Category Archives: radio

Can I Say Associative Trails?

I had no inkling I’d be doing a morning show simulcast on Strawboss Radio and ds106radio when I went to bed last night. But based upon what I appeared to have said during this recording it seems I’ve signed up do it again tomorrow and beyond.

The only edit made on this 55 minute mp3 file was to remove a couple of minutes at the beginning from Polecat Strut by the Polecats. Moving forward, I don’t plan to release entire shows in this manner. Instead, I’ll work on the reflection and interrogation process described in the final stop set.

Beyond that, I will resist commenting on the content in today’s program and kindly direct your attention to the replies section of this post upon listening.

So long as this remains fun and circumstances allow, I’ll try to continue weekday morning (PDT) shows for the duration. But it will require your help to keep it fun. Can we count you in?

Featuring Four Playlists

As the Strawboss Schedule Carousel shows, we know have four playlists operating around the clock. The playlists draw from over 2,500 mp3 files that were downloaded from the Internet Archive. The schedule will be in effect until Halloween and is intented to provide an unfamiliar listening experience that hopefully is not unpleasant. For the time being, there’s no urgent need to attract a sizeable audience. This is meant to be a learning experience: to teach myself how to use Azuracast and Liquid soap while also demonstrating a particular way to set up and run an Azuracast station. And there’s also the desire to provide some level of documentation of the various interconnected processes. It’s been a fun puzzle to work on. I’m finally beginning to understand why Orson Welles called it a never ending merry-go-round of sound.

The Four Playlists

  1. Default is a quirky curation of songs I’ve downloaded rom the internet archive and uploaded to the Strawboss server
  2. Playlist Practice (PP) will be available for new and old strawbosses to experiment with setting up listening experience of their own design (get in touch if you want to be a strawboss)
  3. Voices From the Past (VFP) will play historical radio broadcasts that might be of interest to those curious about radio as educational technology. Currently playing in VFP is Richard Durham’s Destination Freedom (more to be said about how this program could be worked with in a course in a follow up post after I read Sonja D. Williams’ book Word Warrior: Richard Durham, Radio and Freedom).
  4. Old Time Radio (OTR) is currently featuring selected episodes from three radio dramas: Candy Matson, Cloak and Dagger and Theater Five.

Now What?

Between now and Halloween, I will continue to explore and experiment with playlists. Files will be added to the various playlists as they are found in the IA. I’m also going to set up some remote playlists on a scheduled basis (during a PP slot). It appears that remote playlists can either access another radio stream or an m3u playlst which links direclty to files on the IA servers. Someone suggested listening parties on Twitter or through web conferencing. This is a good idea and will attempted.

We will also do live broadcasts in the weeks ahead similar to past work on ds106radio. I hope to live shows in the morning instead of late at night (PDT) There will soon be an announcement for a forthcoming weekly program for and by the local Parkinson’s Radio Club here in Eugene. From the beginning I’ve imagined public facing organizations using Azuracast to share their stories in participatory fashion. Hopefully other such organizations will be inspired by the PRC example.

There remains a need to produce some basic station identity bumpers, jingles and stingers. Stuff is in the works and will be rolled out when available.

Finally, and best of all, there’s still time for you to get involved at Strawboss Radio. All it takes is a radio dream. Together, we can make any radio dream come true.

Azuracast and You

Azuracast and You – episode 1 – Playlist and Music Files pages

I had a bit of fun in assembling this first recording for what hopefully will be a long-lived project: Azuracast and You. The thing begins with a sign off done during a rehearsal WebDJ set done the night before. Regular listeners, in addtion to not requiring a high-bran diet, will remember that their new old radio friend likes to play free and easy with that good old linear conception of time (scottlo being scottlo). A careful listener might even be able to distinguish between those bits I recorded through a decent quality dynamic microphone through a mixer and those done through WebDJ on a built-in laptop mic.

Essentially, the recording consists of several songs from the Leo Reisman Orch. and a few stop sets recorded along the way or the day before. It’s in those spoken portions that I attempted to say something or other about Azuracast, curating collections of old recordings from the Internet Archive, and chasing the radio dream. In radio terms, and it was played semi-live over ds106radio late last night, it isn’t particularly good radio but then again it might not be particularly bad radio. Fortunately there are a couple delicious musical morsels at the end from Caterina Valente and Radio’s Ace Organist, Elmer Bieck to wash it all down.

This first installment of Azurcast and You is primarily about setting up a scheduled playlist of songs that have been uploaded to any Azuracast station. These pages are found on the station management page (Profile). The Music Files and Playlist pages are where the process described mostly takes place.

Most station management, curation and scheduling tasks begin from the Profile page

In terms of documenting the process, I’d kindly direct your attention to a tweet storm that took place over 72 hour span this past weekend. The steps listed below were drawn from the text and images in those tweets. Also in the tweet storm but not in the below list are a few wrong turns and diversions encountered along the way.

  1. Gather a collection of mp3 files from the internet archive
  2. Edit the ID3 tags so that Artist and Song Title are included
  3. Create a scheduled playlist on the Playlist page for the music to be uploaded
  4. Upload mp3s to a directory you’ve created on the Music Files page this can be done through the Azurcast web interface or via SFTP
  5. Associate the uploaded files to the playlist on the Music Files page
  6. Tell someone when the playlist is scheduled to play and send them a link to listen
  7. Enjoy the pleasant sensation of having done radio like a straw boss

It’s a simple process though quite tedious at times especially when editing metadata on a large collection of songs as was done here. Based on this weekend’s work, Strawboss radio now draws music from four separate playlists around the clock. So the Shlock Around the Clock daily circular schedule has been adjusted accordingly. And hopefully it will continue to evolve as more straw bosses join the fray to make some fun radio – all are welcome, none are turned away.

subject to change as new playlists are created

And if this and future installments of Azuracast and You encourage others to program their own playlists as schedule blocks on Strawboss, this whole effort will have been worth every moment spent these past four days.

