Radioshow Experiment a Partial Success

Last night I attempted to broadcast the radioshow live from Memphis using Skype to connect us with the WEFT studio. Here in Memphis at the Cook Convention Center we got a wired (rather than wireless) connection to the internet, which I understood was shared by very few people. I don’t know how many people were really on that connection, but we did experience some level of drop-out and lost the connection several times.

I kept an open phone connection along with a chat session open with the WEFT studio so we were able to reconnect pretty quickly while Jay in the studio scrambled to stave off dead air.

Because of the several interruptions over the course of the half-hour I’ll have to do a little editing and re-recording for the podcast/syndicated version of the program.

But I’m glad we gave this a shot. I chose Skype because it’s a simple audio internet audio technology that provides decent quality audio. I’ve also found it to be relatively robust even when connectivity is slow.

Another method to do a live remote would be to do an mp3 stream. The advantage to this method is that you can set your bitrate, and therefore the quality of the audio. However, MP3 streaming servers, like Shoutcast or Icecast, don’t adjust dynamically to network conditions, so I thought that we would have been more likely to lose the connection than with Skype.

The lesson learned with this little experiment is that bandwidth is still king. No matter how cool and robust your technology or software, if your bandwidth dips out too low it’s nearly impossible to retain a real-time streaming audio or video feed.

So, if I do this again I’ll definitely spend more time testing the bandwidth at the venue at multiple times during the day, and from multiple locations.

Nevertheless, I have to give my thanks to Free Press and Kate McKenney for being very helpful in doing the broadcast in the first place.



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