Websockets & GR Meetup #8

This week, we focused on building out a backend feature which directly affects (or will directly affect) multiple aspects of the radio station: web sockets. In a nutshell, web sockets create an open line of communication between a client and server to facilitate bidirectional communication in real-time. For instance, Discord uses web sockets to enable users to send and receive messages. As of this week, Gensokyo Radio is beginning to use web sockets to push real-time data to listeners about what’s currently playing, starting with the website’s player page and moving on to mobile and web applications.

We’re on the last steps in automating a major part of creating the Top 100 list which should be made available within the next week or two. Part of this process is directly dependent on the web socket work mentioned above. Once completed, some additional opportunities may open up which could enable publishing similar types of lists more frequently.

We also had our 8th Meetup event hosted as a Discord Stage on Sunday. We recapped 2021 for the final time before looking ahead at what we’ve got planned in 2022. Much of our outlook referenced the feedback we received during the “Critics Wanted” stage event in December, in addition to an existing backlog of work. We’ll have the recording of the event publicly available next weekend, but here are a few points beyond things discussed during Critics Wanted:

Store Inventory Updates
We’re actively working on sampling products from third-party providers which could aid in filling in products which would otherwise remain sold out from our store for months (if not years). We’re looking for a good balance of product quality, fulfillment time, and value. If we find something that we feel works well enough, this would likely allow us to expand the range of shirt sizes offered as well as women’s shirt sizes (something that’s been requested by multiple listeners, but is typically difficult to fulfill through a pre-order).

Even in the year 2022, we encounter people new to the series which is awesome, but we also hear from veteran fans who have been around for as long as we have who only just recently discovered our station. One of the ways we’ve promoted in the past is through physical handouts at conventions, but as you’re aware, conventions have been in short supply over the last couple years. Cross-promotion with other groups and servers only gets us so far, so we’re looking into some additional marketing opportunities in both the near and long-term to reach out more to existing fans and to say hello to new ones.

||Redacted :very_quake:||
During the meetup event, we spent a whole hour talking about 2021, and yet another hour about 2022. It’s easy to think there’s not a whole lot to talk about or do when we’re talking about just the station, but even the staff can underestimate how much there really is to cover. Just this week, we received an email from a fan who asked why we don’t have more comprehensive information about the music we play, and why we don’t cover all relevant music (which by the way is greater than 100,000 songs). The answer we provided, in short, is that having limited resources forces us to prioritize some things over others. To that end, we’re working on providing an additional way to support the station’s development in exchange for what will be our most premium offering.

Last year, we began co-locating our own custom server hardware in order to provide the best service we’re capable of. However, while this is actually more economical compared to alternative solutions offered by hosting providers, it still carries with it increased operating costs. Compared to a year ago, the station’s operating costs have risen about 3x to handle additional traffic and infrastructure. To offset those costs and provide the station with the funding it needs to maintain full-time development, we’ll be providing a lossless audio stream to monthly and annual subscribers. During the meetup, we heavily stressed that the station will remain forever free to anyone who wants to listen, and that this is an additional option for those who wish to go the extra mile in exchange for the best quality we have to offer. We’ll be talking more about this as we get closer to spring.

That’s a lot for one update! Come back next weekend to see what’s new, and thanks for listening!

[Knowledge #47]