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Douglas Arellanes14.02.2013.


World Radio Day Berlin at SUPERMARKT. Photo: Michelle O'Brien CC BY-NC 2.0

World Radio Day Berlin at SUPERMARKT. Photo: Michelle O'Brien CC BY-NC 2.0

This is an updated version of a blogpost we put out last year. It now includes information for both Android and iPhone, and updated, more detailed configuration instructions.

Going live could mean many things: Maybe it’s a reporter with a microphone on the scene of breaking news, maybe it’s an announcer in the studio, maybe a DJ selecting tracks live, maybe a band. There are lots of ways to go live.

We listen a lot to what our community members say in the forums, and going live has been one of the most frequent Airtime feature requests. In our usage, this means being able to switch from the prepared playlists on the calendar to a live stream.

Over in the Airtime forums and even in our manuals, we’ve always made a fairly simple assumption: When people need to go live with their program using Airtime, they would be doing so with a PC and a program like Mixxx or IDJC. And for a lot of users, this really does the trick.

For me, though, the holy grail has always been to be able to use my mobile phone as a streaming source. The logic is simple: You always have your phone with you, and it has more than enough power to do the job.

I’m an iPhone owner, and on several occasions I’ve searched through the App Store looking for something that would do the trick - to send a live stream from my iOS device to Airtime for restreaming. The problem is that there are hundreds of apps that play streams from a source, but few to send an MP3 or Ogg stream.

(By the way, if you need a stream player for iOS, I highly recommend Fstream. But I digress.)

Using KoalaSan for iPhone

I eventually found one that does what I need. It’s called KoalaSan, and I’ve tested it with Airtime and it works great.

KoalaSan is a paid app which costs $5.99, but personally I’m OK with that. The setup is fairly straightforward, with fields you have to input only once for your Airtime setup.

KoalaSan takes whatever is being input from either the built-in microphone or the headphone jack, so you can plug in an external mic, or even plug in another analog audio source (like from a mixing board, another computer’s audio out, a cassette player - whatever you’ve got).

KoalaSan uses either 3G or wifi connections, but because high-quality audio can use a lot of bandwidth, it’s probably not a good idea to use 3G unless you want to pay high data charges.

In my case, my KoalaSan setup looks like this:

Name: Airtime
Port: 8001
Mountpoint: yourservername_master
Stream name: a word to identify the stream ('master' probably best)
Description: anything at all!
Genre: anything at all!
Username: anything (you'll use this in Airtime later so make a note!)
Password: anything (again, you'll need this later)
Codec: mp3
Protocol: Icecast2
Stereo: on
AudioBus: off
Dump: on
Broadcast: on

Once you’ve got your settings in place, you can start streaming by pressing the big start button in KoalaSan's 'Stream!' tab and then you’re sending a live stream.

Setting up Airtime

The principle here is we going to send a live stream from a smart phone, via the web to Airtime. Airtime is going to take that stream we just set up and rebroadcast it, meaning that people can hear what's being recorded on the phone via the Airtime-powered broadcast. There are three ways of doing this in Airtime.

  1. Schedule an incoming stream. For the duration of that schedule Airtime will switch over and pick-up the stream from the phone
  2. Switch manually. Next to the ON AIR light in Airtime, you can switch to Master Source and that will pick up the Master source stream
  3. Switch automatically. There's a clever button that tells Airtime to recognise when an incoming stream is live. Airtime recognises this and then fades from automated play into a rebroadcast of the stream. Stop the stream on the phone and airtime fades back to automation again.

Check out 'On air in 3, 2, 1... Airtime's new live radio modes and how to use them' for more on how these live modes work.

Let's set up option 3, the auto-switch to an incoming stream. The first place to check is in Airtime’s stream settings, which are located in Preferences > Stream.

Stream setting in Airtime 2.3

Stream setting in Airtime 2.3

On the left are the Input Stream Settings. You'll want to select both Auto Switch On and Auto Switch Off. Fade length is your choice. The rest of your settings should be...

Master Username: This should be the same as the username in your app (if you don't have one, just put 'source')
Master Password:
Also the same as the app. If you are unsure, just add the same password in both app and Airtime
Master Source Connection URL: This is auto-filled
Show Source Connection URL: This is auto-filled

That's it! As soon as you hit the play button in Papaya will gracefully fade from whatever you had playing in your automation to a live on-the -fly stream from your iPhone mic. Magic!

The Master and Show sources are different, meaning you can actually set two incoming streams to rebroadcast. If both are set to auto switch, Master always takes priority and will override wither the show stream or the scheduled play.

Broadcasting from Android

I've not had a chance to test this yet, but we've been recommended the BroadcastMySelf app for Android. In principle, it should be the same settings and options as KoalaSan, but the interface is a little different.

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