed: master schedule specify days attribute bug
  • Fixed: display real end time of overnight split shifts
  • Fixed: master schedule display with days attribute
  • Fixed: logic for Affected Shifts in override list
  • Fixed: removed auto-tab selection change on tab view resize
  • Fixed: Current Show widget schedule/countdown for Overrides  
  • Fixed: multiple overrides in schedule range variable conflict  

View the complete Radio Station changelog here.

If you have any issues, please submit Radio Station support requests here.

For bug reports and feature requests, please submit to our Radio Station Github page here.

Support Radio Station by becoming a Patron. Your monthly contribution supports the ongoing development of the FREE and open source version of Radio Station.

You can also now list your Radio Station or Webcast in our new Netmix Directory. Submit your listing for FREE until the end of May 2020 and get a do-follow backlink from one of the oldest domains related to online music and radio today!

Partial Screenshot of Netmix Directory View for Netmix home page promotion

New! List Your Broadcast or Online Radio Station in the Netmix Radio Station Directory

  • Time Sensitive Free Offer

    We are excited to announce that we are offering free Directory listings!
    Including 30 days Dofollow backlink from Netmix.com and listing highlighting.
    Interested in more exposure and listeners for your Radio Station, for free?
    Simply sign up for an account and then click Activate Free listing!

 

When we started down the road of taking over the Radio Station plugin and it’s continuing development, lead developer Tony Hayes came up with a suggestion – “Why don’t we give stations the ability to list themselves in an online directory?” We kicked around the idea a few times and came up with a plan that would give stations (and webcasters and podcasters) this ability, by pulling Schedule and Show data directly from a Station’s website into a new Netmix® Radio Station Directory!

Why is this important? Today, Radio Station by Netmix® continues to be free, and we are committed to keeping it that way. While we hope to launch a Pro version and other Add-Ons in the future, as soon as possible, which can further boost the development of both the free and paid versions, we’ve already put a massive amount of time and energy so far just into updating and improving the free version for everyone.

We know and feel there is a lot of appreciation for these efforts from our community of existing Radio Station users! We think it’s time to ask for that appreciation to be shown financially also, and believe that the best way to do this is not by either restricting features or simply asking for donations, but rather, by doubling up on those efforts and delivering even more value! And so, we are now offering listings on the new Netmix® Radio Station Directory – allowing us to financially support our continued efforts to improve the plugin for everyone.

We arrived at this model by looking at what free plugin developers have done in the past. Often there is a one-time “Donate” button (eg. via Paypal) added to a free plugin, but this strategy has proven drastically ineffective because it is often ignored by users, given there is not much incentive when they already are getting something for free. This results in many free plugins remaining unsupported or not being updated, and often in them being abandoned over time. So we wanted something that would turn around this kind of lose-lose situation into a real win-win!

To do this, we arrived at the conclusion a more sustainable model is to provide a value-add benefit for subscription-based giving by offering a directory listing (and other rewards) as incentives for our supporters, similar to how many community-based radio stations offer benefits to their subscribers. We decided the Patreon platform was well suited for this purpose since it provides the ability to offer rewards in return for different gifting levels. As software creators, this allows us to more easily create the win-win situation we were looking for, where we can both provide further value to our users and receive the support we need.

Thus we have created a Radio Station Directory on the Netmix.com website! By becoming an ongoing Patron for the Radio Station plugin, you can get your Station listed in the Directory (which also means a valuable do-follow backlink!) Read on…

Netmix® Directory Listing

Since the major update to Radio Station to version 2.3.0, the Radio Station plugin now includes an innovative new feature to access all your Show schedule data via a Data API. Once you download the plugin (or update to 2.3.0) and go to the Netmix® site to register your support through Patreon, you’ll be able to list your station in the Directory and we’ll pull all your Schedule and Show data from the activated plugin on your site to publish straight into the Netmix Directory. It’s that easy!

