Air Force Band streaming music on line|
by Maj. David Malakoff
11th Wing Public Affairs
9/19/2006 - BOLLING AIR FORCE BASE, D.C. (AFPN) -- Chief Master Sgt. David Nokes worked 15 months to take an idea and, with the help of the U.S. Army, turned it into a viable product.
The result is Air Force Bandstand, a 24-hour per day Internet streaming radio service that broadcasts music by the Air Force Band and also includes news from the Air Force News Agency.
"Our Air Force Bandstand is one of several broadcast projects we've initiated in cyberspace in addition to some new but traditional radio and television products," said Col. Dennis Layendecker, U.S. Air Force Band commander and music director.
"However, Bandstand is unique because it can serve audiences we know are increasingly turning to cyberspace for their entertainment and news -- our deployed Airmen."
Bandstand, located on the Internet at www.usafband.com/Bandstand.cfm, features format music programming designed for a variety of audiences -- jazz, classical, rock, pop, country and, of course, patriotic music, Colonel Layendecker said.
To listen to Air Force Bandstand, "an individual will need a computer with a sound card and speakers and a broadband connection to the Internet," Chief Nokes said. "Bandstand works with all major media player plug-in software including Windows Media Player, Real Player and QuickTime."
The idea to stream band music onto the Internet was something Chief Nokes thought of for several years. As a bandsman (he's a vocalist currently serving as the chief of strategic communications for the U.S. Air Force Band), Chief Nokes said his job is communication.
"I was looking for ways to make our Web site a better communication tool for the Air Force, not just a link to see the band's schedule of events," Chief Nokes said. "We wanted our Internet outreach to be something designed to respond in a day and age when more and more people are turning to the Internet for news and entertainment."
In researching how to stream the band's music onto the Internet, Chief Nokes realized the two biggest challenges he faced were the licensing of music and the infrastructure needed for streaming the music. It was during this research that he came upon an unlikely ally in the music streaming business: the U.S. Army.
"I found out the Army Band had been streaming their music online, so I contacted them to find out how they overcame the two key challenges that I had discovered," Chief Nokes said.
"Chief Nokes came to us and showed an interest in doing what Soldiers Radio was doing with the Army Band, so we became a team," said Clark Taylor of the Soldiers' Media Center at Fort Belvoir, Va.
"Soldiers' Radio and Television, as part of Army Public Affairs, had years ago negotiated the rights from the music license agencies to Web cast music," Mr. Taylor said. "So we included the Air Force Bandstand as part of the SoldiersRadio.com programming and Chief Nokes was off and running."
Being incorporated into the Army's programming allowed the Air Force to use music copyrighted with Broadcast Music Inc., American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, and the Society of European Stage Authors and Composers.
Additionally, the Army is allowing the Air Force to use their streaming infrastructure, saving its younger sister service at least the $12,000 the Army needed to start its program. In other words, the Air Force Band is providing programming and Soldiers Radio provides the streaming media service.
"Since the Army already had secured licensing and infrastructure for their streaming, we were able to build from there," Chief Nokes said.
The Army has yet to establish a system to track usage of the streaming, but Chief Nokes said the Air Force Band's Web site averages about 40,000 hits or visits per month.
"The most recent statistics we have show that the average time for each visit to our website is about nine minutes, and about 80,000 MP3 files are accessed per month," Chief Nokes said. "In analog terms, and to relate it to traditional compact disc recordings, that would be the equivalent of 8,000 CDs being distributed per month, and these are to people who have specifically contacted our Web site. That is great success. We hope to have the same success with Bandstand."
Colonel Layendecker agreed.
"Air Force Band broadcast operations are a critical component of our unit's total mission as they help us create efficiencies in line with Air Force Smart Operations 21," Colonel Layendecker said. "By harnessing the potential of mass media, we can reach strategic audiences worldwide, audiences who might otherwise never enjoy a positive opportunity to experience America's Air Force."