Entries from March 2008 ↓


Within the past year, my school has started to become very involved in trying to start it’s own radio station. We’ve had a large amount of money put into it and it’s slowly growing. We have the software that all the professionals use, and all of the equipment too.

But now I’m moving on to developing an automation application for the time that there isn’t a show on air. This will be similar to Southampton University’s radio station automation system (http://surgeradio.co.uk).

I’m using a combination of python and gstreamer. The feedback so far from the teacher involved, with our radio station, is good. The only problem is the network technician that is a Windows Server user. I think I’m going to have a problem, when I ask for a linux server to host the automation server, streaming, file server, and website. I expect he’ll wonder what’s wrong with his little sharepoint setup, he has going. Hopefully I might be able to do some persuading to get past that, but it’s not going to be easy. I understand the problem that this would cause though. I’m the only one with the skills to maintain the linux server. When I leave next year, I doubt they will have a clue how to operate the server, as I don’t think they have no knowledge of Linux. Anyway, that’ll be fun to try and sort out. Any suggestions?

At the application side, it’s coming along well. I’ve made a website that will allow listeners to request songs to be played. These requests are popped into a MySQL database. From here, my python app checks for new requests after every song. If there is a request, it’ll play that. If not, it’ll choose the next song from a pre chosen list. Nifty, aye?

I was amazed at how quick it was to develop in python, as this is my first real programming project in python. It was so simple to get a basic set up done. I had it done within a night! Jono Bacon’s excellent guide on gstreamer in python helped me well. The app now also has a nice little GUI, made in glade, that’ll help the DJs turn the automation on and off.

For the hardware setup, I’m looking to get the server, that I mentioned, and a few high quality sound cards, that’ll provide balanced audio in and out. I don’t think we’d need much processing power for the encoding of the streaming, as I’ve done a few test runs with my old Pentium 4 clocked at 1.8GHz.

All I have to do is finish it all up now… And perhaps do some of my many pieces of homework!