FLOSS Weekly 710 Transcript

Please be advised this transcript is AI-generated and may not be word for word. Time codes refer to the approximate times in the ad-supported version of the show.

Doc Searls (00:00:00):
This is FLOSS Weekly. I'm Doc Searls. This week Shawn Powers and I talk with Tim Požar and Brian David, who are two brilliant broadcast engineers and talents and experienced dudes about the transition from over the air broadcast as we've known it for like a hundred years. And all digital broadcasts that any one of you can do at home as well. There's a lot of stuff in here, all kinds of products and all kinds of open source code that's in process. We had so much, we're gonna have to continue the show at another time, but this is really good and it's coming up next. Podcasts you

Announcer (00:00:41):
Love from people you trust. This is TWiT.

Doc Searls (00:00:48):
This is FLOSS Weekly, episode 710 recorded Wednesday, December 7th, 2022, open source for broadcast. This episode of FLOSS Weekly is brought to you by IT Pro from ACI learning IT Pro TV is now IT Pro from ACI learning. If you're looking to break into the world of it or if your IT team needs to level up, get the introduction you need with IT Pro . Check out an IT Pro business plan by visiting it today. And by code comments, an original podcast from Red Hat that lets you listen in on two experienced technologists as they described their building process and what they've learned from their experiences. Search for code comments in your podcast player.

Announcer (00:01:38):

Doc Searls (00:01:39):
Everybody, this is Doc Searls <laugh>. I'm busy kind of writing the reality here cuz there's construction going on right outside that window, but that is not gonna stop us. Shawn Powers and I are here and, uh, and ready to go. You're there, Shawn, somewhere. I am in Michigan. I'm

Shawn Powers (00:01:57):
Here. You can't see all there. I am. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I'm here. Same place as always the same office. I never leave here. This is, this is my, my prison. I mean, no, this is my, uh, office.

Doc Searls (00:02:06):
You've re greened your hair. And, uh,

Shawn Powers (00:02:08):
I have, yeah, my, my daughter greened it for me.

Doc Searls (00:02:11):
Oh, she did it. And is she still orange or some other matching

Shawn Powers (00:02:15):
Tall. She's bright red now. And that was part of the motivation. Now we, we represent Christmas when we're near each other, so. Oh, I

Doc Searls (00:02:21):
See. Okay. That's cool. That's cool. Is it still snowing? There? Is there, is there

Shawn Powers (00:02:26):
No, it all

Doc Searls (00:02:27):

Shawn Powers (00:02:28):
It all melted now. It's just cold and miserable without any pretty snow, so Yeah, it's, well,

Doc Searls (00:02:33):
Well, I am in Los Angeles in a borrowed house that I've, you'll I'm seen on here from time to time. Um, uh, and I, I drive you into this because none of our, none of our people know much about radio. I'm the, I'm the guy, but, yep. You volunteered. So do you ever listen to you listen to the radio at all? I mean, do you I do.

Shawn Powers (00:02:50):
Whether actually I have a lot of, I have a lot of thoughts about radio. I think maybe it's a good thing that I, that I'm not like, uh, a radio professional because I have have a, an outside, uh, lot of questions that, uh, you may not think about. And so, um, I'm looking forward to the conversation. My concern is that I might derail conversation because I, I want to know how things work and if there's a transitional way that we are gonna go from, you know, the, the towers to, to the packets and, and if that's a good thing, if it's a bad thing. If we shouldn't, I just want to have that conversation. So, uh, I'm here to offer outside insight. Well,

Doc Searls (00:03:28):
We can, we can start with that. Um, so our, our guest today are our Tim Požar, who's been on the show before. And Brian David, uh, Tim is, uh, I met Tim, um, I think in 1995 or six when he was not only, it was it like an i s p con or something, and he was running an I S P in San Francisco at the same time. He was the chief engineer for a radio station <laugh> that we listened to. And, uh, and, and, and, uh, and Brian is the chief engineer for K P F A legendary station in, uh, in Berkeley. So welcome to the show, guys. We, this is a forehead version of the show, for those of you not visually impaired.

Shawn Powers (00:04:10):
Was that a comment about my growing forehead as I

Doc Searls (00:04:13):
<laugh>? No, when it grows, it gets, it gets like this when it gets full, fully grown, fully grown. Um, so let, let's start with where Shawn was going there because, um, uh, and I'm, I'm an old radio guy. I'm old to begin with, and I've been into radio since I was a kid. I grew up looking at the towers of New York City's AM AM stations and riding down to them and talking to the chief engineers there, or the engineers that were stationed at the sta at the, at the transmitters. The whole, the Meadowlands they call it now, just bristled with towers. And I just go into these places and talk radio lore with these old guys and, and now of course, AM is almost gone. And, um, and FM I think may be on its way out to them. Nobody talks about that, uh, as radios turn into something that we listen to over packets. So where are we in that transition?

Tim Požar (00:05:04):
That's, that's kinda funny. You should ask, if you don't mind me jumping in on this. Uh, please do. Back in mm-hmm. <affirmative> in, was it 19, or excuse me, 2005. I wrote a paper for, um, the advisory board at, at Motorola, uh, which I, I conveniently call, uh, fi 3G is a new standard broadcast band. Um, we saw the, the, the move towards, or at least I saw it in the paper, the move towards pushing content, uh, over the net. And I, you know, saw that driving down the road, you're not gonna be pushing AM or FM on the, on the buttons on your radio anymore. You're gonna be opening up your phone and, uh, listening to a stream. And so that paper ended up, uh, going to Motorola, but it also modeled, um, the, oops, are we off? Nope, I see you. I did.

Doc Searls (00:06:00):
We're on, I was on mute, but we were on <laugh>. Carry on.

Tim Požar (00:06:04):
Oh, we lost it. Oh, sorry. Now I'm back. <laugh>. Oh, you're back. That's weird

Brian David (00:06:08):
Talking packets. I'm sorry.

Tim Požar (00:06:10):
Yes. Um,

Doc Searls (00:06:11):
It's this packet thing. Yeah. Sometimes it works. Yeah. Two or three lines of reliability. Yeah.

Tim Požar (00:06:20):
So, uh, anyway, I saw people just basically, you know, streaming content down the road. It's, you're not gonna be pushing the AM or FM buttons anymore. You're gonna be listening it to it off your cell phone or whatever got built into your car. So with that, I was, uh, in the paper, I looked at what would, what Q would look like, uh, over the last several years, and it's been trailing off and there's a, uh, a paper that I think you sent Doc that, um, uh, or maybe it was Brian sent, uh, that showed that that trend is still happening. Um, you know, we are not listening to over the Air

Doc Searls (00:06:56):
Q meaning cumulative listening. That's, that's radio talk for, for over like a, if a station has a hundred thousand q that's how many people listen in a given week. Right.

Tim Požar (00:07:07):
I was gonna ask, sorry about technical <laugh>. Yeah. But yeah. Yeah. So that, so people have these challenges and, and Brian still being in radio at this point still has his challenge too. So, um, I imagine he could probably talk about how he's, how are you delivering audio to your constituents now?

