Rootio Radio Station
Grassroots Radio for Community Input and Output
Rootio or Grassroots Radio for Community Input and Output, is a prototype and open source radio broadcasting solution that is a combination of off-the-shelf hardware, cloud software, and a smartphone app. Rootio can be heard through a traditional FM receiver. It is possible to participate in the radio through a simple phone call.
Rootio has trial stations in Uganda with interest from other parts of Africa. It is a product that can by deployed anywhere.
Rootio is the main distributor that is supported by a peer network of radio station hosts. Rootio is located in Portugal.
The price of hardware for an established antenna and broadcasting station is $1,700 – $1,800 USD with plans to lower costs to near $800 – $900 USD. Interview with representative
The price of hardware for a bucket system and antenna is roughly $500 USD. FM Transmitter: $250 USD, Samsung smartphone: $75 USD, Connectors and computer fan: $10 USD, Antenna: $30 USD, Cable: $100-$150 USD. These prices vary slightly across regions.
For users without access to electricity, low capacity (15-30 W) power generation technology will also need to be purchased.
In certain cases, users interested in broadcasting will need to pay for a FM broadcasting license. Rootio has worked with Ugandan officials to eliminate that cost for their users.
This product impacts the Goal 9: “Build resilient infrastructure, promote sustainable industrialization and foster innovation” by developing “quality, reliable, sustainable and resilient infrastructure (…) to support economic development and human well-being, with a focus on affordable and equitable access for all” and Goal 16 “peace, justice and strong institutions”.
Individuals who have the ability to operate the combined smartphone and FM transmitter. Rootio is a solution that requires user to follow guidance to assemble the “radio in a bucket” solution and the transmission antenna.
Rootio developed the cloud based network and smartphone app. They also provide guidance for radio station and transmitter antenna assemble. The stations were manufactured based on designs by the Log’el Project in Kampala. Hardware for the stations are comprised of simple and cheap materials that should be easy to find for the user. Antenna guidance instructions can be found here.
Users can build a “radio in a bucket” set-up and antenna to install their own infrastructure. The software required to broadcast the signal can be found here. The App is only available for Pocket Galaxy and Duos Samsung Smartphones and can be found on Google Play Store.
However, it is required to comply with national and locals regulations for deployment of radio stations. They are usually complex, require legal work, site survey and a very thorough project preparation that have to be approved by relevant authorities.
The Rootio Radio team can be contacted on their web page..
As of June 2017, four bucket stations have been running in Northern Uganda. Rootio hopes to launch 12-20 established antenna broadcasting stations in the coming future. Rootio is developing the capacity to quantify the number of listeners on their network.
The Rootio Radio Solution comprises the transmitter antenna + station called “radio in a bucket”, the cloud solution to push Internet content to radio+antenna transmitter and app for content management and technical admin of infrastructure. While the “bucket Rootio Station” includes a FM transmitter, there are no particular specifications. This means that the implementing team can use any FM transmitter that fits in the bucket. The android app is designed and tested only with a Duos or Pocket Galaxy Samsung smartphones, so is suggested to build the “bucket Rootio Station” with these Samsung smartphones.
While guidance on antenna assemble procedures are available here, guidance on “radio in a bucket” assemble procedures are yet to be published.
Technical support is provided by Rootio. Email: email@example.com.
Replacement components may be found locally.
Lifecycle depends on each element of the solution and quality of electronics connectors and method of power generation.
Rootio hopes to increase reach of broadcast stations and increase the number of users.
Resilient Africa Network has performed a third party evaluation of Rootio.
Lightning is an issue with large antennas. Remain cautious with all electrical components and follow standards, guidelines and local and country regulations.
Large broadcasting towers accompany the radio in a bucket concept and the cloud/app offering.
AM or FM
Where is the information that is being transmitted in the radio coming from? Radio station, cloud-based content, mobile or other source.
Is there an option to access this device remotly/online? If yes, specify the technology (Internet, GSM, etc)
What is the range/distance that the radio can reach when transmitted?
How can users access the radio content broadcasted by this device? Radio receiver (personal radio), Internet (computer, phone), etc
Does the device has capabilities to manage content remotly/through the Internet? If yes, specify the technology (Internet, GSM, etc)
To install a radio station is required to comply with in-country FM regulatory framework. Commonly a licenses provided by local/country government is needed in order to broadcast.
Number of broadcasters, number of listeners reached.
Watch this video to learn more.
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