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.
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.
In January 2021, C.Crane announced the latest addition to their radio line-up: the C.Crane CC WiFi-3.
C.Crane was one of the first radio manufacturers that embraced the world of Internet radio with their CC WiFi product line.
The WiFi-3 is the latest iteration and offers the following upgrades over previous models:
This radio uses the Skytune radio station aggregator
Faster boot-up, connection, and response times
Can be powered from a common USB source or the supplied AC adapter
Enhanced audio EQ settings
Ability to add station streams manually
Before we dig into the CC WiFi-3, however, let’s first take a step back and talk about the current state of WiFi radios in general. This is an important consideration with any WiFi radio purchase these days.
WiFi radios: the pros and cons
Those of us who like WiFi radios appreciate a dedicated device that gives us the tactile experience of turning the knobs of a radio. We appreciate the simplicity of a dedicated listening device that doesn’t rely on a connected computer, tablet, or phone. In addition, most WiFi radios like the CC WiFi-3 don’t track your listening activity/habits like many internet radio listening apps and digital assistants do. They also don’t force feed you click-through ads.
But let’s face it: any of us who own Internet or WiFi Radios have had a rough couple of years. While WiFi radios can open the door to tens of thousands of radio stations across the globe, they do have an Achilles’ heel.
Internet radio station aggregators
WiFi radios are Internet appliances with the ability to stream Internet content, but they’re not endowed with the ability to seek out stations in the wild and import their audio streams. WiFi radios rely on “aggregators,” or online databases of curated links to radio stations.
In the early days of WiFi radio, there were several models of radios on the market that linked to proprietary/niche aggregators, many of which eventually closed down without warning. When a WiFi radio loses its ability to link to an aggregator, it becomes no more than a pricey paperweight, especially if the WiFi radio doesn’t have traditional AM/FM reception as a backup or a back-end means to program radio station stream URLs directly.
Over the past two years, some of the major radio station aggregators have experienced issues that have truly frustrated their users. Most notably:
We were happy to be one of first companies to offer ad-free Internet radio because it allowed anyone to listen to the world without a fee. Fifteen years ago, Ben, the founder of Reciva, had a small staff to create the software and volunteers around the world to help manage the station streams. We are sorry, but Reciva’s software will soon not work anymore. The software would need to be recreated from scratch. Even If this was done, it would not be possible for the existing radios to be compatible with this new type of software. This is the same way Apple and Microsoft might release a new operating system that is not compatible with older hardware.
We are working on a new radio called the CC WiFi-3. We will be testing the first pilot run of the new CC WiFi-3 in January with the first delivery by April if all goes reasonably well. There are still no ads or graphics to annoy you and nobody tracks your habits for advertising offers. It looks almost the same as the previous CC WiFi but has been upgraded in several ways:
It uses a new 3rd party stream provider called Skytune.
You can add your own streams (URLs) yourself so you are somewhat protected if the service fails for any reason.
It is a little easier to use and it has a good built-in equalizer available.
This radio comes with a 2 year limited warranty.
[…]The CC WiFi-3 comes with the risk of losing connection to Skytune’s server if they were to shut down in the future. As we have previously documented in our catalog and on the web: C. Crane has no control over content or the stream provider for Internet radios and cannot be responsible for Internet radio programs or availability.
I love this about C.Crane: they’re honest and transparent with their customers even during a new product release.
In January (2021), C.Crane sent me a pilot run, pre-production CC WiFi-3 for review and a thorough evaluation at no cost to me. Of course, I don’t typically share reviews of pre-production radios, but in this case, I believe the production model should function identically–or perhaps better–than my pilot model. I’m not concerned with variations in receiver sensitivity, selectivity, filtering, AGC, and noise floors as I would with a legacy receiver.
At first blush, the CC Wifi-3 could be mistaken for the CC WiFi-2. Other than the prominent model number, it has an identical form-factor and interface. Inside, though, there have been a number of updates we’ve already mentioned.
First thing I did, of course, was connect the CC WiFi-3 to the internet. It was a pretty simple process to go into the settings, have the radio find my WiFi service, and input the network password. If you have a long or complicated password, allow a few minutes to do this as the input method is character-by-character using the main front panel knob.
Once connected, the radio has access to the new Skytune aggregator to search for radio station streams. I’m familiar with Skytune because they are the aggregator also used by my recently reviewed Ocean Digital radio. I like how Skytune organizes their database allowing users to search by by location/region, popularity, genre, etc. I found most of the stations I enjoy in short order.