Brian David (00:07:27):
Yeah, well, it, it's definitely a both and situation, right? We have an older listening audience and the FM radio is something they love to hold and listen to all day, every day. And it gets reflected during fun drives with the comments and the listener feedback. And there's something intimate and personal to it, and there's something nostalgic. And it in, its like, simple form stands a test of time to many. Although times change, everything changes. And so we do streaming. We have hundreds of people listening over our stream at any given time. And that grows as more people transition. Uh, at one point in time, the FM signal was also carried over cable TV carrier, Comcast in the Bay Area. And so for the low valleys in the terrain where Signal couldn't reach people could actually listen to FM over their cable subscription. So I think, uh, it, it has a place still, at least within Northern California, which was what I'm familiar with. Um, but you know, it, it, it's, there has to be an adaptation. And for a station like K P F A that's been around 73 years, that's a constant. There's a constant change there.

Doc Searls (00:08:48):
You know, a few years ago, um, when I, my son is now 26, he was 15, we moved to, we, oh, had got a little apartment in New York City and we walked to Radio Shack. Cause I wanted to get a, a radio for the kitchen. Radio Shack had no radios, <laugh>, it didn't have any radios. You

Shawn Powers (00:09:07):
Don't even have Shaq anymore.

Doc Searls (00:09:08):
Don't even have Shaq. And, uh, and he said to me, not naively, I think he said, um, what is the point of range and coverage? He didn't even know what, like why is it okay that when you drive outta town, the station disappears? Um, and a little while after that, his favorite station, which is W E R S in Boston, which is where we had lived, uh, did acapella on weekends, acapella music. And he loved acapella music and he was an acapella guy. And when we started losing the station, he just plugged in his phone to the auxiliary and put on the car. And we listened to it the rest of the way to New York. And, but it's, but you mentioned Brian, you have hundreds of, of streamers, well, where there might be thousands of people still listening in their cars. Mostly it's in cars now mm-hmm. <affirmative>. But there can, so here's a technical question and we can transition to the open source conversation. Um, uh, can a station, they could say a station has 500,000 listeners at a given time. It's a big one. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, really big one. Um, can they sustain 500,000 simultaneous streams? I have no idea actually.

Brian David (00:10:22):
Uh, well, I mean, I'm sure icecast can, I'm sure there's a lot of tweaking, a lot of I node configuration, uh, you know, bandwidth considerations. Um, you know, I mean, if something like YouTube can deliver a billion or whatever, you know, why can't we with open source deliver the same quality or the same quantity? I think it's entirely possible. You know, I think there's, um, kind of to the previous conversation around like leaving a city and entering or leaving a region and entering a new region and hearing something new. I think there's kind of something beautiful about letting go and moving on to something else and not always having access to the thing you want at all times. And so that's kind of at odds with our, our technical world too. And so fm as fm not as fm as a stream kind of holds that as well.

Shawn Powers (00:11:17):
And so, Icecast, uh, I mean I, I I kind of know what icecast is, but, um, for those who may not, could you explain like the, uh, um, what Icecast actually does?

Brian David (00:11:31):
Sure. So it takes an audio feed such as an MP3 or AAC or AG or any kind of container, any Kodak, um, and adds in a buffer and distributes it over http. And so you can listen to it, uh, listen to an ice cast stream, um, which is just audio. It can also do video as well, though personally, I've never done that. There's, uh, kind of, it's, it's been around a long time and has some limitations and kind of a successor to it I'm seeing is H ls or H C T P live streaming, uh, which we don't do at K P F A, but, uh, it seems like a lot of stations have moved onto that and that breaks things into smaller pieces and can chunk it out over like engine X or a content distribution network or something like that.

Shawn Powers (00:12:22):
Gotcha. Now do you find, um, you, you brought up an interesting point about there's something beautiful about, um, when you leave an area, you know, you, you, you leave the, the vocal focused content there or whatever, and I get that, but I, I, I feel like, uh, the, the globalization of communication, boy, I'm throwing out some words here, uh, is kind of training us to, um, gravitate towards things that we like. And I think pro, you know, possibly one of the difficulties that a local station might have, and this is kind of beyond the, uh, technical engineering part of it, but the, uh, the talent part of it, um, trying to have, uh, local talking heads, for example, who are competing with something who's syndicated, or somebody who's syndicated, or a group of people who are syndicated, who are amazingly, um, talented in their like morning talk show, for example.

I think it's, it's tough to keep that local feeling when radio stations are almost required to pipe in this big name talent from who knows where, uh, in order to keep people listening. So I, is there, i i, I don't know if there's a way that we can keep that, uh, community vibe with, uh, you know, an FM station because I mean, that was kind of the whole point, you know, when, when you were in the area, you could listen to this station, but since that's not the case now, I, I don't know how we keep that charm, if you will. And I'm sure you don't have an answer otherwise, you know, <laugh> doing something. But that's something that I, I struggle with when it comes to radio stations.

Tim Požar (00:13:59):
If I could chime in real quick on that, is that there is this thing called the Telecom Act of 1996 that basically pushed stations into more syndications. What happened was that that ended up, uh, enabling a one company to be able to have more than one station in, in a market or more than a handful of stations. So they could get a majority of that, that ended up being this big gigantic land rush for, um, licenses. Um, and so stations were, were horribly over, um, overpriced at that point. Um, and because of that, they had to drop the operating expenses for running a radio station. That's when syndication, you know, the Howard Stern and the, you know, whatever else that, you know, the various talk radios that ended up being very nice and cost effective for being able to run a station. So you lost a lot of your local presence, uh, with, because of the Telecom Act of 1996.

Uh, and this, and you could see these stations now cratering such as Clear Channel and, uh, Citadel and various other stations that are, are groups that, uh, have, um, have now gone bankrupt. There's, we were looking at the, uh, the cost of buying a license in San Francisco, and I was looking at one particular radio station, and probably about 10 years ago that would've been a a hundred million to buy that license. Now it's probably around 5 million or so. So the, the cost has gone down conservatively, but people, people are still having to pay off this debt that they had when they, when they first bought these stations.

Shawn Powers (00:15:41):
Ooh. And it's, it's far cheaper to, to cheaper and easier to scale a digital alternative to that. So that's,

Tim Požar (00:15:48):
Ooh, that's,

Shawn Powers (00:15:49):
That's painful.

Tim Požar (00:15:54):
So anyway, that, hopefully that answer answered your question about local programming. Yeah, I, I, I'll now, Brian's station, K P F A is not notorious for having lots of local programming and such. And so they have some costs that they have to work with. Uh, and you know, Brian could probably address this better than I can, but, you know, there's a lot of volunteers, but they still producing local programming is costly. You have to pay staff, you have to pay for studios, researches, all the other stuff that, uh, to cover.

