Running a radio station with Campcaster

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Facilitated by Douglas Arellanes

Session Description

How to break the waves with Campcaster - free, open source radio suite enabling live broadcast and scheduling for radio stations, whether their transmission is analogue, digital or online.

Session Notes

Built in 2004, 2006 ran out of money. June 2009 - station in Bosnia took the source code and created a user generated station called Open Broadcast: anyone can make a playlist, and that playlist gets broadcast on the air)

Scenario: direct action - setup a clandestine transmitter, but control it remotely using a mobile phone or wi-fi connection. Authorities can shut down the transmitter, but not the people.

Scenario: crisis - there is an earthquake and you need to distribute info. Setup a generator, low-power transmitter, and automated broadcast (e.g. how to sanitize water). Not supported yet: a missings person's list (could be done with asterisk).

The competition: Rivendell - open source radio system. Payed for by the Salem Broadcasting Corporation, a christian fundamentalist chain of christian broadcasters who snapped up a bunch of LPFM licenses around the country. They are using Rivendell to broadcast Rush Limbaugh. BUT, it's written in C++ and requires a special audio card.

The solution Campcaster - mostly PHP, a little C++ (the playlist scheduler), runs on linux (targets Ubuntu, uses gstreamer, but they're moving away from it because it's crashy).

Features Users can create playlists thru the website Users can schedule playlist playback at a certain time Can embed playlists within other playlists (e.g. promo-lists) Can have a central archive with multiple clients. "Scratchpad" - shows a user all of the media files that they've looked at or used from the archive.

Demo time: using an iPod FM car-kit; would work better with a mixing board, but just plugged into a laptop. Schedule a playlist for a specific time. Plays thru a radio and is awesome!

3 most requested features:

 1. Make this work on Windows
 2 . Integrated streaming
 3. Proof of broadcast/logging

Development Mistake: assumed that every station has a hacker-dude that would add features to this system. solution: work more with university stations who have better access to technical people

Campcaster 1.6 is coming out in January. Changes:

- Dropped gstreamer
- Using audio scripting language called "Liquid Soap" (a scripting language based on OCAML)
- more ajaxy, drag-and-drop

For home broadcasting: setup an ice-cast server in another location that can serve your stream to many people without clogging your home connection.

Metadata: uses a subset of Dublin. Others: PBcore, EBU889, BBC (wants £10k for the specification)

Ideas:

- Rebuild with Drupal to get rid of legacy code and greater developer access/support
- Distribute as a single distribution (like Dynabolic or 64 Studio)

Community Radio Ally shoutout: Prometheus Radio Project

"Broadcast My Podcast" - Showing people how to make your own FM transmitter Universal Software Peripheral - a software radio that can be acquired "for research purposes only".