Open Source Radio Automation

Posted by Sam Churchill on

Campcaster is a free and open source automation system for radio stations, reports the BBC. It provides live studio broadcast capabilities as well as remote automation in one integrated system.

Until relatively recently, running a radio station required a large amount of hardware, some of it rather complex – and most of it expensive.

As well as playing files, which can be done from any media player, Campcaster adds features specifically for radio broadcasting and uses it for all aspects of a radio station, such as the ability to stored and schedule music, line up news clips and interviews, and preview listen to a record before it is played on air. With an open source system, you can actually add on new features as you see fit Douglas Ariennes, Campcaster developer. “If you want a good playout system, it’s going to cost you more than $1,000 just for the licence – and that’s only for one computer.

“The most important thing about Campcaster is that you don’t have to be in the studio listening to the music – you can be at home and still operate your studio,” he said.

The most recent version of the software was rolled out in Sierra Leone, and is named after the country’s capital Freetown. It is being used in both universities and small communities.

Sahr Gborie, of development group Sierra E Riders, said he had found Campcaster to be “a very good piece of software for broadcasting”.

Nullsoft’s Shoutcast program may be the answer to a radio station’s streaming media needs, says Radio World. The application has a wide assortment of streaming uses. Setting up a station’s streaming audio is not too hard or time-consuming once you figure out how to adjust Shoutcast and decide what you want to do, says the radio trade publication.

Unifying various factions in Iraq and promoting peace is what the staff at Baghdad’s Al-Mahaba (Love) Voice of Women radio station tries to do every day.

Initially funded by UNIFEM, the United Nations Development Fund for Women, Al-Mahaba’s commercial FM broadcasts deliver topical interviews, listener call-ins, music, poetry and education aimed at women — many of whom remain cloistered in their homes.

Radio Al-Mahaba hopes to continue to spread its message of tolerance, equality and human rights. “When we talk to Iraqis, we tell them to stay united and keep their faith,” Bushra Jamil, Al-Mahaba’s spokeswoman, told Radio World. “A better day will come; don’t give up.”

Perhaps the next step in broadcasting will be podcasting to mobile devices. While modern laptops require about 40 watts of power, the $100 laptop needs a miniscule three watts to browse the Internet and less than a single watt to display an electronic book. Inexpensive 700 MHz transmitters (with DVB-H and MediaFLO) will allow datacasting to Google Billboards (above). That could be another venue.

How these new broadcast technologies will eventually be utilized around the planet is probably impossible to predict — but it’s clearly moving towards the grass-roots.

Posted by Sam Churchill on Friday, January 12th, 2007 at 10:03 am .

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