08 January 2007

I-TASC expedition 2006/2007

OK… some radio ponderings. The station here is coming along well. We have DJs being trained, jingles are being made, and we are looking forward to the arrival of the first load of radio receivers sometime around Thursday.

In the meantime, I was wondering if there are any keen radio heads that can help us with a few things. Warning : the following is marginally geeky talk, so apologies in advance if it makes no sense to you.

If you are a Linux geek it would be great to have a small script that could schedule some basic content for us. I was thinking an interactive script (or ncurses interface) that would add commands to the crontab for scheduling radio content. We are using XMMS here as the basic playback device. XMMS can be installed with a plugin called ‘xmms-shell’ which allows xmms to be controlled via command line. It’s a pretty commonly used plugin and if you have Debian or Ubuntu it can be added through apt-get.

The idea is simple enough. The script could ask for a playlist name, and then prompt for what time that playlist should be played. It would then add the appropriate xmms-shell command (conceivably the xmms-shell command might not need to be used, just killing and restarting xmms could be enough). That bit isn’t so hard. The hard bit is being able to show the list of scheduled material through a shell interface and give options to delete material from the cron …

We have a system that we will use which will hopefully be written by mid- January, but it uses a HTML interface and mysql etc. What we would like to try is the low-fi way and experiment with scheduling content over the 1K internet connection we have.

2. Phone Hybrid

We have an internal telephone network here and there have been requests to have radio requests and talkback put to air. So, we need to make a kind of DIY telephone hybrid. I was thinking of putting a contact (piezo) mic into the earpiece, or even just a small lapel mic. The caller can then be plugged straight into the desk and the DJ would just have to talk directly into the mic and the phone at the same time… not too tricky but I’m not sure it’s going to work so I thought I would make a post here to see if anyone had any better ideas. We do have a collection of electronic components here so if anyone has an idea of how we could make something out of a simple circuit we might be able to give it a go. Otherwise, any suggestions involving paper cups, chewing gum, no.8 wire and 2x4s (etc) are welcome.

Any ideas please post to me (Adam) at : adam@xs4all.nl