Podcast streaming software and jingles

The Alesis IO 2 USB Audio Interface is connected up to a laptop running Ubuntu, naturally.  The laptop’s job is to stream the live show to the big wide world and to record the file so we can make it available to download later. To do both these jobs, we use the Internet DJ Console (idjc). Firstly it acts as an icecast client, sending our audio up to the icecast server for redistribution to the listeners. It also has VUs which show the current output level and status of the icecast stream. IDJC records the audio of the show in the high-quality FLAC format. This is the file that we top and tail before encoding and uploading for listeners to download, which is done in audacity afterwards.

IDJC also plays out the funky tunes before and after we broadcast, thanks to its play-list functionality. It could also play out our theme music, promotional messages and other pre-recorded audio during the show, but because Ubuntu doesn’t have a working low-latency kernel at the moment we can’t really do so and not drive ourselves to distraction listening to the echo! Instead we use an Acer Aspire A110 connected to the mixer for these bits of audio.

To play the audio from the netbook, we currently use a shell script I knocked up between our first and second live shows called Cartwall, named after the old fashioned tape cartridges used in radio stations. It is pretty simple really, it just adds a menu system to the command line audio player sox. Any audio that sox supports can be played back through Cartwall. Cartwall provides a menu, with a customisable title, which can be used to play individual clips or a sequence of files. You can run multiple copies of Cartwall on the same machine to provide multiple “carts” which can play back concurrently. You can also direct the audio from different instances of Cartwall through different sound cards, meaning that they can be controlled separately using a mixer.

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