01 March, 2009

My Radio Segment, Episode 8

This week's episode is available for download HERE, and for listening on the listen icon.

ListenThis week's episode (Actually last week's, as i have published this on my blog late enough that i'm already recording the 9th episode now!), as well as next week's episode (tomorrow's) will discuss the web sites of radio stations broadcasting over the Jordanian airwaves. Since the radio industry is going these days beyond the limitations of the airwaves over the FM dial, for a world with larger potentials and competition over the world wide web. That is, since on the internet there are thousands or tens of thousands of radio stations in various languages, broadcasting various genres of music and topics, from all around the world. And most of these stations do not broadcast over the airwaves, and behind them stand individuals and not companies or institutions, as with limited and simple costs, and with creative ideas and some technicalities, anyone can establish an Internet radio station and website.

Radio stations benefit from their presence on the Internet. As along with broadcasting across the network to have anyone around the world being able to listen to the station, the radio station's website is an important mean of communication between the Radio and its listeners, and can be considered a primary information reference about the station's programs and broadcasting times, and even the content of these programs. Broadcasters can also exploit their websites to provide additional added services to listeners. And even supply content that it cannot or is not licensed to be provided through the airwaves.

For the Jordanian radio stations, Radio Al-Balad may be considered a model and probably the most sophisticated radio with presence over the Internet. This is due to the fact that the radio started broadcasting the Internet through (www.ammannet.net) with the name of AmmanNet before even granting radio broadcasting licenses in jordan for private Jordanian radio stations. And continued developing its website even after starting broadcasting on the FM airwaves, and even after changing the name to Radio Al-Balad.

Radio Al-Balad provides through its website www.ammannet.net archived episodes of all its programs as well as all the news reports, in both text and recorded format. In addition to detailed live news content, and the possibility to comment on these news and programs. The site also provides a number of blogs for several of its own radio announcers, where they express their views and lives. But the only thing that might be disturbing, is the current difference between the radio naming “Radio Al-Balad” after changing its name, and the website that remained as it is when it comes to the URL through which it's accessed.

The Jordanian Broadcasting Corporation and in all divisions, Vemoqaha site is part of the Radio and Television www.jrtv.jo and more overlap with the location of the Jordanian state television. And most of the pages and links, although I have said it before, either empty or contain outdated information.

The Radio Fann FM on the other hand has a simple but nice website, in which details about its radio programs and communicating with them. But the site is relatively old, as we can find details about programs that went off the air for nearly two years now. Radio Fann FM is a pioneer in broadcasting, as it was until not so long the only Jordanian station broadcasting with a sound quality of 128 Kbps, and one that matches the sound on the FM band, the website www.radiofann.com also offers the ability to watch the radio announcers and DJs working in the studio Live through the web camera installed in their studios.

The same technique of broadcasting using a web cam can be found on Radio Rotana's website. Which is actually part of the Rotana network website www.rotana.net, making it hard to access the radio station's website directly, which contains information and details about all the network's radio stations and not only Radio Rotana Jordan. But choosing Rotana Jordan in the transmission section will enable the user to listen live through several techniques, whether with different degrees of sound quality, or through the webcams from the station's studios.

The Web Cam technology is also available to listeners of Energy FM, which is managed and operated by the same company, Al-Kawn Media. Through the website www.radioenergy.fm, but the site is currently empty and has been under construction for more than 10 months now, the age of the site and the radio station, and the user will not find more than the station's logo on the homepage in addition to the transmission link.

The same situation will face the browser of Sunny FM's website, www.sunny.jo The site is also limited to a home page containing the station's logo and a link to listen to the live broadcasting.

Last but not least, Watan FM has a website (www.watanonline.net) that is somehow confusing for the visitor, it still includes old pages with old information about the station and its programs, which radically changed since awhile after the station's radio programs were changes, especially after the news that the owners of the station have changed. At the same time, new information about the new programs can also be found in the site along with the old ones, and not to forget, there are several empty pages and inactive links.

The remaining radio stations' websites review will follow, in this week's episode.

Remember that you can contribute too, and send in your comments, feedback and any radio observations on radio@ammannet.net


Qwaider قويدر said...

