Broadcasting on Windows: Ashley’s Experience and Setup

I’ve always been interested in radio, and how music was played around the world.

In 2006, once I got my very own computer, I started making friends from far away through sites like Myspace, Facebook, and eventually twitter. Through these friends, I learned about internet radio. This is similar to AM or FM radio, but with a wider audience.

Over the next few years, I listened to a wide variety of internet radio stations, and in the fall of 2013, after becoming acquainted with a person who had their own internet radio station, I began the process of learning the ins and outs of internet broadcasting. As my time as a broadcaster or DJ continued over the years, I learned how to use different pieces of software to bring Skype calls or team talk channels in to my show.

I have had experience on a few stations. I have had some experience as a station founder and manager. There are a few differences in these roles. As a broadcaster, you basically do your show. If you work for a station who ask the team to help create great things for the listeners to participate in. as a manager, you are in the middle of things. You may help with hiring or firing broadcasters, event planning, content creation, and even have your own show. As a manager, you have to be able to receive feedback and decide how that feedback should be handled; for example, if a listener comes to you and asked that less country be in automation, and more metal be played. It is the managements job to figure out how best that should be handled. Can we schedule more metal at this time, and schedule country to be played at another time? Do we need to add more metal to automation in general? These questions and many others as a manager. As a broadcaster, you may not be involved in as much of this decision making. For some people, being a broadcaster works perfectly, but for others, just being a broadcaster may not be enough. For some of us, leaving a management role and becoming a broadcaster does not set well.

In 2014, some friends and I developed a station. We had a five person management team. This set up worked beautifully for us. We were able to make some awesome plans. We had a good sized listener base. Our station was around for a little over a year. I know that that experience gave me some great knowledge to continue my broadcasting career.

To begin broadcasting, I needed a few things. I needed the software that would connect me to the internet so that I could broadcast. I needed to open my eyes to other genres. So, what did I do? I found some great online tutorials to teach me the software that I would be using to broadcast. I started listening to different genres of music, and I started practicing with the software I use. I found myself randomly creating playlists to play and practice with. My goal was to be able to amerce myself in the software and understand what many, if not all, of the keyboard commands did.

It’s been a little over two years since I started broadcasting, and I enjoy every show I get the opportunity to do. I still have things brake on me. I am sometimes the culprit behind these braking things. I still don’t understand what some functions do, or randomly figure them out at the strangest times, but I enjoy broadcasting. It helps me find a way to let out some emotions I may not have any other way of releasing.

If you are considering broadcasting, you will need a specific set up with appropriate hardware and software. In this blog post, I will cover how I have my set up. We will soon have a Mac set up posted.

The only piece of hardware I use is a $39.00 USB microphone. You can make the hardware portion of the setup process as complicated and expensive as you like, or you can start with just a microphone. Some additional suggestions include a mic stand, pop filter, and shock mount. Alternatively, some USB headsets also work fine and have decent sound quality.

Now for the complicated part – the software.

Most people use Station Playlist Studio (SPL). You can use Station Playlist Studio to not only host a show, but if you have a computer and a stable internet connection, you can also host your stations automation system.

Some free alternatives for broadcasting are Foobar and Winamp. These are both media players, which require additional plugins to connect to the server. The plugins can be difficult to locate, so the setup can be a bit more complicated than it is with Station Playlist studio.

If you wish to have co-hosts on your shows or to take calls from listeners, you will need Virtual Audio Cable. This will allow you to bring in audio from a program like Skype or TeamTalk, and your listeners will be able to hear it whenever your mic is on.

If you’re broadcasting on a station, you should not need any additional software, unless you choose to have a setup which differs from mine. However, if you intend to broadcast on your own server, or start your own station, you will need a server, a way to do automation, and possibly a website. If you are a very technical person, you can setup your own website and server. If you are not technically inclined, you can pay someone to do it for you.

If you wish to have automation on your server/future station, you can choose one of the following: broadcast 24/7 from your own computer with SPL, code your own automation, or pay for a service. The solution our station used, which is very accessible, is LiveWebDJ.

If you have any questions about my experience broadcasting and/or my particular setup, please let me know. If anyone would like to contribute to this article, please feel free to post a comment. I hope you have enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading!

Our Thoughts on Braille Literacy

This blog post is featuring our various opinions of Braille. We have all learned Braille at different times and in different ways. We have all learned, experienced, and used Braille in our lives in some form or another. We, The Blinkie Chicks, talk a little about Braille and how it has played a role in our lives. Also, we have some links to other people’s stories about how Braille has impacted their lives.

Ashley began learning Braille at the age of 6. When she was asked if she would have liked to have learned Braille earlier, she says: “Yes, I do wish I had the opportunity to learn Braille earlier. I think Braille is a necessary tool for blind and visually impaired children to have in their toolbox.”

