Category: WordPress

Tony Zeoli DJing at Dirty Jacks Brew Pub in Asheville, NC

The next update to Radio Station will be a game changer!

For those who don’t know me already, I’m Tony Zeoli,  CEO of netmix®, a company I relaunched last year to support the development of the free and open-source WordPress plugin, Radio Station, which you know as the best plugin for radio stations, streamers, and drop-in audio moderators to build, manage, and display your show schedule on a WordPress website.

Since being passed the baton In June of 2019 by Radio Station’s original creator, Nikki Blight, we’ve worked to update and improve Radio Station considerably. That effort has resulted in doubling our installed user base in 16 months. With such an extraordinary uptick in usage, we learned from stations like yours what would make Radio Station the best WordPress solution for creators of live radio and other forms of scheduled audio content.

That being said, I’m excited to fill you in on what’s happening here at netmix® with Radio Station. I’ve got some fantastic news for you!

But first, let’s dive into a bit of background, shall we?

The reason you’re receiving these emails from netmix® and viewing the connection to Radio Station on our netmix.com website is simply that I’ve owned the netmix.com domain since late 1995, when I launched the first streaming DJ mix show website in the world and featured global superstar DJs “in the mix.

Yes, you read that right! Back when online streaming audio first started and there were no DJ sets to be found (unless you count those terrible modem connection handshakes as techno!), netmix® was a pioneering online music service deemed the “innovation and advancement of dance music online” by former Billboard Dance Trax columnist, Larry Flick.

Here’s how netmix® got started…

In 1993, I was working the Boston nightclub circuit as a DJ by night. By day, I served as both A&R Coordinator and Worldwide Sales Director for X-Mix Remix and Management, which managed world-renowned producers, Armand Van Helden and DJ Sneak among others.  Around the same time, a woman I was dating introduced me to a friend who worked in Harvard University’s IT department. One night, she took me to meet him at his apartment in Cambridge, which coincidentally was just a mile or so from Bolt, Beranek, and Newman, the company that created the ARPANET network for the U.S. military, in partnership with MIT, from which the Internet we know today was derived. He showed me web technologies like Telnet and Compuserve, all of which got me thinking about the future of information technology. But I didn’t quite yet see how that would lead to DJIng online. That revelation would come later that year.

Shortly thereafter, AOL (aka America Online, an early Internet service provider) allowed anyone with a computer modem to dial up and get on the web. I signed up and began connecting with other DJs in chatrooms and newsgroups. I began to see the true potential of the web and how DJs and radio stations might one day benefit from the Internet. However, AOL didn’t stream much audio and there was no video to speak of, so it wasn’t until I learned about the cutting edge of audio streaming at the time, RealAudio by Real Networks, I finally made the connection that one day we would broadcast DJ sets, radio shows, and other audio programs online.

In 1994, the World Wide Web was taking off. Early adopters were touting the benefits of Internet connectivity. The Internet World seminar and conference would become the place to be to learn about new web technologies. I attended the Boston edition with the goal of meeting the Real Audio team who had announced their plans to set up a booth where they would demonstrate the live streaming of a major league baseball game on the web. I stopped by the table and after asking some questions and experiencing what Real Audio was truly capable of, a light bulb in my head flicked on and confirmed my idea to build netmix® and showcase DJ mixes on the web. [See the first version of netmix® in the Internet Archives.]

But let’s step back for a minute from the early 90s to the mid-80s. Before I pursued my major Boston and New York City nightclub DJ career and launched X-Mix as a member of its founding team, I made early inroads at radio. First, as a high school intern at a local Boston-area Urban format radio station, WCAS (now WJIB), and then as a college student studying Radio and Television broadcasting in New York City. I had always been interested in broadcasting in some way, shape, or form. I never imagined I would be at the crossroads of the Internet at its inception.

Over the next 6-years, my life-long interest in Radio and DJ culture, combined with what I had learned about the Internet and streaming audio, drove the development of netmix®. In 1996, I partnered with an NYC-based dance music promotion company and moved netmix® operations from Boston to their office in New York City’s Soho district. To go from local Boston nightclub DJ to an innovative Internet music pioneer was one of the hardest, but most rewarding accomplishments of my life. While it sounds awesome, it was fraught with the trials and tribulations of a startup. I would experience incredible highs and very depressing lows throughout the journey, but I persisted as best I could, armed only with a vision and the energy to see it through, which is similar to Radio Station today.

