Radio Waves: Stories Making Waves in the World of Radio
Because I keep my ear to the waves, as well as receive many tips from others who do the same, I find myself privy to radio-related stories that might interest SWLing Post readers. To that end: Welcome to the SWLing Post’sRadio Waves, a collection of links to interesting stories making waves in the world of radio. Enjoy!
Chief, Media Development and Media and Information Literacy at UNESCO Mirta Lourenço shares insight on radio’s evolution and challenges. She explains how the international organization is working to support radio stations around the world to ensure they’re able to accomplish their crucial mission.
RedTech: How do you view the role of radio in our society?
Mirta Lourenço: Thanks to radio, we benefit from many essential public services that we seldom reflect on. These include global positioning systems, satellite navigation, environmental monitoring, intelligent transport systems, space research, etc. Radio broadcasts offer information and the possibility for people to participate, regardless of their literacy levels and socio-economic situation.
The medium is also especially suited for multilingualism. Audiences may need to hear programs in their primary language, particularly if said language is local and endangered, or in the case of refugee radio or isolated communities. Also, when literacy levels are low, local languages are crucial to the populations’ access to information, as radio constitutes the main source for reliable journalism. History has shown us that radio is the most effective emergency communication system and in organizing disaster response.
All this does not mean that radio broadcasting is free from challenges. Continue reading →
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Rob Gray, who shares the following tips:
Reciva Gateway not responding: More Info, possible workarounds.
Reading the comments in the SWLing Post blog, it sounds like many people are receiving the dreaded “Reciva Gateway not responding” message and at a loss how to proceed from there. I’m assuming that for every person that writes a comment, there are many experiencing the message and not writing. Hopefully, the following information will save some internet radios from becoming e-waste and ending up in a landfill.
As background, I’m only familiar with the CCrane WiFi1 radio, this one.:
The CC Wifi
There is a way on these radios to at least recover use of the stations stored in the presets (you did enter on the presets, didn’t you?). The material is repeated in the comments of this webpage. I suspect that many people won’t wade through the 100+ comments, therefore a separate blog posting is offered.
On to the important stuff…
Here’s what works for me as of October, 2021
During startup, the radio displays:
Message: Finding Gateway
Message: Network Error Reciva Gateway not responding
For the message “Network Error Reciva Gateway not responding”, press the BACK button (which then shows Select network). Then press the BACK button AGAIN. The display shows Preset x Stopped. At that point, select a preset from the remote or radio, and it should lock in and play your station preset (assuming the info entered to the preset is valid)!
I’ve been doing this for weeks and it seems to consistently work!
Some other possible options
Depending upon the internet radio (and I have personal experience with only two, both from CCrane), there may be some other possible solutions.
I’ve looked into the Sharpfin project and it looks very interesting. With the demise of Reciva, there’s activity again with getting the radios functioning with this software. Do an internet search for the latest information and/or these links are a starting point of what’s involved:
I’ve had success with my CCrane WiFi2 radio, which is TuneIn-based, using Serviio and the UPnP utility built into the wifi radio. I was NOT able to get Serviio to work with my CCrane WiFi1 (Reciva) radio for streaming live audio, but could access audio files stored on the main computer hard-drive (with tinkering). There may be other similar options usable with UPnP, but I haven’t investigated much beyond Serviio.
That’s all that I have on the topic for now. However, DON’T discard your radios yet. There are some talented and motivated people trying to figure out ways to keep these internet radios running. Keep checking back on the SWLing Post blog comments as people continue to post new information. Tinker around with them, you might get them running again! If you do decide to discard your radio, I’d urge you to find a responsible method of disposal, donate in general, donate to a gifted and motivated hacker, etc. Good luck to all that have been affected by this unfortunate and unnecessary decision to shut Reciva down.
Many thanks to a number of SWLing Post readers who’ve informed me that their Reciva-based WiFi radios may be on their last legs.
I’ve gotten a number of messages from WiFi radio owners who note that when they try to tune to a WiFi radio station, their radio now displays the following message:
“Reciva Gateway not responding”
Reciva originally announced that their services would close permanently on January 31, 2021. That date was then pushed out to April 30, 2021, after pressure from WiFi radio manufactures like C.Crane and Grace Audio.
April 30th came and went, though, and there was no change. Many here have been commenting since that date feeling pretty happy their radios were still working.
It appears that at some point on September 13th or 14th, 2021, the service finally shut down.
SWLing Post contributor, Mark, wrote this morning noting that he had not completed the Reciva server workaround and had received the “Reciva Gateway not responding” message. He added:
After playing around with my CCWiFi2 I’m noticing odd behavior now that the Reciva Gateway is down.
