Month: January 2014

Radio Free Caemlyn is on the air!

While the Skype experiment for trivia may have failed, another idea I’ve tried has succeeded, and is still ongoing: Radio Free Caemlyn is now live on the air as a 24/7 Internet radio station.

This has been something I’ve wanted to do ever since I started Radio Free Caemlyn as a podcast. The name of the podcast was inspired by the naming trend for pirate radio stations, that being “Radio Free [something]”. (A common misconception about RFC is that I named it after a well-known Doctor Who podcast, but that is not the case. My naming trend was all about pirate radio stations). I wanted to do some sort of 24/7 broadcast, where I would stream random content, mostly from the podcast archives, and occasionally be able to jump on the mic and talk into the darkness, into the silence, on the off-chance that someone out there might hear my words, that my words might stick with them. I liked that idea, but I had no easy, affordable way of making that happen. I played around with Shoutcast, but that was tricky to get working (and I think might be going away soon, what with the shutdown of WinAmp). Eventually I became a fan of the Phone Losers of America, and learned how Brad had his audio setup configured. However, I needed an easier way of managing a station.

A while ago I learned of a site called Mixlr. It’s a site where you can easily stream with no time limits, as far as I know. The app is simple to use, as well. So I decided to try it out.

Friday, 10 January, 2014 was the day one broadcast of Radio Free Caemlyn. Before leaving for work, I set up a playlist of material to play through the day, and started the first track. I played a mix of Phone Losers prank calls and Friday Night Trivia episodes, interspersed with random music. This broadcast continued with no problems.

The original plan was to also stream that week’s episode of Friday Night Trivia live over Mixlr, but I was finding there was some audio feedback over the Skype call from how I had my audio setup configured. I’ll have to find a better solution. However, once I had edited together the final cut of that week’s trivia episode, I broadcast that over the air, starting around midnight. My friend and co-host from Marble Operator, Erica, listened in for a while.

I then planned the first overnight broadcast for Radio Free Caemlyn, and included Boards of Canada tracks, and some episodes of Quiet, Please, a radio show from the late ’40s.

Another nice feature of Mixlr is that, if I want to jump on the air and talk, all I need do is unmute my microphone. I can also stream Skype calls. It’s quite a nice setup.

So there we go: Radio Free Caemlyn is now an online radio station in addition to being a podcast. I’m really rather excited about this.

The station will almost always be broadcasting, with a random chance, esp. in the evenings and at night, for me to be live on the air, so tune in, follow the channel, give me hearts. Listen to the shenanigans.

Friday Night Trivia: From TalkShoe to Skype

The time has finally come, I’m going to record episodes of Radio Free Caemlyn’s Friday Night Trivia exclusively on Skype. This comes soon six weeks ahead of Friday Night Trivia’s fourth anniversary.

Up until now, we’ve recorded episodes on TalkShoe, a site where you can host live calls and upload pre-recorded episodes. The site is reliable enough, but for at least a year now I’ve been wanting to move trivia off of there for several reasons, including such things as making it easier to join the show, having better audio quality on recordings, and a less problematic interface.

One notable problem with TalkShoe has always been how difficult it tends to be to join the call. Unless you call in with a phone, you have to install and configure third-party software, such as X Lite, or Blink, or Ekiga, and the configuration instructions for each of those are different and tend to be confusing to explain to a new participant. You need to know the TalkShoe SIP address (66.212.134.192), and whether or not to include “123@” before that SIP address. You need to know the show ID, which obviously differs for every call series on TalkShoe (Radio Free Caemlyn’s is 72402, Marble Operator’s is 112081, Cultdom Collective’s is 5421, Media Outsiders’ is 81865, and so on). You need to know what code to enter after that, to enter under a screen-name or as a guest. It takes a long time to explain all of this, and tends to hold up the pre-show discussions for new participants. I needed something easier, something less confusing.

Over the past year or so I’ve considered several alternatives to TalkShoe. I’ve looked at Google+ hangouts, but who uses Google+? I’ve looked at Skype, and it seems the most reasonable alternative. The call-in instructions with Skype are comparatively simple: you need only add me as a Skype contact, or search “Radio Free Caemlyn” as a Skype contact (oddly enough, there turned out to already be a Skype handle of “radiofreecaemlyn” belonging, presumably, to someone in Japan, so the precise handle to search for is “live:radiofreecaemlyn” on Skype). If you’re going to join the call on Skype, you’re already using the one bit of software you need; you don’t need to download, install, and configure some third-party software.

I would’ve made the switch to Skype a while ago, but there were several factors halting me. First, there were people like Ken who call in to TalkShoe via their cell phone. Would moving to Skype exclude them from being able to join the show? It turns out that that isn’t a problem, as Skype offers the ability to purchase a phone number that someone can call to connect to you on Skype. This means that, if anyone wants to join Trivia and they don’t want to use a computer, all they need do is call the number that I have set up for Skype. I’ll see that call and add them to the conference call. Simple as that. The only difference for people like Ken is that they’re calling a different phone number. After realizing this, I have now obtained a Skype Number, and have included it in a new bumper recording.

That was the main problem, what if people don’t use Skype? There is now the call-in number. However, Skype is ubiquitous nowadays, and is simple to configure.

The only issue I’ve noticed is that people calling in on the phone will not have a text chat to consult. This is a relatively minor issue, though.

Anyway, it’s a change to the show I’ve wanted to make for a long while and am finally doing.