Running a Net Radio Station With Open-Source Software

Seven Linux enthusiasts decided that it would be cool to broadcast their own radio show over the Internet.
Starting Liveice

To start Liveice, go into the /usr/local/liveice/bin and run liveice. You must be able to connect to the broadcast server for Liveice to start correctly. Figure 3 is a screen shot of what Liveice looks like when started.

Figure 3. Liveice Startup Screen


We did not encounter any problems with either the LAME or Liveice setup and configuration. They conform to the open-source standard and are very simple to set up.

Line Input

We purchased an audio mixer that allows multiple microphones to send audio into the line-in port on the sound card. xqmixer recognizes the sound card as audio in to send the stream through LAME to be encoded and send output through the Liveice client. After the Liveice client receives the input, the client streams the output over the Internet to our Icecast server. Icecast receives the stream from Liveice and relays it back to the Internet in an MP3 format to be interpreted by any MP3 decoder client that our listeners choose to use. Xmms and Winamp seem to be the most popular programs to decode MP3 streams.

The mixer provides a greater range of input options. We can run a CDROM, microphones or an MP3 player right into the mixer and out to the Internet. The open-source radio show runs a full range of input to give the true radio feel when we broadcast. We use an audio mixer with six ports for input. Each host has his own microphone that jacks into the mixer, which then connects into the line-in port of the sound card. Any device that generates audio output can be plugged into the line-in port on the sound card.


Liveice requires specific audio input quality. The sound card, while it receives input, is still controlled by the tools within the operating system. In our case we use xqmixer to control the sound card hardware. On xqmixer, the record volume controls the streaming rate that Liveice receives as input. If the record volume is set too low, you will not hear any output. If it is set too high, Liveice clips the audio. Clipping is an audio engineering term that describes what happens when the audio signal is too strong for the hardware to handle—it “clips” off part of the signal, making it sound terrible. We adjusted our sound quality by tuning the record volume. It's simple: fire up your station and listen to yourself. If you do not hear anything, increase the record volume. If the playout is clipping, reduce the record volume until you get it right.


The show runs every Thursday night from 8:00 P.M. to 10:00 P.M. EST. We discuss open-source issues and use the full range of our mixing and MP3 conversion capabilities. Anyone can do what we have done. With the exception of the mixer, the computer hardware and the T1 connection, everything was free. You can easily download all of the software from the Internet to create an Internet radio station. We would also like to say that despite our sound, no small animals are injured during the course of our broadcast.


The hosts of open-source radio are professional engineers by trade and hackers by night. The show they broadcast reflects what they run into every day in the high-tech industry. Andy, Rich, Brad, Paul, Tom, Jim and Jim have all worked to make this dream a reality. You can reach open-source at or at



Comment viewing options

Select your preferred way to display the comments and click "Save settings" to activate your changes.

Re: Running a Net Radio Station With Open-Source Software

Anonymous's picture

This was far too indepth for someone with no experience of setting up Internet Radio. It would have been really helpful to have some basic starting points for laymen!!!!

White Paper
Linux Management with Red Hat Satellite: Measuring Business Impact and ROI

Linux has become a key foundation for supporting today's rapidly growing IT environments. Linux is being used to deploy business applications and databases, trading on its reputation as a low-cost operating environment. For many IT organizations, Linux is a mainstay for deploying Web servers and has evolved from handling basic file, print, and utility workloads to running mission-critical applications and databases, physically, virtually, and in the cloud. As Linux grows in importance in terms of value to the business, managing Linux environments to high standards of service quality — availability, security, and performance — becomes an essential requirement for business success.

Learn More

Sponsored by Red Hat

White Paper
Private PaaS for the Agile Enterprise

If you already use virtualized infrastructure, you are well on your way to leveraging the power of the cloud. Virtualization offers the promise of limitless resources, but how do you manage that scalability when your DevOps team doesn’t scale? In today’s hypercompetitive markets, fast results can make a difference between leading the pack vs. obsolescence. Organizations need more benefits from cloud computing than just raw resources. They need agility, flexibility, convenience, ROI, and control.

Stackato private Platform-as-a-Service technology from ActiveState extends your private cloud infrastructure by creating a private PaaS to provide on-demand availability, flexibility, control, and ultimately, faster time-to-market for your enterprise.

Learn More

Sponsored by ActiveState