Friday, December 01, 2006

Cannot Access Internet Radio

Sent to the CBC this morning...

I went to listen to news about the Liberal leadership today. Since CBC is the only station that would carry coverage, I opted for the CBC internet coverage (I am unable to get radio broadcasts, as I work inside a metal-clad building).

The only way to listen to CBC radio online is to use Windows Media Player, which only runs on Microsoft Windows. Although there are numerous and widely used cross-platform options, the CBC has for some reason decided to use a proprietary system.

It is true that many people use Microsoft Windows, however, I do not, and millions of other people do not use Windows. It is, moreover, my right to be able to listen to information about the leadership convention on Canada's public broadcasting system.

It is time that CBC employed an accessible system to support live internet broadcasts. May I recommend that the developers look at the ShoutCast site, where they will find hundreds of radio stations broadcasting in an accessible manner (indeed, it seems that most other radio stations are there).

I have friends who are able to broadcast an online educational channel (EdTech Talk) in an accessible manner from their basement. Surely Canada's national broadcaster can manage a similar feat.

There is no excuse for running proprietary software on a public radio station. The CBC should switch, and it should switch now.


  1. I'm very glad to have you on our side, that is, the side that thinks that because 95% of the folks out there use software controlled by one monopolistic company, it doesn't make it either the logical or the most beneficial choice.

    At my school, they have supposedly decided that windows media player is the one true standard. So I was scolded for posting MP3 files on a web site. Naturally, being a university professor has its advantages: I can just ignore them and they can't do anything against these nasty MP3. (Not that I like the MP3 format... there are more open formats out there...)

    In any case, keep up the good fight.

  2. I won't mention which side of the fence in the software world I stand, however I will make a point,

    For one who is sure in his beliefs about using open software, Shoutcast should NOT be your choice. it is not a completly open standard, and its controlled by arguably one of the most "evil" and monolitic companies in existance Time Warner/Aol.

    if you want open use something like Ogg Vorbis.

    "Ogg Vorbis is a completely open, patent-free, professional audio encoding and streaming technology with all the benefits of OpenSource."

    and not to mention Vorbis is actually a better compressing format, and sounds better overall.

  3. Yeah, but most of the media players in the world don't play ogg. I've had as much problems with it as I've had with Windows.

    I don't care who controls the site. Well, I do, but not so much that I would refuse to use it. What matters to me is that when I click on the 'play' link, it plays.

  4. I'm on a Windows XP OS and I cannot get CBC streaming other than through IE (yuk). It doesn't work on Firefox 2.0.

    I will be changing my system over to Linux in the next year, as I will not "upgrade" to Win Vista. I will then be cut off from my national, publicly-funded broadcaster.

    When I look at my site stats for the past year, I have:

    49% IE 5/6/7
    42% Firefox 1/2
    5% Safari

    Shame on CBC.

  5. hee hee. Thanks for the props Stephen. I will say that it isn't actually necessary to be in a basement to broadcast in an open manner. It can also be done in living rooms and at conventions. I encourage anyone to check out what happened at the nycist conference. Whether you use shoutcast or not, it is VERY easy to webcast effectively. anyone interested can go to the webcastacademy.


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