Friday, July 4, 2014

first radio broadcast

was a total success. All my labor fruits (still with the birthing puns?) were completely worth it. A bunch of this won't make sense to a lot of my besties, but I wish to get it all out there. 

What I had to learn and endure to start this radio station was years in the making, complicated, and time-consuming. I am actually really proud of myself for sticking with the process and learning the code, the tools, and the chutzpah to get through it all and bring my mixes to the masses.

Watching television wasn't really a thing we did in my family growing up. I spent most of my childhood outside with my radio boombox.

When I was a wee child I used to tape songs from the radio on my little boombox. I later graduated to owning CDs and cassettes of my own, dubbing THEM on my little boombox. Sometime in 2001ish, my mom got a cd burner and I began making a few mix CDs alongside the mountain of cassettes that kept me company throughout the '90s. I also received a minidisc player in the early 2000s and made some minidisc mixes, though that contraption never took off. 

My early '20s saw a sadness that was reflected in a draught of mixes, but in 2009 I got an iPod and started making a lot of playlists in iTunes. Sometime that year I attempted to pull off a radio station. I did a bunch of research and started a live365 station. My first broadcast stumbled so severely that I cut it off before the end of "Tits on the Radio", my first broadcasted song. I think I didn't have enough bandwidth and didn't realize I needed to outsource the server in order to have even one listener at a time. I gave up easily.

The idea of a radio station has needled at me my entire life. In high school, I shadowed a local DJ for the day. I wasn't outgoing enough to use the opportunity to create contacts and get my foot in the door, though they were very nice to me, let me pick a lot of the music, put me on air. They liked my voice and even recorded a few promos/commercials with me.

I couldn't shake the idea of running my own station, so last week I finally jumped back into research. I found out that what I needed was a server, a streaming platform, and a source. By outsourcing your server, you can have simultaneous listeners. I signed up for live365 again, but their limitations are just too stifling. At their $15/mo plan you can upload 350MB (about 80 songs) of songs to their storage "locker" for offline playlists, but there were many rules about which songs can be played within which time periods, etc. It took hours to upload the first batch of songs that became quite repetitive after 24 hours. I had originally planned to upload a new set of songs once a week, but the process was so tedious. Further tedious was the fact that my $15/mo only bought me 10 simultaneous listeners to a live show. The service had an app, but it was laden with annoying audio ads. Though I launched this station, I abandoned it a second time in 5 years just a few days later.

After many more hours of research I discovered a radio server that was free and could stream live to 200 simultaneous listeners. At the free level, it's only available on flash-based browsers with a very '90s look, but it works like a dream alongside a computer program called "nicecast" (which is a whole other story about figuring out how to configure it) which is serving as my streaming conduit between the server and the source (iTunes, microphone, record player, wherever the music is coming from). THEN I found out Nicecast only streams an hour at a time at their free level, after which I'd have to pay a $60 licensing fee. I'd have had to use this program with live365 as well so not only would I be paying $15/mo for a limited and clunky radio experience, but then I'd have to shell out an additional $60 as well. Radio is essssspensive, yo.

I elected to use the free server and pay the $60 licensing fee. Then I decided I really HAVE to be able to stream in a non-flash way. I have to be available on apps, so today I paid for a "pro" account on My Radio Stream which was only $17 for 3 months. 

Then I started the research process on how to get your station listed on a website that hosts directories. I chose a service called Tune In, and have filled out forms to list my station with them. I have to wait 48 hours for them to judge me worthy, which I really hope they do, and then Mixtress Radio will be on apps (Tune In Radio is the app, which will hopefully have me in their directory by Sunday or Monday, if all goes as planned).

Today, I've been "on the air" since 4pm and it is now after 8. I've loved every minute of it. I am so happy. During the course of the broadcast, I only had about 4 listeners total, but I'm not even upset. I know my listeners will grow and even if they don't...I'll scream into the void unheard for a long time before the excitement wears off and I wonder why no one likes me.

When I started the YouTube channel I told myself I'd make 10 videos and if I didn't have 25 subscribers by that time, I'd quit. My plan for the radio station is thus: if I regularly average 5 listeners per show (Fridays from 4p-8p CST) I will continue broadcasting after my three months of "pro" broadcasting status is up.

For now, I am over the moon. So excited to share all my cheesy playlists live with the world. 

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