ds106radio #4life

Your New Old ds106radio

Your New Old ds106radio


Over the last couple of days, I learned how to edit web streams to ds106radio, and how to track down the right URLs for those streams.

A little background: for several weeks I have been programming in the daily playlists, a little bit at a time. I know others are doing this also. It is a task that is needed to minimize the possibility of dead air. Sometimes I take the lazy easy way out and program in a web stream instead of individual songs. Eight hours done with one easy click and drag! But, I hadn’t been checking to see if the streams really worked.

Tuesday, I think it was, I noticed a tweet or two concerning the ds106radio feed seemed to have something wrong with it. I looked, and sure enough it was meant to be playing a stream from WITH radio, but was dead air. I fumbled around and learned that if I delete the stream from the program, I can’t just slide new items into the empty space. The stream had two more hours left, and that was going to be dead air. But, I discovere that I could create a new stream specifically for that empty time frame, so filled in with WFMU. Once the two hours expired, normal programming resumed.

Well, there was an additional confusion factor: the Airtime program we use for managing ds106radio had updated to a new version. A few other folks, like Alan Levine, Grant Potter, and @TheFocusZone were busy fixing links for such things as the listen buttons. Gotta have working listen buttons, or what’s a radio for?

OK, next step for me. When I had the chance I checked the streams for the various radio stations we have in the ds106radio library. Within Airtime, there is the capability to preview and listen to any of the streams or files in the library. It turned out that more of them didn’t play. As I investigated, I found that the stations themselves had changed their sources, so it seemed all I would have to do is update the URLs of the streams. But it is not that easy.

Most of the streams that we use are listed on the radio stations’ pages with file extensions of .m3u or .pls. These are actually text files that are used by media player programs to then open up the actual stream. I needed the actual stream URL. I had to download the files and open them in Notepad, and then extract the actual stream URL. Sometimes this worked, sometimes it didn’t.

End result: All but two of the streams already programmed now work. One of the two that didn’t work, the station’s webpage stated that they had a bad stream server (and didn’t indicate it was being taken care of). The other one was not a radio station, but an individual streaming old time radio. Unfortunately, the URL of his stream did not function in ds106radio. So, I deleted those two streams from the library to avoid scheduling them and ending up with dead air again.

radio streams

Some of the streams in the library

In the process, I discovered quite a few radio streaming sources that I will benefit from myself. For example, we have five different streams from SOMA FM. They actually provide many more, playing various genres. Maybe I’ll program in all of them (someday) for more choices.

So much to listen to, so little time.

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4 comments on “ds106radio #4life

  1. Hi Bill!

    Before I had a T-shirt for ds106, I had a T-shirt for SOMA FM. (My favourite for the longest time was (and remains) the Secret Agent stream.) When I was poking around in Airtime a few months back in an attempt to keep some programming going, I decided to research how to get the SOMA FM Secret Agent stream in there. And once that was sorted out, it was a simple matter to throw a few others in there.

    Personally, I like it when ds106radio is streaming out content that comes from the ds106 community. The previous CentovaCast setup (which we still use for 105theHive.org) didn’t require the same degree of management to keep audio going out — at the same time, it doesn’t offer the same granularity of time-specific programming flexibility that Airtime does. But Airtime does go dead if there is nothing specifically programmed for any given moment, as you have noted, and so it’s good that there is a group of folks working to keep stuff slotted in.

    All said, ds106radio is a wonderful learning place for ds106 folks to play around in — and one of the best components of ds106 proper.

    • byzantiumbooks says:

      Thanks for the kind input, Andy. I tuned into 105theHive for a few minutes yesterday, and heard a scary story or two. Does the station normally stream 24/7?

      I’m finding myself to be more of an eclectic listener, and less of a dj. But, I might produce something to air someday. And I might pop in live for random PSAs. Working on the TDM/7300 project is opening windows of oppor-tune-ities. Old time futuristic radio isn’t what it used to be.

      Peace, Bro

  2. Wow, Bill, this is excellent! Thank you so much for doing this. We all appreciate it. I didn’t know that if you delete a stream you can’t just replace it. But good to know the workaround.

    I’ve been adding stuff here and there too, not as much as I’d like, but more after this, my craziest week for awhile, ends

  3. byzantiumbooks says:

    Yeah, and I learned yesterday I can simply click the program divider in the calendar view and drag it to stretch the time. I love playing around with time, but it can be dangerous!

    Talk to you again yesterday…

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