Interwebsradio: SA streaming radio

Interwebsradio, a streaming radio station operating from South Africa, was recently added to the iTunes Radio catalogue under the Alternative Rock section.

Before getting listed in iTunes the radio station was already available on just about any computer and modern mobile device through its website and other streaming radio collections such as TuneIn Radio.

But just what does it take to run a radio station on the “Interweb” from South Africa?

“We are bootstrapping our station from open-source software, a little pocket change and an insane love of music,” Interwebaradio’s Dirk Hanekom recently told us.

Asked whether the station is making money, Hanekom said that they aren’t showing a profit yet and joked that sponsors and advertisers are welcome.

“Seriously though, we do have a number of advertisers in the pipeline once we start showing real listenership figures,” Hanekom said.

The technology

Interwebsradio streams from servers in Germany, Hanekom said.

“We also have a development server located in the US for most of our testing and monitoring purposes,” he added.

“Some would call that the ‘Cloud’. We call it server hosting in a top-end redundant data centre.”

Hanekom said that the high cost of hosting in South Africa forced them to make a choice between a little more latency and price.

“The lower price won,” Hanekom said.

Interwebsradio logo image

The service they receive in Germany is “ridiculously cheap” by comparison, Hanekom said, explaining that they get 5 Terabytes of data transfer per month before they get throttled to a “slower” speed of 10Mbps.

“We aim to hit that target,” Hanekom said. “It’s a challenge!”

Hanekom said that they would love to have a local server proxying content closer to SA listeners.

“We’ll get there, but the ISPs need to come to the party first,” Hanekom said.

If Interwebsradio decided to use overseas hosting services to cut down on costs, just how much bandwidth do they use?

“It’s early days, so not nearly enough,” Hanekom said before breaking it down:

  • January: 303 GB
  • February: 430GB
  • March: 325GB
  • April: 250GB

Plans for the future

Asked about their plans for Interwebsradio, Hanekom said that they already broadcast as many events live wherever they can.

“We love the fact that we built this capability from scratch and it’s working really well… when we have connectivity,” Hanekom said.

Among the events Interwebsradio has broadcast live are album launches from The Bioscope in Joburg and concert gigs such as Park Acoustics in Pretoria.

Regarding the addition of DJs to their shows, Hanekom said: “We don’t ever want to bore listeners with the usual rubbish guess-what-I-did-yesterday-cos-I-have-so-much-time-on-my-hands that current ‘music’ stations have.”

Hanekom said that their shows will have a massive music focus.

“We’re still fighting over who has the best voice for radio,” he added. “We’re a bit shy about talking.”

Interwebsradio has a number of amateur DJs working on the planning for their shows, Hanekom said. These will include “The Old School Super Cool Rock & Roll Show”, and “Cover Lover”, among others.

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Interwebsradio: SA streaming radio