Brian David (00:16:24):
And so part of the model is like, we're a nonprofit station, and without advertisements, we've been listeners supported a hundred percent. Um, we get very little in terms of grants or foundational funding. Uh, and it's always been that way. Uh, I believe we're the first, or one of the first really to, to, to start that. And there's an aspect there that is different when we start to break down FM into, uh, commercial stations or non-commercial stations. And I guess personally I see room for the non-commercial stations to survive cuz they're not chasing profits as much as sustainability and quality. And so there's kind of a different direction, um, not necessarily interested in scale, so to speak. And so we can grow or we can shrink as a station, um, because our focus is a little more on that local that, that yeah, the local content and making connections in our studios in the heart of Berkeley, uh, pre covid <laugh>, uh, we're, we're open for people to come and share. And it was a little more of a social center as well. So I think there's aspects that go beyond the technical and into the community relations aspect that make something like FM unique. Whereas I, I don't know. I've never been to like a community event in a data center. I don't know if it's <laugh>, how great that is.

Doc Searls (00:17:57):
<laugh>, you know, I, I, um, I, I wanna dig deeper and I, I think because we're at this transition point, um, between over the air broadcast and kind of a crossover point where, uh, between over the air broadcast and, and digital broadcasting. And, um, I think on the far side of that, especially around community stuff and around narrow interests of one kind or another, there's a whole other breed that's actually going to thrive on, on open source. And you guys are working a lot on that. And I want to get to that after I let everybody know that, um, this episode of FLOSS Weekly is brought to you by IT Pro IT Pro TV is now IT pro from ACI learning. Your IT team needs the skills and knowledge to ensure your business is a success. And with IT pro, more than 80% of users who start a video actually finish it, IT PRO is engaging and your team will enjoy learning on their platform, give your team the tools they need to make your business thrive.

Courses are entertaining and binge worthy, keeping your team interested in, invested in learning. The tech industry is evolving, changing rapidly, and your team needs to be trained today when a new software release system upgrade or cyber threat faces your business, IT Pro offers the training and perspectives of those disruptions within days, if not ours. So why is it pro right for your business? Well, yet all training and certifications for your team done all in one place, IT Pro has every vendor and skill you need for your IT team training. They provide Microsoft IT training, Cisco training, Linux training, apple training, security Cloud, and so much more, more than 6,800 hours worth. Ranging from technical skills to compliance to soft skills. You can do so much more with an IT pro business plan, track your team's results, manage your seats, assign and unassigned team members, and access monthly usage reports.

You can see metrics like logins during time tracks completed and more. You can easily manage teams, manage subsets of users or teams by providing them with customized assignments, monitoring progress and reporting on usage of the platform. Assignments can be full courses and or individual episodes within courses. Advanced reporting is another one. Get immediate insight into your team's viewing patterns and progress over any period of time with visual reports. And don't forget that IT Pro has individual plans too, it pro from ACI learning. Give your team the IT development platform. They need to level up their skills when enjoying the journey. Go to to IT pro TV slash TWiTtoday. Okay, so, so Tim and Brian, you provided us with a lot of material, which I've been going through. And basically what it, what it says to me is, um, you can, you can do a lot, you can do broadcast on your own with a small group for nothing engineering wise other than equipment using open source stuff. So do you want to kind of give us the outline on that and walk us through it?

Tim Požar (00:21:21):
Well, I think that the need, uh, ended up with, with Brian. I, I, and the reason I, I wanted Brian on this is that he's where you're what, in Pittsburgh? Where, what, what

Brian David (00:21:32):
Time? Yeah, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Pittsburgh.

Tim Požar (00:21:34):
Yeah. Wow. So the chief engineer of Pittsburgh, uh, is, is located in Pittsburgh. K P F A is in Berkeley. Um, how do

Doc Searls (00:21:41):
You, you're not up on a whiskey peak of fixing a transmitter on the weekends,

Brian David (00:21:45):
<laugh>? No, no. Fortunately we have a transmitter supervisor there, you know, one hour a week just to make sure things are good,

Doc Searls (00:21:54):

Tim Požar (00:21:55):
So the challenge that, that he has is how do you, how do you keep running a radio station from that distance? I mean, he keeps coming in. So I was very impressed, uh, with what d uh, what Brian has done in, um, making this available so that he can operate pretty much any aspect of the station from Pittsburgh. Uh, so, um, part of this, we, you know, I don't know if we go down in the, in kind of script order that we have here, but, um, part of this is, is making sure that we have appropriate monitoring, uh, or at least, uh, I, this is a lot of this stuff came out of like the, the data center or the network kind of kind of model of, of things. And so, uh, we're using things like, or at least K P F A is, and I've been using this for other companies that I use, uh, an open source product called Libre nms.

Um, and the nice thing about it is one that knows of all about your network devices, but with a little tweaking that like Brian has done, and, and I, I hopefully chimes in here a little bit, is, um, uh, I'll let him, uh, is it can actually poke at things like, you know, your transmitter, um, your forward power, your reverse power, you know, that, uh, the reflected power, um, uh, you know, all sorts of aspects of, of, of, uh, day-to-day station operations. So, so Brian, what do you use it for? Monitoring? How do you use it for specifically for broadcast?

Brian David (00:23:19):
Yeah, there was an interesting transition. Uh, thanks Tim. So around two, two years ago, maybe a little more time gets a little funky. Um, you know, COVID was starting and we really needed to have our hosts, uh, continue broadcasting, but remotely the studios, it became a concern to have many people inside one building. And we, we said, okay, let's take a look at how to do that. And being somewhat familiar with Codex and protocols, I said like, okay, we can, we can set up some software or some hardware people's home and they can come in, uh, remotely over the board and make a high quality real-time phone call. And additionally, there was things like meter readings, which people were taking by hand, um, which was something I inherited w when I joined and said, okay, let's see if we can log this, if we can automate this process a bit so that way I can just get alerted or people can be alerted if there's an issue.

And we have, uh, an audit trail and Libre, n m s Tim put me onto it and I said, oh, wow, this is great. Not only can we monitor all of the switches and the routers and our primary links and our backup links, but we can also monitor power and battery life and levels if we just make a little connection, uh, from an aib a, uh, manufacturer's information base. Don't quote me on that one. Uh, uh, like the object ID from S N M P data, simple network, uh, messaging protocol. And so the data from a lot of our devices was able to go into Libra n m s with a lot of tweaking, and then we, then I and the engineering team can receive alerts from that. And so, and additionally we started to alert ourselves on Slack, and then we can create actions on Slack to resolve things like our arch archiver file is, uh, not archiving correctly, or our primary transmitter is having an issue. And it created a much, like, much more domain awareness of the station than previously I had. And it was fabulous in terms of training others within our station on how these interconnected systems work.

Tim Požar (00:25:44):
If you, if there's a screenshot, I think it's a Lire animus oh two, uh, actually the next one from that one. Um, yeah, that one, that's K pfas, uh, dashboard. Um, and I noticed that and the alerts there, the cis log entries there that he's monitoring his streams, um, showing, you know, if there's an up down condition or, you know, people connecting and such. Um, what else do you have on that dashboard there?

Brian David (00:26:14):
Um, so we have a primary transmitter in Grizzly Peak. We have our studios in Berkeley, then we have translators in Monterey and Santa Cruz and North Peak Diablo. There's a repeater. And so all of those sites, I'm aware of what's going on, on the transmitter, on the receiver, on the s STL link studio transmitter link on the IP backup links and can get alerted or notified if there's any issue in connectivity, if it's temporary, if it's permanent,

Shawn Powers (00:26:49):
Yeah. That, that's, that's a shot of the transmitter power out.

