This week, we made some improvements to the station’s trailer system as well as to our website. Since the deployment of our new scheduler system in 2021, we have been turning some dials and knobs that control what songs get scheduled and when, as well as when song previews play (currently every couple of hours). The song preview system is one of those things that makes our station sound like other terrestrial stations; we have something in place that mimics the typical “callsign” announcement, and it shows listeners what other songs we play, particularly helpful for newer listeners.
One technical drawback of the preview system has been that we needed to queue a bunch of songs up ahead of time which would occupy roughly 10 minutes of space after the hour. This would have the potential to play songs in an order that would run counter to some of the “repeat rules” we have in place during normal operation. These rules would help prevent two appearances of the same artist, circle, album, or song from playing too frequently or close to one another in time. In that 10-minute window every 2 hours, we had relatively little control over song order.
We changed that by implementing a new playlist function which basically tells the scheduler to clear the playlist and start pulling songs using the normal rotation rules once again. This is an unusual setup; it effectively replaces a “song” with a script that does something instead, and this enables us to have finer control over what gets scheduled and when. It also opens up some interesting opportunities by making it easier to run scheduled programming events. If we ever wanted to run, say, an automated rock block that features only music from specific circles, or an instrumental hour, or something similar that doesn’t currently depend on genre data, we can write something that does that and implement it with relative ease.
We also updated the website by bringing back the news and reviews pages. In previous website versions, we had news and music reviews published directly to the website. In GR8 (the current version), we removed these, but then later migrated them to our forums. This week, we spent some time writing an interface which enables forum posts from those two categories to be displayed in their respective pages on the website. The number of comments is also displayed, and there are links for users to go to the forums to leave new comments (commenting was a much-used feature in the earlier days, but its use has waned over time). The most recent news and review articles are available through the website, and there are links to view older articles through the forums.
There are new navigation links on the website for news and reviews, plus we updated the “shows” links to read as “podcasts” instead. We feel it’s more likely that users will understand what they’ll find in that tab if it reads “podcasts” instead of “shows.” The link to navigate to the playlist files page has also been updated to read “stream endpoint list.” People are probably not super familiar with what an “endpoint” is, but the phrase should nevertheless help point users to where they can find a list of the streams that Gensokyo Radio provides. These are useful for people who want to use a third-party application to listen to the station.
Finally, we’ve made some progress getting our new hats and Indigo-related merch available, but are still working with our provider on troubleshooting some technical things. The good news is that we will be able to start shipping our GR-logo baseball hats (or dad caps if that’s your preferred term) very soon! Keep an eye on our store and social media (@GensokyoRadio on Twitter) for when they become available.
That’s all for this week, our recent Live and Meetup events will be available soon, so stay tuned for more, and thanks for listening!