Tag Archives: Internet Radio

The Como Audio Solo and Duetto radios on Kickstarter

ComoAudio-Solo

The Como Audio Solo

Alas, I find that I’m frequently blamed by SWLing Post readers who cite this blog as the reason they spend so much money on radios.

But for the record, I’d like you to know that such spending is actually a two-way street!  A couple of days ago, Post contributor Robert Gulley sent me a link to a cool Kickstarter campaign for two new multi-format digital radios: the Solo and the Duet by Como Audio.

Having just completed an in-depth review of several WiFi radios for The Spectrum Monitor magazine, the good-looking Solo in its wood casing really caught my attention! (the Duet, meanwhile, is a two-speaker version of the same rig).  At first glance, the Solo appears to be  compatible with a much wider range of digital formats than many of its competitors, so naturally I’m eager to determine if this is so. Here’s a list:

  • Internet radio accessing 20,000+ stations
  • Spotify
  • Bluetooth with aptX
  • NFC Android Bluetooth connection
  • DLNA WIFI
  • Music player allowing easy navigation and playback through a USB or network-shared library of music files, including AAC+, MP3, WMA, WAV, and FLAC
  • 4 High-Res inputs: 2 analog, 1 Optical, and 1 USB.
  • Google Cast-ready
  • Amazon Dot-ready

It even has a “high-performance” FM tuner and is DAB+ compatible, especially great if you live in Europe.

It also sounds like they’ve spent time designing a proper acoustic chamber/chassis and are fueling a 3″ woofer and 3/4″ dome tweeter with a 2 X 30 watt RMS amplifier. This radio should pack some audio punch.

The Como Audio Duetto

The Como Audio Duetto

The only obvious thing I see missing on the Como Audio WiFi radios is an internal battery.

Still, after watching the video and reviewing the specs, I backed the campaign to receive a walnut Kickstarter Edition Solo. If all goes well––and I never actually expect a campaign to produce and ship a product in the amount of time they expect––they may be shipping the radios as early as October.

The campaign has already met it’s goal of $50,000 and is now stretching for $100,000 with more incentives.

So, I didn’t really need another WiFi radio, but thanks to Robert’s email––yep, I bought one! Now the only question remains:  can you actually make impulse purchases on Kickstarter? I think I just proved that you can.

Your favorite radio stations that stream online?

The Grace Digital Mondo WiFi radio

The Grace Digital Mondo WiFi radio

Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of time with WiFi radios.

You see, I’ve been preparing a three part series about WiFi radios for The Spectrum Monitor magazine (Part 1 will appear in the April 2016 issue). Not only have I been evaluating and reviewing several radios, but also station aggregators: the curated databases of radio stations to which WiFi radios link.

Internet radio = Local radio discovery

Internet (or Web/WiFi) radio is a fantastic platform for discovering small, even semi-isolated, community radio stations that, until the Internet, had never broadcast signals beyond their local communities. With Internet radio, we can enjoy these stations as if we, too, are locals. Local becomes international.

WHKY-AM-Radio-Tower

As I travel, I try to note the callsigns of AM/FM radio stations I enjoy.

Sadly, not all of my favorite local radio stations stream online as it’s a major expense for a small broadcaster and yields very little in the way of ad revenue. After all, who in South Africa is going to buy auto parts from a store in Homer Alaska? It’s a conundrum for sure, and one shared by private shortwave broadcasters.

Still, there are a number of stations that do manage to have a reliable streams online.

In no particular order, here’s a short list–a handful–of some of my favorite stations that stream (click on the callsign to listen to the station live):

  • WTZQ Everything from Glenn Miller to Steve Miller (Hendersonville, NC)
  • WXRC Classic Rock (Charlotte, NC)
  • WDRV Classic Rock (Chicago, IL)
  • WHGM Classic Hits (Havre de Grace, MD)
  • WFED Federal News Radio (Washington, DC)
  • CBAL French language music from (Moncton, NB, Canada)
  • CKUT McGill University radio, (Montreal, Canada)
  • CIAO World Music and Talk Radio (Brampton, ON, Canada)
  • 6WF ABC local talk and music (Perth, Australia)
  • Fréquence 2 (Ivory Coast, Africa)
  • CFZM Nostalgia (Toronto, Canada)
  • Saint-Pierre & Miquelon 1ère French music/talk (St. Pierre and Miquelon)
  • WNMB 1950’s music (North Myrtle Beach, SC)
  • KBON Cajun/Zydeco/Blues and variety (Louisiana, USA)

What are your favorite stations?

Please comment and share some of your favorite streaming AM/FM radio stations! I’m all ears!

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.

Radio Kiribati and WiFi Radios

Kiribati

Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Paul Walker, who writes:

Thomas.. I know this isn’t quite SW news anymore, but Radio Kiribati usedto be on SW a while ago and is now on AM.

I just found out something to those of us interested in Pacific radio signals. Radio Kiribati 1440 JUST started a live web stream…JUST…as in, like within the last few days!

The audio levels can be a bit loud and overdriven at times, but i am corresponding with their Chief Engineer and the Radio station manager at the Broadcasting & Publications Authority in an effort to get levels set just right.

The audio is average and I wouldn’t expect much more, quality wise, then what they’ve got now.. as most of these stations have hare basics when it comes to some equipment.
The Radio Kiribati stream was just added to the Reciva.com database for internet radios and should be there soon if it isn’t already.

CC-Wifi-Radio

The stream is at http://202.6.120.13:8000/ The stream itself is of amazing quality at 64k vorbis, which sounds good to my ears via my CC Wifi Radio and CCrane Senta speaker.

Radio Kiribati only broadcasts local programming at certain times of day. Sometimes I’ll hear Radio New Zealand International outside of local broadcasting, other times I won’t.

TX times are as follows…most of their programming is in their native language, which is Gilbertese according to Wikipedia. It’s a Micronesian language of the Austronesian language family. They do three segments of English broadcasting every day, some 30 minutes long and one is an hour long.
Kiribati is UTC+14… at 416pm Thursday in Southwest Arkansas, where i am.. it’s 916am Friday morning in Kiribati.

  • Morning: 0700am to 0830am. English at 8am
  • Lunch: 1200 noon to 1330. English at 1300
  • Evening: 1700 to 2130. English at 1800

Feel free to post this to your own blog, website, Facebook group or page.. let’s spread the word!!

Thanks, Paul!

WiFi radios

Though pricey, I've heard the Pure Evoke F4 has fantastic audio and a meticulously curated database of Internet streams.

Though pricey, I’ve heard the Pure Evoke F4 has fantastic audio and a meticulously curated database of Internet streams.

This is one of the benefits of Wi-Fi radios and Internet streams: the ability to hear “local” stations–many of which used to broadcast on shortwave–from all corners of the globe.

I’m seriously considering purchasing a Wi-Fi radio for my wife to make it a little easier for her to listen to Internet streams in her office.

I’ve been looking at the C.Crane CC WiFi radio, the CC WiFi 2, the Grace Digital WiFi Music Player and the (much pricier) Pure Evoke F4 which my buddy, John Figliozzi, so highly recommends.

Any suggestions and recommendations are most welcome.