1. Dark Penguin's Avatar
    It's true that I've said numerous times, in various places around the internet, that the ability to stream radio stations from places thousands of miles distant is one of the best reasons for owning a smartphone. (Or, one of the most fun reasons, but let's not split hairs.). With that said, there still are times when I want to listen to my local NPR outlet, which, according to what they say at pledge time, is one of the country's most significant in terms of local audience and production. FTR, it's KCRW in Santa Monica, California. For most of my radio streaming needs, I use the paid version of TuneIn.

    Unfortunately, I've noticed that of all the stations or other streaming sources I listen to or have tried to listen to, KCRW is the absolute weakest. The weakest, I tell you. I can't listen to it for five minutes without having the stream dropped, which seems to happen whenever the announcer is coming to the crucial point of the story. As for KCRW's own Android app, that's even more useless, as I've generally found to be the case with stations' proprietary streaming apps. Surprisingly, IHeartRadio has recently started carrying KCRW as their first-ever public radio offering. At first this seemed to be the answer to all my problems with streaming KCRW, because it really did seem to be better. But since then, I've gone from Froyo to Gingerbread, and rolling it back really isn't an option, because I need the capabilities of Gingerbread for other reasons. IHeartRadio, with regard to KCRW, is now no better than anything else. It's a little better when I'm at home, as opposed to walking around the neighborhood, or riding the bus or train.

    By contrast, if I stream San Francisco's NPR affiliate, KQED, it works just fine. It never drops. This would be adequate if I didn't prefer to have the local programming for my city as well as national programs like All Things Considered. Besides, I do like the weather and traffic segments to be relevant to where I actually happen to be. Moreover, even the nationally broadcast programming isn't necessarily available when I would be listening to it on KCRW, if only it were possible to do that. Each affiliate seems to do its own scheduling.

    I do know that the carrying capacity of the network can be degraded locally by overburdening, e.g. if everyone driving along a certain stretch of road ties to stream the same traffic report, they may encounter problems. But does the location of the source, with respect to the listener, also play a role? Presumably everybody in L.A. who owns a smartphone and who likes NPR has tried their streaming service, and given how many people live in or near L.A., that's got to amount to a significant demand on the system. If I lived in the Bay Area, would I find KQED's stream virtually useless? And would I therefore have to listen to the NPR affiliate in L.A., Chicago, or New York? I suppose I could try other local stations and see if I experience similar issues, but to be honest, there aren't any other local stations I can stand to listen to long enough to find out. I can't take commercial radio.

    I'd appreciate any insight or help with this. What happens when you try to stream local stations in your community?

    (I don't believe this question is device-specific, so I'm putting it here.)
    FTR this is using an LG Optimus S running GB. My system is rooted, but I am not currently running a custom ROM.
    05-11-2012 11:51 PM
  2. PvilleComp's Avatar
    From what you describe it sounds more like KCRW is having issues with their uplink to the Stream feed. It could be their internet connection or it could be that the computer they are using to "host" the up-stream is an old computer that is just not up to the task. It would not be the first time in the radio world that someone's scrap equipment was "refreshed" and put into a production studio.
    05-12-2012 10:56 AM
  3. Dark Penguin's Avatar
    I've begun to suspect it might be a problem on KCRW's end. Yet, there were no such issues with my old Windows phone using GSPlayer, a very basic but very dependable streaming app. As I said, it was a very basic tool; it doesn't let you search or browse anything and initially you have to find the URL and type it in yourself, but once you've done that you're good to go. Also, I don't think it supports all the stations that the Android apps support, but for that one station, at least, it was awesome.

    I probably just need more RAM. I know somebody around here says they've managed to bump up their LG Optimus S to 1GB...
    05-14-2012 08:26 PM