Brian David (00:26:54):
Uh, that, so this is our, yeah, like we're monitoring forward power revert, like reflected power. We have monitoring for our auxiliary transmitter. And so just yesterday we started fund drive and also there was a tower crew climbing our tower to do an inspection. And so, you know, we dropped off the air for a few seconds as we transitioned from primary to auxiliary, and I just received notice and it was expected and life continued on. And then I can see at any point in time when that transition happened, I could also make a note of when that transition happened. And so it's become the primary station log as well.

Shawn Powers (00:27:37):
So I, I have a nerdy question about the, the graphic that was just up there are the, the various transmitters, uh, the, to them, is that all, uh, you said one as a repeater. Do they get the radio signal via radio signal or is there a, some sort of a, uh, an IP backend that feeds them all? How, how does that actually get, uh, sent from transmitter to transmitter or repeater to a repeater to keep your signal? Um, the same everywhere?

Brian David (00:28:05):
Yeah, so, um, we do it in a couple ways. And so from our studio, we generate the audio and pro, we call it program audio. And then there's a 15 second delay because saying a curse word would be the end of the world, um, at least the FCC says. So, uh, from there it goes over a microwave link on 950 megahertz called a studio transmitter link. And that's just transmitting, uh, digital audio from our studios to our transmitter site about three miles away. And that also carries a small low bandwidth, like one megabit per second link. But in addition to that, we have point to point like two ubiquity dishes that do about a gigabit of bandwidth between the two two sites. So that's our backup it link.

Shawn Powers (00:28:57):
So, but the main one is the, is over the nine something megahertz or nine,

Brian David (00:29:01):
Yeah, 900 mega 50 megahertz radio. Yeah, there's a lot of radio and radio, uh, <laugh>.

Shawn Powers (00:29:07):
But that's a better, you find that's a better quality, uh, audio quality than, you know, converting to something and pushing it over gigabit, you know, point to point

Brian David (00:29:17):
Stuff. Well, it's a licensed band, uh, on our studio transmitter link. So that little pathway for the radio, uh, is restricted use just for us. So, and it's a digital stream, so there's no audio loss.

Shawn Powers (00:29:32):
Oh, it's, it is digital. Okay. Gotcha, gotcha.

Brian David (00:29:34):
Yeah. And from there we have translators and repeaters. So translators are things that take our broadcast signal on 94.1 and push it out on a different frequency, like 97.5, and that's just over the air. So there's a receiver that receives 94.1 and then pipes it directly to a transmitter, and then that pushes it out on 97.5 FM in, in Santa Cruz. And at, at a lower wattage, like I think we're like 10 watts, 10 watts, uh, e r p there. And so that allows people to listen to our station K P F A on a different frequency because our main signal doesn't reach down because of the geography in that, in the valley. So that is a direct off the air and into a transmitter. And so there doesn't have to be any IP link at all. We just need a good solid receive antenna.

Tim Požar (00:30:34):
Cool. So it's a combination of all, all the various things. Mm-hmm.

Brian David (00:30:37):
<affirmative>. Yeah, there's another one called an Relay <laugh>, which goes to our booster site. Um, and so that's also a microwave link that sends digital audio from point A to point B. It's very similar to an stl. In fact, I couldn't tell you the difference really <laugh> other than it's non transmitter. The transmitter,

Tim Požar (00:30:57):
The, the other image that you saw, um, that got thrown up there, um, with kind of the, the links going between the different mountaintops, um, that is a, a sample of what? Yeah, thank you. Uh, that's a, uh, network that, um, actually Bonneville broadcasting uses, and this is when I put together, which, uh, their main station is at Sutra in the middle of San Francisco, we have an, uh, an 11 gigahertz Levi gigahertz, uh, link that goes between there and, uh, Vollmer Peak, which is actually quite very close to, uh, where, uh, K P F A is. And then from there it goes to Rocky Ridge and then to Weedon and Hill, which is, you know, next to San Ramon and such. Those are, um, that's all just using lot of gig hertz digital radios and, uh, Juniper switches and, and such. But they link all these transmitter sites up together so that they can, uh, transmit at exactly the same timing.

So they all buffer together so they, they don't interfere with each other. This is one way of sort of distributing, um, uh, radio, um, and trying to wait, so they're cover, they're all pushing this areas, they're all pushing the same frequency, the same radio frequency? Well, there, yeah. They're all on the same frequency. Um, and they, you have to line 'em up so that the audio lines up exactly the same time when they get broadcast. So you don't have interference with We're ghosting and, okay. Yeah, so the idea is that it's supposed to be covering like little valleys, uh, and you know, like there's a, there's a little valley in Arin that, uh, that they're trying to fill in. Um, and so you use these, um, gates makes these boxes, um, called gates, gates, air, uh, gates, air links, um, that will actually delay everything by maybe like a hundred milliseconds or so, or maybe several seconds, and then make sure that they all broadcast at the exact same time, uh, that way.

So they, they, they have this built-in buffer in it. So, uh, and please correct me if my comprehension here is incorrect, but how do you, how do you make the decision to do something like that versus the repeat on a different station? Because I mean, I see that, you know, the repeat on a different station all over up here, you know what I mean? I, I live in rural northern Michigan, and so, you know, a station will have like a, I don't, they have a term from Sister State, I don't even know what they call it, but you know, where they, it's the same station, but on a different frequency. Do you translators how make that decision, uh, versus, you know, this, uh, you know, intricate timing, so you can actually keep one frequency in, in multiple locations. It, well, there's various rules and regulations that allow you to do translators versus boosters.

Boosters are on frequency. So if you're like K P F A and your, uh, your main transmitters is 94 1, then your boosters all have to be at 94 1. Um, translators will show up at, uh, any frequency on the band. Uh, and so if you find that, for instance, if you go down to say Santa Cruz, and if you put a, uh, booster on the air at 94, 1, you may actually interfere with yourself. Um, cuz you may have enough leakage from your main signal, uh, but it, it may, albeit maybe a little weak. So you may, you may decide, well, you know what, there's a frequency over here that I can put a translator on. And so you make, make a decision to do a translator instead. Um, boosters are a little tricky too. Um, well, as I said, because they're on, they're on the same frequency, so you really need to have a very isolated, um, community that's not picking up the, the regular signal.

Uh, my, my last station that I was at, which was at, uh, 1 0 3 7 up on Sutra, uh, we had a bunch of boosters, uh, one at Weedon and, and one at, uh, uh, what was called Barones. Uh, there's a, a, a reasonably good mountain range that, that's between the, the bowl of the Bay Area and the East Bay. And so there was enough isolation that we, we were able to put a booster there and be able to cover, um, walnut, well, it was actually more like conquered, um, because they really couldn't get our signal from, from our signal on, on Sutra Tower.

