- October 25, 2018 at 1:47 pm #107027
Couple of quick q’s about streaming.
Was told it’s easier/better to have all the same equipment (i.e. Arrakis board with their automation software and then whoever (Icecast/Shoutcast) to host and send out your stream). But that seems like an awfully expensive way to go.
What do y’all do for streaming?
I was considering using Radiologik (I have mostly mac gear) and my Behringer mixer and compressor (to sub out for the Innovonics) and then getting a service to hot my stuff. Is this doable or should I stick with the “all the same” approach?
I’d like to keep this relatively inexpensive, but it would be pretty awesome to have a streaming service who can cover publishing and all that stuff and also maybe give you an app.
I want to be able to run automated programing, advertisements, bumpers, etc and live broadcasting (I will be having a lot of guest DJs playing almost daily in the middle of the afternoon or at night) and not have any major issues. I can sell advertising in my local area so I don’t know that I want some host to have that for me. At least, I think I can save money and not have to pay them.
Thoughts, suggestions, wisdom?
- October 26, 2018 at 5:31 am #107029
Sorry if any of this is already obvious or well-known to you now Keith, but it is all helpful in context.
First, are you in the US or elsewhere? What is the local media scene like right now? That will have some bearing on what you should be airing, what kind of streaming services are available, and what kind of advertisers — existing or potential — will be interested.
Many services offer inexpensive streaming, but there is a listener cap. For example, CheapestStream.Com will set you up for about $17 a month ( around $204/yr) but limit you to 60 listeners. An audience that size will be a hard sell to any advertiser. Over the air (OTA) radio can claim a “potential” audience based on local population, but a listener limit for an Internet station is finite. On the upside, they do give you a free copy of SAM Broadcaster, so they playout solution is taken care of.
Get your streaming service to deliver both MP3 and AAC — some browsers get ugly when trying to play out an AAC stream. And make sure the page works on mobile devices (phones, pads). Nobody sits at computers anymore, DX’ing their favorite streaming stations.
For encoding, I used to use the open source B.U.T.T. I say “used to” because I am exclusively OTA AM now. Streaming was fun at first, but then the legal eagles caught up.
Here’s hoping good advice comes from a lot of other participants Keith. Good luck.
- October 26, 2018 at 7:33 am #107030
If you’re looking for unlimited listeners and a way to afford it DJC media and the AdsWizz program works quite well.
This gives you the hobby broadcaster the option to do what you do best and that’s your programming. The program takes care of the target ads based on your location. If you can get enough listeners you can more than pay for your licensing fees and still have unlimited listeners.
Another program that is free I don’t like it quite as well is called radioloyalty. This program uses the player itself to distribute video and audio ads. It works the same way as the program I told you about above where you would play a Target file which targets the ads if they’re available in that area otherwise you would have a filler voice file. My filler voice file talks about c-quam AM stereo and where to get the radio because what I do is I also simulcast it so that the transmitter I have does not play the ads but will play the filler file during that time slot. For the folks that are listening on the stream if there are no commercials at that time in their area they will hear your filler file.
If you’re looking for Sam broadcaster or other paid professional DJ software such as nextkast then cheap streaming.com could be your answer but I don’t like the fact that you’re limited to so many listeners. And without a Content delivery Network program for ads you’re going to have a pretty hefty bill. You can figure about $80 to $100 a month because you have to figure out the cost of the music licensing and for me the licensing itself is around 80 per month. Now you add $20 + for the server itself and you’re talking well over $100 per month. That’s 1200 a year. So getting a sponsor is very important if you want to stay alive on the internet.
- October 26, 2018 at 2:17 pm #107031
I’ve been talking with Gary over at Securenet/Cirrus streaming. He says (famous last words) that I can pay SoundExchange $500 a year and that covers all publishing. He also said that with his service works well with StationPlaylist as the automator. He gives 300 listeners for the lowest tier. They provide apps, Alexa, iTunes support and all that. He runs ads to support and says I can run my own also.
I just wasn’t sure how many of us are streaming or not. In a way, I almost like the idea of just buying a few more transmitters and placing them strategically. I think the thing that is a real bummer about streaming for me is all the moving parts: automation (which I know I sort of need anyway), streaming service, interface program for the streaming service, publishing fees, etc. That’s a lot of money just to open up your platform.