Tony Zeoli, wife Missy, and son Hudson at WPVM FM in Asheville, NC
Tony Zeoli with his wife, Missy, and his son Hudson at WPVM FM in Asheville, NC

So, how did it all end up…?

In many ways, netmix® was successful. We reached 1 million unique visitors in 1999 – a major milestone at the time for a small Internet company – and were subsequently acquired on June 1, 2000, by Polyverse, an aggregator of youth culture websites, for $3.1652 million.

…and then the dot com bubble burst! 

If it weren’t for that tumultuous event, netmix® might be a household name today (like Netflix.) When Polyverse ceased operations, all netmix® assets reverted back to me. I’d love to fill you in on the details of that experience, but I’ll save it for a future blog post.

By now, you must be wondering, “well, what’s this all got to do with Radio Station today?”

That’s a great question. Let me make the connection for you.

In 2019, I’d hosted the Asheville House Music Society mix show with WPVM 103.7-FM LP, a small LPFM (low power FM) here in Asheville, NC. As a volunteer at the station, I helped with their WordPress website, which is how I first stumbled across the Radio Station plugin. But I noticed the plugin hadn’t been updated in some time and it was not working properly with Divi and other page builders. Because the station needed a working version that wouldn’t break their site in a new theme, I felt the urge to fix it myself or find a way to get it fixed for the station and for others using the plugin.

As a WordPress veteran (I started working with WordPress in 2005), I knew to contact the plugin developer through the WordPress.org plugin page, so I could learn if the plugin was under active development or if it had been orphaned. After tracking down Nikki Blight through Facebook, she let me know she had gotten a full-time job and was no longer actively developing the plugin. We chatted a bit and she asked if I wanted to take it over.

Given my background with WordPress, my media industry experience, and my work in product development and project management, I knew I could take it over and make something out of what was already established, but sorely in need of an update. Understanding that there was a theme marketplace for radio themes and opensource automation systems like LibreTime and Azuracast, I could see Radio Station’s amazing potential and wanted to take it to the next level, which we’ve now done and done well. But I had to figure out how to find a qualified developer with WordPress plugin experience who could help me with it since I’m not a WordPress developer.

While I’ve worked with numerous plugins and plugin authors, I have never actually developed one myself. Truthfully, I didn’t know the first thing about how to manage a WordPress plugin. I put my faith in my skills and experience and set out to learn. It’s also when I linked netmix® – the brand, with Radio Station – the plugin. Just like The Event Calendar by Modern Tribe, Gravity Forms by Rocket Genius, and All In One SEO by Awesome Motive, netmix® would power Radio Station.

So, this time around, it really is “netmix® 3.0”. While the comeback of netmix® started with picking up the ongoing development of Radio Station, I understood the WordPress plugin marketplace and recognized the need for a more comprehensive version to extend Radio Station and present it as the top plugin for radio stations, Internet streamers, and maybe even Clubhouse moderators who need to post and manage show schedules on their WordPress websites.

But I needed help.

Here’s what I did to solve that problem. I posted an announcement on the WordPress Jobs site and was very lucky to get a response from Tony Hayes, who has since joined on as Lead Developer. A freelance web developer and solopreneur based one hour outside of Brisbane, Australia, Tony initially stepped in to bring Radio Station up to speed with current best practices, bug fixes, and a few new features. In doing so, he also realized the potential of Radio Station and was on board with my vision for the plugin. Like me, he was also ready to move from the agency model of building individual sites for clients to building software that serves a purpose.

And that’s why today, Tony and I want to make this incredible announcement!

Finally…just get to the point!

Well, it’s been a major effort over 18-months of active development while also navigating the Covid crisis and our own personal affairs for us to iterate and present Radio Station Pro as a stable, innovative product that aims to be a leader in its field. We’re also building a new website at https://radiostation.pro (launching soon). And, we’re integrating everything with our radio station directory at https://netmix.com, which will soon be relaunched solely as a directory to showcase stations using our plugin and provide a high-quality backlink to participating stations.

