IF YOU THINK YOU CAN BEAT COMMERCIAL RADIO AT ITS OWN GAME, THEN WHY DON'T YOU GIVE ONLINE RADIO A TRY? DAMIEN DONNELLY SHOWS YOU HOW.
If you're anything like me, you think commercial radio is about as interesting as a bowl of bran fibre, with bad content, secret sounds, and constant reports that traffic is backed up in a district you don't care about. Well, if you think you can do better, then why don't you? These days, you can set your own online radio station up for free. Here's how to do it, and what you need to know to keep it legal.
The first thing you need to do is download the Apache Web server (http://httpd.apache.org/download.cgi or from our cover disc). This is an open-source Web server that will allow people to connect to your computer. You could use Microsoft Internet Information Services as an alternative, but this isn't available with XP Home and tends to be trickier to set up.
Run the Apache installation file and fill in the "Network Domain" and "Server Name" text fields. This will be either your own IP address (if it's static) or simply "localhost" - see FIGURE 1. The e-mail field can be whatever you want. Once Apache is installed, you should be able to type your IP address into your Web browser from another computer and hopefully you'll see something that looks like FIGURE 2. This means that you're now live to the Web. If you can't see this page you may need to configure your router, or your firewall settings and open up port 8000 - look at your router/firewall documentation for details.
Next, you need to set up your SHOUTcast server. Go to www.shoutcast.com/download/serve.phtml and download the SHOUTcast WIN32 Console/GUI server v1.9.5 (or you can get this off the cover DVD). The Web site also has other installation files for different operating systems. We will be using Windows. Once you have installed the SHOUTcast server, click Start-All Programs-SHOUTcast DNAS-SHOUTcast DNAS (GUI).
In the interface that appears, you'll see the maximum number of users and the port that you are using on the third line of the log. It will appear like this;
<10/25/05@21:34:14> [main] initializing (usermax:32 portbase:8000)...
This tells us that it's currently set to a maximum of 32 listeners, and is using port 8000. This can be changed (and should be depending on the bandwidth at your disposal) by editing the config file. You'll also need to change the password used to access your server.
You can access the config file by clicking the Edit Config button at the top of the window. However, this will make it open in Notepad, which makes it incredibly hard to read. Your best bet is to find the sc_serv.ini file manually - it's in C:\Program Files\SHOUTcast\ - then right-click on it and select Open with-Wordpad, which makes it more presentable. Now you can change the port, max user settings and password, as well as a range of other variables for the more advanced users. We'll stick with the basics for now, so change the password (which defaults to "changeme") to something more secure.
If you don't already have it installed, you'll also need Winamp (www.winamp.com) - otherwise your broadcasts will be a little on the silent side - and the SHOUTcast DJ DSP tool, which you can find at www.shoutcast.com/downloads/. You'll also find both on the cover DVD.