Important information about internet radio

What is internet radio?

Internet radio (or web radio) is an audio broadcasting service transmitted via the Internet. Broadcasting on the Internet is usually referred to as webcasting since it is not transmitted broadly through wireless means. Many Internet radio stations are associated with a corresponding traditional "terrestrial" radio station or radio network. Internet-only radio stations are independent of such associations.

Where can I listen to internet radio?

Internet radio stations are usually accessible from anywhere in the world—for example, to listen to an Australian station from Europe or America. This makes it a popular service for expatriates and for listeners with interests not adequately served by local radio stations (such as progressive rock, ambient music, anime themed music, classical music or 24-hour stand up comedy). Some Internet radio services offer news, sports, talkback, and various genres of music—everything that is on the radio station being simulcast over the internet with a netcast stream.

How does streaming works?

One of the most common ways to distribute internet radio is via streaming technology using a lossy audio codec. The MP3 format is most popular, followed by Ogg Vorbis, WMA and RealAudio. The bits are "streamed" (transported) over the network in TCP or UDP packets, then reassembled and played within about 2-10 seconds, depending on server characteristics. This delay is referred to as lag time.

What are the components to an audio stream?

1.    Audio stream source.
2.    Audio stream repeater (server).
3.    Audio stream playback.

How to create a stream?

There are many methods for creating the audio stream source. Those include Ogg Vorbis streamings that can be P2P clients. Another method includes the usage of winamp's shoutcast technology which uses the winamp client to make a radio station.

When were the beginnings of internet radio?

The first Internet radio station, Internet Talk Radio, was developed by Carl Malamud in 1993, using a technology called MBONE (IP Multicast Backbone on the Internet). Later that year, Austin Arts BBS began providing (later netcasting) Screenprinters Radio, pre-recorded interviews, stories, tips and tricks and music for members of the Austin, Texas screenprinting BBS, founded in 1983 by Bill Hood.
WXYC (89.3 FM Chapel Hill, NC USA) was the first radio station to announce broadcasting on the Internet on November 7, 1994.
In 1994, the Voice of America became the first broadcast news organization to offer continuously updated programming on the Internet.
In 1994, Radio Television Hong Kong, RTHK, the free-to-air Hong Kong Government Public Broadcaster began streaming all radio programs on the Internet.
In February, 1995, the first full-time, Internet-only radio station, Radio HK, began broadcasting the music of independent bands. Radio HK was created by Norman Hajjar and the Hajjar/Kaufman New Media Lab, an advertising agency in Marina del Rey, California.

The first radio station to stream 24-hours a day in Europe was the UK's Virgin Radio, who started streaming a live simulcast using Real Networks in March 1996.

What are the costs for internet radio stations?

On May 1, 2007, the United States Copyright Royalty Board approved a rate increase in the royalties payable to performers of recorded works broadcast on the internet. This was the result of a two year proceeding, with dozens of witnesses and hundreds of documents from over twenty different parties, including (but not limited to) large webcasters, small webcasters, NPR, college stations, and SoundExchange. The CRB was privy to private financial records and business models of the webcasters, and after reviewing the evidence and testimony, issued their decision on May 1 ,2007 (which is currently under appeal). The rates include a minimum fee of $500 (U.S.) per year, per channel, with escalating fees for each song played. The decision is retroactive, so for 2006 the applicable fee would be $0.0008 per performance. Since the inception of rates in 1998, the webcaster has been charged on a per performance basis. A performance is defined as streaming one song to one listener, a webcaster with 10,000 listeners would pay 10,000 times the going rate for every streamed song. The fee increases in increments each year, which amounts to $0.0019 per song by 2010." If enforced, this decision will undermine the business models of many Internet radio stations, which had previously relied on the rate of $0.000768 per song that had been unchanged from 1998-2005.

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