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September 30, 2009 3:55 PM   Subscribe

I want to run it in a radio show type of format... a conference call that is.

I want to run a conference call in a radio show type of format, where I can see on a switchboard (on the computer screen I assume) a listing of the callers (preferably in the order they called).

Since I will be fielding only questions, this style is preferred so that I can be asked the question by the caller, then interact with the caller while the other listeners on the line can hear. After I reslove the question, I bring the next caller on the line.

Any software recommendations out there? Preferably ones that are free-low cost. I'm imagining something where the caller calls in and is greeted with, "Welcome to the Q&A session, you are caller number 5. Please enjoy the conversation and we will answer your question shortly"
posted by yoyoceramic to Technology (4 answers total)
I could be wrong, but I think most radio show phone banks are fielded by real people who filter out the kooks.
posted by filthy light thief at 4:09 PM on September 30, 2009

Response by poster: This would be invitation only.
posted by yoyoceramic at 4:26 PM on September 30, 2009

I'm not aware of a Conference Service that'll give you that kind of control, although maybe there's a plug-in for Skype that'll come close... The proper way to do this is a little more involved:

What you're asking for is really beyond the scope of most applications. but if you have the inclination you could probably come close with a set up of Asterisk or FreeSwitch, both of which will allow you to set up and configure your own pbx/switch.

It's possible to make either of them behave as you want in terms of playing a greeting to each caller before dropping them in to the conference call, and controlling who can speak etc. but you'll need some way of letting those callers dial in...

If you've already got several lines on one phone number you can buy the appropriate hardware card to interface between whatever kind of BRI/PRI ISDN or even Analogue FXO termination you have, and the server.

Alternatively you can look to an ITSP to hook you up with a dedicated VoIP number, but be sure to specify how many simultaneous calls you want to be able to handle and make sure you have adequate bandwidth.

Once you're able to present calls to your server you can add something like sipXecs to cover the call-control aspect.

Welcome to telephony geekhood :)
posted by dirm at 5:15 PM on September 30, 2009

Rent a radio studio? Call the public radio station near where you are - their rates are generally pretty good. MeMail me if you want more details.
posted by god hates math at 7:03 PM on September 30, 2009

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