I also wish some of this stuff was more Mac compatible just because that’s my background. Good to be versatile, however. Does B.U.T.T. do Mac? They have a link on their page for it.
- October 26, 2018 at 4:45 pm #107032
Well, let me toss out a few things. First of all, you can’t pay SoundExchange $500 a year to cover all publishing. You also have to pay BMI, ASCAP and SESAC. They cover the licensing for the songs themselves (the song writers), SoundExchange covers royalties to the performers only. You need to license ALL those groups. Stream Licensing covers it all in one monthly fee, somewhere around $60 or so a month, but that goes up based on number of listeners and revenue generated by your station. Stream Licensing has run into some legal snags recently but thousands of streamers are still successfully using their system.
The three commercial stations I work for all stream using Securenet services. They provide us with apps, etc as well. There are various services and various packages and various add-ons. There may be some package they have now that includes the other PROS (Performance rights organizations) but I doubt it. Ask specifically about these other royalties. We pay a lot more than $500 a year per station, it’s more like that — monthly. Although we are commercial operations with thousands of listeners.
Just toss this out on Macs. I’ve been running my station on an older iMac for the past 5 years with Megaseg software. It’s not free, in fact I think it was something like $200, but it has never failed me, never crashed, and once I figured it all out it has worked perfectly for me. In fact, my station has had zero downtime for any reason for over 5 years. Backup power runs it during an outage, and the iMac, software and Procaster transmitter have never so much as burped.
As for your comment about pairing board with automation software — phooey. At work, we have three stations with Arrakis boards all used with the Skylaa System from Smartcaster. I can think of no reason why you would need to pair software with the mixer. In fact, I believe anyone can download the Arrakis automation program for free, based on the free link I saw on their website earlier this week. But I don’t know anything about it. I’ve used Arrakis boards at work for nearly 30 years but have never even seen their automation software except in a few short demo videos. Ah.. I see now, their free software is for live assist only, no automation. Well, that explains that. The integration with their mixers is basically just being able to start/stop the automation from the console.
The Megaseg software is really handy however. My station runs in automation 24-7. If I get a wild hair to go live, I just click where on the schedule I’d like to go on, the automation stops after that event — a song, commercial — or whatever — and switches to whatever audio might be coming in the input jack. So you can actually do a complete live show with nothing more than a mic. Play the songs/spots from the computer and go live in-between, doing your intros, outs, Dj patter or whatever, just like you would in any lie show, and just pulling your spots and music from the computer as you go. Very similar to any live assist program you might ever use. I actually have mine setup that it goes to a board I use for live stuff, so when the automation stops and throws it to me, I go to a live board with mic, CD, turntables, tapes, etc… and can do a regular old school live show and with a click go seamlessly back to automation. it works real slick and is easier to do than to explain.
There may be completely different features and interface changes in Megaseg now. I’m still using the version I originally downloaded 5 years ago. I have this problem with updates — when something is working perfectly for me I tend to never update it, LOL.
As for Arrakis boards, we’ve used them at work, as I said for 30 years. They are not the cream of the crop. But they are serviceable and much less expensive than most other real broadcast boards. Then can have some trouble with bleed (or crosstalk if you prefer) but I’v never noticed any bleed between output busses. But we have three in service 24-7 in live service. I use one of the little 8 channel jobs in my Part 15 studio for producing my music shows and for going live. Works perfect. I see no reason to buy a nicer board for Part 15 and music show production unless you need more inputs. You can also use a more typical mixer like a Behringer Mackie, etc. But none of these will have typical broadcast features like cue, muting, etc. And no one should have pan and eq available in an on air board, but that’s another argument for another day.
Anyway some rambling thoughts from one Mac user to another.
FWIW I don’t stream my Part 15 so I have no direct knowledge that will help. At work we stream, but my part of that job ends once I get clean audio to the computer input that connects us to the Securenet servers.
- October 27, 2018 at 8:37 am #107033
Man… that was really informative!