This exciting development means new listeners will not only be able to find your Station (broadcast, webcast, or podcast) via Netmix®, but also discover all of the Shows scheduled on your station’s website! This is a major advantage for listeners in using the Netmix® Directory, for example, users will more easily be able to discover a variety of Shows in all of their favorite genres – not just via single genre-oriented stations as in other radio directories.

And of course, we will also be gradually adding improvements over time to the Directory over time in a similar way to the Radio Station plugin… We’ll be adding more navigation, filters, and search capabilities so listeners can find your Stations and Shows more easily.

Expanded View Screenshot of Netmix Radio Station Directory on the Netmix.com Website
Netmix Radio Station Directory (Expanded View)
How to Claim Your Listing

Become a Radio Station Supporter now by clicking the Become a Patron button below. Choose a Supporter Level. Then you can Signup to Netmix® here, connect your Patreon Account and then add your Listing. Netmix® will automatically detect all your Show information via the plugin’s in-built Data API, and display it in the Netmix® Directory automatically… putting YOU in the mix!

Please note, should you discontinue your Supporter subscription, your Listing will be temporarily deactivated until you resume your patronage. As we roll this feature out, we’ll be sure to have a huge list of stations in our directory, which can direct listeners to your site based on genres, languages, or Show details.

Bonus Listing Value!

Not only are you going to list in an advanced directory that listeners will find, share, and utilize to access all the stations using Radio Station, we also want to highlight that via your listing you’ll also get a shiny do-follow backlink from Netmix.com, a 25-year-old authority domain in the streaming media and online radio space. As you may already know, quality authority backlinks are important to your website’s offsite Search Engine Optimization and thus your website rankings. So adding your station to the Netmix can help drive listeners from searches as well as from the Directory itself.

Featured Listings and Sponsors

Want even more exposure and listeners for your Station? We’ve also added extra reward level options for a Featured Listing and/or Frontpage Sponsor Logo position. Featured Listings will get equally rotated top positions in the main directory as well as in the listing positions for their type. And to keep the Frontpage Logo Sponsors reward high value, we are limiting the placements for those levels, so if you want this option, we recommend getting in sooner to claim your spot so you don’t miss out.

If you’re interested in a Featured Listing or Frontpage Logo Sponsors placements, please let us know and we’ll help walk you through the process to reserve your spot.

Next Steps!

What you should do right now, is after you download the plugin and set up your Shows, signup for a Netmix® account via the Station Listing page. You can then click on the “Connect with Patreon” button. If you are already a Supporter then you can just log in to Patreon here, and if not, you’ll be asked to choose a level and add your credit card details via the Patreon interface. Of course, you’ll be on an honor system with what level you pick, so if we determine your site is Commercial, but you’ve picked Individual, we’ll simply contact you to ask you to change your supporter level.

Giving Levels are as follows:

1. Individual (and podcasters) – $5 per month
2. College (or school/university) – $10 per month
3. Community (not-for-profit / LPFM ) – $15 per month
4. Commercial (for profit) – $25 per month

Once you’ve Connected your Patreon account to your Netmix® account, you will be able to add your Station Name, URL, and other details, and the we’ll handle the rest! If your Station isn’t already added via this awesome WordPress plugin, then now is the time to make it happen!

More Surprises! Pro and Add Ons…

Remember, we are in the midst of developing Radio Station Pro and planning the roll-out of other Add-Ons for Radio Station, which will surely enhance the plugin further and provide new tools to help you run your broadcast, webcast, or podcast on your WordPress website. To get there, we need your support and invite you to become a Patreon supporter today to support Radio Station, helping to continue to make this happen!

Stay tuned to the blog for more!!!

 

Screenshot of Radio Station Main Show Calendar View

Radio Station 2.3.0 – Now Available for Download

We’re excited to bring you the latest and greatest version of Radio Station yet!

Version 2.3.0 comes complete with a rewritten code base, a lot of massively cool enhancements, and many interesting new features added. We are pleased with this awesome progress and the growing possibilities for the usage of this plugin.

