How could we engage listeners to explore WBEZ’s digital content in meaningful ways?
Broadcast Browser is an online streaming application that combines the experience of radio, the power of data visualization and the capabilities of the web. It translates what WBEZ listeners appreciate most about the on-air broadcast — the expert curation, the serendipity, and the “constant companion” that radio provides — into a new medium.
At the heart of Broadcast Browser is a depiction of WBEZ’s live stream which users can view in one minute, 15 minute, one hour, one day, or one week chunks. Using real-time audio transcription, it collects and visualizes the “data” of the stream; displaying keywords, images and tweets for each story as it unfolds on air. This creates a continuous, dynamic visual summary of WBEZ’s content that users can explore. Simply clicking on a keyword, photo or tweet lets users immediately listen to or read the story it represents. Or if they are looking for a specific topic — perhaps an interesting story heard only in part — Broadcast Browser’s search function graphically shows the days and programs the topic appeared on, so users can easily find the right one.
Listeners see WBEZ first and foremost as a radio station. Broadcast Browser leverages this by putting the listening experience front and center, making wbez.org more than just an analogue to the radio, but a valuable destination in and of itself.