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[liberationtech] FrontlineSMS:Radio

Amy O'Donnell amy at frontlinesms.com
Sun Mar 13 14:00:21 PDT 2011


Dear All,

Having recently read Walid's post about a pirate radio station in Yemen, I
would like to share some information about an initiative from FrontlineSMS
in collaboration with the Cambridge Centre for Governance and Human Rights.


As you may know, FrontlineSMS <http://www.frontlinesms.com/>is
award-winning free, open source software that turns a laptop and a
mobile phone into a central communications hub. Once installed, the program
enables users to send and receive text messages with groups of people
through mobile phones without necessarily having access to the internet. We
have been working with community radio stations who have been using the core
software to connect with their audiences and this has given birth
to FrontlineSMS:Radio.

We are developing a software plugin for to extend and customise the
FrontlineSMS platform for the requirements of a radio station.  It will
incorporate specific features to assist community radio stations to achieve
more efficient and creative two-way SMS communication to complement their
programme output. Ideas for how this hybrid media tool might be used include
allowing listeners to contribute their opinions, react to current affairs
and register their vote in radio polls as well as submit news stories and
song requests. This interaction has the potential to engage communities in
civic activism and promote social change. We hope to have a pilot trial in
April with the release of the software later this year.

FrontlineSMS is delighted to pursue this venture in collaboration with
Cambridge University’s Centre of Governance and Human Rights
<http://www.polis.cam.ac.uk/cghr/>(CGHR).
 In October 2010, the Centre launched a two-year research project to explore
the extent to which new information and communications technologies
influence citizen participation in governance processes. The research will
focus on monitoring how communities access and input into information on
social issues throughout the lifecycle of the project. As Ken Banks has
explained, this unique partnership and academic scrutiny means that 'from
the outset and for the first time, this project will determine user
behaviour, identify system design and monitor impact throughout the project
life cycle.'  For more you can watch a video
here<http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NW4Bk_rh5ro>where Sharath
Srinivasan,
Director of CGHR speaks about the project at a recent event on global
poverty and technology in October 2010 or read the CGHR article 'Democratising
the Airwaves'<http://www.research-horizons.cam.ac.uk/spotlight/-p-democratising-the-airwaves--p-.aspx>.
 We
are taking part in the Small Media Initiative
<http://www.smallmediainitiative.com/>at
SOAS, London next month which is focusing on closed societies - a serious
challenge for users of SMS.

So for start up - or indeed existing - Radio stations which are
not-for-profit, you might want to consider using FrontlineSMS to manage
two-way communication via text which you can download
now<http://www.frontlinesms.com/resources/download/>completely free!
For more information you can follow us on Twitter
@smsradio <http://twitter.com/#!/smsradio> and we will soon be launching a
dedicated website which will include updates on the progress of the software
development.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch if you have further questions and I
would be interested to share ideas with anyone interested in the use of SMS
in conjunction with radio broadcasting.

Kind Regards

--
Amy O'Donnell
Media Project Manager
FrontlineSMS
\o/
m: +44(0) 7886 787863
e: amy at frontlinesms.com
skype: frontlinesmsradio
twitter: smsradio
www.frontlinesms.com
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