We know there is a lot to cover here! But we want to keep you fully informed… but if you don’t have time to dig into it all now, don’t miss the important update note below. And not to worry, if you need more information on any of the features in Radio Station, we have you covered – with the addition of the newly completed Documentation!

So without further ado…

What’s in Radio Station 2.3.0?

Theme Independent Templates

  • Show Page Layout
  • Show Avatars and Featured Images

Revamped Schedule Calculations

  • Responsive Table Schedule View
  • Responsive Tabbed Schedule View
  • Updated Show Widgets
  • Updated Show Shortcodes

More Great Features

  • Admin Plugin Options
  • Automatic Page Displays
  • REST API Data Endpoints
  • Show Language Taxonomy
  • Show Producer Role
  • Show Editor Role
  • Shift Conflict Checking

Why is this a “Major” Update?

After taking over Radio Station from its creator, Nikki Blight (@kionae) in June of last year, from our first update (2.2.0) we gradually fixed a good deal of bugs and improved existing functionality, while also bringing it up to modern WordPress coding standards. Nikki gave us so much to work with and we spent many hours thinking through enhancements and fixes, but in the back of our minds, we knew we had so much more to do. The last update (2.2.8) brought stability to the plugin and it was finally updated to our liking. It was then decided we would focus on features for a major version (2.3.0), so we skipped a minor release (2.2.9) to get it done. 🙂

Important Update Note!

Given this is such a major update, we have made every effort to make it as stable and bug-free as possible, delaying the release for testing, tweaking and retesting. We have put a lot into following the latest WordPress coding practices, at the same time as keeping everything backwards compatible with previous versions as possible. Of course, as with any major update, there are some changes you need to be aware of, and we recommend you backup your site and test out the features of the new version on a staging environment before you push it live. If you have already updated and are having problems, you can roll the plugin back to 2.2.8 (stable) and test on staging to sort them out.

While we have coded everything in a way to as to cause the least disruption, after updating you will want to check out your plugin settings on the Admin Plugin Options page we’ve added, as well as checking the various page layouts on your site. Be aware the newly added features will work better with the Plugin Settings adjusted to suit your needs, and since this is the first time that they need to be set, take a moment to make sure they are all completed accurately! (You don’t want to display the wrong timezone to your listeners, or have a broken streaming URL due to a typo.)

The one tricky point you will want to be sure to check out is the implementation of the new content-based page display templates. Have a look at the new Show page layout by viewing a single Show on your site. Most users will just seamlessly experience the new layouts without needing any further action. And if you’ve already put custom templates in place they will continue to be used as usual also. But, for this very reason, if you have previously copied the legacy page templates to your child theme directory (as recommended by previous documentation) and haven’t customized them, you will need to remove them to experience the new layouts.

We know this might sound a bit confusing at first, depending on your experience with the WordPress template hierachy, but we can assure you this has been done in this way for very good technical reasons in following best practice, continuing to support the hierarchy while at the same time automatically replacing the legacy templates with content-based ones. If you need to know more about this, you can read about it in more detail in the Page Templates Documentation.

That said, now let’s dig into what’s new..!

Theme Independent Templates

Until now, Radio Station only included some basic page templates based on a default WordPress theme, which you needed to copy to your Child Theme to modify further. We recognized this was far from ideal, as these templates might not match your theme, and require some developer experience to adjust to your theme’s layout and styles.

Instead, the plugin templates are now loaded into the content area via a content filter, so that they are independent of the theme used. And don’t worry, Radio Station still supports the WordPress Hierarchy, so if you already have custom templates in place (or want to use them in the future) you can. But for everyone else, you can have the new layouts within your content area, matching your existing theme, without need for further effort. Certainly far more robust!

Show Page Layout

Probably one of the most significant improvements we made is to the way single Show page display. Again, the new layout displays within your theme’s content area. We’ve added the Show information in different sections to give visitors easy access to the relevent sections. You can adjust some of the display settings for this from the Plugin Settings page. As an added bonus, you can also raise funds for a Show with the new Patreon feature. Just add your Patreon URL in the Show Edit page field and it will display a Patreon button on the Show page.