When asked how and why Braille was important to her, Ashley said: “Braille is very important to me. My family had a difficult time getting the elementary school I attended to find someone to teach me Braille, and the school tried to force them to send me to The Governor Morehead School for the blind. My parents refused because they wanted to keep me at home. The school system had to find someone to teach me Braille.” Ashley further explains: “I have been able to see how much Braille has helped people in their daily lives. I know how much Braille has helped me, my friends, and the people I have taught.”

Ashley says that Braille was the way she learned to read and write. It was the way she had access to the materials the other students had access to. She learned how to spell and work math problems using Braille.
She received access to her text books through Braille, and by that she was able to efficiently learn the material she needed to pass her classes.
Ashley says that one of the suggestions that she could give to others who are learning Braille is: “Do not worry if you do not pick up Braille when you first try to learn it. Be patient with yourself, and with the person or persons who are trying to teach you. Braille is not easy to learn for some people, but you can learn it.” She says, “I love and enjoy Braille, and I hope others will as well.”

Jessica learned braille at age 11. She chose to learn it on her own. She was never asked to seriously learn it, because she is able to read print. Jessica says: “I guess they thought I didn’t need it.”
When she was asked if she would have liked to have learned Braille at an earlier age, she says: “I wish I had learned braille sooner, because it would have made reading much easier for me, and maybe I would’ve developed a love for reading at an early age.”

Jessica says that Braille is very important to her. She goes on to say: “In fact, I keep finding ways to use it, even though people keep trying to tell me I don’t need it. I do need it, because it is much more efficient for me to read something in braille vs. print. I guess people think I have too much vision for braille, but that thinking is flawed.” She also states: “Braille is extremely important, because reading it is the only real way for blind individuals to be literate. It assists with learning to spell, punctuation, and proper grammar usage. What would happen if print were to disappear? Braille should be taught and encouraged. A screen reader and audio books can never replace braille.”

Jessica says that Braille has helped her succeed in school. She explains: “Braille helped me succeed in school, because in middle and high school, I was able to take my notes in braille. When studying, I could actually concentrate on the material, instead of focusing my energy on reading the notes themselves.”

Daria learned Braille at the age of six. She was attending public school at that time. She wishes she would have learned Braille at an earlier age so that she would have been reading sooner.

She states that Braille has helped her have confidence in her reading abilities. “I love to read aloud.” She says: “I can be more independent because of it. For example, when I was in college, there was Braille beside the suite doors.” Daria continues by saying, “Braille is important to me because I am able to be independent, and I can be a more active reader because of it. Just being able to touch it with my hands is very therapeutic to me.”

When Daria was asked how Braille helped her in school, she said, “I mention reading a lot, but Braille was how I learned to read; I gathered information through reading Braille. Also, when learning Spanish, Braille helped me to advance. Studying Spanish was easier because I learned Braille.”
For the people who are learning Braille, Daria advises, “My suggestion would be to have patience with yourself when you begin learning Braille, and do not be afraid to ask questions about Braille you don’t yet understand, such as what certain contractions represent.”

Ania learned Braille at the age of three during the summer. Ania says, “I spent every weekday morning during that early summer going through the alphabet and forming words, in a parents directed blind organization.”

Ania does not wish she would have learned Braille sooner. She does think that learning Braille before primary school is vital.

When we asked Ania how and why Braille is important, she explains: “For me, books are a part of my life, as I say it, I eat books as much as food. Books have opened a door to a new world and new experiences. Braille is the way of getting there. When I put my fingertips over those dots, it’s as if I really had vision; those dots are my eyes.” Ania goes on to say, “Every kid should know how to read and write, how to spell and how to count, and every blind kid should know braille to do those things. No braille no good spelling, only audio, your touch is not as well developed as it can be. In fact, Braille is our eyes. We develop the hearing because we use it more but our touch shows us the forms of things, how the things really are.”
Ania says that in school, Braille was the way for her to be even with her peers. Ania says that she could do the same as her peers; in fact, she could do even better than them. Ania says that Braille was the way she did her math, how she calculated, and the way she has advanced in life. Ania says, “I would ask the sighted people, what are your eyes for you?”

Ania gives this advice to people who are just learning Braille: “Don’t give up. If they are kids who are early learners, I would tell them that it is the same as learning to read in print for sighted kids. If, on the other hand, the person learning Braille is older, I would tell him/her to have patience, and persevere. With Braille, like with other things in life, if you don’t give up and continue with a clear goal, you will always reach your objectives.”

Here are a few links about Braille that might interest you.

The first is a link to a post written about the importance of Braille. With the strong focus on electronic communication, many feel that Braille is no longer necessary. This blog post, which was the inspiration for this post, is a response to an article written on this subject, which explores Braille and what it means to those who use it.
The Importance of Braille Literacy: An Open Letter to the New York Times from Daniel Aronoff

The second is a great post about why Braille is still necessary, even if it can be inconvenient at times. Luckily, Braille displays are coming down in price, which means more people should have access to Braille than ever before.
Braille Is Not Dead (So Stop Trying To Kill It) | Where’s Your Dog?

We sincerely hope you have enjoyed this post. Thank you for reading!