We are very pleased to announce the second release of GRINS, Gram Vaani Knight-funded project to create low-cost systems for community radio stations in rural areas. This builds upon the v0.1 release we did in June by adding support for telephony, backup, and log-shipping, plus smoothing out many user interface issues. Having a single console to schedule broadcast, make and receive phone calls, archive live speech and manage content sets GRINS apart from any other commercial or open-source radio broadcast software available so far.

Here’s a look at some of the features:

Telephony: The current support for live telephony allows the radio jockey to receive phone calls, converse with the caller, and optionally put them on air. Conferencing can also be set up across multiple callers if more than one phone line is available at the radio station. This means that the radio stations can do interesting applications, for example, have a doctor stay on line and invite community members to call and ask questions, or have agricultural experts and mediators stay on line and answer questions, etc. This also means that syndicated broadcast can be enabled across multiple GRINS stations by having them call each other! Here is a screenshot of what the telephony screen looks like.

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Log shipping: Even if your radio station does not have Internet connectivity, you can still report back problems to us. All you need is a USB stick. As shown in the figure below, you then insert the key into any of the various machines you may be using. GRINS will copy its logs on to the key. Then walk over to an Internet cafe or any other Internet enabled PC and insert the key into this PC. Scripts will automatically fire off and upload the logs to our server. We can then take a look at these logs and figure out any problems in your setup.

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To read more about GRINS v0.2, and for download/installation instructions, please take a look at our website.

In our next release, we will provide the ability to send/receive SMS messages, and to share content across different CR stations.