Doc Searls (00:35:09):
I wanted to jump in here for a second and say, this is, this is just catnet for me cuz I love it. Um, <laugh>, the, the interesting thing is if you go east of the Rockies, there's not a lot of what's called terrain shadowy. There are no mountains. I mean, there are, in the Appalachians there are, uh, new England, but for the most part, um, the, the Bay Area is really special in the sense that nothing on Mount Su, Mount Sutra in San Francisco or San Bruno, which is next to San Francisco, gets very well into the East Bay and almost all the stations have boosters up on Mount Diablo. I dunno if yours is on Mount Diablo or not, but they're, um, I actually probably don't need the one on Mount Diablo because K P F A is on the ridge that isolates San Francisco from the East Bay. So it's advantage that way. Um, and, and what an interesting thing to me is that we, it's, it's really important to have all that stuff working, but I wanna be able to get down through all this other stuff you guys are working on because I'm wondering,

Tim Požar (00:36:06):
Shut up Shawn

Doc Searls (00:36:08):
<laugh>. No, no, no, I'm not saying that at all. Um, if, okay,

Tim Požar (00:36:13):
So we, yeah, let's, let's, uh, let's try to go for the open source and broadcast. Is there thing that sounds like that's right? Kinda the bit, bit for the, uh, show? Um, well, so we talked about, uh, monitoring and the kind of the next thing that, that Brian, uh, uh, started having to do is, is how to get an automation. So, uh, uh, you need some sort of automation, you need some way of being able to play back, uh, your programming, uh, your music or whatever. Um, there's gonna be times where either it's gonna be a syndicated feed or the, or the person can't show up, or you have overnights where nobody may be staffing the station. So once upon a time, if you tried to buy an automation system for a broadcast station, it was gonna be tens of thousands of dollars, if not more.

Cuz you had to go out and buy specialized hardware and specialized cards and, and then you had to buy their software and they, they charged you an arm and a leg to, to, uh, to pay for support on these things. And so, and there's been a number of attempts to come up with, um, uh, automation software. There was, there was, um, a Christian broadcasting group that developed this pro, uh, software called Rivendale, and they wanted to do it for all their little, you know, little radio stations that they had. Um, so Rivendale came about, it's a, it's a little, uh, doesn't look as, as neat as the other ones we're gonna about to show you, but, uh, Rivendale, uh, will run under Linux. It runs under X. Um, and you can actually run it on a raspberry pie. So for, I actually have two L P F M or small little radio stations that are licensed at my house, and that's what drives that.

I, I have a raspberry pie and, um, it, uh, yep, thanks for the Riverdale Clear. I think there's a actually a Riverdale, uh, screenshot too that I have in there as well, um, that you can see what, what the gooey of it looks like. But, um, that is a great low cost because it's free. Uh, I can run outta raspberry pie, um, and I can just serve, throw it in the corner. And so my whole, you know, CapEx was, um, you know, a hundred bucks for the, for the pie and, and another a hundred bucks for a drive that I put my music on. Uh, and then of course, yeah, there's the transparent and the antenna and such, so it was relatively low cost. Yeah, there's the, uh, there's the, uh, my screenshot of my, uh, for K P E K P E A lp, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>, uh, this is probably about a year ago when I was running this, so you can see the, the legal ID there, uh, and then the music that's being played and such. So I think David could probably talk or Brian could talk about the, um, uh, lire time.

Brian David (00:39:02):
Yeah, so Libre time is similar to rde except it runs in a web browser, so that makes it accessible to your DJs, to hosts to your, like media manager or traffic coordinator. And it allows for you to make a schedule. And there, there's screenshots that show this. So you can put in your whole station schedule. That's kind of the dashboard, the opening page, um, where we have like, you know, 12 to one is this show and then a legal ID for two minutes. This is a screenshot of our grid for K P F A. Uh, and we use this as our backup audio actually, because we do a lot of transitions inside the studio. But if our studio ever goes off the air for whatever reason, um, this just comes from our, our, our Linux container in, in our data center in Fremont. And it's been a great program to work with over the years.

It was originally called Airtime from a company called Source Fabric, uh, and they were making it open source, but stopped developing it around 2013, and then it was picked up by the community. It was forked and development continued and it allows you to upload audio. It allows you to upload a, a podcast for automatic ingestion. So if you wanted, let's say like democracy now, you could take their RSS feed, you could put it in Libre time into an automatically download and be scheduled in that block. Um, you can also do things called smart blocks, which allow you to create a formula for what you want to play, be it some criteria, some condition, you know, for X amount of time or for x amount of shows that start with, you know, the word Baja. And so you can get creative and constructive. And so you can start to build automation around your station's flow, what you want it to sound like when you want it to sound like, what if users need to log in and upload content directly.

And it also allows for live broadcasting. You can use, uh, a tool called but broadcast using this tool, uh, and stream directly into Libre time. And that will then stream out to either your terrestrial radio if it's hooked up to FM or to your, your listeners on the webstream that it generates. So it's, uh, a well-developed, flexible, open source and free tool that's seen a lot of attention actually in the last year to bring it up to version three, which has been pretty exciting. And I'm super appreciative of that cuz I had some kinks and quirks along the ride. But, uh, right now it's much more polished and this is something people can just install and go, you know, they can run it on a raspberry pie, they can run it in a Linux container or a virtual machine or Docker on, and it can output a web stream, it can output audio over an audio interface device. And it works great to manage audio and to schedule and to have users be able to contribute as well, or DJs, you know. Yeah.

Tim Požar (00:42:21):
You mentioned liquid soap here too, um, in, in our script and such. How does that, what is that, is that kind of an underlying language Ford Li time? Or how does

Brian David (00:42:32):
That work? It's the kung fu It, it's, it's really, uh, liquid soaps, a scripting language. Um, I believe it's actually it's languages OCaml, um, which was a little challenging to, to learn a bit. But Liquid Scopes, a program and a programming language that's also open source and it's for audio and video. And so here in this screenshot we see K P F A, uh, it's a script, uh, that we run and we're taking various sources, like we're taking five different audio sources and creating conditions. If this has silence or audio below this level for 15 seconds, then fail over to the next one and so forth and so on. And so you can create multiple paths of redundancy through a script. You can also transform the audio and raise the gain or lower the game gain. You can add effects, you can add transitions, you can add schedules.

So Libre Time is like a graphical front end for liquid soap, which is the underlying kind of processing and scheduling and audio maneuvering. Um, and so learning liquid soap, which there's great docs and the developers themselves are really friendly and available to just chat with on, on Slack. So that was, and there's, uh, tutorials on YouTube. And so for someone like me, this is super exciting to have access to people and free resources and to learn with others and share, I think they call them recipes, <laugh>, liquid soap recipes, um, of how to do certain things. So you can transport, you can record, you can schedule, you can mix, um, you could put a live stream on YouTube if you wanted to, uh, with video overlay content. Um, and it's all programmatic

Shawn Powers (00:44:32):
Should we're going to the other, other subject areas or No, speaking of Code Doc, <laugh> <laugh>,

Doc Searls (00:44:46):
Yeah, I <laugh> construction outside the window. Um, actually, I mean, as, as a way of sort of going, you have a, a huge outline of, of tools here mm-hmm. <affirmative> and, and I'm thinking my fantasy here is that a listener or two or a few will want to get into this, you know, like mm-hmm. <affirmative>, I think, I mean, when the idea of starting a radio station when I, or we were coming up was, oh, this is gonna cost th you know, tens of thousands, hundreds, or millions of dollars when in fact it may, you know, the cost is, you know, a server, you know, um, ice cast or whatever, um, whatever system you use to get it out to a large number of people. But, but to produce stuff live and account for it and pay royalties, I imagine some of these tools, uh, account for that, you know?