During the past month’s time of earnest experimentation and wild-eyed play over Strawboss Radio and ds106radio with Azuracast through Reclaim Cloud, I’ve developed a great affection for this tool and what it makes possible. I believe that the more people we get on board with their own Azuracast station to do radio as they see fit, the better. And that’s precisely why I’m here trying to write a blog post to accompany this little bit of recorded audio.

Thanks for your interest and patience.

Shlock Around the Clock

Announcing a schedule chock-full of unfamiliar sounds around the clock just for you

After a few weeks of exploring and playing with Azuracast, I’m reminded of a line in one of Talking Heads’ songs that said something like: this must be the place. And if I were allowed to reflect on these radio dreams that have filled my imagination for as long as I can remember, I might be reminded of the line in a Barry Manilow song about having been alive forever and having written the very first, of being the music, the melody and the whole ball of wax. At long last, I seem to fallen into the most forutnate set of circumstances: to have unlimited access to a place where radio dreams come true.

This web radio experience from Azuracast, at least as I see it, has so much damn potential to give a platform for distributed audio expression to anyone with basic computer connectivity to the internet. My intention in this blog moving forward is to share my impressions and experiences gained while exploring Azuracast’s features and capabilities. For now, it will just be breadcrumbs like these to help me recall the path taken as it unfolds.

The purpose of this post is to announce that Strawboss Radio is currenlty serving up music around that clock using scheduled playlists from three different playlists: contrails, Dusty Fingers and randum. Each of those playlists represent folders full of mp3 files from different curators at the Internet Archive. What that means is that over 2,500 mp3s have been downloaded from IA and then uploaded to Strawboss Radio in the Music Files section of Azuracast. in a later post, as these scheduled play lists get refined, I’ll have more to say about the curators and how the play lists are put together to form a schedule.

Those familiar with how ds106radio’s autoDj is programmed will recall that the around the clock music source there is the amazing free-form station from New Jersey, USA: WFMU. To accomplish this, Tim and Jim have used a different feature set of playlists in Azuracast. Remote playlists give any Azuracast station the ability to retransmit another interent audio stream, as ds106radio does, until live programming commences.

And that is a feature that Strawboss and ds106radio have in common: the ability for anybody to go live at any hour of the day form anywhere in the world through an internet connected computer or mobile device. And this is the primary reason why I am here learning and playing how to use Azuracast. I want to do whatever I can to help whoever has the dream to make great radio. And I were I forced to provide an explanation for that, I suppose the best answer I could provide would be, “because it’s so damn fun.”

Why Do You Sit in the Corner Whispering?

By now you might have heard about the all-in-one web radio management suite Azuracast. Our friends at Reclaim Hosting have recently made it possible for anyone to build and run an internet radio station as well as an exciting selection of other open source software through their Reclaim Cloud PaaS (Platform as a Service) program. Having played with Azuracast over the past month at ds106radio and Strawboss Radio, I’m pleased to report that it’s probably never been easier or more fun for you or your organization to get into the radio game. That is if this is an idea that appeals to you.

Tutorials explaining how to set up and use Azuracast like a boss have recently appeared. The purpose of this and planned Strawboss blog posts is to get down my own thoughts about some of Azuracast’s features that show promise for aspiring broadcasters. For the remainder of this post, I’d like to describe the audio recording below and to list points relevant to using one of my favorite Azuracasts features: WebDJ.

what could go wrong?
Careful Listener Series 01

Last night I did a live radio show using WebDJ through Azuracast on Strawboss Radio. The recording was created automatically and no post-production work was done on it. I had two intentions in planning and presenting the show. First I wanted to provide an introducton to how to use WebDJ in the simplest configuration possible: a DJ playing music and talking between songs. The other intention was to share some recent discoveries of old 78rpm recordings I found on the internet archive.

I also had an idea early in the process that I’d write up a detailed tutorial type blog post with screen capture images and crisp clear documentation of the process. But as my WordPress chops are so atrophied and more time than I dare admit has already been put into this endeavor, I’ve decided to save that tutorial type post until I am again more comfortable with WordPress.

For me, an exciting part about doing the show on WebDJ last night was how simple it is to present an adequate program. There is no need for extensive audio production skills or technical wizardry. All you need are your streamer login ID and PW (freely available for the asking), an internet connected computer with a web browser and microphone (I used a Lenovo Thinkpad T480 laptop with built in mic and the Opera web browser), some mp3s to upload to WebDJ with good metadata, and something to say when you turn on the mic. It’s really that simple.

If after listening to the recording and reading this post, you have any desire to explore Azuracast’s WebDJ on Strawboss Radio, get in touch and I’ll get you set up with the necessary login credentials. And if you’d like to try it out at ds106radio once they get WebDJ up and running, similar can be arranged by contacting Diamond Jim.

There’s so much more to be said about the past month of experimenting and playing with Azuracast as well as my hopes and dreams for Strawboss. So I’m actually quite tickled and excited to begin planning for the next installment of the Careful Listener Series. I hope you’ll be able tune in live or at the very least catch it in recorded form here.

But it would be the gravest of ommisions to end this post without acknowledging the support, encouragement and friendship from Diamond Jim, Brian, Chahira, Anne-Marie, Tim and Giula. Without them, I’d still be watching vaporwave and classic tennis videos on the YouTube and the radio dreams would only be in my head and I might even hear voices in the night asking: why do you sit in the corner whispering?

Let’s make some great radio, together!