Radio Netherlands Worldwide using Drupal

24. Juni 2009

Radio Netherlands Worldwide (Radio Nederland Wereldomroep in Dutch or RNW for short) is a public radio and television network based in The Netherlands. Radio Netherlands Worldwide is a very old international public broadcaster, with regular transmissions that began in 1927 to the Dutch East Indies, now Indonesia.

What is interesting about the site is not the design or the implementation, but the fact that, after many years with Alterian (formerly Mediasurface), they switched to Drupal. Alterian is a supplier of proprietary content management systems, with their flagship product being Morello. The RNW started with the Internet early on (1992) and by doing so suffered from the law of the handicap of a head start: a history of dated, proprietary CMS-es that held them back from moving to the more current software.

RNW selected Drupal because of its multi-lingual capabilities (they support up to 6 languages, including Chinese and Arabic content) and Drupal's flexibility and agility. The migration to Drupal was done by Dutch Open Projects and took 3 months with a team of 5 people.

Bert Boerland, project manager at Dutch Open Projects, wrote the following on the switch to Drupal: By itself, the fact that Radio Netherlands Worldwide switches from a proprietary CMS towards an Open Source CMS is not the biggest news. However, the switch is a milestone since it symbolizes that companies that didn't look to Open Source and only listened to the proprietary "prietpraat" are moving over! [The word prietpraat is Dutch and translates roughly to "childish non-sense".]

With both RNW and the Dutch public broadcaster NCRV using Drupal, and through Acquia's partnership with Woodwing (Woodwing is a Dutch company), the media landscape in Europe's low-lands has some critical mass to push Drupal into more traditional broadcasting companies. Drupal starts to disrupt the traditional, proprietary web content management space increasingly more.

With an editorial staff of over one hundred people, RNW publicizes dozens of postings a day including their own video and audio, and will soon incorporate even more, including user-generated content and content from their five-thousand-plus partner stations around the world. To keep all this content on track, RNW choose Drupal, coupled with the usual contributed modules (CCK and Views, FCKeditor, Pathauto, etc). They use Organic Groups as their core for separating and integrating their eleven editorial staffs. RNW gets lots of traffic from around the world and so, gets lots of spam, they are also a paying Mollom user; Mollom blocks hundreds of spam comments a day for them.