Mm-hmm. <affirmative>, you're playing music selections and, um, the way it's worked since the D M C A in 1998, you have to, um, unlike with broadcast radio is different, but for streaming, you have to keep track of not only how many people are listening, but um, exactly what you played. And then you pay a royalty on a per performance, it's called basis, and that, that takes some software, right? But it's, but it's available. You have a whole list of stuff here. So what's the, what's the threshold of getting started? And let's, let's organize this a bit by saying, okay, if I'm starting one, what do I go down this list of want first and then play it out?

Brian David (00:46:18):
I would say Libre time. Libre time, you know, you can install on a very low powered, has very low resources and get started. It's gonna be intuitive. It drag and drops the music, start putting it in a block, which then you put on a time and now you have music at a certain time that's radio <laugh>. Or you want to chime in with your voice, you can connect with your mic to your, your Libre time server and start, you know, uh, composing your vocal arts all over the air. So it, uh, it's a, it's a great beginner tool and it works well even for a station like ours where we can lose the whole studio, which at times in the past that would be the heart of everything and immediately pick back up elsewhere. So it's very versatile. There's great user docs be a great time.

Shawn Powers (00:47:13):
So I'm curious, so a little bit, and, and maybe you can, uh, maybe you can, uh, uh, point me in the right direction. You, you mentioned that you have a low power FM station, plural, <laugh>, right? Or no, Tim, you do. Um, yeah. Uh, for a person who wanted to play with this, I mean, obviously streaming on the Internet's the, uh, quote unquote free, nothing's free, but the free way to go, uh, it's possible to do both eventually though. I mean, there are like, even license free, low, low power FM stuff that a person could do if they wanted to like narrate their Christmas lights that are outside, I think correct <laugh>. So, yes, uh,

Tim Požar (00:47:53):
I mean, yeah, there's, there's what, what's called part 15, which, which enables you to be able to do, uh, you can run a little transmitter at a very, very low power that, again, we'll get you around a couple blocks. Uh, in fact, as you point out, I I, I was just visiting my family in Pacific Grove, and there's this guy that just does this amazing Christmas display and you tune into 1 0 7 0.9 I think, or something like that to listen to the music with it.

Doc Searls (00:48:22):
Yeah. I, um,

Tim Požar (00:48:23):
Are you, oh, are you specifically asking what, what it would take to get, uh, to get on the air?

Shawn Powers (00:48:31):
Yeah, no, that, that was, that was my question. I knew that there was a way you could do something low power without worrying about licensing, and so yeah, that was, uh,

Tim Požar (00:48:38):
Yeah, sure. Yeah. The next step up would be, um, to try to get an L P F M license, uh, that gets you a legal licensed radio station that can, you can go up to, uh, a hundred watts. Um, and that actually will get you around, um, with stations, uh, as they are right now. I don't know if you can, you can, the next step up would be purchasing a, uh, a license. Um, you know, I don't know if there's many other frequencies available at this point to start your own. Uh, I think that heyday is over, you know, from the, you know, the seventies and such when we were able to put on, um, uh, stations, uh, like I, I helped, uh, start, uh, a station that rebroadcast K P F A called, uh, K F C F in Fresno. Uh, but that was in 1974. And all those frequencies are pretty much used up at this point.

Doc Searls (00:49:35):
I'm, I'm hearing to look here and see what's available in Petoskey <laugh>, Michigan for Shawn. Um, and, and maybe, maybe you could look it up, <laugh>, there's a thing called, put in your, um, it started by some guys at M MIT a long time ago. It's a really cool service. It'll show you what's in any given location. But first I have to, before we go into the rest of this, let everybody know that this episode of FLOSS Weekly is brought to you by code comments, and original podcast from Red Hat, you know, when you're working on a project and you leave behind a small reminder in the code, a code comment to help others learn from your work. This podcast takes that idea by letting you listen in on two experienced technologists as they described their building process. There's a lot of work required to bring a project from whiteboard to development, and none of us can do it alone.

The host Burr Sutter is a Red Hatter and a lifelong developer advocate and community organizer. In each episode, Burr sits down with experienced technologists from across the industry to trade stories and talk about what they learn from their experiences. Um, I should say, by the way, I do subscribe to Code Comments. It's a really good show, uh, the one on deep learning I was listening to today. And it has to do, among other things with how do you do, um, recognizing of people and learning about them, not individually, but as, for example, customers wandering through a store without seeing their faces or while completely anonymizing them so you can get intelligence about what's going on. It's really cool stuff, and it's really interesting to see how far companies will go to try and protect privacy while doing deep learning. Uh, so episodes are available anywhere you listen to podcasts and at Red comments, podcasts, search for code comments in your podcast player will also include a link in the show notes by thanks to code comments for their support. So where were we? <laugh>? We were, we were in, we were in L P F M, and, um, and I was thinking of your town, Shawn. We could actually look at that later if we want. There's a start one

Tim Požar (00:51:44):

Doc Searls (00:51:44):
Towns there. They're, they're generally is some, some leeway there. And, um, and sometimes translators get abandoned, um, by stations and, uh, those can be l p fm, uh, frequencies. Does that happen much, guys? You see that happening?

Tim Požar (00:52:01):
I see l uh, translators are usually supported by a main station, um, and or boosters and such. So usually those are, are more of a, uh, more value. I think PFMs are the ones that are, I'm really concerned about. Um, and there's groups like Common Frequency and Prometheus Radio and such that are really trying to make sure that PFMs are there and they're, they're supported by the community. Um, what is happened in the past is the, um, uh, these groups will usually hook up a, a nonprofit to these things, and then the, uh, the nonprofit will doesn't realize and what it actually takes to produce 20 f four hours of programming a day. Um, there are solutions to that, and we, we actually we're gonna talk about that a little bit here, um, to how to keep those stations on the air, um, and still serve the community. Um, so I think that it's actually PFMs are actually in more danger of disappearing, um, because of lack of skill or knowledge, uh, how to operate these things.

Shawn Powers (00:53:13):
So what, I can't believe that I'm actually talking about this. I'm, I'm an IP person. I mean, networking is my, is my trade. Um, but, uh, oh, no, my video is not working. It is locked up. Can you hear me though?

Tim Požar (00:53:29):
Yeah, yeah, we can hear you.

Shawn Powers (00:53:31):
This is, this is my ventriloquism act and I have been practicing. So, um, you

Tim Požar (00:53:36):
Need to do the clutch cargo thing, you know, where your lips just move and that's it.

