And so autopo.st is born…

Post to Twitter, Facebook and TuneIn
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What started as a small project for a couple of my own radio stations has turned out to be a bit of a success!

“Wouldn’t it be great if I could get the name of the songs that were playing on the radio station onto Twitter so that followers could see what was being played” I thought…

So after a but of research and armed with my knowledge of PHP off I set.

Getting the names of the songs to appear on Twitter was relatively easy. A bit of PHP coding, some BASH scripting and off you go… Easy!

Then came the “Wouldn’t it be cool of you could post an image of the artist that was playing?” challenge! I remember it well… That added quite a bit more complication to how it all worked. Challenge accepted!

“How about if you could tag the artist that was being played? That would be cool!” was the next one. Again, all possible, the data is out there.

By this time a few radio stations have found out about the service and are actually paying to use the system. Time to start advertising this! Along came www.twitterautopost.co.uk. The website ( a .co.uk because they are cheaper to purchase) advertised the service to see if there was any real interest in the service. Turns out, YES! there was an interest, quite a big one!

The issue now is that people are (obviously) wanting to change details and configuration (the message to be posted, the frequency, whether to post images or not, etc…). Cue a MAJOR rethink of how all this is going to work. Time to design a Control Panel!

So as I had coded and written most of this myself, I decided to go ahead and see if I would write up and code a customer control panel myself… Yes as it turns out! This was a very big change to how the whole system worked. There were already a number of stations using the service, so this all had to be rolled out without causing any disruption to the existing users so along cam the painful moving of each account form the ‘manual’ system to the new ‘2.0’ system whereby users could log into their own account and make the changes themselves in realtime.

Stay tuned for the next update to bring us right up to date with where the project is now!

TuneIn Auto Post

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TuneIn is HUGE!

There are hundreds of thousands of radio stations broadcasting on TuneIn. Everyone that has a radio station uses TuneIn as a platform to broadcast to the masses, mainly to mobile and tablet devices. Everyone competing for listeners.

TuneIn have released their API and now allow you to send the song that your radio station is playing to them via this API. Previously they would only update the song you were playing once you had tuned in. Now, you can send them the song you are currently playing and they will show your station if a listener makes a search for that particular song.

So, I came up with a way to automatically post your Radio Stations ‘Now Playing’ song directly to TuneIn! Let your potential listeners search for their favourite song and it could be playing on YOUR radio station!

The TuneIn Auto Post service can automatically grab the song that is currently playing on your radio station and send it to TuneIn so that it appears on the TuneIn Radio Directory!

This is a MUST for every radio station that takes attracting listeners seriously.

The system is compatible with Shoutcast (v1 or v2), Icecast or Radionomy. If you are already on TuneIn then we can get your current ‘Now Playing song sent to TuneIn to be displayed. This is a great marketing tool and will help you grow your station quickly.

All we need is your Shoutcast (v1 or v2), Icecast or Radionomy stream details and your TuneIn API details (see this page) and then just sign up and we’ll have your songs automatically posted to TuneIn!

So, if you are interested in getting this for your radio station, take a look at this page.

Update : Twitter Auto Post

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Time for an update on the Twitter Auto Post project!

Last year I started work on a service that allows Radio Stations to automatically post their “Now Playing” songs to Twitter.

It’s been very busy with this project as more and more requests came in for additional features and now this is where we are with this project with regards to features and functionality.

– Compatible with Shoutcast (v1/v2), Icecast & Radionomy.
– Compatible with most playout & automation systems.
– Customisable messages including hashtags
– Customisable posting frequency
– Dynamically replace the artist/band/group name with their official Twitter account.
– Add the artists/groups/bands image to each Tweet.
– Add a “Buy this Song” link to each Tweet.

The feedback from users of this service has been excellent as many radio stations have seen a huge increase in followers, retweets (sometimes by the artist themselves) and many favourited tweets. There was one tweet that got retweeted to over 170.000 followers.

There’s more information about the service over at www.twitterautopost.co.uk or if you are interested then just drop me an email here.

Shoutcast Server Monitoring Scripts

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If you have ever been involved in online radio, the likelyhood is that you will have (and probably still are!) using Shoutcast or Icecast servers to stream your live audio to the masses. Shoutcast and Icecast are, after all, THE preferred and most widely used streaming platform out there.

After a few questions regarding monitoring the status of Shoutcast or Icecast servers, I decided to look into what can be done to keep your eye on your server and monitor its status.

After discussing with a few radio station operators, a solution was introduced which would give the following features:

– Notification by email and/or SMS text message on status change (online/offline).
– Monitoring of Shoutcast server status (Server online).
– Monitoring of audio source (Server online, but no source connected).

These features allow for one (or more) people to be notified if the actual Shoutcast or Icecast server is down, but also alerts the station if the audio playout system goes down, so the server is online, but there is no audio source connected (plyout or DJ failure). Either of these occurences will mean that listeners will get no audio if they try and tune in.

Both services (server and playout) are monitored by a remote server (not the same as which either the Shoutcast or Icecast server OR the playout are on) at a preset interval (every 5 minutes by default) and if the status of the server or playout changes, an email and or SMS text message will be sent out to the intended recipients to inform them of the situation.