We are very excited to announce Radio Station PRO launch start date has been set for… next week (so close now)! We are confident this is going to be an incredible and transformative WordPress plugin for your radio station website in many respects. From our visual schedule editor to a new, persistent audio player, and more cool schedule layouts, we’re building the future of radio on WordPress. We have more exciting plans ahead, but none of this would be possible without your support in helping us help you by purchasing the PRO version next week. Your purchase of Radio Station PRO will fund ongoing plugin development and potentially save you thousands of dollars on developer costs!

If you haven’t yet signed up for our launch list discount – 30% off the launch week price of your first year’s subscription to Radio Station PRO, just click on the huge button below to sign up to get your launch discount code at the start of launch week. So, keep checking your email for the code, as it’s coming soon!

Sign Up for the 30% OFF Launch Week Discount Code

Having problems with the button? Click here.

Are you still having problems? Copy and paste this link in your browser address bar: 

In relief and excitement,

Tony Zeoli

netmix® CEO

P.S.. Watch out for the launch announcement and soon we’ll reveal our #1 feature request and what we’ve accomplished in making it a reality…

P.P.S. If you missed our email last week asking you to answer a few questions for us, you can still do that now and add yourself at the end of the process by going to https://netmix.com/questions.

Radio Station WordPress.org plugin page displays 2000+ active installs

Radio Station Reached 2,000+ Active Installs, 90,000 Lifetime Downloads

Last week, Radio Station by netmix® achieved its first true milestone and benchmark for growth since we took over the plugin in June 2019. Our plugin page on WordPress.org updated to reflect 2,000+ active installations on WordPress websites of broadcasters around the world. We’re also tracking for 90,000-lifetime downloads by mid-February.

When we took over development, the plugin page displayed approximately 62,000 downloads over a span of 6-years – from 2013 to 2019. That’s approximately 10,300 downloads per year. Over the past 18 months, we’ve served 28,000+ downloads; a number that is a combination of new downloads and upgrades when we release bug fixes and new features. In the past, it took over 3 years to reach that number.

We’re excited about the growth and adoption of the Radio Station plugin and we’re continuing the work required toward establishing Radio Station as the premier, professional-grade WordPress plugin for broadcasters to plan their Show Schedules worldwide.

Of course, we’re grateful to you, the broadcasters who use our plugin and provide invaluable feedback. We are truly grateful. Thank you!

netmix® in Clubhouse

Tony Zeoli's Clubhouse short profile displaying Clubhouse App profile page with User Name
netmix® CEO Tony Zeoli’s Clubhouse profile page displaying his user name and schedule rooms.

If you’ve been following the story of Clubhouse, a new “drop-in audio” application for iOS (and soon Android), you’ll know it’s fast becoming one of the most popular social media apps since TikTok. The app is based on Clubs and Rooms. Clubs are high-level containers for the rooms underneath them.

A user can spawn different rooms on-demand or scheduled rooms to have in-depth conversations with as little as 2 or as many as 5,000 participants. Moderators bring speakers up to the stage from an “audience” listening in.

netmix® CEO, Tony Zeoli, launched the room entitled, Radio Station Websites & Apps: Tech & Trends, which is hosted under the Music Business focused, 808 The Wave club. The room opens each Monday night at 9 pm EST.

If you’re already on the app, then simply check the schedule under the calendar icon on your home screen and save the date by clicking on the GCal icon and saving the event to your Google Calendar. You can follow @tonyzeoli on the Clubhouse app to be notified of when the Radio Station Websites & Apps room goes live. We’re working on securing a netmix® club. Stay tuned!

Free Listing in the netmix® Directory

Screenshot of Netmix Station Directory
Screenshot of netmix® Station Directory

Get more exposure and listeners for your Radio Station, for FREE. Simply click the “Submit Your Station Listing” button to sign up for an account and then click “Activate Free listing!”

This time-sensitive FREE OFFER is ongoing. Activate your free listing before it ends!

We know and feel there is a lot of appreciation for these efforts from our community of existing Radio Station users! We’re asking for your financial support and the best way is to not restrict features or seek donations   but to deliver even more value! We are now offering listings in the new Netmix® Radio Station Directory – allowing us to financially support improving the FREE plugin for everyone.

To do this, we concluded providing 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. Tje Patreon platform is 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 financial 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® Station 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 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.

Submit Your Station Listing

Get On The Waitlist for Radio Station PRO

In June 2019, we took over the Radio Station plugin for WordPress from its original creator, Nikki Blight. Since that time Lead Developer, Tony Hayes, and netmix® CEO, Tony Zeoli, have worked to add a slew of new features and functions to bring Radio Station back to life.