The volume control is much slower to respond to volume setting changes as compared to normal. Additionally, and more importantly, it seems the presets might re-assign themselves to different buttons; I have lost two of them already.
I think it wise to operate the radio slowly and carefully. It might be best to avoid making quick preset selections and wait for the preset to load completely until another preset is selected.
Generally, the radio seems to be operating slower than normal; that’s the feeling I am having with mine.
[Please note that in these examples, the Brave web browser is being used in a Windows environment. The procedure is nearly identical for Chrome. Other web browsers and operating systems may vary slightly.]
Image 1 (Click to enlarge)
After logging in and searching for your desired station(s) (as shown in Image 1 above using NPR as an example search), click the speaker icon of the station of interest (see Image 2 below).
That brings up another browser window (center-right window in Image 3 below).Pressing “F12” brings up another window of DevTools (Developer Tools).
Under “DevTools”, select “Console” (you may find it under the >>) as shown in the image above.The URL is shown in the “Console” window (image 04), and should be http://xxxxxx, and not the secure https://xxxxxx.
Extracting Audio Stream Information from station websites
Digging out streams from station websites can be a little trickier.Using an example of the webpage for the NPR station KCLU, once loaded, press “F12” to bring up the developer tools as shown on the right-hand side of Image 4 below.
Then Press “F5” to reload the page, and the Play button to start the audio stream.
In the Developer Tools window, select “Network”, as shown in the Image 5 above.
While the stream is playing, look for the longest bar, which indicates activity.Sorting the files in this window by size or time (if descending order, be at the top of the list, if descending order at the bottom of the list) can make searching for the “bar” easier, or just look for it in the list as shown in the Image 6 above.Look for the file associated with the “bar” under “Name”, right-click on that file, Copy, and left-click “Copy link address” as shown in the Image 7 below.
That is usually your stream, or something close to it.In this example, this is the link address copied:
That’s a little messy, and you can experiment with shortening it.In this case, the link can be shortened to: https://kclustream.callutheran.edu:8090/kclump3 [removing the question mark and all characters following it] and the stream still plays in a web browser on the computer–while I’ve not tested it, it would probably play in your internet radio. You’ll just have to experiment.
However, in this case (and most certainly not all), shortening the link to https://kclustream.callutheran.edu:8090/brings up another page with all sorts of data, and clicking the M3U file on that page downloads a file.Opening that file with Notepad reveals this link (https://kclustream.callutheran.edu:8090/kcluaac), which also plays the stream, and in my guess, is probably the real stream URL.
Different web pages will reveal different ‘formats’ of URLs–one simply has to experiment to get something to work.The procedure is essentially the same with other pages, though there is often variation so a certain amount of experimentation is sometimes needed to tease out the stream URLs.There isn’t really any one set of instructions that will work for everything (that I’ve found anyway!).
The examples shown used Google Chrome, and the Brave browser works exactly the same.The operating system used was Windows.Firefox seems similar (F12) and other browsers probably also work similar, though the appearance might be a bit different.
A few things that might add clarification with ‘odd’ streams:
In the developer tools window under Name, sometimes those items (files) are labelled as just a semicolon, or are labelled something like ‘stream.’
Sometimes the stream URL is httpS://…., with those, try dropping the “s” and the http://…. often works.
I often tried any proposed streams out on my desktop computer first, however there were some that wouldn’t play on the desktop that did on the Reciva radio, and vise-versa.But generally, if it didn’t work on the computer, it didn’t work on the internet radio.
Sometimes the URLs point to a link with a .pls extension.In a browser, those links tend to initiate a download (at least on my setup, and was the case with the M3U file in the KCLU example).You can download the file, then open with a text editor (Notepad for example) and read the link there.
For some, the URL won’t work. For those, I would get them to work by adding a semicolon (;) to the end of what you think might be the link.I’ve had a few work with that trick!
While digging out steams is tedious–especially if you have a lot of them–there’s a potentially very rewarding payoff!When you create the .pls files (as described in other Reciva postings in this blog), you can easily copy those to many other devices (Android phone/tablet, iPod/iPhone, other computers, Kodi, etc.) and use them there.I’ve only started on this project, but I used an old (very old) iPod touch, entered the stream URL into Safari, placed the iPod in a docking station (a dime/dozen at second-hand stores) and basically created an internet radio facsimile.As the iPod is too old for the App Store, entering the URL’s and bookmarking them should provide convenience.The .pls files work well in my Android devices with VLC player, and even with Kodi (on a Raspberry Pi). They also work on my TV by placing the files in the “Video” section, read from external media (can probably use the boot SD card for memory storage as well, the files are very small).
Thank you for sharing this, Rob!
