Become an Internationally Acclaimed Deejay with Winamp and SHOUTcast
Who needs a genie in a magic lamp? Internet-based radio gets the credit for fulfilling two of my childhood aspirations.
For starters, the Internet has made listening to international broadcasts easy. In times past, to listen to a radio broadcast from another country, you generally had to use a shortwave radio. I have a nostalgic memory of spending time with my dad trying to pick up shortwave radio from England.
Even better, if you had childhood aspirations of becoming a radio deejay, the Internet can make your dreams come true. The costs associated with following your dream? Nothing! All the software you need is available for free from Winamp.com and SHOUTcast.com.
So whether you are trying to broadcast music for your friends on the other side of the world or you simply want to be able to listen to a live audio stream as your home computer plays through your favorite MP3 playlist, read on . . . .
Before We Start
To set up your own audio-streaming server as described in this article, I assume that you are familiar with NullSoft Inc.'s Winamp as an MP3 player. I also assume that you have a high-speed Internet connection, such as DSL or a cable modem. You might be able to pull off the setup using a dial-up connection, but I do not suggest it. This article also covers setup of a SHOUTcast Winamp server on the Windows platform. You can do the same thing on other platforms, such as MacOS or Linux, but I don't cover those platforms here.
You'll be using this software along the way:
- Winamp—You'll be using Winamp as the player on the server side. When the other components are set up, you can simply choose songs to listen to locally. Clients will also use Winamp to connect to your server and hear these songs.
- SHOUTcast Broadcasting Tools—You'll use a Winamp plug-in called the SHOUTcast Source for Winamp 2.x DSP Plug-In, in the SHOUTcast Broadcasting Tools, to grab output from the Winamp player on the server and send it to a SHOUTcast server.
- SHOUTcast DNAS—You could opt to send output to a third-party server that can act as a SHOUTcast server. However, this usually costs some cash, so here you'll be frugal and turn your own server into a SHOUTcast server by using SHOUTcast DNAS. Note that running a SHOUTcast server places stress on your server's CPU as well as your network's bandwidth. The more clients are connecting to your machine acting as a SHOUTcast server, the more that machine and your network will be taxed in resources. This is nothing to be alarmed about—just something to be aware of. Realistically, unless your online deejay endeavors start generating a major fan base, you won't likely have anything to worry about.
Figure 1 shows a graphical depiction of what you'll be setting up.
Figure 1 A graphical overview of your setup.