Archive for the ‘Shop talk’ Category

If you were like me, back in the day one of the biggest thrills was to call your favorite radio station. Whether you wanted to request a song, ask when they were giving away concert tickets, or tell your true love you’d never leave them (what was her name, again?), it was an even bigger thrill if you heard your voice being played back over the radio!

Times & technology have changed, and now you can leave a message for us and all the BlackLight Radio listeners right here. Whether you’re on your phone, your tablet, or your PC, as long as you have a microphone hooked up you can give us your thoughts (up to 90 seconds). Request your favorite song, ask about your favorite artist, or just say “hello, world!” to the BlackLight Radio listening audience. Promote your town! Relay your favorite 80s memory.

Before long, you may hear yourself played back on BlackLight Radio! You hear from us every day; now it’s our turn to hear from YOU. Just click the record button below. If you have any issues, email us at

Shout, shout, let it all out! You can talk to me, even if you’re talking in your sleep. I’m not asking you to talk dirty to me; we couldn’t air that! Just talk, talk. You’ll be the talk of the town! Mama may have said don’t talk to strangers, but we’re your friends at BlackLight Radio. You can talk to us now, and we can talk to ya later. If you think it’s funny, you can baby talk. Just call me; say “hello.” You won’t need a Mr. Telephone Man with modern technology. Even if you just called to say I love you, you won’t have to remember numbers like 867-5309 or 853-5937. No need for an operator here. Others might say, “baby don’t forget my number.” You just don’t forget our website. When you leave a message here, you’re calling America.

…Enough 80s song puns; here’s the record button!

Posted by Gene
Posted under Shop talk, Uncategorized

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I told you yesterday that we need a video card to begin streaming BlackLight Radio again.

A reasonable question would be, “why do you need a video card to stream radio?”

YouTube does not provide us a way to stream only audio to them; if we’re going to stream to YouTube, we’re going to have to stream audio AND video (even if that’s only a static image of our logo).

(This, BTW, is different than streaming audio, where even all you’re playing is pre-recorded files, you don’t even have to have a soundcard to encode and send to a server.)

The next reasonable question would be, “why do you need a different video card since you already said you might be using a static logo and 99% of computers come with video cards built in?”

The software we are going to be using, Open Broadcaster Software Studio, requires a video card capable of supporting OpenGL 3.2.

I’m not 100% clear on what OpenGL 3.2 is or how it benefits OBS; I just know that without it, the software won’t run.

The computer I have to do the encoding for YouTube is old enough that the built in video card doesn’t run OpenGL 3.2.

(In case you’re wondering, I’m running Linux on it so the load is light enough to let it encode for YouTube.)

The next challenge with this computer is that it is old enough that it doesn’t have AGP or PCIe slots… only PCI.

There are several PCI video cards which can do OpenGL 3.2 on Amazon, but the least expensive I’ve found is the Sparkle PC 210 DMS59 512MB DDR3 PCI Graphics Card 700033.

It’s $50 plus $9.15 for shipping.

With this card in my current machine, I have every reason to believe we would then be able to use it as a dedicated encoder to feed YouTube with audio and video 24/7.

Although I’m still learning the OBS software, I’m thinking that there should be ways for me to set it up to display the 45 RPM single picture sleeves when songs are playing.

I’ve seen other live streams include all kinds of real-time information from the time of day to current donations to the current song playing.

I’d love to see us able to stream the music video for songs when we have them available… but that is several learning curves away. 🙂

We currently have $20 in our PayPal account, so we’re still needing $40 to get this video card.

If you’d like to help make this happen and help bring back BlackLight Radio, please consider donating through the button in the column to the right of this article.

I check PayPal every day, so once the money comes in I will be sure to let you know, and keep you updated on the delivery status and installation.

Were I not between jobs right now, I’d buy the card myself, and if no one donates the money, I will purchase it once I am employed again and caught up on bills.

Thanks for reading this far, and thanks for considering supporting BlackLight!

Posted by Gene
Posted under Shop talk

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I mentioned yesterday that there was an option for BlackLight Radio to begin streaming again, though YouTube.

Today, I thought I would detail what that would look like, and what we need.

The reason we don’t stream audio anymore is because the Digital Millennium Copyright Act and the related laws that were later passed, require so high of a royalty fee that is no way for us to even cover our costs.

That is even after ad insertion by a national advertising agency… the money in just can’t keep up with the royalty fees out.

Additionally, the way the laws are structured, the larger the listening audience, the larger the royalty fee… so even if you get more listeners and get more advertising dollars, the royalty fees make sure you can NEVER get ahead.

It’s the reason that iHeartRadio and Pandora, both wildly popular streaming audio services, are on the brink of bankruptcy and shutting down.

We’ve been streaming in one form or another since December of 1999, and we’ve lost money every single month we streamed.

We had always hoped the rates would at some point brought down to a reasonable level, but instead they have been increased, guaranteeing financial failure for anyone trying to legally run a business off of internet radio streaming.

YouTube operates a little differently.

I’m certain that they are paying significant royalties, but I get the impression they are negotiating directly with the copyright holders for lower rates.

The result is that in many cases I’m sure they are paying much less for certain songs; in other cases, the song is excluded from their service.

The important part to us is that they don’t charge us to stream songs they have licensed.

The only caveat is that they won’t allow us to monetize our live stream if we are playing copyrighted songs (which of course every hit song of the 80s is) and the copyright owners CAN run ads and make money off of our stream.

In other words: we can’t MAKE money on the stream, but we don’t LOSE money, either.

This would be the first time in 18 years we would break even!

That’s a deal I’ll take every time; this station is a labor of love, anyway, so I certainly don’t mind spending the time as long they’re not charging us money.

There are two issues with streaming on YouTube: first, as mentioned there as songs they won’t allow us to stream.

The result is that about 25% of our music library can’t be streamed to YouTube.

Don’t worry, though, as there are still a ton of amazing 80s hits that YouTube has licensed and we can stream without problem.

Second, we need to use a dedicated encoding computer to send the stream to YouTube and while I have a computer I can dedicate to this effort, it does not have the capability to run the encoding software.

We have $20 in donations in PayPal currently.

With $40 more, we can get a video card that will allow us to stream live to YouTube 24/7.

I check daily to see if anyone has given any money through the PayPal button to the right of this article.

I’ll give you more details about the video card requirements, and the card we’re looking to purchase, next time.

Posted by Gene
Posted under Shop talk

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