Host Gene Mitchell at the helm. MALVERN, Pa. When WCOJ(AM) in Coatesville, Pa., abruptly went off the air last Sept. 30 due to the sale of the station to Holy Spirit Radio, local programming and great shows, years in the making, also went silent. One of those shows, a Saturday morning favorite for four years, was the "Computer Corner" show.
I was not only host of the show but also the station's engineer. In addition, I operated a computer repair business. As the host of the "Computer Corner" show, I was faced with calls and visits from hundreds of listeners asking me to get the show back on the air.
It took only a few days before I decided to continue the show on the Internet and create the Fifth Dimension Radio Network.
We purchased equipment for a new studio and tested and evaluated various streaming software. The show missed only one Saturday before continuing with its new stream.
Although listeners were calling in, I wasn't satisfied yet. There was no way to measure the audience. The stream went from Awcast to Microsoft streaming server and several others. Although Microsoft allowed us to see the numbers, it was not easy to adjust and it crashed frequently.
It took several weeks before BroadWave Streaming software from NCH Software was downloaded and installed, but that day was the start of the best improvements. Professional audio cards also helped make a big difference in quality.
The BroadWave software was easy to install. The information was clear as to what was needed to be changed on the show's Web site. Since I maintained the site code, changes were instantaneous. I also decided to embed a Microsoft Windows Media Player in the site and BroadWave streams as soon as a listener lands on the site.
Saturday and show time came along and connections to the stream numbers started to climb rapidly. In fact, after some 80 connections, an error message said we had to register the software. I also had bandwidth issues with so many connections and after the show I adjusted the stream bandwidth down on the Web site and also registered the software. I also upped my Verizon FiOS service to 20 MB each way.
No one has complained in the following weeks, so now I can once again concentrate on show content.
Bill Mason, station manager of another local radio station, WCHE(AM) in West Chester, had heard the show was back and on the Internet. He asked to carry the program. WCHE now picks up our stream and puts us on the air every Saturday morning live.
WCHE wanted the show because of the large following. In fact, WCHE recently changed formats and has picked up several other orphaned programs from WCOJ.
And Fifth Dimension Radio has recorded several more informational talk shows and keeps them streaming 24 hours a day. Many have to do with ham radio while others are on new technology. Music is avoided so licensing isn't an issue. We purchased a trailer recently to house the studio. That idea came from my wife. She even found the trailer on Craigslist.
Much of this is due to the BroadWave software. I have to say that the BroadWave Streaming Server was the simplest software to install, the easiest to use, the easiest to modify and provided the best experience. The money paid was well worth it.
Gene Mitchell is the host "Computer Corner."
For information, contact NCH Software atwww.nchsoftware.com.