The new template also brings Posts and Playlists closer to the top of the page and uses switchable tabs to navigate between both. In the past, these features fell far below the Show Description. We observed many sites failing to use these features correctly because they weren’t as prevalent on the page. You had to scroll deep to find them and with some page builders, they disappeared altogether. They sort of sat there with no content as just empty header titles with no content filling them in.

We’ve also seen where some stations are using the Show Description field to post episodic content. To combat this, a new “Show More” function will hide extremely long, unwieldy Show Description content, so other important content is no longer pushed far down and below the fold. We hope the combination of Show More for the Show Description and the Tabbed access to Posts and Playlists create a better user experience and spur on usage to enhance and bring forward important content on your radio station websites.

Here is a screenshot of the new layout previewed on our Radio Station Demo site.

Radio Station for WordPress Updated Show Page Layout
Radio Station for WordPress Updated Show Page Layout

Show Avatars and Featured Images

Until now, the featured image for a show has been used as the Show Avatar (usually a logo.) However, we recognized that this prevents it from being used in a more common way as the Featured Image above the content. To fix this, Show Avatars have been split to their own separate feature (existing Show Avatars are automatically handled by the plugin) enabling the use of Featured Images in the more standard and prevalent way, more as a large banner or header image above the content. (Note that if your theme template used for shows does not display a featured image by default, there is a fallback option to enable an extra “Show Header” image field instead.)

Revamped Schedule Calculations

Since the existing schedule calculations were not allowing for more complex, but much-needed improvements to the rest of the plugin, they’ve been rewritten in their entirety. No mean feat! But we needed a more solid basis for adding features in the future.

One of the main reasons for doing this, was so that Schedule Overrides would be honoured in the Master Schedule views. These are now included in Table, Tabbed and List Views. (The Divs and Legacy views don’t do this so they are not recommended for use.) Note that while the Table and Tabbed views are styled, the List View remains unstyled for development use. The Radio Timezone is now displayed along with an improved Genre highlighter (allowing for multiple selections) at the top of the Schedule, so listeners can more easily find Shows of interest.

Responsive Table Schedule View

As the schedule grid is a table, and tables don’t generally work well with smaller screen, we’ve added width responsiveness so that it better adjusts to smaller width devices such as mobiles or tablets. On smaller screens, a clickable left or right arrow appears to scroll to the next or previous day column in the schedule, making it easier for mobile users to access your station’s schedule. The current day, time and show is also automatically highlighted, making it easy to see what’s on and what’s coming up.

Responsive Tabbed Schedule View

Nikki originally included the tabbed view as a developer-centric addition to Radio Station. In the past, to display the tabbed view, you had to add some code retrieved from the FAQ documentation and implement it yourself. Since 2.2.7, we included the Tabbed View via the existing Schedule shortcode. Now you can select the Tabbed view from the Plugin admin Settings page. And similar to the Table view, in 2.3.0 the Tabbed view is now responsive also, allowing for better display and access on smaller screens.

Updated Show Widgets

Since the schedule calculations have changed, all the Widgets have also been updated to use them. For a more consistent experience, and remove code duplication, widgets now pass their options to their respective shortcodes for display. Fpr clarity, we’ve renamed the Widgets from DJ On Air to Current Show, Upcoming On Air DJs to Upcoming Shows and Now Playing to Current Playlist. We’ve also added an optional countdown clock to the Current and Ipcoming Show widgets, and added a widget for displaying your Radio Timezone.

Updated Show Shortcodes

Revised Archive Shortcodes are now available for displaying your Shows List, Shows by Genre, Overrides List and Playlists List. Each has it’s own set of display options via shortcode attributes. Additionally, related Show Posts and Show Playlists can also be listed for a Show with a shortcode, and these are used automatically on the new Show Page layout. There is also a shortcode for displaying your Radio Timezone.

