Audio webcasting for fun and... er, fun
As we mentioned in the previous treatise, there are two kinds of audio webcasting, "live streaming" and "archived streaming." There is a different set of requirements... hardware, software, money, and most importantly, time..... that is required for each. For simplicity's sake, these are the ballpark needs for each type:
FOR LIVE STREAMING YOU WILL NEED:
So you see, unless you have a large group of friends who are willing to sit in your basement and man the mic 24-7 for the good of humanity, plus some major bucks ( a couple thousand will do it), you should probably consider archived streaming. If we haven't discouraged you, you can find out more about live streaming at Video Bistro.
If you DO make a live stream webcast for kids, be sure to let the world know by sending the information to our Children's Radio International database.
FOR ARCHIVED STREAMING YOU WILL NEED: ( THIS ALSO WORKS FOR CREATING SMALL SOUND FILES OF SONGS ON YOUR HOMEPAGE)
a) handle real audio files: don't worry, most can these days
b) provide you with enough storage space ( known as "megs"or megabites... 30 to 100 megabites is good) to do what you'd like to do
Obviously, this is the preferred method for most children's artists... and kids. You can finally let the world hear your songs at very little cost to you. You can make your own radio program starring YOU, place it on the web, and have listeners from around the world. Are you ready? Let's webcast!
Let's start by putting up a small soundfile on a ISP. Here's how we do it at the Children's Music Web:
1) We download the necessary software ( Real Producer, etc) from Real Audio.
2) We input the sound (" My Cute Ratty") into the computer, either directly to the Real Producer, or to a sound editing program on our computer. To back up, there are two forms of sound that can go into Real Producer... from a "file"... that is, a .wav file that already lives on your computer... or from a "live source" such as a CD player or mic that is hooked up to your computer. The hookup is usually a mini-jack on the back of your computer tower, but some sound cards have an "RCA" hookup ( those white and red jacks that look like the ones you use to hook up your stereo components to each other.) It's best if you can first go through a mixer so that you can control the level of volume, but if you feel like living dangerously, it's possible to go directly from a sound source.
The advantage of doing it from a .wav file inside your computer is that you can edit the sound file in your computer using Cool Edit or other sound editing software (we use SAW, but that's a whole 'nuther book.) But if you have quick reflexes, you can start and stop a sound stream going into the computer so that you don't have a lot of dead air. So, we start "My Cute Ratty" on our CD player, immediately click on the "Start" button on the Real Producer, and watch that the levels on the volume in the middle bar are at about 30%. When the song stops, we click "Stop." We'll get a Real Audio soundfile that has the name we've chosen, plus .rm after it ( i.e. ratty.rm) WE ALSO MAKE SURE TO REMEMBER WHERE REAL AUDIO STORED THIS ratty.rm file on our computer. Many's the day that we've searched high and low for something we JUST MADE, hidden in some obscure nook on our computer. ARRGH
3) Once we've created the Real Audio file through Real Producer, well end up with ratty.rm somewhere on our hard drive. It will be much smaller in size than a .wav file... that's one of the big advantages of Real Audio.
4) Next, we create a "ram" file that is a kind of "announcer" for the Real Audio file. Using a word processing program ( we use Microsoft Word), we create a short "sentence" that says WHERE to find the "My Cute Ratty " on our webserver. For instance, our file would use our URL ( website address) plus a slash, and then the song name plus .rm So here's what we type:
and then we'd save the file as ratty.ram. It will come up as a .txt file on our computer, but it's really ratty.ram. Go figure. It should be a very tiny file in size.
5) Then, we create a reference to the song on our webpage. It would look something like this "Want to hear My Cute Ratty? Click HERE"
and the hyperlink would be to the .ram file, not to the .rm file. So therefore, the hyperlink would be
Don't worry, your ISP computer will know how to get from there to the real audio file. We save the changes to our webpage.
6) Now we uplink the three files.... the revised webpage, the ratty.rm file, and the ratty.ram file... to our internet service provider ( ISP) from home. We use Cute FTP, but you can use Internet Neighborhood ( on Windows) or whatever you've been using. If the soundfile ( .rm) file is very large... if you have more than 3 minutes of sound... it may take a while to upload. If it's very, very large... a radio program, for instance... you might want to consider taking it directly on a disk or recordable CD to a friend who has a fast internet connection such as a T1 connection... or even, to your local ISP office and beg for help. In fact, we now uplink all of our long programming from a connection here at the University of California at Santa Cruz, because our 56K home modem connection is just too slow, choppy, and clunky. That's how I got my grey hair ( well, some of it.)
7) When that's done, call up your revised webpage from home, click on the My Cute Ratty link, and check that it plays. You did it!
8) If you've made a radio program you'd like the world to hear, be sure to send us the link.
Special thank you to Wild Bill Goldsmith at KPIG who patiently taught me all of this
so many years ago.
What if you want to make a webcast program, but you
don't have the space or capability on your ISP to save it?
Well then, we'll make you this (one time) offer. If you, a kid (or someone who can pass for a kid,) would like us to include your radio program on our site, we would be happy to do so. Your program will be heard by thousands of people each month. Send us:
1) the program, on audio tape ( reel to reel), DAT, CD, or cassette. CD is preferred. Note time on box.
2) a written release for every piece of audio in that program. If you composed the music, then say so. If it's pre-recorded music from say, ( gulp), Brittany Spears, then be sure to say so... and say where it's from. Most popular material is OK ( we pay ASCAP and BMI fees) but anything that hasn't been released needs a written release from the owner. The release should say something like " I, Prudence Gobulant, do hearby give my permission for the Radio Refrigerator to present my wholy owned work, Conversations with My Big Toe, on the internet in Real Audio for an unlimited period of time." Sign it with your best signature.
3) any artwork or photos you'd care to include, with similar releases as above.
4) a complete translation of the words in the program, if not in English. Material not appropriate for kids will not be used.
5) your full address, phone, email, and personal website address, if you have one.
Send it all in a plain brown wrapper ( just kidding) to:
305 Dickens Way
Santa Cruz CA 95064 USA
We'll encode the material in real audio, place it on our server, and present it to the world.
P.J. Swift and friends
Proudly part of the Children's Music Web