Streaming Radio – Doing it right

This is something that has come up time and time again now, and with Amazing Radio going online-only with nothing but a single Shoutcast server streaming one format at one bitrate, now seemed like a good time to write about online streaming of radio stations.

Let’s start by briefly looking at real broadcast operations – on FM and AM we try and maximise coverage (within our license), maximise compatibility, and of course we want to add as much value as we can with metadata like RDS (and now things like RadioDNS). We’re trying to reach as many people as possible, with as little fuss as possible, and trying to give people the best possible service.

This is not what many broadcasters do with their online offerings, which is a real shame, considering the potential that many stations have. So what constitutes a best-effort service? What makes life easier for listeners, and how can you make your station’s output as widely available as possible? I’m just going to skim over the technology here and break things down. I’m also going to discuss briefly what we’ve done with the streams at Insanity Radio 103.2 FM, and how we’ve worked them into apps and our new Radioplayer implementation. Continue reading Streaming Radio – Doing it right

Engineering FM – Part 5

A little break (strangely coincidentally, just as my penultimate term ended and my final year project got finished and handed in) later, and here we are again – another post in my series on engineering FM transmission at a community radio station.

This time I’m going to be talking about how to properly power a transmission system, and how best to deal with uninterruptable power supplies (UPSes) in terms of cabling, monitoring and long-term care. Continue reading Engineering FM – Part 5

Insanity’s Launch Night

This Wednesday I was honoured to be involved with the launch of Insanity Radio’s FM broadcasts as a Community Radio station. The main switch-on was planned for midnight on Wednesday, and a special space-themed party hosted at the Student’s Union was planned to celebrate, with a countdown to the switch-on and at midnight, pyrotechnics, balloons dropped from the roof, and Insanity DJs from 9PM through to 3AM.

Of course, we wanted to celebrate with a special broadcast, and we had to manage the technical side of actually switching on FM. This is a quick writeup of how we pulled it off. Continue reading Insanity’s Launch Night