Monday, October 11, 2010

ROBBLOG # 159


Oh Boy!

Here’s a behind-the-scenes blog about a technical problem. You might even find out a couple of things about Swisssh Radio that the “general” public will never know- unless they read my blog. Don’t worry, I am not that techie, so it’ll be easy to understand. Give me a chance to explain…

I get up Sunday morning on the Thanksgiving Weekend looking for a restful day starting with a mug of steaming coffee and a read on my newspapers- online. The sunshine was streaming through the windows on the south side of the house.

I switch on Swisssh Radio on my internet radio and- nothing.
Not a sound.
So I go to the studio and both encoders are stopped dead!
The encoders- in simplest terms, send the Swisssh Radio sound out to the world.
No encoder.
No Swisssh Radio.

I started to look around and discovered that Microsoft had sent an update of a programme called Service Pack 3. This- as I am to understand, adds that word “Intel” to Microsoft computers. Something like that.
Eventually by 11 in the morning I was able to get one Swisssh Radio stream up and running. By mid afternoon the windows “live” 128k stream was running as well.

I don’t want to get into a tech lecture here- not that I could, but the one computer is pretty much toast. It was kind of a “put together job” that was built to host the encoder- as I explained already, plus something called the Statistics Relay. The “stat” relay shows me that people are listening and how many hours are tuned in 30 days. That’s how I can say- for instance, that September was my most listened to month since Swisssh Radio went on the internet airwaves back on March 7th, 2007.

So now these “encoders” and “stat relays” are housed on the same computer as the programme that plays my music, jingles and commercials.
Now, that’s good- and bad.
The good part is listeners can now see the song titles and artists streaming on the player they are using to listen to Swisssh Radio. That’s the good part.
The bad part is the fact that I can’t get my “live” microphone to work.

Damn!

I e-mailed some other Net Station owners and got a bunch of suggestions. They are all thinking what I am thinking as far as having the music and microphone run through a mixer board and into the encoder. That’s what I have been doing but through that third computer where I had my encoders hosted. Now that I have everything on one computer, the mixer board is not sending the signal to the encoder.
My choices are this.

1. Leave the streams displaying song title and artist information as they are. I would have to pre-record but I confess- I do that most of the time. I have measured audiences when Swisssh is “live” with an on-air announcer or voiced ahead of time. There’s no difference in having a “live” announcer as far as hours tuned is concerned. In fact, as I also mentioned in this blog, September was my most listened to month- ever, with the whole month being voiced-tracked- as we say in the biz.

2. Use another computer as I have been doing to host the “encoders” and “statistic relays” and ensure a quality sound from my “live” microphones through the mixer board I use.

There you have it. A real conundrum. I don’t have to have this fixed tomorrow but I will give it a think this week then decide how to proceed.

In the meantime, please enjoy Swisssh Radio and take a peek at the titles streaming across your player.

Have a good one!

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