Automatic Page Displays

You can also now assign pages for your Schedule and other archive pages (Shows, Overrides, Playlists, and Genres.) Simply create a page first and then go to your Radio Station settings and assign the page. The content of that page will then automatically be replaced internally with the relevant content via shortcodes. These automatic pages use the default shortcode attributes, so if you want to customize them further, you can always include the relevant shortcode on the page instead with customized shortcode attributes, just as in previous versions, and turn the automatic display off.

More Great Features

As if all that wasn’t enough, you know we really wanted to push this forward and take this somewhere new, so we didn’t hold back in adding a whole bunch of new features we were inspired to do along the way. But we realize we can’t do everything at once either, so we’ve put together a brief Feature Roadmap if you want to know what’s to come. But here’s what else we got so so far…

Admin Plugin Options

It was time!

The need to be able to set new Plugin Settings via a Plugin admin page kept coming up. So we did it, based on an existing plugin settings class that we adapted and updated for the purpose. Since these are new settings, we considered it important each one come with a helper description next to the option and all options be placed under relevant tabs and sub-sections. For example, you can now set your Station Timezone, main Broadcast Language, Time Format and Streaming URL. It’s important to set these for usage throughout the plugin now and for use by future features.

Radio Station Admin Settings Panel
Radio Station Admin Settings Panel

REST Data API Endpoints

You read that right! Radio Station now has a full API implementation of data output for your Program Schedule or Show List. (It also has a fallback to output data via a Feed if you have disabled the REST API for some reason.) This means if you want to integrate your schedule data with external services, you can easily fetch it in JSON format. You can check out the API documentation for further details on available endpoints and data structures. We have a great intention planned for using this that we will be announcing in the near future. Stay tuned!

Show Language Taxonomy

You can now add assign Language(s) to your Shows (and Schedule Overrides.) This is similar to how you can already assign Genres via the Genre Taxonomy. You can set your main Show Language in the new Plugin Admin Settings page. This way you don’t need to assign a Language to the majority of your Shows, but instead can assign one or more Languages to a Show as needed and then will it override the default main language for that Show.

Radio Station Show Language Selector
Radio Station Show Language Selector

New Producer Role

Similar to assigning Hosts (previously DJs) to a Show, you can now assign a Producer to a Show too. This was done by adding a Producer role, which acts basically the same way as the existing Host / DJ role. And in the same way, you need to assign a Producer role to a user so that they appear in the Show page selection dropdown for Producers. The assigned Producer(s) will then be able to edit the Show as well as being listed on the Show Page, just like the DJs / Hosts already are.

This was added for security reasons, so Producers can have their own access and WordPress Admins, Hosts, and DJs would not have to unnecessarily share their login user names and passwords to interns or Producers. Plus, the Producers are now added to the Show page frontend display. Producers should get credit on a website for shows they help produce, shouldn’t they? So, here’s to all the Producers around the world that should be credited for their hard work! Cheers!

New Show Editor Role

Similar to how WordPress has an Editor role between Administrator and Author, Radio Station now has a Show Editor role to fill in the gap between site Administrators (eg. Station Managers) and Show Authors (Hosts or Producers.) A user assigned the Show Editor role has access to publish or edit any Radio Station related record (Shows, Override, Playlists.) Again, this was done for security but also to make it easier for say, a head of programming to manage the schedule, but without needing to be a full site Administrator

Shift Conflict Checking

As we found that it’s easy to make mistakes in scheduling and not notice, we’ve added some extra failsafes into Radio Station to help prevent this. While the new schedule calculations now do it’s best to detect and handle conflicts, this is really a stop-gap measure until you fix them up – but you need to know about them to do this! So now, Radio Station will now let you know automatically via a WordPress admin notice should you have a Show that overlaps with another one:

Show Shift Conflict Checker Notification Bar View
Show Shift Conflict Checker Notification Bar View

And, you can also see this same information visually highlighted in the Shift column of the admin Show List page, as well as for the conflicting Shift on the admin Show Edit page (both shown below). And, it will now better handle shift conflicts when you add or edit shifts with overlap. When you save a Shift with a conflict (or an incomplete shift), it will be saved as “disabled”, so that you need to either fix that Shift or the other Show’s conflicting shift before it can be re-enabled.