Very nice segment you have there. Well done, and hopefully it will grow more and you will have your own full show :)

I have a minor correction for you. You mentioned that "only recently some stations have been broadcasting at a quality that is equivalent to that heard from the Radio station"
That's actually not entirely accurate. You see, FM broadcasting can be safely done using 32kbs, anything higher than that is just a waste of resources, since the maximum frequency that can be transmitted through FM is 15khz.

Now unless the Internet webcast is encoding the raw stream at it's maximum possible fidelity. The result would not change much. 32kbs is more than enough.

Now this is an area where Internet Radio stations have an edge over the Wireless RF transmission, they can have much higher quality, but that also comes at a cost in the bandwidth needed to cater for it.

A tidbit for you
The first radio station broadcast from Jordan EVER was 1997/1998 when the Late King Hussein was admitted to Mayo Clinic and the easiest way to have Jordanian radio reach the US was through the Internet from NETS/Batelco. The transmission was running on Unix/Irix silicon graphics servers and encoded using Real Audio and could support up to 150 listeners at the same time.

nasimjo© said...

well, qwaider, i disagree that 32K is enough, upon personal "long-term" experience, 64Kbps gives the perfect FM quality through ASX broadcasting. more than that is a waste of resource, especially if the internet broadcasting is done from receiving a radio signal. so i personally consider 128 as over quality, and one that can be useful if and only if the internet broadcasting is done directly from source mixer.

kbps differs from khz :D

and regarding the last piece of information, i know that, but its good to know the reason behind it even :D

Qwaider قويدر said...

Of course I know the difference between Kb/s and KHz. But that's not the point
With good encoding (like MP3 for example) you can encode the 14,970 hz that make the whole FM spectrum using only 32kb/s. The result is as good as what people hear from their radios.

Providing a "higher quality" stream is great, if the station can afford it.

I have been a daily listener to almost all the streaming Jordanian radios. And the only one that has real difference between it's 32kbs and 128kbs is Rotana. I think it's because they're encoding straight from the preamp output. While others, broadcast, receive then encode. In other words, the 32 and the 256 if they would broadcast it would be identical in quality (although the 256kbs broadcast would have higher quality noise :)

By the way, Radio Al Balad webcast has acceptable quality, and it's webcasting at:20 kbps, 16 kHz, stereo. Not even 32kbs. I'm sure they have a good reason for that. But I can hear some noise and some knocking sounds in it.

Anyway, it's not a big deal

nasimjo© said...

hmm ... try this:



Qwaider قويدر said...

Sorry, but My czech is a little rusty. =)
Yes, you can broadcast at any rate you want. I'm not disagreeing on that. The more the better. But for FM stations. It would be odd (but not impossible) to hear radio broadcast at a higher quality on the Internet than people recieve on their radios
(and for that, you need the preamp output as input to the encoding process, and not the output of a radio device)

At any rate, Nasim your radio segment is really good. I just listened to it one more time and I think it's great.

I like that Ammannet.net is archiving the programs. I don't think any other radio station does that. And they're being saved at 64kb, which is wonderful way better than the broadcasted 20kbs

Ya3teekom alf 3afyeh

nasimjo© said...

well, actually, in this example i gave u, www.play.cz gets the audio from all the czech radio station and broadcast them on the web in 32,64,and 128kbps qualities (and 192 in a couple only that seem to have direct fiber connection). just reply 64 in the same URLs with 32 and 128, you'll gonna see how 128 doesn't differ from 64, but there is quite a difference between 64 and 32.

Actually i had a similar idea about making a similar site in jordan, no responses so far!

of course, when its a talk radio, 20k is more than enough :)

& Glad you like the segment :)

AShakhshir said...

Hey there..as for Rotana Radio , you can listen to it directly using http://rotanaradio.jo , as this is the Jordanian Page which contains the Streaming links, and as For Radio Fann, in Addition to RotanaRadio , you can listen to them on iPhone using the shoutcast Software [Just Download Shoutcast on the iPhone, and search for Rotana Radio or Radio Fann] , on the other Hand, you can also listen to them over the Internet by downloading "Nokia Internet Radio" for the new series phone, and ull be able to listen to it through WiFi Connections..

Cheers man , and keep up the good work.