View Full Version : Another Idea To Bat Around.......

02-10-2010, 01:19 AM
Here's a wild one. But hey, never hurts to throw them out & see what happens.

As I mentioned in my recent "AstroCache" thread, I use to host a regular radio show on astronomy subjects. A lady friend in Australia was my co-host. We had different areas of expertise & would also occasionally tap into other members of the astronomy community for the show, to add variety.

It wasn't unusual for 3 of us, each from entirely different parts of the world, to be on the radio at the same time. The "other" person was often from Europe. But we had guests too from Canada, Chile, & Okinawa. All these connections ran through me, as the main host, so I quite obviously learned a great deal as to how to deal with factors such as voice-lag, volumn difference, & different broadcast applications being used by each separate person.

It isn't that hard really. All you need are TWO computers, a mixer, a high quality mic, & some type of broadcast application. I used, depending upon the circumstances ..... Skype, OddCast, & even a wired telephone twice. (NOT a wireless) We also started PodCasting them later, so people who missed the program could listen in later. That was about the time that I quit the actual broadcasting & started working with remote scope facilities in an attempt to start up "live viewing sessions", for those who had no scopes of their own. So I'm not sure if any of MY shows made it to a PodCast or not, in case anyone ever wanted to listen to them.

But anyway, if ArkGeo ever wants to think about having a regular radio show available from this site ....... you've got someone with the experience to set it up. I've saw "Caching PodCasts" available at other locations, but never really listened to one. I'm pretty sure ArkGeo doesn't do these, but not positive. If so, then you're already set up & don't need this info anyway. 8) :P

I can think of several items which might would be fun to do on something like this. Just a sample:

1. One Arkansas Cacher/Cache-Team per month, guesting on the show, talking about their caching particulars ..... how they got started, their most memorable, what type caching they like the most, what type they don't, interesting cache-tales they've had, etc.....sort of a "Spotlight on Rklmbl" type thing. Just using them as an example, because I KNOW everyone here would LOVE to hear their story. But it is of course a completely voluntary thing.

2. The host (or someone else who wanted the job) would spend have a special show once a month, commenting on different caching related articles/stories that had popped up recently. Say, for example, tonights show might feature the stories about "the ISS travel bug", "April's MOGA mega-event", "President Obama goes caching", & "The dog who is trained to sniff out nanos". (I made a couple of those up, but you get the point)

3. The show COULD be used for the ArkGeo board to take a 15 minutes segment & highlight any important events which have been discussed. But that would be their decision.

4. And we always use to put together 2-hour specials on every major holiday. These included holiday music to listen to, "Santa Claus Watch", a New Years Countdown, etc., etc.

Here is a general time-line of how each show was put together:

1945-2000 -- music
2000-2005 -- hosts welcome listeners & introduce themselves and the show
2005-2010 -- introduction of tonights theme
2010-2030 -- main content pt. I
2030-2035 -- reintroduction for late-comers
2035-2055 -- main content pt. II
2055-2100 -- next shows date, last minute announcements, lead-out
2100-2115 -- music

The music requires a license, which isn't very expensive. I can't remember exactly how much, but it's cheap & easy to get. That part is optional anyway, but it was always popular....just kinda gave people a chance to settle down & get ready for the show.

The only item I don't have to do this is the mixer. I gave mine to a lady in Michigan, who took my place after I quit doing the shows. The mixer is only really necessary if you are doing multi-hosts show and/or having guests....which is always popular. The ones which work the best & last the longest are around $300, maybe a bit less. Everything else I have....applications, microphones, etc. If ArkGeo wanted to do this, & wanted me to host it, I would have to ask that they supply the mixer. If someone else wanted to be the host, I could send them the mic (you need a good one, not a Wal-Mart special), the apps, & get them set up on how to do it. And too, the mixer could be added later....but only the host would be able to put the show on by himself/herself.

The shows are optimal at 1 hour, except the holiday specials. One person working completely alone can churn out a GOOD show once a month. Having a co-host to help out in preparing material can almost always make TWO shows a month, which are decently good. Any more than that & you need 3-5 people putting together material & at least 2 people set up for broadcasting ability, in case 1 of them isn't able to do it.

