Radio.Cloud Utilizing AWS Lambda to Improve Workflows
Four years ago, Radio.Cloud went on-air with its first customer the BLR in Munich, Germany. The BLR is the largest audio syndicator in the German speaking market, distributing different news reports to more than 100 stations daily. Originally, CEO and Founder Christian Brenner developed a platform called NewsStar because the BLR couldn’t distribute all versions of the news reports in a flexible and reliable way using traditional satellite delivery.
“15 years ago, the concept behind NewsStar was similar to the goal that we have with Radio.Cloud today: provide ultra-localized syndicated content to affiliates,” Brenner recalled. “NewsStar focuses only on national, regional and local news and weather reports. At that time we had four on-prem racks full of servers to operate that system.”
“What Christian’s team developed for us around 2005 was groundbreaking for the radio market,” said BLR managing director Sebastian Steinmayr. “It actually put us into a totally different position on the market.”
Because the BLR produces local news, regional news, and national news, there are nearly 100 different versions of these news reports that get spliced together and distributed to the affiliates by Radio.Cloud.
Over the past four years, Radio.Cloud has accomplished this complex task first by on-prem servers, and later by employing Amazon EC2. With the news airing on each station at the top of the hour, EC2 takes approximately five to eight minutes to produce the 100 versions of news each hour. So the news reporters and producers need to have the final versions exported around 10 minutes before the new hour begins.
Recently, Radio.Cloud migrated the BLR operation from Amazon EC2 to AWS Lambda. Using the power of serverless computing and an event-driven architecture, 100 different versions of news are now produced in less than 6 seconds as opposed to 5-8 minutes. This gives the BLR nearly 10 more minutes of flexibility per hour to get the latest news on air at each of its 100+ affiliates.
“Every few years, NewsStar gets an upgrade. The recent one, taking advantage of AWS Lambda, changed the workflow so much for our journalists and presenters,” Steinmayr said. “With this fast distribution, we’re able to make additional updates very close to broadcasting time. It’s perfect for breaking news. Thanks to the Radio.Cloud team for this tremendous improvement.”
“A heavy workload once an hour for a few seconds is a perfect case for serverless. We run more than 100 Lambda instances at the same time. And we don’t get charged for the 59 minutes that the system is idle,” explained Brenner.
Radio.Cloud is the first 100% cloud-native automation, content management and production system for the broadcasting industry, and was certified as an Amazon Web Services Partner in June of 2022.