Xojo and WDNA-FM, South Florida

In-house developed Xojo apps save radio station time and money

Joe Cassara is what you’d call a veteran in the radio broadcasting field. He is the operations manager for WDNA-FM in South Florida, where he takes care of the day-to-day station operations and produces audio elements. When he was seventeen he began producing the technology talk show, Into Tomorrow, with Dave Graveline, which introduced him to the broadcasting industry.

In addition to an interest in broadcasting, Cassara has also been a longtime programmer, starting out at the age of six on a Commodore VIC-20.

“It came easily to me. I could envision the bits in the computer’s limited memory moving around and it all made sense,” shared Cassara. “I stayed with the Commodore throughout high school and college, writing shareware and freeware for the Commodore-Amiga.”

Cassara later began using C for console-based tools to run on Mac OS X, as well as Objective-C, and dabbled with Ruby for quick-and-dirty solutions. But, he needed a solution for a cross-development system and he was very against using Java. He came across an old mailing list thread for Amiga AMOS (a language from the past), where some developers mentioned Xojo among a list of high level development tools.

After checking out Xojo, it became his primary development environment. “Who doesn’t dream of a high-level development system that is both easy to use and cross-platform, without the extra fiddling and limitations of Java?,” commented Cassara.

One of his Xojo apps plays a vital role in the production chain at WDNA. The software package they use for scheduling commercials and promos is rather robust, but it doesn’t natively support the automation system, which controls the elements that are played on-air. The two cannot talk to each other out of the box, and there are a few third-party applications that can fill this gap in the process. Being such a niche market, these solutions can cost upwards of $2,000! Cassara’s app, LogConvert, parses several different files and merges them into one that can be easily digested by automation.

“Aside from LogConvert, I’ve created in-house talk show call screening software that allows a producer to take a phone call, provide relevant information about the caller to the on-air talent, and manage this data in a variety of ways, such as email the day’s callers for follow-up,” offered Cassara.

He continued, “There is also a custom Instant Messenger application that allows me to send urgent text to on-air hosts in the event that I need to reach them in an emergency, like if they accidentally left their microphone on.”

WDNA-FM relies on quite a few Xojo applications for it’s daily operations and management. These applications have saved the station time and money and they are always looking for more ways to integrate a Xojo application into their processes.

“I know C and Java. Creating these solutions using C or Java would be cost prohibitive,” added Cassara. “With Xojo I did it in a tenth of the time, saving me thousands of dollars.”