Just an idea. Seems that ArkGeo is looking for fun things to include on the site. And these shows are always fun to listen in on, a relaxing way to wind down the day, & something interesting to do when nothing is any good on TV. And although I haven't done anything exactly like this, I have no doubt that there is plenty of material & interesting stuff out there in the caching world to take care of at least 1 of these per month.

Toss in your ideas....that's all this is really, an idea. If it shows interest, then maybe we can set it up in the future. I'll gladly get it started out, unless someone else wants to. And I just might volunteer to actually DO the shows......if it pays enough. :twisted: :P

02-10-2010, 02:30 AM
Wow AstroDav you should stay up late at night and brainstorm more often! I think this could be something that could not only spread the word of caching around our state, but beyond- to lure people to our state and all it has to offer. You seem multi-talented, just what else do you do?

02-10-2010, 11:44 AM
I think this would be an excellent idea Astrodave. It sounds like you are eager to get started on this. How do we go about getting you a mixer? I would just love to here Likestocanoe talk about his power trail and how to deer hunt while geocaching. How do we go about listing to the program?

02-10-2010, 04:01 PM
....... just what else do you do?

I play sax & piano. Anyone play guitar, bass, & drums? We can have a Caching-Concert ....... naa. :P :P

02-10-2010, 04:46 PM
How do we go about listing to the program?

There are several ways to do that, some depending on where, or if, you get a license to play music.

The absolute easiest way is to simply put a piece of code on this web-site, which links to an on-line player. This also provides the option of the listener pasting the URL into the player of his choice....WinAmp, WMP, VLC, etc. Either way works about the same. But occasionally, because of individual firewall settings & connections, we found that maybe 1 out of 20 people couldn't use that embedded player. So they have to do the copy & paste URL....no problem.

This option also requires whomever maintains the web-site to at least know some basic coding skills. I don't....only HTML. Odd, in that I have built & maintained at least 4 websites of my own. But I just HATE that work & never learned how to do anything but HTML & WYSIWYG building. Besides that, I don't have access to the code of this site & I don't want it anyway. :P But I would venture a guess that whichever member maintains this site, has already the skills to do this simple procedure. It's basically just a cut & paste job.

That's the VERY easiest way. Just click & listen. But if you are wanting to play music, which requires a license, then it may have to be done another way, depending upon which licensing company you go with.

We tried 3 of them back when I was doing the shows & each worked differently. One of them you could do just like the above....use your own site & own code. But someone also had to keep track of how many songs were played during each session, so that they could bill you correctly. It wasn't difficult....just a form you e-mail'd in once a month with the needed info. They'd charge, I think, about 25 cents per song.

Another licensing company we used worked on a monthly lump-sum payment. There were different levels, but I think ours was about $30/month, which gave us the rights to play as much music as we could ever even hope to have time for. This had no type of record keeping at all, but you also had to use THEIR site to tap into the feed. There was actually little difference between this way & the other way. You still put a link on your own site for listeners to click on. But that would actually open up an embedded player on THEIR web-site, which allowed you to listen in.

There's a couple other ways too. But remember, all this is only necessary for the music....to be legally licensed to broadcast it publicly. And if a group is really serious about doing regularly scheduled shows such as this, there's really no reason NOT to incorporate music. It's enjoyable to listen to, serves well to start & end each show, & gives the hosts a way to fill in down-time when they forget where they put their notes at.

But that's not my decision, it's the boards. I'm just providing info. Just a simple radio-cast, no music involved, only requires one person to be set up with the hardware & have the URL & password which allows him to broadcast ...... and a piece of code inserted on the site which links the listener to a media player.....that's all it takes.

02-10-2010, 07:29 PM
Yes, yes, and YES! I've been thinking about an ArkGeo podcast for a good while now. Nothing very long (15-20 minutes each), but regular. What would most of you guys want?

I think we could put together at least a year's worth of show ideas, even if we did a couple each month. I don't have ANY equipment, but if the time commitment isn't too large, I would be willing to host or co-host. I would be terrible at giving information, but I do have some experience at "facilitating"... :)

Some comments about the original post:

- I hadn't thought much about it, but having a segment highlighting some recent Board news or projects would be an excellent way to keep all of our membership in the loop.

- It's my understanding that if we use only "pod-safe" music, we wouldn't need a license. Is that right?

- The reason I haven't pursued this before is because I didn't think I'd have the time to do the editing and production. Wouldn't this be a time-consuming job for someone?