Show Shift Conflict Checker for Radio Station plugin for WordPress
Show Admin Page Shift Conflict View

Action Steps

Here are a few action steps you can take right now:

1. You can view a live demo version of 2.3.0 right now at http://radiostationdemo.com.

2. Have questions or want to know more about a particular feature? Check out the new Documentation

2. Need support? Please visit the WordPress Plugin Support Forum

3. Want to contribute to the development of the open-source and free version of Radio Station, or make a feature request? Dive into the codebase and generate a pull request or open an issue at the Radio Station Githun Repo.

4. We also want to hear from our users. We’d love for you to respond to this email and tell us about your radio station or Internet broadcasting website. We want to know how you’re using the plugin and where in the world you are.

5. Speaking of the world… we need translators for the plugin, especially after 2.3.0 is pushed. Please get in touch with us at Contact Us to let us know you are interested in translating the plugin to your language. We’ll get you on your way!

6. Follow us on Twitter: @netmix

7. Like our Netmix page on Facebook and join our Netmix Facebook Group.

8. You can also take our survey.

Lastly…

We’re sure you’ll agree, this update features a slew of great changes and cool new stuff! Check the Radio Station Demo website for a full preview of 2.3.0.

And when you’re ready, download or update it and take it for a spin. We’re confident you’ll love the new release.

A very special thanks to Tony Hayes, our truly gifted and talented lead developer, who has spent many a day or night down under in Australia to move the ball forward and code-up the best iteration yet!

And stay tuned for the next episode… err I mean the release of Radio Station for WordPress!

Screenshot of Radio Station Main Show Calendar View

Radio Station 2.3.0 Pre-Release Announcement

First Major Update to Radio Station for WordPress

After taking over Radio Station from its creator, Nikki Blight (@kionae) in June of last year, from our first update (2.2.0) we gradually fixed a good deal of bugs and improved existing functionality, while also bringing it up to modern WordPress coding standards. Nikki gave us so much to work with and we spent many hours thinking through enhancements and fixes, but in the back of our minds, we knew we had so much more to do. The last update (2.2.8) brought stability to the plugin and it was finally updated to our liking. It was then decided we would focus on features for a major version (2.3.0), so we skipped a minor release (2.2.9) to get it done. 🙂

The last update (2.2.8) brought stability to the plugin and it was finally updated to our liking. It was then decided we would focus on features for a major version (2.3.0), so we skipped a minor release (2.2.9) to get it done. 🙂 While we have coded everything in a way to as to cause the least disruption, it is recommended you check your (new) plugin settings in the Admin Plugin Options panel we’re adding, as well as the various page layouts on your site after updating.

When you soon see the plugin prompt to upgrade in your Plugins list, we strongly urge you to back up first. If you have a staging environment, upgrade there before you push live to ensure that your site doesn’t break. Test out all of the new features and reformat your site to take advantage of the new Show page template.

What’s Coming Up in Radio Station 2.3.0?

Along with a rewritten codebase, massively cool and interesting features have also been added to 2.3.0, and we are excited at the growing possibilities for usage of this plugin. The full details will have to wait until the release is finalized, but for now, here is a summarized list of what you can expect.

Show Page Layout

Probably one of the most significant improvements we made is to the way single Show pages display. The old method for displaying single Shows was via templates, and yet, this meant having to write your own custom theme-compatible template, or otherwise address possible display conflicts with the legacy plugin templates. To make the plugin more theme independent, the Show Page will use the single Theme template of your choice and instead, filter the content area to display the new Show Layout. Certainly far more robust!

The new template also brings Posts and Playlists closer to the top of the page and uses switchable tabs to navigate between both. In the past, these features fell far below the Show Description. We observed many sites failing to use these features correctly because they weren’t as prevalent on the page. You had to scroll deep to find them and with some page builders, they disappeared altogether. They sort of sat there with no content as just empty header titles with no content filling them in.