I recall our friend, Tracy Wood, discussing in some detail how to find radio streams a few years ago at the Winter SWL Fest. He was on a mission to find rare local and regional South American stations that aren’t easily available outside the area.
I have used the approach you mentioned above and it is effective.
Readers: if you have other tips, please feel free to share them in the comments section.
SiriusXM on all Legacy radios stopped working on March 31st. This is the final date for this action which was originally planned to occur last year.
Radios with model numbers that start with ‘GDI-WHA’ will not be affected.
Radios with model numbers that start with ‘GDI-IR” will be affected.
We apologize for the interruption in your service, and wish we were allowed to upgrade the old platform.
[Note from SiriusXM]
Thank you for listening to SiriusXM. We appreciate your loyalty. It has come to our attention that you may be streaming SiriusXM at home using a Grace device. On March 31 we enhanced our streaming service and consequently your streaming player may not be able support the new SiriusXM feed. If you are unable to get SiriusXM at home after March 31 on your current equipment we recommend the following options. Upgrade to a newer model.
If you are still able to listen to SiriusXM on your current equipment after March 31, then you can ignore this issue. Rest assured, this has no effect on your account and the billing of your SiriusXM subscription package. This also has no effect on listening to SiriusXM by satellite.
We apologize for any inconvenience and thank you for being a loyal SiriusXM listener.
I was hoping that SiriusXM would still work on my model – it’s the only component style Internet radio (GDI-IRDT200) that Grace made that fits in my audio system rack and I’ve used it a lot to listen to SiriusXM’s streaming service. But, it looks like it’s a brick now.
Thank you for sharing this, Randy.
Yes, this now explains why my “legacy” Grace Digital radio no longer plays SiriusXM. Last week, I noticed that it would no longer accept my SiriusXM username and password.
I’m guessing some of the iHeartRadio functionality may still work on my unit, but that remains to be seen (I rarely use that particular service).
I’m sure Grace Digital is experiencing a very serious hit to their reputation. As I understand the situation, the rug was pulled out from underneath them. They (nor C.Crane) had any warning that Reciva (or, rather, Qualcomm now) would pull the plug on the aggregator service. I can also tell by the announcement that they weren’t expecting SiriusXM to “enhance” their streaming service in a way that would disable SiriusXM on older units.
I still haven’t received a firm confirmation yet, but it does look more likely that Reciva radios may use a token system to routinely verify compatible products. If this turns out to be true, there may be no way to stop Reciva units from becoming bricks.
“Apparently, even stations with URLs stored locally on the radios as presets, will eventually stop working. The Reciva chips require a token to be renewed periodically from the Reciva server; once the server is turned off, the token can no longer be renewed, and the radio becomes a dead parrot. Apparently Reciva did this to prevent their chips from being pirated.”
Another contributor wrote:
“….when I asked Grace about it, their reply was that while the presets would work for a time, eventually even that function won’t work because the radios require a token to be renewed periodically from a Reciva server. If the server is gone and the token can’t be renewed, the radio becomes a doorstop. It wasn’t clear how long the radio will work…”
I don’t know if this is true or not (time will quickly show), but when I asked C.Crane about this a while back, they seemed aware of the possibility and their experts gave it a 50/50% chance of success/failure based on tokens.
Speaking with a very knowledgeable friend on the topic, he has described that the real, ultimate way to tackle this problem is to have a ‘packet sniffer’ and monitor all the traffic in/out of the network to understand what data is being used (like if there is a token for example) and reverse engineer what Reciva is doing.
Thank you for bringing this to my attention, Rob.
Tokens: Can someone prove or disprove this?
There are some savvy programmers, network specialists, developers, and hackers in the SWLing Post community. My hope is that someone can use a packet sniffer or similar device to determine if this is true or not. Since the Reciva service will close down by the end of the month, time is of the essence.
My hope is that if there is a token, it won’t shut down functionality to a point that we can’t stream from our own IIS or perhaps the token can be reverse-engineered. Or maybe there is no token at all, or if there is it will have no impact on usability after the Reciva service has closed.
Please comment and/or reach out to me with any evidence. I’d like to clear this up with some facts. Many thanks in advance!
In November 2020, we learned that the Reciva radio station aggregator would be closing down permanently which would effectively render a large portion of WiFi radios on the market useless. This closure will affect a number of WiFi radio manufacturers, but two of the most notable are Grace Digital and C.Crane. I own one of each.
The Grace Digital Mondo
The comments section of my original post about the Reciva closure became the default discussion group for Reciva device owners who were trying to sort out options to keep their devices functional. That article (at time of posting) has nearly 200 comments alone.
There have been some very productive discussions about circumventing the Reciva aggregator before the announced closure on April 30, 2021. Since this information is buried in such a deep comment thread, I wanted to give it better visibility and search-ability by creating a dedicated post on this topic.
