We're often asked whether we provide a streaming service for stations, alongside our player products. We don't. However because we deal with such a broad range of streaming companies, we've found we can offer some advice as stations go about selecting a provider.
With that in mind, here are our top tips
- We strongly advise against running your own server. It will saturate your internet connection at busy times and will require a lot of time to maintain
- If costs allow, find a firm with servers in the UK. As well as making your music rights simpler, listeners will find the streams more reliable as the data doesn't have to cross the Atlantic to get back to them.
- Remember you'll need a low bitrate stream for our smartphone app, So 48k or under, AAC (best) or MP3
- Look at suppliers with transcoding facilities - that way you just stream one feed at a high bitrate eg. 128k-160k from your studios and then the streaming provider will provide that feed for the web-based Radioplayer console and transcode it down to 48k for mobile.
- Remember you need a good quality computer and encoder software at the station end, to take your output. For smaller stations, the Shoutcast Encoder DSP for Winamp is free, SAM Cast* is paid for, but quite cheap and have discounts for non-profits. For larger stations, consider the Opticodec-PC 1010 or the Omnia Z/IPSTREAM A/XE as software solutions or the Omnia Prostream as a hardware solution.
- Feed your encoder with the best possible signal - don't capture audio via a radio set from the off-air signal- it's not a good route. Instead, get a feed from your racks room. Consider some gentle processing such as multiband audio compression. Often processing for broadcast sounds too heavy on digital devices so apply a different profile if you can. If you're dealing with analogue audio, ensure there's a limiter stage in the path, otherwise you'll get clipping if you run too hot.
Radioplayer does not have a list of recommended or preferred streaming providers, so you'll need to do your own due diligence and research the market. A starting point would be to consider suppliers who've worked with Radioplayer before like SharpStream, Canstream and Radiomonitor. All of these understand the Radioplayer requirements. If you're using someone else, pass them a link to the stream specs: Supported codecs and bitrates