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Flow is an effort to build a cheap, dirty software package to enable low-power, low-resource broadcasters get up and running. It consists of some low-level audio management software at the studio and at the transmitter, some web pages to manage that software and a pile of documentation to discuss best practices and new ideas.
Hundreds of new low power community radio stations will soon face the technical problem of moving broadcast quality audio from one part of town to another, and strangely enough this is much harder and more expensive to do than setting up the broadcast transmitter itself. Typically STLs (Studio Transmitter Links) cost at least $6-7000 in hardware costs, plus additional costs for engineering and installation.
We're trying to develop a free audio streaming software package that is resilient enough to send decent audio through all sorts of adversity: phone lines, DSL connections, wireless internet set-ups. The solution will be made out of open-source and free software, and will be available here. The software will allow for a range of quality options, depending on the usable bandwidth of the transmission medium and the equipment available. For now we are focusing on sending a mono signal, but eventually we hope to develop solutions that can send stereo as well.
From our understanding of available technology, there is nothing here that can not be done. The trick is to do it cheaply with off-the-shelf parts and freely available or homemade software. Join us in making low cost studio transmitter links a reality!
We have not yet uploaded the software we do have, which runs the Radio Volta/WPEB FM/internet broadcast in Philadelphia. In the meantime, here are some posts from our listserv that might interest you:
If you have questions about Flow, please post a message to the listserv at firstname.lastname@example.org (link mucked to reduce spam).