And, we added support for Featured Image. You can now use Show Image for the Show avatar (usually a logo) and Featured Image for a large, attractive banner image to promote each show.

You can also raise funds for a Show with the new Patreon feature. Just add your Patreon URL in the Admin Plugin Options field for your Show or Station.

We hope the combination of Show More for the Show Description and the Tabbed access to Posts and Playlists create a better user experience and spur on usage to enhance and bring forward important content on your radio station websites.

Here is a screenshot of the new layout previewed on our Radio Station Demo site.

Radio Station for WordPress Updated Show Page Layout
Radio Station for WordPress Updated Show Page Layout

Because this change is quite significant, be aware this one may require action on your part! In the majority of cases, all that will change is that your single Show pages will look heaps better without needing any action, but realistically we know there are non-standard themes out there so it is worth checking! And, we’ve seen where some stations are using the Show Description field to post episodic content. A new “Show More” function will hide extremely long, unwieldy Show Description content, so other important content is no longer pushed far down and below the fold.

Mobile Responsive Grid View

We architected a mobile-responsive grid view to display in mobile devices, such that the current day and future days display. There is a left to right arrow included to toggle between the viewable days on a mobile device. This will help mobile users view your schedule adjusted to the viewer’s device and browser. It can be either set to “ON” in the Admin Plugin Options or you can use the shortcode displayed to add to any page or post.

Tabbed Schedule View Now Included

Nikki originally included the tabbed view as a developer-centric addition to Radio Station. In the past, to display the tabbed view, you had to add some code retrieved from the FAQ documentation and implement it yourself. In 2.3.0, it’s a simple toggle in the new Admin Plugin Options panel to turn it on. And, the tabbed view is fully responsive, as well.

Admin Plugin Options

It was time!

The need to be able to set new Plugin Settings via a Plugin Options admin page kept coming up. So we did it, based on an existing plugin settings class that we adapted and updated for the purpose. Since these are new settings, we considered it important each one come with a helper description next to the option and all options be placed under relevant tabs and sub-sections. For example, you can now set your station Timezone, streaming URL, and assign automatic pages for displaying your Schedule.

Radio Station Admin Settings Panel
Radio Station Admin Settings Panel

 

Fully Revamped Scheduling

Since the existing schedule calculations were not allowing for more complex, but much-needed improvements to the codebase, they’ve been rewritten in their entirety. No mean feat! But we needed a more solid basis for adding features in the future. Plus this allowed us to add…

Shift Conflict Checker

Radio Station will now let you know automatically in an admin notification bar should you have a Show that overlaps with another one(shown below)

Show Shift Conflict Checker Notification Bar View
Show Shift Conflict Checker Notification Bar View

And, you can also see this information visually highlighted in the Show list view (shown below) and the Show Edit screen view (shown below). And, it will now better handle shift conflicts when you add or edit shifts with overlap.

Show Shift Conflict Checker for Radio Station plugin for WordPress
Show Admin Page Shift Conflict View

REST API Endpoints

You read that right! A full API implementation of data output for your Full Schedule or Show List. We have a great plan for using this that we will be announcing in the near future. Stay tuned! (It also has a fallback to output data via a Feed if you have disabled the REST API for some reason.)

Language Taxonomy Support

Radio Station Show Language Selector
Radio Station Show Language Selector

You can now add assign Language(s) to your Shows (and Schedule Overrides.) Similar to how you can already assign Genres via the Genre Taxonomy. You can set a default language in the new Admin Plugin Options settings, and then assign one or more Languages to Shows, as needed.

New Producer Role

Similar to assigning Hosts and DJs to a Show, you will be able to assign a Producer to a Show. This was done by adding a Producer role, which acts basically the same way as the existing DJ / Host role. The assigned Producer(s) will then be able to log in under their own user account to edit the Show as well as being listed on the Show Page, just like the DJs / Hosts already are.