With over 2,000 active installations and close to 90,000-lifetime downloads, Radio Station has restored its place as the preferred WordPress plugin for broadcast and streaming stations around the world to create a show schedule and playlists on their WordPress websites.

Radio Station PRO adds advanced features to program your station’s schedule and display relevant content to your website visitors. Be one of the first in line to get a FREE TRIAL offer when the plugin is ready for download.

Upcoming PRO Features:

  • Persistent Audio Player – with the aim of continuous play during website navigation.
  • Show Episodes – a new plugin post type for adding and displaying Show Episodes.
  • Host and Producer Profiles – publish and display individual user role profiles.
  • Role Assignment Interface – fast interface for assigning plugin Roles to your team.
  • Genre Image Support – assign images to Genres for genre shortcode display.
  • Show Meta Caching – gives improved performance for Schedule calculations.
  • Schedule View Switching – allow user-switching between multiple Schedule Views.
  • Dynamic Widget Reloading – auto-refresh widgets at Show changeover times!
  • Visitor Timezone Switcher – allow site visitors to adjust their Timezone display.
  • Archives Views – Grid and Cloud Views for archive shortcode displays.
  • Social Icons – Social icon fields for Show and Profile Pages.
  • Show Schedule Feed – allow users to subscribe to a Show schedule via RSS.

One feature we’re working on post-launch is the ability to manage multiple Show schedules on one site. If you operate two or more stations but only operate one WordPress website, the ability to add multiple schedules is going to be cool. While it won’t launch with the first version of PRO, it will come soon after.

The reason we’re adding a persistent audio player to PRO is to help our user’s station websites finally remove their sidebar audio widget player, which stops playing when a user changes the page. A persistent footer player will always stay sticky and never impact the listener experience!

We’re opening up the plugin to a limited group, so enter your email address today to ensure that you secure your spot on the waitlist and receive the email with the initial FREE TRIAL offer when PRO is ready to go!

Just click on the button to go to our new PRO version domain and future PRO version website: RADIOSTATION.PRO. Then enter your email address to be added to the waitlist.

Get On The Waitlist!

New Music!

We are introducing a new feature to our Radio Station by netmix® newsletter. Each month, we’re going to feature an artist we hope you will love and ad to rotation on your station. This is a trial to ascertain how many stations want to be added to our new music promo list. Please let us know if you want to receive music from us in the future.

This month, we’re featuring Fete Sad Girls, the electronic music duo from the Bushwick section of Brooklyn, NY.

Fete Sad Girls Soundcloud EP

Fete Sad Girls YouTube Videos

Get Up To Speed!

Since 2.3.0 dropped in May, our email list has grown considerably. It’s best to get up to speed with Radio Station by Netmix®. We recommend you read our release blog post about v2.3.0 to familiarize yourself with the wide range of plugin changes, including new features, a completely new Show page layout, the new conflict catcher, and so much more.

To follow new features and enhancements, check out the Changelog.

View the plugin’s documentation.

If you need support, please post your support requests to the Radio Station support forum on the WordPress.org plugins page.

If you would like to report a bug or open a feature request, use our Github forum.

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 https://github.com/netmix/radio-station. Or, add your feature request to our Git repo.

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.

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

Follow us on Twitter: @netmix

Follow us on Instagram: @netmixcom

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

You can also take our survey by clicking the button below.

Take Our Survey

Support Radio Station Development

Your support would mean the world to us! Donate a few dollars a month and join other patrons supporting this free, open-source plugin!

Become a Patron!

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!

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Introducing Radio Station by Netmix

In December of 1996, Netmix.com first appeared online as the world’s first DJ mix-show website hosting streaming mixes by the world’s most sought after DJs. In the March 20, 1996 issue of Billboard Magazine, Netmix was cited by former Dance Trax columnist, Larry Flick, as the “innovation and advancement of dance music on the Internet.”

Born out of my bedroom in a four-story walk up at 726 Washington Street, just outside of Washington Square in Brookline, MA, I would move Netmix from Boston to New York City in September of 1996 to partner with a dance music promotion company, with the goal of converging promotion and marketing with online streaming and distribution. While the partnership didn’t work out in the long run, Netmix survived in the dotcom 1.0 economy until it entered a purchase and sale agreement on June 1, 2000 with Polyverse, a youth-culture startup funded by investors in the gold rush of the early Internet era, which saw companies like CDNOW, MP3.com, and Psuedo Networks valued in the many hundreds of millions of dollars.