Okay, so, I need to pay more money to stay legit. I did look up the Stream Licensing website and it seems rather easy to get going there. I think the initial price on the lowest rung isn’t bad to start with. I like the DJC/Adswizz. I did a little looking around there, but they also seem to be PC based.
Securenet seems like a solid service. I definitely like the app and Alexa integration among other offerings. But their software and interface are all PC based I believe? No big deal, easy to get around with the signal chain I would think. Just use a PC to stream with. I figure, if you automate with Mac, then just send the output of that computer to the board, and have an output of the board hit the input of a PC to go out on Securenet (that would work, right?). But on the Megaseg site, I see this about streaming:
“Yes. MegaSeg handles automation and scheduling for your online station, and you can stream its audio to any SHOUTcast or Icecast server using an encoding tool, for example:
- LadioCast (MP3/HE-AAC codecs)
- Broadcast Using This Tool (MP3/HE-AAC/OGG codecs)
- Audio Hijack (MP3/HE-AAC codecs via its “Broadcast” output block)
Note Audio Hijack has the ability to capture audio from MegaSeg directly, while other encoders require an audio routing tool called Soundflower (free) or Loopback to direct MegaSeg’s audio to the encoder. With Soundflower, open MegaSeg’s Settings > Devices tab and change Playlist Output to “Soundflower (2ch)”, and do the same for the encoder’s audio input. Alternatively, if you have a physical mixer, you can route MegaSeg’s audio to the mixer and take its master output back into the Mac to be captured by the encoder. (Take care to prevent a feedback loop by either using a second USB audio device, or muting the encoder’s monitor output if possible.)”
Does this mean one computer can do it all? If you had Megaseg working with Audio Hijack, you would only need to sign up for Shoutcast or Icecast and you’re set! Or is not that easy? Wouldn’t you need a computer with two sound cards for it to send audio out to something and then bring it back in? Does this Soundflower program (or Loopback) make that happen with one sound card? Seems like it. I would really want to ensure that whatever is happening to me OTA is also what is out on the stream to be consistent.
The downside to Shoutcast and Icecast is that they don’t offer apps. And they have limited offerings with listeners. BillyBurg makes a great point in that no one really sits at a computer anymore; an app is crucial.
Tim, what you said here: “The Megaseg software is really handy however. My station runs in automation 24-7. If I get a wild hair to go live, I just click where on the schedule I’d like to go on, the automation stops after that event — a song, commercial — or whatever — and switches to whatever audio might be coming in the input jack… I actually have mine setup that it goes to a board I use for live stuff, so when the automation stops and throws it to me, I go to a live board with mic, CD, turntables, tapes, etc… and can do a regular old school live show and with a click go seamlessly back to automation.” This is EXACTLY what I am aiming to have setup.
My chain for terrestrial currently is: Pioneer DJ mixer (turntables, CDs, tapes, etc through that) going into a small Behringer board going into a compressor (in place of the Innovonics) and then out to the Hamilton. I want to run 24/7 and then cut in when I or any of the other people will be cutting in with live programing. Seems like the Megaseg would be a solid choice. Can you run in on an MacBook? Or must it be on iMac?
I was thinking of upgrading to the Arrakis 8 channel board. I see that you get one of their automation software offerings with it too, but PC stuff. I keep reading that the console has a balanced mono out. Is that true? Where/how? I have looked the back panel on that thing up and down and can’t find anything.
- October 27, 2018 at 12:19 pm #107039
For a Part 15 station at least, I’ve always viewed streaming as a way to extend coverage in the local area – in other words, to hit those users that you can’t reach over-the-air.
How many of the users in your targeted coverage area do you realistically think are going to stream? Not many, I’d wager.
It would be different if your coverage area was larger (i.e., your signal was more powerful) and/or you were looking at streaming as your primary business.
Before you go spending a lot of money on streaming, I would go small and cheap, and see how many listeners I actually got.
To me, streaming is a huge expense that is only going to get more expensive with the music modernization act and the greed of the media companies. I think I’d look into multiple transmitters first.
In Canada, when I did stream I ran my own server. But then, I was streaming public domain music (of which there’s a lot more here), so I didn’t have to worry about licensing fees. And when I was running as a business, I was able to use non commercial radio station music licensing, which is fairly reasonable if your gross operating budget is low (a flat rate of 1.9% of that figure).
