If there is one thing that still sucks about the online world is that it can be so transitory – data here today may disappear tomorrow. At least other info-storage formats degrade on scales measured in years. Whether it be due to site closure, redesign, or (blech) registration compulsion, it’s always sad when I link-check this site and discover what’s no longer there.
This particular run-through made me weep because some significant “primary source” material, especially relevant to the history of microradio, has given up the ghost: Radio4all.org and its news archive; microradio.net; all of the microradio briefs written by the National Lawyer’s Guild Committee on Democratic Communications; and the UK info-trove Y2Kpirates. Continue reading “The Internet's Relative Impermanence”
To those who may pooh-pooh the ability to run an incredibly successful public service on no budget, look no further than the A-Infos Radio Project. For more than seven years Radio4All has provided a repository for an amazing amount of aural information and charged its users nothing for the service. Since the mainstream arrival of the anti-corporate globalization movement the service has found itself under increasing demand, which now amounts to ~30,000 users per month.
Over the years Radio4All’s also weathered an amazing amount of crises, including emergency storage upgrades and bandwidth increases. Bandwidth alone now costs some $500 per month, and now its hosting provider wants those payments tendered quarterly. According to Radio4All co-founder and co-maintainer Shawn Ewald, “right now, our current balance will only cover this month’s bill.” There may be lots of sites out there offering similar services now, but none were developed in such bottom-up fashion and none have attracted the amount and quality of content as Radio4All.
Shawn Ewald, creator of the Radio4All.net architecture, has released the site code via SourceForge. Anyone with the bandwidth or server space can now establish their own automated content archival system. It would be great to see more Radio4All-type sites, as there’s lots more demand than the single site can adequately serve.
There’s a couple of interesting non-profit ventures trying to master the business of connecting audio content providers with broadcasters and/or the listening masses. Using the internet as distribution platform to circumvent traditional radio network models is not new, but making a marketplace out of it is fairly so.
Public Radio Exchange has been working at it the longest. The service came of age in 2004; users of the system pay a yearly fee to upload and market their work. Broadcasters purchase rights to air pieces via a system of points, which are redeemed for cash, paid out by PRX on a quarterly basis. The system’s gotten some limited but favorable press and seems to be enjoying fairly wide adoption among those who work in or on contract to public radio. Continue reading “Audio Content-Sharing as Business Model”
The first is the venerable A-Infos Radio Project (which I believe is now separate from the woefully outdated Radio4All.org) – a complete overhaul of the project source code. The new layout takes a bit of getting used to and there might be a couple of bugs left to catch, but remember, this is free sh*t. The A-Infos Radio Project is arguably the best open source audio clearinghouse available online, with several uploads added to the system every day. They can always use some help: bandwidth is a killer, and there has to be hundreds of gigabytes of audio archived already. Continue reading “Two Critical Online Resources Get Even More Useful”