Adding Presets couldn’t be any easier. I’ve been using the most simple method: finding a station, then pressing and holding the PRESET button. This will save the radio station to the next available preset with more than 100 slots available.
Directly adding stream URLs
As C.Crane mentioned in their statement, even if the Skytune aggregator were to shut down in the future, the CC WiFi-3 makes it relatively easy to directly add your own streams by logging into the radio from a web browser.
First, make sure you’re using a computing device that is connected to the same WiFi network as the CC WiFi-3.
Secondly, find the IP address of your CC Wifi-3 by pressing the HOME button, then selecting SETTINGS -> INFORMATION -> NETWORK INFORMATION -> IP: (immediately below the signal strength information).
Note the IP address. Mine is currently 172.20.10.5 but yours will likely be a different number.
Next, open a web browser and in the URL bar, type in the IP address of your CC WiFi-3 radio and press Enter:
Your web browser will then load a page served up by your radio’s CPU (allow time for it to load):
From this page you can add, organize, and label your station presets manually.
The CC WiFi-3 owner’s manual actually gives you hints about how to find URLs for radio stations. There’s certainly an art to it.
First thing I did, in fact, was add one of my favorite AM radio stations (WAIZ) to the WiFi-3 directly by finding their main and backup stream URLs and adding them manually via the presets page. This instantaneously added them to the WiFi-3 presets:
This pleases me to no end because I’ve never been able to play WAIZ from one of my WiFi radios.
From the presets web page you can also control some basic radio functionality like volume up/down, mute on/off, and channel selection.
While this isn’t quite as handy as a dedicated app, I like the fact that I can load this presets page from my phone, tablet, PC, Mac, or Linux box. It’s universal and simple.
I’m happy C.Crane added Bluetooth to the CC WiFi-3 because it makes this already capable radio even more useful. As I write this portion of the review, in fact, I’m listening to music from YouTube via my MacBook Air streaming to the CC WiFi-3 via Bluetooth. Handy!
I prefer the audio from the CC WiFi-3 over previous models. It’s balanced and has hints of bass and treble. It is robust enough to fill a sizeable room with audio.
It isn’t anything that would impress my audiophile brother-in-law because, in the end, the speaker and enclosure are not very large. It does reproduce voice and music with ample fidelity for casual listening, however.
You can tailor the audio with 12 EQ settings included in the WiFi-3 settings menu. I like the Jazz preset.
In addition, the CC WiFi-3 has a line-out and headphone jack that makes it easy to export audio to a component stereo system or amplified speaker system. (Note above the “Not For Resale” label on the back of this pilot/pre-production unit.)
The CC WiFi-3 also ships with an excellent full-size remote control. I love how much functionality this remote offers, making it much easier to navigate and control the radio from across the room. I also much prefer the form factor of this remote compared with the small credit card-sized remotes with membrane buttons.
Every radio has its pros and cons. When I begin a review, I take notes from the very beginning so that I don’t forget some of my initial impressions. Here are the notes I made for the CC WiFi-3 pre-production/pilot model:
Ability to input streaming stations manually via a simple web browser interface
Best in class WiFi reception via a dedicated antenna
Input power is 5VDC meaning, you can use the supplied USB cable to plug into any USB power source, or you can use the supplied dedicated wall wart power supply. C.Crane includes both.
Audio EQ can be tailored
Included remote control (full size!)
Backed by C.Crane 2 year warranty and 30 day satisfaction guarantee
Line out and headphone ports
No battery power option (Pro: can use a 5VDC USB power bank)
Backlit screen is small and can be difficult to read at a distance
No dedicated iOS or Android control application (Pro: remote control)
As with any WiFi radio, dependent on a station aggregator for easy radio station searches
Should you purchase the CC WiFi-3?
If you’re not intimidated by the “aggregator aggravation” we mentioned early in this article, I would suggest you give the CC WiFi-3 a try. Since the WiFi-3 offers easy, open access to add your station streams manually, you always have a backup if, for instance, the Skytune service were to unexpectedly close down in the distant future.
For $119.99 US, you’ll be purchasing a radio from a company that takes care of their customers.
This is a one-time offer from C. Crane. This offer will end June 1, 2021.
If you have purchased a CC WiFi and it is under the 1 year limited warranty, contact us for the available options.
If you have purchased a CC WiFi and it is no longer under warranty, the CC WiFi-3 is available for half price – $60.00 USD plus shipping. You must fill out the form (click here) and include a picture of your serial number(s). Instructions are included on the form for how to locate your serial number. If you need help with this, please contact us. You will be contacted once we receive our shipment to get payment information and to confirm your address.