While I was negotiating with Polyverse, the Internet bubble started to burst. Fast forward to October of 2000 and Polyverse was out of cash. No one could raise money. The doors closed on new capital and thousands of startups on both coasts and around the world failed. It was, in no uncertain terms, one of the most difficult periods for founders and employees of these companies who saw their hopes and dreams fall apart when the Internet economy collapsed.

Over the next 19-years, I would hold onto the Netmix.com domain and keep the website active. In the late 2000s I launched the Netmix Global House Sessions Podcast, which is still ingrained into this site today (and for the foreseeable future). The podcast features my alter ego, DJ Tony Z, in the mix. But Netmix became a side hobby while I focused on working for various corporations and startups in New York City until 2010, when I asked my wife to move to Chapel Hill, NC for a job at the University of North Carolina.

In North Carolina for 9-years now, we skipped across the state; from Chapel Hill to Winston-Salem and now Asheville, NC. My wife and I adopted a baby boy at birth who was born in the Asheville area. My family became the priority while I also ran my WordPress consulting company, Digital Strategy Works. I had ideas for Netmix, but life’s priorities simply got in the way.

A few years ago, I got it in mind to host a radio mix-show on a Low Power FM here in Asheville, AshevilleFM. My friend, Phillip and I created the Asheville House Music Society and hosted the show on the station for about a year, but we had to put the show on hiatus. In September of 2018, we brought the show back on the air on another LPFM in Asheville, WPVMFM.org, where I volunteer as the station’s webmaster. While working on the station’s website, I noticed they were using a WordPress plugin, Radio Station, which was originally created by a developer in Colorado, Nikki Blight. The plugin hadn’t been updated on the site in a while, so I checked in on the WordPress codex to review the plugin and its status. When I learned Nikki was no longer actively developing the plugin and saw that there was an installed user base, I contacted her to inquire about it and let her know that I’d consider taking it over.

After a brief conversation, Nikki passed along the car keys to the plugin in early June (2019) and wished me luck. After 16-years of working with WordPress, I am now an official manager and committer of a plugin listed in the WordPress repository. But, I’m not a developer myself. I’m a product manager and entrepreneur with deep experience managing WordPress projects, so I needed help bringing the plugin up to speed. I put the word out in the WordPress universe and the universe returned Tony Hayes, an experienced WordPress developer living about two-hours south of Brisbane, Australia. Tony’s work includes http://wpmedic.tech and other plugins that check on the health of WordPress websites.

For the past three months, Tony and I have been working together on the open-source, free version of the plugin. We’ve also had a contribution from another developer working at a radio station in Virginia, who helped bring the plugin up to WordPress coding standards. We’ve made some improvements to the plugin and are actively working on building a PRO version with an audio player, time zone switcher, and a few other neat features. But for now, we’re tightening up the plugin and its core feature set.

We’re also looking at integrating the plugin with a few popular radio station automation software packages, like AirTime and LibreTime.

After 19-years of controlling the Netmix domain name and website, I decided on merging Radio Station with Netmix, which is why the plugin is now hosted here on this site and it will carry the Netmix brand going forward, along with all the bells and whistles we hope to add to it.

We’re always looking for contributions from the community. If you’d like to join in the fun, please do visit the Radio Station project on Github and take a stab at fixing something or adding something, then issuing a pull request. We’d love to get contributions from the radio station community supporting open-source projects.

I’m so excited I finally found and merged a worthy WordPress project with the Netmix brand. Over the next couple of months, you’ll see some changes to this website. It’s a work in progress and slow going, but we’re committed to advancing the plugin, building out a PRO version with additional awesome features, and figuring it all out as we go along. We’d love to know what you think of the plugin, so leave a comment on this post below. And, please do share this plugin in your networks, so we can grow participation and installs – that’s how this is going to succeed.

WordPress Plugin – Radio Station

Radio Station is a plugin to run a radio station's website. It's functionality is based on Drupal 6's Station plugin, reworked for use in Wordpress. The plugin includes the ability to associate users with "shows", display the currently on-air DJ, store playlists, and more.

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