Shawn Powers (00:53:39):
<laugh>. All right. So yeah, you can have somebody else, uh, somebody else's gorgeous face on the screen while I'm talking. But, um, I'm curious what, what kind of hardware is required for this, because I, I, I'm shockingly kind of like curious about low power fm. Um, I would, uh, I mean, obviously looking briefly here at the FCC stuff, it require, it has to be, uh, non-profit, uh, and, uh, but what kind of, what kind of costs are, are we talking about to do that? I mean, you have two in your home, but they're, because you don't want them to go away

Tim Požar (00:54:11):
<laugh>, right? Well, and I just happen to be somebody who's had broadcast experience for many, many years. I mean, I started in broadcasting in 74. Um, so I happen to have a, a pile of junk here that I could throw these sort of things together with. Um, there are certain restrictions you have to, uh, you still have to participate in what's called, um, E a S or the, you know, the emergency alerting, uh, system out there. So you have to go out and buy that gear that that's, uh, not cheap. Um, you have to have a transmitter and it has to be approved for L P F M operations. So, uh, broadcast warehouse and a couple other, uh, companies make these, these transmitters that are approved by the FCC or used for PFMs. The FCC is making the assumption that the people that are operating PFMs don't have a lot of, um, technical skill, or they may not have somebody who's like a transmitter engineer that can make sure that, you know, things stay on frequency and you're not running too much power or too little power.

You're doing all the right things. So they really are trying to bulletproof it as much as they can. So some of this, you may have to go out and buy new. Um, having a modulation monitor is handy. Uh, it's not required necessarily, but, um, it, it's, it's good to have one of those things. Um, there's a company called invos. It's in Santa Cruz or Bonnie Dune that makes these things, and you can usually find these things on eBay as well. Uh, but, and if you buy something, I would send it into them, have 'em calibrate it and get it, get it back to you. Um, so there's some responsibility of doing this. Um, then what we're talking about in the open source, uh, list here are, are all the packages that it would do to be able to get the audio to the transmitter, um mm-hmm. <affirmative>.

So that's all, that's all cheap, in fact. Um, I'm gonna, I'm gonna touch on this a little bit, the fact that how do you come up with content? Um, if you go to the, uh, the very bottom of that, that sort of script that I gave you, there's a, a thing called, uh, I mentioned open content for programming. Um, if you go to a website called Dub Dove Radio for, this is a project, um, a bit of an anarchistic project that that happened, uh, or started about 20 years ago. And these are various communities. Um, these are, uh, content providers that will put, um, produce shows, um, and then, um, put these up on this website or, and that I actually helped maintain. And then, uh, there's an RSS feed on this thing, and you can start plugging this into your automation, start downloading this stuff.

And most of this is free. It's, uh, there's either it's music content or news content. Uh, if you could see at the very bottom there it says the children's hours. So there's kids programming there, um, and they come out typically once a week or so. And so this is one way you can at least start taking some of this content. There's other content out there like Democracy Now, which you, you've probably heard of Amy Goodman and, uh, broadcast out of New York City. And, uh, she, if you talk to her, she'll give you the content for free as well. So there's way to ways to get a lot of this content, but that means that you are pulling content from other parts of the, the, the country and you're not doing local content. Mm-hmm. <affirmative>. So that's, that's usually the part that's a little bit more work. Um, as you know, producing a show, like take some time to find the talent and the, um, and put together the show.

Um, you have the same problem in putting together an hour radio show. It may take you six hours of time to go out and find the talent and do the interviews and then edit it to make a half an hour show. So there's a, there's a bit of overhead. Um, but to get at, at the very basic, you could probably start pulling content from places like, um, radio for All and, uh, uh, and get on the air. My, my PFMs that I have are, um, because they're kind of placeholders, um, I'm, I'm putting, playing back not only democracy now, but um, uh, the Children's Hour, but I'm also playing back music, but I'm finding music that is not copyrighted or, or it's out of copyright or I don't have to worry about royalties and such. So if you want to hear 19 24 70 eights, um, I have half my day is that <laugh>, and then the other half of my day is content that has fallen out of copyrights.

So if you go to the internet archive, you'll see, um, there's a, an archive on inner archive called Unliked Recordings. And these are are recordings that people have not, uh, re-upped the copyright on. Uh, and so I'm pulling that down and playing those back. At this point, now I have to be very careful because I have to make sure that the composers are also dead, you know, and they've been dead for like, you know, 70 years or something like that. So that limits my, my com the music that I can do. It's not the 70 eights too, mainly like classical music and such. That would be the other half of the day that I program. So this is all the ways you can, can sort of get around doing things on the cheap

Shawn Powers (00:59:24):
<laugh>. So are, are the rules different then for like, uh, you know, I I I'm a content creator and so, you know, music is always an issue when it comes to licensing, but things like, uh, stream Beats for example is a, you know, a huge collection of audio that is free to use for, for live streaming. But are the rules different when it comes to actually broadcasting on the radio?

Tim Požar (00:59:45):
Um, no. Uh, it, well, you, there's, there's fair use and then there's, uh, there's public domain music, um, uh, that you're probably using with, with Stream beats or there may be some licensing. Uh, there may be common, uh, creative common licensing where you can take that and be able to re-broadcast it and such. So, but most if, if, if it's not licensed under, if somebody created something, it's a me, it's automatically under copyright mm-hmm. <affirmative>, right. Um, you know, so you have to re you have to respect that and you also have to, you know, and, and figure out how you're gonna be able to put that on the air. It may be encumbered with royalties, so it may be licensed under, again, the, the big three where, you know, bmi, cscap, cscap, uh, and ascap, um, uh, and where you're gonna have to pay the royalties on that. So I'm, I'm purposely looking for stuff that is outside, not part of those, um, those royalties, uh, the houses. And, um, also that the composer is, has been dead for 70 years, so you can get away with, you know, music like that. Mm-hmm.

Doc Searls (01:00:54):
<affirmative> for, for, go ahead, shisha.

Shawn Powers (01:00:58):
No, I was gonna say, I just looked at the, the specifics, because Stream Beats is designed specifically, so people don't have to pay royalties, however, in their fine print, it's only for online streaming of live, uh, user things on YouTube, Twitch, yeah. Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. So, yeah. Mm-hmm.

Doc Searls (01:01:13):
<affirmative>, right? Terms of service

Tim Požar (01:01:16):
<laugh>. So it's your, you're, you're effectively doing the same thing like you would do for stock photos or something like that. Um, you're, you're, there's conditions on that, that you can only use it for certain things, so I doubt it, it, you may not be able to use it for the content that you see on radio for all where that's gonna go out to regular radio stations.

Doc Searls (01:01:36):
Hmm. You know, I'm, I'm familiar with, um, uh, uh, creative Commons licensing for photographs and for artwork, but not for music. Is does Creative Commons apply to music as well? Yeah, I assume so. They can,

Tim Požar (01:01:50):

Doc Searls (01:01:51):
Yeah, yeah. So we are, we are, go ahead. Sorry.

Tim Požar (01:01:55):
Go ahead. No, it, it's, yeah, no,

Doc Searls (01:01:57):
Just say we're close to the end of the show, so I wanna, yeah, we have to get into a wrap. I hate to say it. Oh,

Tim Požar (01:02:02):

Doc Searls (01:02:03):
But we're,

Tim Požar (01:02:04):
We're, well sometimes

Doc Searls (01:02:05):
Pretty close to an hour.

