Tag Archives: Our Radio

Newsome.Org Radio

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Update:  Our official and most curated radio station is now Newsome.fm.

If you want good music via Pandora or Slacker, our old stations are still available and rocking along.

We have numerous handcrafted Pandora and Slacker Radio stations to choose from.

Pandora Stations

Newsome.Org Country Rock Radio
Newsome.Org Alt. Country Radio
Newsome.Org Blues Radio
Newsome.Org Jukebox Deluxe Radio
Newsome.Org Zydeco Radio
Newsome.Org Early Reggae Radio
All Station QuickMix

Slacker Radio Stations

The Rancho Room (Alt. Country)
Classic Vinyl
Blues Mix

You can easily access these stations via the menu in the left hand column of these pages.  Enjoy!

For more great music try:
Errbear Music: Kent Newsome’s original songs (RSS)
Goodsongs.Com: Newsome.Org’s music recommendation page (RSS)
Kent’s MixCloud page: Great, themed, streaming playlists (RSS)

Breaking Out of Live365

So the other day, as part of my internet improvement post, I ranted about the incarceration of Rancho Radio, my internet radio station, behind the unnecessarily high walls of Live365, the broadcasting service I pay for and have used for almost 10 years.  For some insanity-inducing reason, Live365 requires unregistered listeners to use its music player to listen to Live365 radio stations and makes it really hard for registered users to play the stations through other software.  Even though Live365 stuffs lots of ads in the stream, it does not allow non-professional stations (e.g., ones that don’t pay a fortune for a professional broadcasting package) to publish streams that can be played on any music player.  To make this utterly frustrating situation worse, you have to register as a listener just to listen to stations in iTunes or your other preferred music player- and even then Live365 tries to wrap your preferred music player over the Live365 music player.

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  This little player is the bane of my radio existence

What I mean by wrap, is that the Live365 player will be open, but it will push the stream to another desktop music player, like iTunes or Winamp.

This makes Facebook seem like the wide open Serengeti and puts Live365 stations at a huge disadvantage compared to the plethora of other online music options.

So my good friend and IT guru, Dave Wallace, started poking around to see if he could navigate around this problem- if there’s anyone on earth who can figure this mess out, it’s Dave.  He made some progress and was able to get the stream, at least temporarily, into iTunes.  It even looks like the artist-song information was displaying.  Mazzy Star.  Hope Sandoval. . . .  OK, I’m back.

I followed Dave’s tutorial, and actually got my stream to play in iTunes, with the artist-song information.  That Jerry Garcia- Merl Saunders record is awesome.

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I created a new Playlist, named it Rancho Radio, right-clicked the stream and added it to that Playlist.  Presto, I now have an entry in that Playlist for Rancho Radio.  I was able to stop and start the stream several times, including after closing iTunes.

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While this is certainly promising, there is at least one problem.  You have to register with Live365 to have access to the Listen Settings Dave describes in his walk-through.  Given that Live365 puts ads in the streams and that each station has a maximum amount of listeners (depending on the broadcaster package you buy), why is that necessary?  Why can’t we just have a stream link that can stream directly from our music player of choice?  We (me the broadcaster and Live365 the in-stream ad seller) should want to make it EASY for people to listen to our station.  This is too HARD.  I don’t want my listeners to be forced to register with Live365, because I know that for every one who will there are untold numbers who won’t.  There is no conceivable legitimate business reason to make people jump through this hoop.

None. Nada.

And there could be a bigger problem.  A little digging reveals the stream URL to be:

http://www.live365.com/play/11174?auth=8b64a2f702854181f5e8d7ebe4d0c684-1236680459-errbearmusic&ss=errbearmusic%3AVE30jMFgIG0BgWk3&tag
=live365&token=8965de820136fdc2267d00b64082298d-2002100084200000&sid=98.201.123.161
-1232926918910378&lid=618-usa&from=pls

I can think of only one reason why the URL has to be that long- because it’s temporary.  Plus, why make us go to all this trouble to find a stream URL?  And that “usa” reference doesn’t bode well for Dave and my other mates down under.  I tried to open the URL in Windows Media Player, and it opened, without the artist-song information, but that could be a player configuration issue.  I tried again in MediaMonkey, and it opened, but skipped horribly.  This could be a software issue too.  Say bye bye Mr. Monkey.

If- and I think this is a big if- the stream URL I came up with above is permanent, will work for everyone who wants to listen to Rancho Radio without having to register at Live365 and doesn’t violate an enforced Live365 term of service, then the problem is solved.  I saw something in the Live365 forums indicating that non-professional stations aren’t supposed to have direct streams.  I don’t know if what I am trying to do is OK with Live365 or not.  If not, I’ll delete the URL upon Live365′s request, though that would be silly since anyone who wanted to could use Dave’s tutorial to find and bookmark the stream URL.  My bet is that the URL above is temporary and/or won’t work for anyone but me.

