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

Problems

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.

Problems

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.

Conclusion

The http://www.opensourceradio.com/ 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.

Resources

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 www.opensourceradio.com or at dj@opensourceradio.com

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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!!!!

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