Ray Robinson, one of the contributors who has been actively helping owners, has very kindly written up a tutorial for us here and I’m most grateful.
Ray’s Guide to setting up your own “Reciva” WiFi webserver
[T]he bad news is that Qualcom is shutting down the Reciva website on April 30th, and any Reciva-based Internet radios will no longer be able to tune stations from that aggregator after the shutdown.
The sort-of good news is that if you have a station link stored in a preset on your Internet radio, the preset should continue to work after April 30th, until such time in the future as the station needs to change the link for their webstream.
Because, the other part of the bad news is that most Internet radios don’t have any way of directly inputting or modifying a webstream, or storing a webstream manually in a preset. So, after April 30th, you would lose any ability to change or update any of the presets.
That’s where my work-around comes in. Internet radios do have the in-built ability to address and pull data from a webserver – that’s how they use the Reciva site in the first place. So what I have done is point my radio (a CCWiFi) to a ‘web server’ on my local network instead. This solution uses a Windows PC; there may be a comparable solution using a Mac or a Linux box, but I’m not familiar with either of those.
First, make sure the PC you are going to use is visible to other PC’s and devices on your local network (‘Network Discovery’ turned on, file sharing enabled, etc.).
Second, I recommend you give the PC a reserved internal IP address in your router. If you leave it with IP being assigned by DHCP, its IP address could change anytime it is rebooted, and then your wi-fi radio won’t be able to find it for the presets. In my router, I assigned 192.168.1.1-200 for DHCP, and then gave my PC the reserved address of 192.168.1.201, which ensures it always has that same address.
Third, enable IIS (Microsoft’s ‘Internet Information Services’) in Windows. This will create a local web server on the machine. In Control, Panel, go to Programs / Turn Windows features on or off. Click the box next to Internet Information Services and OK, and let Windows install that component.
We are going to store our station webstream links on the PC in playlist files, which have the file extension of .pls. But first we have to tell IIS what to do with a .pls file, as it doesn’t know by default. (.m3u files will work as well, but I did it with .pls files, so I’ll detail how to use those.) We do this by adding a MIME type. Click the Windows start button, and search for IIS. The top result will be Internet Information Services (IIS) Manager. Click that. In the center of the panel that opens, click MIME Types and then ‘Open Feature’ at the top on the right. This will show you all the extensions IIS knows about. If you scroll down, you will see there isn’t one for .pls. So, we need to create it. At top right, click Add… In the panel that opens, enter a File name extension of .pls and a MIME type of application/pls+xml Then click OK and exit IIS.
If you now look in the root of the C: drive, you will see there is a folder called inetpub, with a subfolder called wwwroot. This is where we want to store the presets.
My CCWiFi has 99 presets, so I have put 99 files in this subfolder, named from Preset01.pls to Preset99.pls.
As an example, my first preset, Preset01.pls, is for Caroline Flashback. To create the .pls, open Notepad, and copy and paste the following:
Save the file, but change its extension from .txt to .pls.
Then, in Reciva, I need to store the entry in My Streams that will tell the CCWiFi to come and look at that file to know what to play. On the Reciva site in My Streams, I created a stream titled ’01 Caroline Flashback’ with a stream address of ‘http://192.168.1.201:80/Preset01.pls’ Remember, my PC has a reserved address of 201. If you use something different, then you will need to change the stream address accordingly.
Then, on the CCWiFi, go to My Stuff / MyStreams and select ’01 Caroline Flashback’. Reciva is telling the CCWiFi to go to my PC and look at the contents of Preset01.pls. This it does, and starts playing the stream. Then, it’s just a matter of storing that playing stream in preset 1 on the radio.
With that done, at any time in the future if I decide to change the contents of that .pls file, I can just store the details of any other station/stream, and the radio will play that instead without any reference back to Reciva.
I recommend you do that for all available presets on your Internet radio whether you are using them or not, even if they only contain duplicate entries for now, because that way you will maintain access to be able to use those presets in the future. And, you must do this before April 30th, when the Reciva site will shut down.
Actually obtaining the URL of a station’s webstream can be difficult; some stations are very helpful and provide them all on their website, while others seem to do their best to hide them. However, here in Los Angeles, I have found the webstream URL’s of all of our local AM and FM stations, plus the webstream URL’s of all North American SW stations, and all the UK stations as well (both BBC and commercial). I’d be happy to advise on that also, but it’s probably beyond the scope of this particular tutorial!
Thank you so much Ray, for taking the time to write up this tutorial.
If anyone is familiar with how to set up a similar webserver on MacOS or Linux, feel free to comment with details.