I hope I’m wrong.

Clearly, Live365 wants you to be chained to the Live365 music player.  Once you go through Dave’s tutorial and get the stream into iTunes, closing the Live365 player results in this:

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If you delete it without opening the aptly named “silent.pls,” the stream continues to play in iTunes.  If you open it or if you’ve configured PLS files to always open in iTunes by checking the box, you get. . . silence and a notice that the broadcast has ended.  I can’t tell you how much that pisses me off.  Unless there is a constitutional amendment requiring this, it is unacceptable.

I know I’m coming across as a Live365 hater, and I know that they have the right to sell whatever product they want- and that if I don’t like it I don’t have to buy it.  I get all that.  But the thing is that Live365 has such potential.  But for these unnecessary walls, it is a very good service.  And – and this is probably a big part of the problem – it is the only service of its kind that I know of.  It has the market cornered for broadcasters who want to upload their music and have it streamed from the host’s server.  Sure you can broadcast live by uploading your songs to Live365 in real time, but that simply doesn’t work.  I’ve tried it, only to have some hiccup knock out my upload – and thereby my station – for hours while I was away or at work.

Live365 is very close to rocking.  They just need to knock down the walls and set the music free.

Rancho Radio Update: Ad-Free Alt. Country, Classic Rock, Americana and Blues

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After messing around with various internet radio options this weekend, I decided on a gameplan for our Rancho Radio radio station (note that I switched the name back from Jukebox Deluxe because the station has been broadcasting for 9 years as Rancho Radio and the change created confusion for our existing listeners). I have decided to do a combination of live and pre-set broadcasts.

Here’s what that means. Assuming we get some traction and the listenership continues to grow, I will broadcast much of the time in live mode. What this means is that our music server, which contains around 28,000 alternative country, classic rock, Americana and blues songs, will crank out the music directly, in real time. You will hear what people at Rancho DeNada hear, as it plays. And best of all, the live broadcasts are AD FREE. During the times I cannot transmit the audio stream directly from our server, we will switch to pre-set mode. This is the same format the station has been operating under for 9 years. Lots of great music, but with a few more ads (I have no control over the ads in pre-set mode).

So if you like hand-picked, mostly commercial free alternative country, classic rock, Americana and blues, give Rancho Radio a try (Update:  Rancho Radio is now Newsome.fm). Below is a real time playlist. Note that the ads that appear in the playlist below DO NOT appear in the live audio stream. If you’re reading this in a feed reader, you may need to visit Newsome.Org to see the real time playlist (cool album art and all).

Give it a listen. Let me know what you think. If you like it, PLEASE pass the word via blogs, twits, etc.

Lots of Music Offerings at Newsome.Org

When I started this site back in 1996, my primary goal was to create a place to promote my music, in hopes of getting a better publishing deal, and more record cuts via direct marketing to recording artists.  Over the past 12 years I added tech, family life, humor and general interest topics to the mix, as I realized that my desire to live indoors trumped my desire be a musician.

But that doesn’t mean I have forgotten my first love.  There’s lots of music to be had at Newsome.Org.  Here’s a summary.

Original Music:  You can stream hundreds of fully produced original song demos at the Err Bear Music page.  Look for the “Read and Hear Songs” menu in the left column of the Err Bear Music page.  There are streaming Play buttons beside almost all the songs on the pages listed under that menu.  Want a preview?  Give Straight into Goodbye a listen.  If you’re one of my old pals from Cheraw, check out Dreams of McKenzie.  You’ll recognize a lot of places mentioned in that song.  If you’re into traditional country, I give you Loser’s Rodeo.  That one was originally called The Mad Max Rodeo and was written a long time ago about a girl named Madeline.  I had to change the name to get it cut, but it worked, as it’s been on several records.

Pandora Stations:  I’ve been a Pandora fan since it was released.  I’ve spent a lot of time fine tuning the ratings, and the results are pretty darn good.  We have three stations to choose from:

1.  Rancho Radio – my favorite online radio station, bar none.  A broad mix of classic rock, alternative country, blues and more.  It plays an eclectic mix of songs, but all of them are good, thanks to Pandora’s music genome and a lot of thumbing up and thumbing down by yours truly.

2. Alt. Country – if you’re interested in a focused alternative country station, this is the one for you.  Seeded with artists like the Drive-By Truckers, Old Crow Medicine Show, Whiskeytown, Lucero, Slobberbone, Reckless Kelly and more.

3. Blues Mix – I really like classic 50s-70s blues.  Byther Smith, Otis Spann, Junior Kimbrough, Otis Rush, Luther Allison, Roy Buchanan and more populate this narrowly tailored, hand cut blues mix.