This was added for security reasons, so WordPress Admins, Hosts, and DJs would not have to unnecessarily pass their login user names and passwords to interns or Producers. And, the Producer role could make changes while being tracked by any plugin with an activity monitor. Giving station employees master admin access is not advisable for security reasons. And, sharing passwords between Hosts and DJs with show Producers is also not advisable. We think this solves that problem.

Plus, the Producer role is added to the Show page frontend display. Producers should get credit on a website for shows they help produce, shouldn’t they? So, here’s to all the Producers around the world that should be credited for their hard work! Cheers!

Updated Widgets and Shortcodes

Since the schedule calculations have changed, all widgets and shortcodes have also been updated to use them. Also added are new Archive shortcodes for displaying Shows, Show Posts, Show Playlists and Shows by Genre. We’ve also added 12 / 24 hour time switchers to widgets and a Showtime countdown clock, as well.

Action Steps

Here are a few action steps you can take right now:

1. View the demo version of 2.3.0 beta right now at http://radiostationdemo.com.

2. Need support? Please visit http://wordpress.org/support/plugin/radio-station/

3. Want to contribute to the development of the open-source and free version of Radio Station, or make a feature request? Dive into the codebase and generate a pull request at http://github.com/netmix/radio-station. Or, add your feature request to our Git repo.

4. We also want to hear from our users. We’d love for you to respond to this email and tell us about your radio station or Internet broadcasting website. We want to know how you’re using the plugin and where in the world you are.

5. Speaking of the world…we need translators for the plugin, especially after 2.3.0 is pushed. Please get in touch with us at http://netmix.com/contact to let us know you are interested in translating the plugin to your language. We’ll get you on your way!

6. Follow us on Twitter: @netmix

7. Like our Netmix page on Facebook and join our Netmix Facebook Group.

8. You can also take our survey.

Lastly…

We’re sure you’ll agree, this update features a slew of great changes and cool new stuff!  Check the Radio Station Demo website for a full preview of beta 2.3.0 before it’s officially released.

While it’s all ready to go, we still need to update and add the relevant documentation to reflect the new version. More details on these changes and features will also be announced once we release Radio Station 2.3.0 in the coming days.

We’re confident you’ll love the new release, so stay tuned for this upcoming release announcement and be ready for the awesome next phase of Radio Station for WordPress! Until then, keep an eye out for the next newsletter announcing the release of Radio Station 2.3.0, coming very soon!

A very special thanks to Tony Hayes, our truly gifted and talented lead developer, who has spent many a day or night down under in Australia to move the ball forward and code-up the best iteration yet!

News about the upcoming release of Radio Station 2.3.0

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!

Read more

New Show Page Layout & JetPack Compatibility Coming in 2.3.0

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.

New Layout

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.

  • Email
  • Website
  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Instagram
  • SoundCloud
  • MixCloud
  • Spotify

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.

Please take our first Netmix POLL.

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.

Contribute

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

View the Radio Station Demo here.

If you identify a bug, please report it on our Github Issues Tracker.

Currently, all support requests can be made on the WordPress Support page for Radio Station.

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?

Contact Digital Strategy Works today!

Thank You!

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.

Radio Station 2.2.8

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. When one of our developers updated the plugin’s code to reflect new WordPress coding standards, which hadn’t been implemented since the plugin ceased development in 2015, he applied a “strict” setting for in_array that when active affected some users whereas the assigned Host/DJ could no longer edit a Show page, blog posts were not being posted to the Show’s blog, day and times would not print to the x/y of the master calendar. All have been resolved. We also had a report that when using a language pack, days of the week were not displaying. This was fixed, as well.

Outside of the plugin, we also changed the demo site link to http://radiostationdemo.com, so that we could showcase the plugin with the WordPress Twenty Twelve theme, instead of the Make theme, which we use for this site. Some users were experiencing a 522 error, so we updated the DNS configuration, which caused unnecessary redirects and intermittent access.

Download Radio Station 2.2.8.

We’re seeking your feedback. If you are using the plugin or not, please do take our survey.

If you’re using the plugin and want to support further development, please become a patron.

Submit your support requests here.

And, report bugs here.