If and when the status recovers (server comes back online and/or the audio source is reconnected) a further notification is send out via the same methed (email and/or SMS text) to inform that the fault situation has cleared.

There is more information about this work here.

myradiojukebox.com – Your Internet Radio Jukebox!

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In this project I managed to incorporate nearly all of my favourite techie things into one! Music, radio, web programming and audio streaming… They all come together in this project, myradiojukebox.com

The front-end is a website designed in PHP which hooks up to a back-end playout and streaming system.

The idea is that the user can access the website and search through a catalogue of music and seamlessly make requests via the front-end part of the website. The search facility queries a MySQL database held on the server, if the song exists, the info is relayed back to the playout system running on the same server and the song is put into a queue to be played in the next available slot. While there are no requests, the system just plays music randomly until a request is made.

The front-end website also queries an external database to gather the artists images and bio and an Amazon ‘Buy this song’ link and dynamically inserts them into the site.

The playout system simultaneously streams to three streaming servers, a 128kbps MP3 stream for the desktop/broadband browsers and listeners and also to two AAC streams for mobile users (24kbps and 48kbps) which are listed on TuneIn.

All requests are sent to the websites Facebook and Twitter accounts so that users can share their requests and it also includes a periodic Facebook and Twitter automatic update with what is currently playing.

Fancy trying it out? Visit myradiojukebox.com
and request your own song!

Next for this project is a voting system for users to vote up or down songs they hear and a login system to store their favourite songs.

Automatically post ‘Now Playing’ song to your radio station Twitter account

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Fancy automatically posting what is currently playing on your radio station directly to Twitter as often as you want?

I’ve come up with a way to make your ‘Now Playing’ song to automatically be posted to your Twitter account with no intervention on your part at all. Get the song currently playing sent to Twitter every 5 minutes or every 5 days, it’s up to you!

 

A new addition to this project is that my script can now also add the official Twitter account/handle to each tweet and also an image of the artist/group.

How does it work?

Well, first we need to create an App in Twitter for your account, then with these details I create a script that will run on a server that gets called every ‘x’ minutes and updates your Twitter account automatically with the Artist name and song title plus a message or your choice.

Here are a couple of screenshots of it in action
twitter auto post

What do I need to make it work for you?

– Either access to your Twitter account OR you create an App and send me the required details (Token details from the App)
– Access to your ‘Now Playing’ details, your playout system will normally output this.
– How often you want the song details sent to your Twitter account and the message you want to include.

That’s it!
I just need those bits to make it all work, the script I have will do all the rest! If you don’t know how to get them, let me know and I’ll assist.

As this script relies on server usage on an ongoing basis, there is a very small charge (£2.95/month) to help me pay for hosting the script and bandwidth used to process the script.

Just click the Paypal icon below and you’ll get the details back on how to get the info I need, failing that, I’ll help you sort it all out until it’s working!





Radio Player software updates

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I’ve been working on some updates on my Radio Player project after receiving a few requests.

I had originally developed the software a while back when approached by a radio station that was looking for a way to make sure a remote location (transmitter/studio) was permanently connected and that a software, rather than a hardware, solution was required in order to achieve this. the project was completed last year, but some extra functionality has been added to it recently.

 

The main functionality of the software is as follows:

Always connected – The software connects to two streams from diverse servers and monitors their status. If there is a problem with any of the streams it will automatically switch to the other stream and attempt to reconnect to the broken stream until it makes a valid connection.

Emergency playlist – If both streams fail (network issue) then the software loads an emergency playlist of music, jingles, etc while it attempts to reconnect either stream. Once one stream is connected it will shut the emergency playlist down.

The ultimate goal of the software is to connect to a stream and stay connected permanently regardless of any disruptions, network issues, etc so there is ALWAYS an audio output from the software.

In this latest update (v3.4.2) there were a few requests for the possibility of forcing either of the streams to air. This is a feature that was not previously available to users which is now possible via the ‘Force stream’ buttons.

New features in 3.4.2:

– Force stream to air buttons
– Better visuals for which stream is currently to air and which is available
– Changes colour of displays
– Added ‘Station Name’ to config file

Radio Player

 

 

‘Network Audio Player’ project completed!

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Well, I’m very pleased to say that I’ve just finished off a project for Instore Radio which involved designing a low cost audio streaming device. I’ve spent a few months on and off coding the device and then recently spent some time designing the case and we now have a finished prototype!

 

The device is designed to work on Instore Radios audio streaming platform and is fully configurable online via a purpose-built web front end so that users can log in and configure the unit via the web. The configuration is then pushed to the device. This is what the front-end web interface looks like:

Instore Radio Control Panel 2-2

The main purpose of the device, apart from being a low cost option for their clients, is to be permanently connected to their audio streaming servers. The device constantly monitors the audio stream and if required, then connects to a backup audio stream. The idea is that the unit will always ‘self-heal’ in the case of any network disruption.

The unit includes an LCD screen which gives out periodic information of the status of the device.

Instore Radio display

There is much more information on Instore Radios website here.