And don’t forget, you can take Pandora with you on your iPhone!

Jukebox Deluxe:

Update:  we’re now broadcasting 24/7 @ Newsome.fm.

As much as I love my Pandora stations, you can only seed the music that plays there.  You can’t pick the exact songs.  Since I have a (legal) music library of around 28,000 MP3s, I have always liked the idea of picking a specific playlist.  I have used Live365 to operate Newsome.Org’s Jukebox Deluxe (f/k/a Rancho Radio) for years.  It’s a pretty popular Live365 station.  I’m not all that happy with Live365, because I think they put about 3 or 4 times too many ads in my audio stream (I pay several hundred dollars a year for my station).  But it’s the best (or least worst) option I have found so far.  Today I added a completely new rotation to the Jukebox.  Over 30 hours worth of hand-picked albums and songs.  Give it a listen!

As an aside, if there are any developers our there working on a good online radio station service and need a really good classic rock, alternative country and blues station, me and my 28,000 songs would love to talk with you!

Enjoy the music.

UPDATE: I found out that if I broadcast live, there are no in-stream ads on Live365, so I switched my broadcast to live.  I don’t know if it will be feasible long-term, but for now, I’m broadcasting directly from my music server.  This means 28,000 or so songs, with NO ads.

More Pandora Goodness: Kent’s Hand-Crafted Blues Mix

pandoraI’ve had an alternative country oriented Pandora radio station for years.  A lot of thumbs up and thumbs down have mapped a pretty specific genome: mid-tempo alternative country (not Americana, which generally bores me to tears) songs.  I love that station and listen to it regularly.

But it was time to diversify.

Over the weekend, I created my second station.  Kent’s Hand-Crafted Blues Mix.  If you know these names, you’ll love it:  Junior Kimbrough, Otis Rush, Byther Smith, Jimmy Reed, Otis Spann, Luther Allison and Pee Wee Crayton.  Give it a listen!

New Rancho Radio Set

I uploaded a new set to Rancho Radio this morning. 269 great songs, from alt. country to country rock to 80′s alternative to classic rock to blues.

Almost 18 hours of music and what I genuinely believe is the best mix you’ll find anywhere.

Among the many great artists featured are Laura Cantrell, Steve Pride, the Swills, Ten Years After, Tom Waits, Whiskeytown, Uncle Tupelo, Traffic, Willie Kent, Stonewall Jackson, the Troggs, Velvet Underground, Tompall Glaser, ZZ Top, the Zombies, Willard Grant Conspiracy, Warren Zevon, Tanya Donnelly, Syd Straw, Grateful Dead, the Hangdogs, Jesse Dayton, Jimmie Dale Gilmore, the Jayhawks, Iron & Wine, Honeybrowne, Fever Tree, Joe Ely, White Witch, South Filthy, Six String Drag, Pee Wee Clayton, Humble Pie, Joe Jackson, Junior Kimbrough, Kasey Chambers and many, many more.

There’s a real time playlist on the Rancho Radio page.

New Rancho Radio Set

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I uploaded a new set to Rancho Radio this morning. 293 alt. country and country rock songs. Almost 18 hours worth of CD quality, free, internet radio. Give it a listen!

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New Rancho Radio Set

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I uploaded a brand new playlist to Rancho Radio tonight. Unlike the last 3 sets, which were picked at random from our huge song library, I hand picked this one. Lots of great alt. country, with a little extra southern rock added to the mix this week.

Rancho Radio has moved up to the 15th most popular station in the Americana genre on Live365. Please give it a listen and tell your friends about it. You’ll hear some great music that you simply can’t get anywhere else.

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New Rancho Radio Set

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I uploaded a brand new playlist to Rancho Radio tonight. Almost 18 hours of deep alternative country cuts. Several cuts each by the Beat Farmers, Blue Rodeo, the Drive-By Truckers, Freakwater and Syd Straw. Plus tons of other cuts by alternative country artists you simply won’t hear anywhere else. Tune in. It’s easy, free and mighty good.

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Rancho Radio Cracks Top 20

In a little over 2 months since we relaunched Rancho Radio, it has moved steadily up the charts. Yesterday it cracked the Top 20, becoming the 20th most popular Americana station in the Live365 family.

Americana is a broad category, covering basic Americana, bluegrass, folk, alternative country and more. Since I wrote the script that selects the weekly playlist automatically out of our 26,000 song library, the number of listeners has grown significantly. My guess is that is because we are playing a lot of deep album cuts from our extensive alternative country catalog.

Give Rancho Radio a listen. If you like it, tell your friends about it. We’d love to see it move up the number 1!

Update:  Rancho Radio is now Newsome.fm.

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