radio NRW - one Newsroom for 38 local radio stations
Create content simply and flexibly, directly incorporate articles from news agencies, and then quickly publish them to various output channels via Amazon Web Services. With the CONTENS Newsroom, Germany's largest radio service provider radio NRW has completely modernized its online communication.
Topical content such as news must be created and published quickly. News from connected agencies should be easily imported and published automatically. Furthermore, news items should be variably structured and presented flexibly, for use on different websites, in apps or via digital signage applications. And all this in an easy-to-use, high-performance and stable web application for several hundred editors. As easy as that!
When many people routinely perform similar digital tasks, a perfectly tuned software infrastructure plays a crucial role. The IT experts at radio NRW recognized this early on and looked for a flexible solution that would enable editors to create digital content quickly and easily, structure it variably and publish it conveniently across different channels.
They have found this solution with the CONTENS Newsroom, which was tailored to the specific requirements of the largest German radio provider. The Newsroom is the ideal environment for the efficient compilation and processing of the latest news, and for planning when and where this content is to appear. The system allows for the administration of various clients (in this case local radio stations) that publish content according to their corporate design. The core elements are news production and news list management.
Production of News
Editors create new articles via a predefined workflow. In addition, news from agencies may be adopted 1:1 or duplicated and adapted. The production and editing of news follows a predefined workflow that has been adapted to the editorial team's work style. Articles can be generated in such a way that they may be used by a single station, by a group of stations, or by all local radio stations. Numerous settings and functions help to produce content as efficiently as possible, e.g.
- Few Required Fields: A news item can be published with just a headline, an image and a category assignment. This allows you to publish breaking news quickly and add further content later.
- Pre-filled Fields: Further headings with different character lengths for alternative presentations are pre-filled from the headline (e.g. teaser), which can be modified if necessary.
- SAYT-Option: Search-As-You-Type searches allow for quick assignment of categories or media type.
- Flexible Article Structure: In addition to the basic requirements of headline, image, and category, an editor can flexibly compose an article with additional elements, such as subheadings, paragraphs, images, videos, galleries, maps, social media content (such as tweets, posts), and much more.
Editors can publish news immediately with one click or at scheduled times. News can also be updated or duplicated at any time. The contents are stored in a media-neutral format, which is why they can be displayed extremely flexibly on a variety of devices (e.g. desktop, tablet, smartphone, display, etc.). It can also be adapted to future formats that may be required.
Management of News Lists
News lists are prioritized, topic-specific news compilations. New contents can be manually assigned to a news list, or assigned via category subscriptions. News items assigned the category "Sports" appear automatically in all news lists that have subscribed to the "Sports" category. The additional keyword filter enables more precise news lists in which, for example, only news with the keyword "Football" is subscribed to.
News items in the news lists are sorted by topicality, i.e. the latest news is always added at the top. It is also possible to manually edit the order of the news items. Editors can reorder news in the news list using drag & drop, or pin items to specific positions. This allows a very important message to be kept in 1st place even as more current news items are added.
For maximum performance and stability, even with fluctuating request frequencies, and for the flexible delivery of content ranging up to several million requests, content is stored in the Amazon Cloud and distributed via Amazon Cloudfront and Amazon API Gateway. The technologies used include S3, EC2, ECS, CloudFront, Elastic Load Balancer and API Gateway, amongst others.
The content on the website is distributed via configurable Newsboxes within the CONTENS CMS. In a Newsbox, the news lists whose contents are to be displayed, as well as the desired form of presentation may be selected. For instance, lists, tiles, timelines, pinboards, sliders and other variants are available.
The content is also made available to other applications via API, such as native apps for iOS or Android, PWA, Digital Signage solutions, or language assistants such as Siri and Alexa. Further applications can be integrated at any time.
radio NRW local radio stations
Create news or incorporate news agency publications
- Rapid news creation through a clearly structured GUI
- Flexible customization of an article's structure e.g. with headings, sections, images, galleries, videos, etc...
- High efficiency through optimized workflows, pre-filled fields, Google SEO, SAYT Selection, linking of related content, scheduled distribution, OneClick-Publishing, etc...
- Import news items from connected news agencies such as DPA, Reuters, etc...
- Duplicate and edit existing news items
Manage News Lists
- Create themed news lists (e.g. Sports, Local News,...)
- Filter using tags
- Transfer news to news lists manually or automatically
- Within news lists, sort items manually, pin them to a specific position, and remove them
- Display in configurable Newsboxes (which news list, number of news items, etc...)
- Different presentations of Newsboxes such as lists, pinboards, sliders, tiles, detail pages, etc...
- Media-independent distribution of news on websites, for mobile devices, apps, newsletters, info terminals, etc...
- API for delivering structured content to other applications
About Radio NRW
As a broadcast provider, radio NRW GmbH currently supplies 45 local radio stations in North Rhine-Westphalia with news, special features, music, and comedy, from sound elements to entire broadcast series. For the last 20 years since 1990, radio NRW on Air has had the greatest reach of all radio programs in Germany. With a daily audience of 4.771 million listeners* (listened yesterday, 5.00 a.m. to midnight, Monday-Friday) and a gross average hourly audience of 1.594 million listeners* (6.00 a.m. to 6.00 p.m., Monday-Friday), radio NRW is not only leading in North Rhine-Westphalia, but is also the radio service with the greatest reach in the whole of Germany.
*Source: MA 2019 Audio II, Basis: German-speaking population ages 14 and up
The Project Details
CONTENS has overseen the project from its conception, through the technical implementation, right up to the successful launch of all local radio websites. In addition to project leadership and management, the team also carried out extensive load tests and the rollout.
Find out more about the CONTENS Newsroom here: