Live365 is no more

Live365_logo

As of February 1, 2016, the Internet radio pioneer Live365 has closed shop.

I imagine many SWLing Post readers are familiar with Live365, especially if you have a WiFi radio with the Live365 app.

While I’ve never been an avid listener of Live365, I have certainly enjoyed a wide variety of independent Internet radio stations via the platform.

Why did Live365 close shop? Here’s what Forbes.com suggests:

“It is rumored that the service is being forced into early retirement because of new royalty rates that digital radio producers now need to adhere to. Late in 2015, the Copyright Royalty Board handed down its decision about what internet radio services will need to pay per stream, and it apparently hurt Live365 so much that it can no longer afford for the rights to play music. Companies like Pandora lobbied hard for the court to lower royalty rates for the next five years, and while certain kinds of streams will cost internet radio stations and services less, it will cost platforms more overall to continue to play music. This may not be the only reason why Live365 is going out of business, but it appears to have been a factor.”

I’m sure the new royalty rates had had a major influence on the decision to close down. Here’s a screen capture of the parting message from Live365’s web site:

Live365-Message

That is the conundrum of Internet streaming services: the more listeners, the more it costs to broadcast due to both bandwidth and royalties. Your success–especially when the music industry moves toward higher costs and more restrictions–might very well lead to your demise.

Perhaps this is where traditional over-the-air radio still has a small advantage–though the barrier of entry is much higher than Internet broadcasting.

Terry recommends the Public Radio Fan portal

PublicRadioFan

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Terry (VE7TEB) who writes:

You may have already posted this, but if not here is an excellent Public Radio resource, perhaps worthy of another mention: http://www.publicradiofan.com/

Indeed, Terry! Public Radio Fan is a fantastic resource–especially for SWLs who enjoy listening to public broadcasters who are no longer on shortwave. The site makes it easy to search for broadcasters; it has a very simple and responsive user interface.

Public Radio Fan was created in 2001 and is maintained by its creator, Kevin Kelly. I don’t know where he finds the time to curate this database, but I’m glad he does!

Definitely worth the mention. Thank you, Terry!

Click here to go to Public Radio Fan.

Shortwave Radio Recordings: Voice of Greece

Fullscreen capture 1302016 14356 AM

The Voice of Greece is an unpredictable broadcaster these days. VOG is not on the air as much as in the past and doesn’t seem to follow a broadcast schedule. I only hear them perhaps once or twice per week now.

But I’m not complaining–after all, this is a shortwave broadcaster that basically came back from the dead.

I love VOG’s music programs and last night their Alvis transmitter was fired up and relaying some wonderful tunes.

The following recording was made on January 30, 2016 starting at 0145 UTC on 9420 kHz. I made this recording with the TitanSDR Pro receiver connected to a large skyloop antenna. Click here to download the MP3, or simply listen via the embedded player below:

I also had the TitanSDR simultaneously recording pirate radio spectrum just below the 40 meter ham band. I’m saving that bit of spectrum for a rainy day!

Anyone else tune to VOG last night?

Sun Radio: solar-powered FM stations

SunRadio-2Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Gregg Freeby, who writes:

I thought your readers might be interested in this story about a solar powered FM radio station operating in Austin, Texas. The article also includes a brief history of broadcast radio.

http://www.austinchronicle.com/music/2016-01-22/anthem-of-the-sun/print/

Here’s an excerpt from The Austin Chronicle:

Up on the second-story rooftop of Sun Radio, one looks east to the antenna farm near Loop 360 in West Lake Hills, and southwest at the Hill Country gateway of Dripping Springs. From where Denver O’Neal stands, eight rows of solar panels lay out along the north side of our perch.

“We’ve got 48 panels sucking in the sun’s juice,” explains O’Neal, 30, operations director of the station. “It goes into this control box, then converts AC to DC. The juice comes out AC from the panels, where it converts to DC for the outlets.”

Sunlight remains the most abundant natural resource on the planet. A single hour produces more energy than Earth’s population uses in a year. Whereas any child who’s used a magnifying glass to wreak havoc on an anthill has witnessed solar power in action, the U.S. didn’t start harnessing rays to light homes and businesses until the Seventies. Decades of steady market growth meant that by 2004 states began offering rebates for solar panels.

[…]Sun Radio – 88.9FM in Johnson City, 99.1FM for Fredericksburg, 100.1FM here in Austin, 103.1FM out in Dripping Springs, and 107.1FM around Central Texas – began its love affair with solar energy in 2009. Daryl O’Neal and his son Denver bought the station as the 5-watt KDRP running out of a defunct studio in Dripping Springs. Back then, solar tubes were the franchise, reflective consoles installed into the roof in an effort to refract sunlight. Panels replaced them when the O’Neals stretched their signal to a transmitter a mile away.

Think of transmitters as a set of bunny ear antennas. They take the signal being broadcast from a station and cast it toward the horizon. The taller the tower, the further out the signal extends. At 96 feet, Sun Radio’s Dripping Springs tower could barely register among the 1,000-foot TV towers overlooking West Lake Hills. Yet the boost in wattage allowed the station to blanket town.

In 2012, the station bought yet more space on a tower in West Lake Hills to expand its coverage, then installed panels and energy storage batteries there. In Dec. 2013, KDRP itself uprooted from Dripping Springs to Bee Cave, going solar at that location two years later. The panels currently provide enough energy to power the non-commercial station from dawn till dusk, after which they use electricity.

In September, their utility bill read negative $17.12.

Continue reading at The Austin Chronicle…

As Gregg notes, the article actually goes in-depth about the history of radio. Great read–thanks, Gregg!

This article makes me wonder how long will it be before batteries and solar (PV) panels become so efficient and compact that shortwave pirate radio stations can simply deploy a solar-powered transmitter box that absorbs energy during the day, then transmits at night?

Indeed, perhaps someone is already doing this? My only fear would be that an unattended Lithium Polymer pack might cause a fire hazard.

Alan Roe’s guide to music on shortwave

Shortwave-Music-Program-Schedule

Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Richard Langley, for sharing Alan Roe’s excellent guide to music broadcasts on shortwave radio.

Alan Roe (who happens to be an avid SWLing Post reader!) has generously given me permission to post his guide here as a free (PDF) download. Thank you so much, Alan! I’ve already printed this guide and placed it with my WRTH and WWLG.

Click here to download Alan Roe’s guide to music on shortwave (PDF).

DXing on the Road in Colombia with Don Moore

Radio Mil Cuarenta's studio in Popayan, Colombia. (studio with station's car in front)

Noted DXer and South American radio enthusiast Don Moore (USA) is travelling again and posting fascinating photos & commentary of DXing and life in Colombia.

Don mentions:

The focus is MW. My postings include photos and local recordings of stations from southernmost Colombia including the cities of Pasto and Popayan.  I’m currently in Cali (the third largest city) for two weeks. I’ll also get a complete band scan completed in the next few days.

His current journal entries, photos, and DX clips are on his web site.The Todelar network building in Pasto.

Be sure and check out Don’s extensive coverage of the Central and South American radio scene, and coverage of his previous travels at http://www.pateplumaradio.com

Guy Atkins is a Sr. Graphic Designer for T-Mobile and lives near Seattle, Washington.  He’s a regular contributor to the SWLing Post.

Andrea’s photo tour of Radio Nacional de España

Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_165135 Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor Andrea Borgnino who, as a follow-up to his post yesterday, is sharing the following photos of the Radio Nacional de España (RNE) Casa de la Radio in Pozuelo, Madrid, Spain. Andrea also includes some excellent interior shots of the Radio Exterior de España studios. Click on the images below to enlarge:
Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_165120Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_090039Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_111522Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_090017 Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_152546 Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_152418 Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_152236 Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_153612 Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_153409 Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_153340 Andrea-Radio-Exterior-Espana-REE-20160121_153333

Again, thanks so much for sharing these, Andrea!