Update 4/9: I was finally able to get things working! I had to use a LineIn plugin for Winamp and turn Winamp’s volume down. I am still working on getting song title/artist info to populate at least on my website. It would be primo if I could get it to appear in the player too. I will work on this in steps. For now, the music you hear is from the vastly improved library of iTunes. I will keep updating this blog. Please comment as you feel like it!
Update 4/8: I installed iTunes on the station server this morning. I began importing the music into the library and tried a test run. Miserable failure. I tried to use the Soundcard input as was necessary but couldn’t get things equalized as needed. I use a sound leveling plug-in with Winamp called SoundSolution that applies sound management to the stream to make it sound professional and punchy. So far I am unhappy with the results I’ve had. I will keep trying and if you see XRT-FM 2.0 (Beta) on your player, understand that we are testing different things out and we appreciate your input and patience.
Folks, I am very excited about an upcoming demo of what I am currently calling XRT-FM 2.0. Yeah, I know it’s geeky, I will put more thought into that later. For a long time, we’ve been using just Winamp player and ShoutCast to broadcast the station to the World. This has been mostly excellent. In more recent months, since owning an iPod, I’ve gotten more and more familiar with Apple’s iTunes. In iTunes, there is far more flexibility in music programming and scheduling. And it still fits in with my budget of free-fifty-free!
Starting this week, the day hasn’t been determined, I will begin running XRT-FM from iTunes.
I know that Winamp has some powerful playlist capabilities but in some personal trials, I’ve found more frustration and it’s not as intuitive. One downfall that I hope can be addressed is that, for the beta test, there will not be any Artist and Title updates. These will also not appear on the XRT-FM website. I hope there is some nifty way to extract that info from iTunes and at the very least, publish that to the website.
How does it benefit you? There will be a much more organized presentation. Instead of a truly random shuffle, we will be able to avoid playing songs from the same performers too close. We can also employ a rating system where we can emphasize songs that should play more often and songs that should only be played very seldom. We will still never play any advertising of any kind. We will be producing more station ID’s and cool little slogans and such.
I am very enthusiastic about this shift in technology. Since we added the 1 terabyte hard drive, we’ve been adding in complete albums, which will help deepen our selection. Plus there have been songs that over the years we’ve had in the library but have somehow lost that will happily return. iTunes is a much more powerful music management tool that can better handle this large amount of music.
If any of you out there can provide any hints or tricks that can help progress this beta test into production, please add your support by commenting or emailing xrtfm at marinifamily dot org. One other note, if for any reason, I find that this new idea is not working for me or for you, I will return back to the standard methods so you have a consistent and enjoyable station to listen to.