Q – What is Internet radio?
A – Internet radio is an audio broadcasting service transmitted via the Internet involving a streaming medium that presents listeners with a continuous stream of audio, accessible from anywhere in the world. Not every web “radio station” has a corresponding traditional radio station. Many web radio stations are completely independent from traditional (“terrestrial”) radio stations and broadcast only on the Internet. Broadcasting on the Internet is usually referred to as webcasting.
Q – Is there any subscription required?
A – There is no subscription required to access Classic Soul Radio.
Q – Who works at Classic Soul Radio?
A – Classic Soul Radio is currently an all volunteer-driven Internet-based radio station.
Internet Radio Technology
Q – Is Internet Radio Just For Computers?
A – Internet radio isn’t just for computers. If you love our programming but can’t sit at a computer all day, get a smart phone. Most smart phones are ClassicSoulRadio.org compatible.
Q – What is Streaming?
A – One of the most common ways to distribute internet radio is via streaming technology using a lossy audio codec. Popular streaming audio formats include Wimamp, iTunes, MP3, Ogg Vorbis, Windows Media Player, and RealPlayer just to many a few. The bits are ”streamed” (transported) over a TCP/IP connection or UDP packets, then reassembled and played within seconds. Therefore, streaming radio has about a two-second lag time.
Q – How does Classic Soul Radio determine the number of people listening to its broadcast?
A – The method used to determine the number of people listening to an Internet radio broadcast is usually obtained from the broadcaster’s audio streaming server. Icecast, Nicecast, and SHOUTcast are examples of audio streaming servers that can provide listeners statistics for audience measurement. In the US there is an estimated 52 million actual Internet radio listeners. In Canada it is estimated over 5 million actual Internet radio listeners.
There are three major components to an audio stream:
Audio stream source
Audio stream repeater (server)
Audio stream playback
Q – How do you create an audio stream source?
A – There are many methods for creating the audio stream source. Those more technologically savvy may opt for the SHOUTcast service, which utilizes Winamp and the SHOUTcast DSP plugin to deliver MP3 audio at higher bitrates. Other methods include open source technologies such as Streamcast, stream-db, IceS, and MuSE, and patent-free data formats such as Ogg Vorbis. Using open source stream source tools allows for interesting web interface possibilities like phpStreamcast.
Two of the most popular internet radio networks are Live365 and SHOUTcast. Open source alternatives include Icecast and Xiph.org, which include Ogg Vorbis streamings (that can be played by Winamp and Zinf). Collectively, these internet radio servers list thousands of Internet radio stations covering an ever-expanding variety of genres. The purpose of the server is to repeat the stream source to the audio playback software.
Using a virtual tuner, which is basically a site that agregrates links of internet radio broadcasts from around the World, is another popular method of listening to internet radio. The virtual tuner enables the listener to easily find internet broadcasts by genre, language, or location. Once the listener clicks on a link to listen to a broadcast, the virtual tuner service allows the listener to establish a peer to peer connection with the internet radio broadcaster’s web server. In this manner, the virtual tuner service avoids re-broadcasting the internet broadcast, thus avoiding the infringement of the broadcaster’s copyright. The virtual tuner service that has established itself as a market leader with the most reliable set of links to the broadcast urls and that has created the largest aggregation of broadcasts with over 7,800 worldwide is Vtuner. Vtuner’s partner CPTV,LLC.is the exclusive reseller of the service to the lodging industry worldwide. CPTV and Vtuner enable interactive television system providers to offer hotel guests the ability to listen to internet radio through the television inside the hotel guestroom.
Some sort of audio playback software or hardware, that is capable of reading HTTP data streams, is needed to listen to streaming MP3 audio. Some popular software players are Winamp for Windows, iTunes for Macintosh and Microsoft Windows, and XMMS on Unix/Linux. Listening to internet radio through hardware devices is not so popular, due to the very limited amount of devices which are available. On Internet radio device a list of commercially available devices are mentioned, but many are limited in which audio codecs they can use.
Q – Are there any tradeoffs?
A – There is a tradeoff between audio quality and audience size. Stations that encode their streams at a lower bitrate have lower audio quality, but they are more accessible to listeners with a dialup connection, and they can serve more simultaneous users on a given upstream pipe.
There are also a small number of web radio programs that allow users to rate the songs they are listening to. This allows a user’s music listening choices to be correlated against those of others, as with the programs iRATE radio, Last.fm, and Radio Paradise.
Q – What is an MP3 file? What do I need to listen to Classic Soul Radio’s live streams?
A – Classic Soul Radio offers live streams in two formats: MP3 and Windows Media. To learn more about Windows Media and MP3 files, click here.
In addition to a computer with a sound card and speakers or headphones, you need an Internet connection (dial-up modem, DSL, cable modem or local area network) and audio player software.
To listen to MP3 streams, Classic Soul Radio.org recommends the latest free version of Apple’s iTunes for both Windows and Macintosh users. You may also use Real Player or WinAmp.
To listen to Windows Media streams we recommend the free Windows Media Player, available for download here.
If you need assistance installing or using Windows Media Player, please visit Microsoft’s Windows Media Knowledge Center.
Q – What internet browser should I use to listen to online audio or a podcast?
A – The best option is Firefox v. 2.5 or greater. If you are bent on using Internet Exploder version 6 and up work, but really version 7 and up are the way to go. Hasn’t been tested in safari yet. This site is using dynamic html coding, therefore older browser versions do not support some of the features and may make things look a bit wonky.
For the most trouble-free listening experience, ClassicSoulRadio.org recommends iTunes. Don’t have iTunes? Download it here for free.
Q – What is a Podcast?
A – An audio program in a compressed digital format, delivered via an RSS feed over the Internet to a subscriber and designed for playback on computers or portable digital audio players, such as the iPod; To deliver (audio) via an RSS feed over the internet to a subscriber.
Audio and video programs resembling those of radio and TV can also now be distributed by Podcasting which can be published by various means including RSS feed and P2P clients.
You can save audio files (called podcasts) to your hard drive to listen to them on your computer or on an MP3 player, like an iPod. Once saved, you can listen to the podcasts any time — even if your computer is not connected to the Internet.
Firewalls and MP3 Streams
Some firewalls could prevent listening to the MP3 stream directly. The firewall at your job for example, may be configured to deny any inbound traffic not sent on port 80 (which most web traffic uses). If this is the case, the listener should contact their network administrator and find out if there is a workaround.
Most online audio or video problems can be solved by downloading the latest player software.
When I listen to the live stream, the sound skips, cuts out, or buffers. Why?
You may not have a fast enough Internet connection to reliably listen to audio online. Internet Congestion can slow down the delivery of the stream, and may make it difficult for you to connect, or may cause increased buffering. This congestion could occur anywhere between you and the station. We apologize for your inconvenience and suggest you keep trying, or try again later. Try increasing your player’s buffering setting. Local congestion could also cause issues. Local (on your computer) bandwidth is shared between all open applications and the player, so closing applications frees up memory and may reduce buffering. Rebooting your computer often helps as well.
Questions? Comments? Problems?
We strive to bring you a pleasant and positive web experience. If you have a question, comment, or problem with the ClassicSoulRadio.Org web site, please feel free to contact our Webmaster at firstname.lastname@example.org, providing as much detail as possible. While we cannot guarantee that we’ll be able to solve every streaming problem, we’ll do our best to help you.