1. Audio streaming often involves several different people with different types of expertise, and so do the questions in this wizard. I know how to answer, or who to ask, questions about:
our current and/or future internet connection speed and cost
the audio electronics between the microphones and transmitter
the technical management, costs, and capabilities of our (future) web server(s)
copyright, licensing, and royalties for our programming
the IT management and details of computers located at our station
2. We are comfortable handling the content licensing of our stream on our own, and do not feel like we need to pay someone else to handle it for us.
don't know

more about this question... The streaming service Live365 offers "all-in-one" packages that include royalties. While this option is useful for webcasters who don't have experience with licensing, it's less important for those who are comfortable with licensing.
3. Our station has (or will have) a web server hosted off the premises.
don't know

more about this question... The web server(s) of most stations are not hosted on their premises, but rather at a internet service provider, or a web hosting provider (Dreamhost, Linode). These locations usually have access to a lot of internet bandwidth, and streaming servers like icecast can easily co-exist on a web server, so it may be cost-effective to use your existing server instead of using a service such as Live365. You will typically need to talk with someone who knows your web server hosting situation quite well to see if they would also run a streaming audio server and what additional costs might be involved.
4. Concerning our philosophical preference between commercial or free and open-source software, we...
require free and open-source software
prefer free and open-source software
are neutral or don't know
prefer commercial software
require commercial software

more about this question... Your preference influences which software and operating systems we recommend.

If you are still making up your mind about which type of software you prefer, this opinionated letter concerning using open formats at WBUR and this case study of KRUU (by a self-interested vendor), and this note from a well-known radio engineer (who argues among other things the community radio and open-source software communities are similar and natural allies) present the less-well-known side of things.

5. The people who might need to re-start our stream encoder, would be ok learning how to do that even if the encoder was running on...
don't know

more about this question... Unless you select a non-computer (Barix) solution, there will be a computer in your station or studio which turns your audio signal into a digital stream -- a stream encoder. This computer may need to be monitored or the stream encoder software re-started from time to time, following power failures for example. The people most likely to be at that location are the obvious choice to re-start the stream computer, and should be given thorough instruction how to do so. Or you may be planning for a small number of "on call" technical people to always handle such things. If your people prefer to avoid certain operating systems, this is the place to make that known so that those operating systems will preferred less than the others.
6. Our internet connection from the place where our audio is available is limited to a telephone modem.
don't know

more about this question... The speed of your internet connection determines the audio quality available to your audio stream listeners, costs, and may help determine where your stream server is located.

This may be a good time to research what internet speeds and costs are available.

7. Internet connections with upload speeds of 3Mbps or more, such as a Comcast business internet or Verizon FiOS, are available in our area and we have or would consider purchasing one.
don't know

more about this question... The speed of your internet connection determines the audio quality available to your audio stream listeners, costs, and may help determine where your stream server is located.

This may be a good time to research what internet speeds and costs are available.

8. Which stream formats are you interested in considering?
don't know or no preference
9. It is important for us to support internet listeners with telephone modems or using 3G wireless networks.
don't know

more about this question... A specific low-fidelity audio stream is required for modem and 3G users. You may save some money if you don't support these users, and instead only need a single higher-fidelity stream.
10. We want to develop streaming expertise ourselves or work with local experts, to be more self-sufficient and possibly save money.
strongly agree
neutral or don't know
strongly disagree

more about this question... This philosophical question helps determine where you are on the spectrum of do-it-yourself versus pay-for-it. There are solutions entirely without monetary cost but which require nontrivial expertise for initial set-up and occasional troubleshooting. On the other end are more costly off-the-shelf solutions with good technical support for easy initial set-up and operation.
11. We find the free internet broadcaster giss.tv terms of use (below) acceptable.
  • The media you stream is under copyleft or non-commercial copyright (e.g. creative commons).
  • If the media is not copyright free then you must own the copyright of the media, or be authorized to stream by the author/creator.
  • No commercial advertising.
  • No racism, nationalism, xenophobia, sexism, homophobia, religious hatred or missionarism...
don't know

more about this question... These terms of use are from giss.tv, a "volunteer, non-commercial network created with free software for free media." giss.tv may request donations from time to time.
Windows - A computer operating system (compare to MacOSX and Linux) from Microsoft, Inc.
MacOSX - Macintosh Operating System version Ten
Ogg - A free and open-source audio storage and streaming format. It can be considered an unencumbered alternative to MP3 and is constantly improving even though it already provides superior audio quality to MP3. Although most popular audio players can play Ogg Vorbis they sometimes require the user to download a plug-in, which is less convenient than MP3.
RealAudio - A proprietary audio streaming format developed by Real Networks and supported by their commercial software. Compatible players are very common, though the format itself may be declining.
stream encoder - Software which transforms audio into a compressed digital audio stream.
Simplecast - Audio stream encoding software which runs on MS-Windows.
Nicecast - Audio stream encoding software for a Mac.
3G - A 3G wireless network is a network provided by cell-phone companies which connects compatible phones and wireless devices to the internet at moderate speeds.
giss.tv - A free stream broadcaster which occasionally asks for donations and has some limitations on the content they'll broadcast.
Live365 - A well-known audio stream broadcaster.
stream server - A stream server is a computer program which receives one or more digital audio streams and re-transmits them to everyone desiring to listen to those streams on their computers over the internet -- similar to how a radio broadcast transmitter sends one audio signal to many listeners. Stream server sometimes may also refer to the computer upon which the stream software program runs.
FOSS - Free and open source software (FOSS) is software that can be freely used, copied, redistributed and modified.
Barix Instreamer - Special-purpose audio stream encoding box -- no additional software or hardware required.
web server - A web server is a computer that provides web pages to people using web browsers.
MP3 - Possibly the most widely-known audio storage and streaming format, probably supported by more installed players than RealAudio and Ogg Vorbis. A corporation owns the MP3 format and as yet have not placed onerous restrictions on its use, but some people avoid MP3 because of the possibility.
RealProducer - Audio stream encoding software by RealNetworks. Besides RealAudio-format streams, RealProducer can stream in other formats such as the increasingly-popular AAC, but that is not part of Key to Internet Radio.
ices - Audio stream encoding software for Linux which is free and open source.
telephone modem - A telephone modem allows computers to exchange data over normal telephone connections. Telephone modems are still sometimes used for connecting to internet service providers. Although telephone modems may run as fast as 56kbits/second, telephone companies sometimes "split" telephone lines (squeeze two telephone customers on one wire) to save wiring costs, which limits modem speeds to 28.8kbps even with a "56k" modem. This is why "modem-compatible" audio streams are usually 24kbits/second rather than 48k or 56k.
Linux - A computer operating system (compare to MacOSX and MS-Windows) which is free and open source.
Streamguys - An audio stream broadcaster.
royalties - Licensing fees are fees paid to legalize the broadcast or streaming of certain copyrighted material. Licensing fees are paid to Performing Rights Organizations such as BMI and ASCAP, which in turn pass on a portion of the fees to composers and performers.
stream format - The method by which digitized/encoded audio is sent over the internet. Common formats are MP3, Ogg Vorbis, AAC, RealAudio.
icecast - Audio stream broadcasting software for Linux which is free and open source.
Live365 encoder - Audio stream encoding software supplied by Live365

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