Sustainable low-budget infrastructure

This month I finish my university career and along with this move I sadly will stop working at Insanity Radio, the student (now community) radio station I’ve been running tech at for about 3 years now. Needless to say, I’m going to miss the place and the people, and the challenges that came with that environment.

Specifically: No budget (a total of £3,000 income annually, compared to the average income of £75,000 for most Community Radio stations according to Ofcom). No paid full-time staff. And a desire for 100% availability regardless.

Over the years the systems at Insanity have evolved and grown – they started out as a single computer for playout, a single encoder and streaming server running Windows Media Encoder with about 50% availability best-case, and we’re now deploying high availability clusters for streaming and encoding, have very few single points of failure, with a total of 21 computers. Back in 2009 we had significant amounts of dead air – outside of a processor failure we’ve had very few incidents since 2011.

Building systems for reliability on no money is a tricky thing to do, and it’s even harder when the people maintaining the infrastructure change on a potentially annual basis. This post is basically a quick encapsulation of some of the most important things to focus on to make such a situation work – not just from a technological perspective but from a human perspective too. Continue reading Sustainable low-budget infrastructure

RadioDNS and RadioVIS – Getting Started

Okay, this is gonna be a weighty one. But it’s an interesting one, for me at least, and I hope for you too.

If you’ve got a smartphone, or a modern DAB/FM radio, chances are it can connect to the internet on 3G or wifi. This lets your smartphone also check your emails, and your modern radio listen to internet radio streams. But what it doesn’t let you do is find out more about the station you’re listening to. At least, until now. (Read that in a dramatic voice and let the tension sink in a little. Done? Then let us proceed!)

Continue reading RadioDNS and RadioVIS – Getting Started