To my knowledge, no other radio manufacturer or retailer has made an offer like this to compensate for the loss of the Reciva service. Kudos to C.Crane for giving their customers options and discounts.
C.Crane expects to have the CC WiFi-3 in stock and shipping in June 2021. We’ll post updates on the SWLing Post when they become available.
If you own a WiFi radio that relies on the Reciva aggregator, the company has given you an additional eleven weeks to enjoy your device before it effectively loses its ability to search an index of thousands of radio stations or possibly even recall your station memories. Indeed, if your radio relies on Reciva to gather stream info each time it’s turned on and tuned to a station, your radio may not function at all after Reciva has shut down.
Reciva has now changed the announcement at the top of their website stating that they will close on April 30, 2021.
In the meantime–and I suppose it goes without saying–do not buy a new or used WiFi radio that relies on Reciva as it will not function properly without the Reciva aggregator service. I’m sure there are a number for sale. Research the aggregator a WiFi radio uses before making a purchase.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, Karl, for the tip!
Post readers: If you’ve found a Reciva work-around for your WiFi radio, please share details with us in the comments section.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Drake, who notes that Reciva has announced that they are closing down effective January 31, 2021.
Check out the banner on their website:This, of course, is not good news for anyone using a Reciva-based WiFi radio.
Indeed, the WiFi radio landscape has become quite unstable in the past couple of years. Only recently Frontier Silicon/vTuner experienced issues with their database (that was eventually sorted out). WiFi radio manufacturers Pure and Tivoli have been sold to investment firms and users have been displeased with both customer service and issues with their aggregators. TuneIn has also been forced to limit choices for UK users–a decision likely to affect other aggregators. And now Reciva, which was once one of the most popular aggregators on the market, is going to be “withdrawn.”
These are dark days for those who appreciate a dedicated WiFi radio.
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributor, John Figliozzi, who discovered that the favorites feature is back on his Frontier Silicon-based WiFi radio and notes:
Check out the screen on your Como Solo and follow the instructions. Full features appear to be back! Wrote to Peter Skiera at Como and he said it wasn’t planned to go live until [today], but it showed up on my screen [Saturday]. Seems to work smoothly and flawlessly.
Brilliant news! Thank you for sharing, John. I’m happy to see that Frontier Silicon is getting back on its feet after dropping the vTuner backbone that powered its aggregator for so many years. Several others have commenting with this good news. This is certainly a positive sign.
“[T]urned off the frontier service just for a couple hours after they backstabbed me.”
One of vTuner’s business clients (a client of Frontier) informed me that Johnson wanted to change the terms of their financial agreement thus used a service blackout to force Frontier’s hand. That seems to be supported by Johnson’s comment. In the end, we know Frontier dropped vTuner a few days later and has now partnered with Airable.
Regardless of what might have really happened, end-users of the Frontier Silicon service have had to cope with frustrating changes (I own a Sangean WFR-28 and Como Audio Solo which have both been affected).
Without warning, we lost our curated collection of station favorites/bookmarks. Personally, this was a collection of stations I had refined over the better part of three years. To lose them without warning was a bit of a blow to say the least.
To Frontier’s credit, they did implement the new aggregator quickly, but in the process lost some important functionality that was apparently a part of the vTuner service including the ability to save/organize favorites and personal streams. Fortunately, it appears Frontier will address this in the future.
An update from Frontier Silicon
Many thanks to SWLing Post contributors Dogmatix and Bob Faucett who note the following announcements on Frontier Silicon’s website:
“We are currently experiencing a large volume of support queries. We are prioritising adding missing stations and podcasts, and will be responding to all other queries as quickly as possible. Please accept our apologies for the delay in response.”
“Based on customer feedback we are working to add Favourites and Personal Streams into the new service. Please bear with us for a few weeks while we develop and test this functionality.”
This is good news, although it sounds like it might be some time before functionality is in place.
I’ve received numerous comments and emails from readers regarding this “aggregation aggravation”–the common thread being a sense of vulnerability.
After the service changes, we realized the degree to which our WiFi radio devices are dependent on Frontier Silicon. When service was cut earlier this month, most of our radios couldn’t even connect to streams that were programmed into front panel memory presets. For a while, our WiFi radios became expensive internet appliances that were unable to function as advertised. Those without a traditional FM/AM receiver were essentially useless.
I imagine this could be the case for Internet radios that rely on other aggregators—in other words, the radio is only as good as its online service.