Radio Network Updates & New Listings on Icecast

This week, we updated our multi-regional radio network and created a few new listings on Icecast’s public radio directory. For more information, read on!

Earlier this year, we began setting up the foundation for a new global radio network exclusively for Gensokyo Radio. This was in response to a couple things: one was that we had a growing listener base and could use the added capacity to better manage listeners across multiple regions, and the other was at the request of a small handful of listeners who had expressed concern about connecting to a server halfway across the globe to listen. We’ll dive into how we managed to put a system together to satisfy both requirements.

Spinning up additional servers to handle increased traffic and listenership is one thing, but through this process we must also ensure that our network remains stable, and ideally it should have some resiliency built in. We teased the basic structure of this network back in June via Twitter (https://twitter.com/GensokyoRadio/status/1536473906462195712).

While we did deploy a version of this network back in June, it remained incomplete. Additionally, switchover for live events was a manual process. In the months that followed, we found that switching during events would cause stream issues, in some cases prompting listeners to reconnect. The updates made to our server network this week include the deployment of an additional regional server, configuration changes across all regional servers, and a more robust backhaul system which properly integrates automatic source switching between DJ, broadcast, and fallback sources.

While the impact on listener connection quality is likely minimal for those in regions located farther away from our primary broadcast server, beaming to regional servers may help to improve connection consistency and latency. That last bit isn’t really impactful for audio streams since latency affects real-time applications far more than buffered content. This move is more to provide a higher quality and more consistent service for listeners who may have edge cases that affect their ability to listen. We have listeners with a very wide range of socioeconomic backgrounds and living conditions; people have listened to us through their Sonos sound systems at home, but also through very budget cell phones in areas with poor quality internet connections. If we can help improve someone’s day through this work, it’s worth it to us and we hope for them as well.

In addition to these updates, we have also listed our radio station on Icecast’s server directory. When we switched to Icecast last year, we did not initially list on Icecast’s directory because we were cognisant of the future updates we would be making to the system as a whole. Being listed on radio directories helps listeners discover our station, gives people who are unfamiliar with us easy access to listen, and helps other radio sites integrated with Icecast’s YP system to list us on additional platforms and radio lists.

We’ve listed each region’s standard endpoints publicly on Icecast, but our other endpoints (mobile, enhanced, and Indigo) remain available as normal. You may also see lower listenership numbers through the listing on Icecast as a result (this is to limit the clutter that our multiple endpoints would otherwise induce in the directory).

That’s all for now, come back next week when we’ll share who our next guest is for this month’s Live broadcast, and thanks for listening!

[Knowledge #94]