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Airtime requirements for community radio
  • I am the operations coordinator for a community radio station in the US, WDRT. Our entire operation is based on opensource software, and where possible hardware. We currently run Rivendell for our automation system. While an extremely powerful and rock solid stable tool, it has proven to be too complex for a volunteer based organization. The project itself also has some technical and social issues. Airtime has evolved to the point that we are seriously looking to migrate to it. I also work with several community radio organizations and would like to help get it to a point that it could be recommended to other radio stations, and even work on an out of the box debian-based install that includes airtime, and other packages. I have had an airtime sandbox installed on a VM since version 2.0.0.

    Here is my list of must haves, before we can put it into production at WDRT:

    1) flac support - we have a library of over 30000 tracks and lossless is important to our workflow
    2) read ALL of the airtime supported metadata fields from vorbis comments on import - currently if 'LABEL' is in the vorbis comments, it is not read into the database when you import the track and it is required for soundexchange reporting on our webstream here in the US... see #1
    3) track statistics such as number of times played - this is critical for tracking underwriting spots

    Other features that would be useful for community radio:

    1) ability to manually start a playlist in case a live event goes over the scheduled time
    2) the concept of scheduler codes for tracks that should only be played during certain time periods, or should expire after a certain date

    I am more than willing to help in anyway that I can. I haven't written any code in years, but can hack my way around a bit, and I'm great at finding bugs!

    Thoughts...
    Dragon



    Todd Fisher Wallin, Operations Coordinator - WDRT-FM Viroqua, WI
  • 4 Comments sorted by
  • Hi,

    Thanks for the feedback. I agree with alot of your suggestions - many have been already suggested internally for 2.2.

    FLAC will definitely be included, and track statistics will be included in our 2.1 release (scheduled for May 22nd release).

    1) ability to manually start a playlist in case a live event goes over the scheduled time

    I believe this is addressed by our new "live show" feature, where you can edit a show on the fly (even the current playing track). I'm not sure exactly what you mean by live event (a recorded show?)


    2) the concept of scheduler codes for tracks that should only be played during certain time periods, or should expire after a certain date.

    I think you are referring to something related to smart playlists here. You create a playlist that is based on a genre (for example), and it randomly selects tracks matching this criteria and plays it when appropriate. This is also something we are considering for 2.2.

    If you are interested in giving us feedback for 2.1 or getting a preview of our final release, please download the latest beta (beta 6). 

    Airtime Pro Hosting: http://airtime.pro
  • Thanks for the response Martin! I was worried it would be seen as a complaint, but my intent is to help with the project.

    --manual start/live show - this might do what I am thinking. By live event, I mean just that, live analog audio. We will be using airtime as our automation system but we also have two full studios with turntables, cd players, Mixxx, etc. and we stream live remote content back to the studio using liquidsoap, and bring it into the mixing console through a studio PC. The goal is to have a playlist ready to go and then allow an on-air programmer to start it at the right time when a rigid clock is too inflexible.

    --scheduler codes/smart playlists - I think this is part of the solution but would need some additional fields in the database for things like a 'play_until_date' or 'night_time_only' field etc.

    Any thoughts on reading the 'LABEL' tag if set in an ogg/flac file on import?

    I was running our sandbox on a deb-testing install. When I tried updating to 2.0.3 after applying other system updates the airtime package wouldn't finish installing. It was throwing an error during the post-install script that was python related. I didn't investigate to far, but think it is probably due to updating to python 2.7 and the virtualenv issue that is seen on ubuntu 12.04. I rolled our sandbox back to squeeze and installed 2.0.3.

    I am building a deb-testing install right now on the sandbox with the intent of installing 2.1 beta. I'll give any feedback that I have...

    Dragon
    Todd Fisher Wallin, Operations Coordinator - WDRT-FM Viroqua, WI
  • --manual start/live show - this might do what I am thinking. By live event, I mean just that, live analog audio. We will be using airtime as our automation system but we also have two full studios with turntables, cd players, Mixxx, etc. and we stream live remote content back to the studio using liquidsoap, and bring it into the mixing console through a studio PC. The goal is to have a playlist ready to go and then allow an on-air programmer to start it at the right time when a rigid clock is too inflexible.

    Ok sounds like this feature will suit your needs. Note that you can also have scheduled content running silently in the background while your live show is broadcast. If that show finishes earlier and disconnects, Airtime will automatically fallback to the programmed schedule.

    Any thoughts on reading the 'LABEL' tag if set in an ogg/flac file on import?

    We can do this, please create a ticket at dev.sourcefabric.org, and I'll schedule it for 2.2 when we also add FLAC support.


    I was running our sandbox on a deb-testing install. When I tried updating to 2.0.3 after applying other system updates the airtime package wouldn't finish installing. It was throwing an error during the post-install script that was python related. I didn't investigate to far, but think it is probably due to updating to python 2.7 and the virtualenv issue that is seen on ubuntu 12.04. I rolled our sandbox back to squeeze and installed 2.0.3.

    2.0.3 worked fine with 12.04 beta 2 (which was the latest 12.04 release at the time 2.0.3 was released), unfortunately there were some last minute changes by Canonical that broke our installation process. We've decided to wait until Airtime 2.1 to bring official 12.04 support to Airtime. 
    Airtime Pro Hosting: http://airtime.pro
  • Vote Up0Vote Down Paul BaranowskiPaul Baranowski
    Posts: 389Member, Administrator, Sourcefabric Team
    On Mon, May 14, 2012 at 1:39 PM, Todd Fisher Wallin <<br />airtime-dev@lists.sourcefabric.org> wrote:

    > 3) track statistics such as number of times played - this is critical for
    > tracking underwriting spots
    >

    This is in 2.1.