- October 28, 2018 at 5:18 am #107041
Keith – You’re asking questions that I can’t help you with. I don’t stream my Part 15. AT work we stream three commercial stations, and all I know about any of that is that the Skylaa system from the Smartcaster sends song data to Securenet through a second computer, and I send analog audio into the same computer that has the dedicated purpose of sending audio and data to Securement. Beyond that I don’t know nothin’. But it’s using two computers — the Smartcaster and the one that sends the data/audio. Now, the Skylaa system is a huge hunk of software that costs tens of thousands of dollars that provides everything for three commercial stations including logging, programming, billing, etc. So it’s all way out of my league being an old fart analog guy. The folks at Megaseg and Stream Licensing have been very good at answering questions. I don’t stream because when I started my Part 15 my boss (I’m the chief engineer for three stations, and morning show host on one station — been at the same outfit for 30+ years) just about had a cow that I would be competing with him till I explained that you can only hear my station for about a mile out, that I won’t be actively selling local advertising, and I won’t be streaming. I promised I won’t stream until I retire from real radio.
As for streaming itself, I don’t know. I know that I have a lot of people ask me when they an listen to my station on a stream, including many who live 8 miles away in the town I actually work in. And plenty of local folks. My station is carried on our local cable TV system, so that gives me a pretty good range of clear listening at no cost to me. Might be something to look at.
My favorite streaming example is WREN in Topeka, KS. A bunch of old fart radio guys wanted to put the legacy station back on he air until they found out it would cost about half a million bucks to do it. So they brought it back as a streaming only station. They’ve been on for about 8 years, each enough to have a full staff of DJ’s and sales people working there, and do’t even own a transmitter. Last I checked they were doing about 25,000 unique listeners daily. They do it through Stream Licensing. https://www.wrendigitalmedia.com I can plug my phone into my car stereo and listen to them all over the country with no issues. My Son live in Topeka and we can leave northern Minnesota and listen to the WREN stream for 700 miles with no dropouts. That’s pretty successful streaming! They run it like a regular live station.
I don’t know of any mono-mix output on my Arrakis, although I haven’t looked, LOL. Haven’t seen the back of it since I installed it a few years ago. I do know they come in several different models and have changed a bit over the years. But I would suspect there has to be a mono output available. For me it doesn’t matter as it can go into the stereo input on the Mac and the output comes out the computer output and can either be switched to a mono output from the Mac or/but my Procaster mixes stereo to mono anyway, so it’s no problem.
You can certainly run Megaseg on a laptop. As long as it’s a Mac with an operating system compatible with the version of Megaseg you’re running. I think you can download the Megaseg manual without buying it to learn about it. In fact, if I recall I could download a version of Megaseg that was a demo before I bought it. I’m still running a five year old version, in an old iMac. I have a clone of that computer in an old laptop that’s ready to go as a backup if needed. And I’ve built another “station” in another old mac laptop with an entirely different format loaded, should I get a wild hair to try something crazy.
One nice thing about Megaseg (and maybe other programs, I’ve never used any other) is you can load a crap load of music — only limited by the size of your hard drive — and set up completely different formats or playlists. SO, for example — I run a vintage country format — about 1939-1976. On Thanksgiving eve it takes me two mouse clicks to switch to my Christmas music format. One to choose the other format, and one to say “start it”. I also have various versions of my regular format loaded, with different numbers of commercial breaks in them, so when I don’t need a much ad space I can change to a format with fewer breaks, etc.
When I retire from the “real” stations It’s my intention to put a streaming oldies station on the air — with a greatly expanded music list. The station I work for his an oldies format, and we actually have about 3,500 songs in rotation. I think it could easily be 6,000. LOL. So I’ll then be competing with my format employer, with a similar but better format, LOL.
Don’t know if I addressed too many of your questions.
- October 30, 2018 at 5:04 am #107052
Thanks everyone! This has been hugely informative and given me a lot of perspective I didn’t previously have. I will keep you all posted on forward progress. For the moment, however, I am going to stay terrestrial until I can get some cash under me.
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