Tim Požar (01:02:06):
We could talk about, um, all the other things like audio editing software and things like that too. <laugh>, <laugh>,

Doc Searls (01:02:13):
There's, there's still, there's so much, and I'm, I'm thinking we need to get, um, the capsule version of, of your, of your outline there that we've tried to go by an hour isn't long enough. And that may mean that we have to have you back <laugh>, this is soon. Sure.

Tim Požar (01:02:27):
Or you could, you could publish what we sent you, uh,

Doc Searls (01:02:31):
As well. Yeah. Okay. Okay.

Tim Požar (01:02:33):
Or depends on the licensing <laugh>.

Doc Searls (01:02:36):
Yeah. Me make sure it's attribution only or something like that. Um, this has been great. There's so many ways that I would, I wish we had time to go into because it's terribly interesting and I think we're at this interesting moment, one of these, that liminal moment between one state and another, where both are are still there. It's pretty, pretty strong stuff. So we always close with two questions, which are, which are four questions for you guys, I guess. <laugh>, what's, what's your favorite scripting language and, uh, text editor?

Tim Požar (01:03:11):
Oh, um, sorry, VIM or People got Vi Vim, uh, the vi for me, I, I, that's what I've just, I grew up on, sorry. Uh, sorry. All you Eemax fans out there, <laugh>, um, both of them. Both of the <laugh> <laugh>, no, yeah, I, I, everybody I know who's from the East Coast is Eemax and of course I grew up in, in California, so it's vi for me. And then the other, it would be scripting. I like bash a lot. Uh, you know, I, I why, why do I have to run a, a, a rather heavyweight interpreter every time I want to do something? And Batch is, is actually pretty flexible. You could do a lot with it. So,

Doc Searls (01:03:52):
Yep. <laugh> Brian Fox on the show a few months ago too, talking about that's one of the primary batch guys. So, so Brian, how about you? You mentioned the script language among the, among the broadcast tools, so Yeah, it

Brian David (01:04:07):
Might be. Yeah. Um, all I do certainly appreciate Liquid Soap for its flexibility. Um, it's been a challenge to learn, so I'm gonna go with Tim on Bash. It's, it's nice, it's simple, it's straight to the point. <laugh>. Um, and then I'm gonna also be a plain Jane and say, I use Nano, I use Nano for so much. It's just in and out is is how I feel about it. And sometimes I like the struggle. I like, uh, being limited in what I can do and, uh, appreciate that. So <laugh>, there's an emotional relationship to it,

Doc Searls (01:04:43):
<laugh>. That's great. That's great. Well, well guys, it has been awesome having you on the show. Um, and I wish we had more time, but Anne said ahead of time, it's gonna go fast, and I wanted to make sure we covered everything and we couldn't. But that's a great tease for the next time we do it, so we'll have to have you back for that. Thanks for being on the show. Thanks, doc.

Brian David (01:05:03):
Yeah, thanks Doc. Yep. Thanks Shawn. Thanks, Tim.

Doc Searls (01:05:08):
<laugh>, <laugh>. So, so Shawn, does, does this tempt you to start an L P F M in, in, in your town or with the schools you work with or anything like that? Or just get the stream going, or neither

Shawn Powers (01:05:23):
In the same Yeah, I mean, in the same way that I always wanna try the nerdy thing that we learn about when we're on the show, right? Um, uh, coming up with programming, you know, 24 hours a day, seven days a week, yeah, it's gonna be giant playlists and there's probably a different word than playlists in the radio world. But, um, yeah, I, I, it's cool. I, I kind of want to try it. I I'm gonna look into the low power FM stuff just to see like what's involved. Um, but it's hard to, it's hard to, um, not just opt for a streaming service, right? Because it's, yeah, it's, it's, it's stuffy. You almost have to think of it as a, a locale based, uh, thing because if you just think of it as a way to transmit information or data, then it's, uh, you know, it's, it's better served by IP and, uh, I think that's kind of not the point of the low power fm. So

Doc Searls (01:06:24):
I think I just, Shawn,

Brian David (01:06:25):
You get it actually like to, to cut in a little bit. That's

Doc Searls (01:06:29):

Brian David (01:06:29):
That's the point of, of connection. And that maybe ip, you know, it's, it's an abstraction even further, like as technology progresses, we become more abstracted from the source material, where with a radio, you still might have a telephone number to call in and talk to the host, and you may never see each other. So there's also kind of this anonymity to being like a radio personality that also you can feel connected to. Um, and then possibly if you meet the person that chatters your dreams because they're a hero and all heroes disappoint, I, you know, there's, there's just a lot kind of going on in this like, interpersonal dynamic and sort of the simplicity with FM or especially with Low Power fm, where it's like your block, your neighborhood, it reengages that, that question and that connection of, um, what am I offering and what are people receiving in a much more direct way. And it's not, um, you know, my 10 million followers, I'm not an influencer. It's, I might see this person, they might hear me, we might not know each other kind of question when you walk down the street. And to me there's something that feels like, uh, humanistic to that that, that I personally appreciate. So it's a different kind of engagement than pushing packets and, and bandwidth and traffic and kind of these like quantitative metrics that sometimes in tech we get swooped up in

Doc Searls (01:07:56):
<laugh>. Well that's, that's great. And that's bonus content as they say. Um, so, so Shawn, we're, it's, it's plug time. So what do you wanna plug? You're over video.

Shawn Powers (01:08:07):
My, my new radio station? Uh, no <laugh> <laugh>. So I, yeah, I feel bad

Doc Searls (01:08:13):
Saying like, Hey, Shawn is coming

Shawn Powers (01:08:14):
Along. Hey, in this, as we talk about radio, be sure to check out my YouTube stream <laugh>. Yeah. Um, I'll just, my link down there, Shawn Towers with a, that's a link to all my stuff. If you're curious more about me, that's, uh, that's where all my stuff is.

Doc Searls (01:08:30):
Shawn has a massive amount of content on YouTube and elsewhere, and he was, did lots and lots of that for Linux Journal back in the decade or the decades. Um, and he is good at it. He wasn't green then. He was still, he was still some other color. I forget it now. I can only remember Green <laugh> <laugh>. For those of you listening, Shawn has green hair. Yeah. Anyway, that's true. This has been, this has been great. Um, and I am supposed, oh, next week I believe we have, um, uh, Bruce parents lined up, but I'm not sure, but Bruce parents hugely important guy in the history of open source, but he wants to talk space. So that is coming up next week if we're on schedule. And if not, it'll be somebody else's great too. So that's how it works. So thanks everybody. We'll see you next week.

Mikah Sargent (01:09:17):
Hey there, I'm Mikah Sargent. Look, as a geek myself, I feel it's only fair if I admit something we can be kind of hard to shop for. So what do you get for that geek in your life who has everything already? Well, a Club TWiT give subscription, of course, TWiTpodcast, keep them informed and entertained with the most relevant tech news podcasts available with a Club TWiTsubscription. They're gonna get access to all of our podcasts, ad free, exclusive outtakes behind the scenes and special content. And I love this exclusive shows like my own HandsOn Mac and hands on windows from Hall the Rot, as well as the Untitled Linnux Show. So purchase your Geeks gift at TWiT tv slash Club TWiT. And they will thank you every day.

All Transcripts posts