The Summer of Megs

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MegsRadio is first and foremost a student-driven project. As such, we tend to move at a snail’s pace during the academic year but then jam during the summer. Last summer, we successfully completed a “minimum viable product” and launched ahead of Ithaca Porchfest in September of 2016. We collected a ton of (mostly positive) feedback from artists and listeners.

The general sentiment was “cool idea but the user experience is a little rough around the edges.” It was apparent that we had a lot of work to do before MegsRadio would be successful in terms of having people want to use it on a regular basis.

 

Members of the MegsRadio team handed out shirts, flyers, and stickers at Porchfest 2016. (From left to right) Evan Sobkowicz, Fiona Lynch, Harrison Malkin, Danny Akimchuk, Chris Perez, and Joe Menduni.

We spent the winter digging through the feedback and doing a little internal reflection. Analyzing this feedback, conducting focus groups, and reflecting on our experience resulted in an action plan for this summer:

  • A More Shareable Experience – direct links to artists, events, venues, stations
  • Focus on Events – better music event recommendation, a map-based interface for finding local shows
  • Robust App Development – our first Android app and all-new mobile-responsive web app
  • Better Sound – playing higher quality music
  • Backend Tools – faster and easier to add donated music, fix incorrect music data, improve the playlist
  • Outreach – work with festival organizers, venue owners, and artists to get the word out

As you can see, we have our work cut out for us. It’s a good thing that we have a talented summer crew to pull it off:

  • Chris Perez (Android App & Backend, The Senior Statesman)
  • David Dorzey (Web & iOS Apps, The Frontend Master)
  • Danny Akimchuk (Playlist Algorithms, The Brains)
  • Joe Menduni (Backend & Audio, The Data Guru)
  • Jon Burger (Web & Android App, The Traveler)
  • Elena Piech (Outreach & User Experience, The Dynamo)
  • Alex Python (Backend, The New Guy)
  • Caroline Chang (Playlists, The Discoverer)
  • Jared Lim (Audio Analysis, The Machine Learner)
  • and me (Everything & Nothing, The Enabler)

Ithaca summers are my favorite time of the year. I get the chance to spend time outside and Ithaca has an abundance of live music. I also love working with a crew of talented and focused students. As a collective, they are going to build a web app, phone apps, and a music recommender system that will knock your socks off.

– Doug

P.S. – Big thanks to the National Science Foundation and Ithaca College for providing funding for these students!

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Founder and primary investigator for MegsRadio Assoicate Professor of Computer Science at Ithaca College

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