New UF Web-Based Radio Network Debuts

By:
Chuck Woods (352) 392-1773 x 281

Source(s):
Ashley Wood amw@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu, (352) 392-7228
Kathy Sohar ksfl@gnv.ifas.ufl.edu, (352) 392-3893

GAINESVILLE—RadioSource.NET, a new Internet radio network designed for the general public and broadcast stations, will provide practical information on everything from tips on lawn care to advice on saving for retirement.

The network is being launched Sept. 1 by the University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, offering consumer-oriented agricultural, life science and natural resource information from UF and 12 other land grant universities.

“Available at RadioSource.net, the network is a one-stop site where consumers can find reliable information for everyday life,” said Ashley Wood, director of IFAS Communication Services. “The Internet has made information very accessible, but it may not always be credible. People can trust RadioSource.net because it’s based upon university research.”

He said content is organized within a specialized database so users can find information easily. Programming can be sorted by state, topic or date.

Topics on RadioSource.net include agricultural economics, education and engineering, animal science, biochemistry and biophysics, consumer and family sciences, entomology, disaster preparedness and recovery, food and nutrition, forestry, health, horticulture, plant pathology and microbiology, recreation, park and tourism sciences, wildlife and fishery sciences, youth development, marine issues, endangered species, natural resource conservation, livestock, row crops, gardening and breaking news.

Kathy Sohar, project coordinator, said programs are available in several audio formats, including MP3, WAV and Real Audio. “Accessing the information is easy,” she said. “Just highlight the topic you are interested in, press search, and click on the story you want to hear.”

She said it’s important for educational institutions to capitalize on new technologies such as Web-casting. “Projects such as RadioSource.net represent a new way of communicating with the public and help us serve audiences that have traditionally been marginalized in the educational system. In the coming year, we also want to provide programming for Hispanic audiences.”

The project began as a collaborative effort by several southeastern universities with the goal of maximizing their resources while entering the online broadcast market.

“Originally conceived as a way to reach consumers directly, the participating universities soon realized that online distribution of audio files to radio stations had advantages over traditional delivery methods, including reduced costs for producing, duplicating and mailing tapes or CDs,” she said.

“While many stations may not have the capability to download broadcast quality audio, the trend toward this method of distribution is increasing and considered inevitable by many in the industry,” she said.

RadioSource.net is partially funded by a grant from the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Agricultural Telecommunications Program. In addition to UF, which serves as the host institution, participants include University of Arkansas, University of Georgia, Kansas State University, University of Kentucky, University of Illinois, Louisiana State University, University of Tennessee, University of Illinois, Mississippi State, South Dakota State University, Texas A&M, and Virginia Tech.

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