02-10-2010, 08:41 PM
- It's my understanding that if we use only "pod-safe" music, we wouldn't need a license. Is that right?

- The reason I haven't pursued this before is because I didn't think I'd have the time to do the editing and production. Wouldn't this be a time-consuming job for someone?

The way I understood it, only certain very generic, usually very old, & very popular music & songs can be publicly broadcast without a license. This tye MIGHT include stuff like a generic Auld Lang Syne, possibly some short TV-show tunes from many years ago (think "Green Acres"), generic piano music, & "Santa Claus is coming to town". But even some of that old music, most especially "Happy Birthday To You", have recently had court cases in which someone claimed they had bought rights to the song years ago & wanted royalties.

I'm not sure exactly what "pod-safe" is, but if I were going to broadcast ANY music on some type of internet-based public or group-owned channel, I'd rather just play it safe & make sure I was licensed. Especially when it's not an expensive or difficult thing to do.

I DO know however, that "sound-bytes" are legal without being licensed. These are more-or-less very short pieces of music, say no longer than 15-20 seconds, which are used to simply fill in a gap...like maybe when the host is switching the broadcast over to let a guest start talking.

But from my experience, if I was planning on doing something like this, I'd decide right up front if I planned on playing ANY music or not. If the answer was yes, then I'd go ahead & get a license to do that. No negative consequences could ever possibly come from it then.

And of course you can always make the decision later if you wanted to. Just do vocal shows for a few months to test popularity. Then if the audience wanted it, add in licensed music & songs at a later date.

Editing & producing Podcasts is super-easy. At least one of the apps I use, OddCast, automatically records every broadcast you make. Other apps, such as WinAmp, can most likely be set to do that also. Audacity is one of the better editing programs. Once a person uses it a few times to get use to it, a 1-hour show can be edited & fixed into a 30-50 minute PodCast in just a matter of minutes.

Not so sure that I'd want that job however. I know how & am pretty good at it. But I just don't enjoy doing it. If ArkGeo decided to do these shows & wanted to edit & save them as archived PodCasts for later, then someone who really enjoyed that type work would need to volunteer for the job. I wouldn't have a problem at all however showing someone how to do it, or even doing a couple every now & then if I was asked to.

02-10-2010, 10:06 PM
ok, this is scary...

I used to be a DJ on Radio KoL, which is a shoutcast stream that is "unofficially' attached to a web game called Kingdom of Loathing. I DJ's for about 2 and a half years before I gave it up because I couldn't always be online a certain day and time every week due to changing schedules.

So you know someone else who is somewhat familiar with radio goodness...even though I cheated and used SAM 3 and a stream that was already set up, I just had to snag the stream when it was my turn to DJ.

02-10-2010, 10:43 PM
Wow. Very progressive. Sounds too complicated for wittle old me, though I would support financially and listen and participate. I listen to Podcacher and the geocaching podcast, and then there's Cache-a-Maniacs and Cachers of the Round Table. But a local broadcast from right here really sounds exciting.

And congrats on the FTF tonight, astrodav. One out of four ain't bad, huh?

02-17-2010, 09:04 PM
Love the idea. I would be willing to help out with this. I would rather stay out of the politics part, but if needed I would help with that too. I think it is a great idea and although it would require some dedicated time I believe it could be a very successful operation. Like I said I would love to be involved with something like this. Whenever you guys get it ready to get going let me know. This kind of stuff is right up my alley. I have access to some studio equipment. I am and come from a musician filled family, so whenever you get ready for that concert astrodav i'll be the drummer.haha

02-18-2010, 05:05 AM
This does sound interesting.......... I, like at123, prefer to stay out of politics..... I have definite views and beliefs but have found that politics has ruined more friendships than I care to count, so I keep them to myself. I've been known to break a string or two so I might be coerced into jamming with someone. :D

02-18-2010, 09:03 PM
Shadowcachers and I batted this subject around a while back, but nothing ever came of it. I think its a cool idea. I've listened to pretty much all of the English-speaking geocaching podcasts. I even wrote a long post about on here about my favorites. Some are better than others and I'd be glad to help where I could.

As far as music goes, "Podsafe" is the term for music is available on the net. I believe there is even a podcast or 2 about it. Sonny on the Podcacher makes excellent use of podsafe music.