Since our very first air date of June 13th (Friday the 13th) of 2003, we've had people messaging and asking us just how it is that we manage to run our station, and while we've always given a broad overview to curious people, we've never really gone into great depth about just what we do, because there is so much too it. But, since we know from your messages that many of you like getting into those technical details, here goes...
The Second Shifters radio stream runs on its own dedicated Pentium 4 2.6GHz server, courtesy of Slackhost, with 1 GB of DDR RAM, and a 1600 Gigabyte per month transfer limit (that's not a typo). If the power goes out where the server is housed at, a battery backup will ensure that the stream doesn't miss a beat, and in the event that the power stays out for longer than the batter is capable of, a backup diesel generator will kick on to make sure that you can stay listening.
On the streaming side of things, Second Shifters runs off a Shoutcast based audio server, with some special modifications to keep things interesting. The live DJs link up to the server, sending out at 64kbps in mp3pro format. From there, the server listens to the main stream and sends it back out at 24kbps and 40kbps for our regular listeners to listen to, and leaves the original higher quality stream for our Gold Members to listen to. For our remote DJs, they link up directly to the server so that they can make their playlists from what is stored on our server, without actually having the music stored on their computers. They then add in live voice recordings of themselves to talk to you while they're on air.
If you're wondering just how many CDs we have to have to keep a good variety of darker music on the station, there's enough CDs here in the main office to fill an entire wall full of book cases, and we're always buying more CDs out of pocket to keep things new and fresh.
In addition to all this, we then have to pay our royalty fees in order for the station to stay legal and on air. When you broadcast on an AM/FM station, you generally only have to pay a percentage of your profit as royalty rates to ASCAP and BMI to keep yourself out of trouble. However, if you plan to reach a larger audience of people and broadcast on the internet, you have to pay additional fees for every single song that you play and for every single listener that hears that song to the RIAA. Rather than pay all these separately, we use a service called swcast, that groups them together into a monthly fee.
After all is said and done, we end up paying at least $400 U.S. every month to keep things running as smoothly as they do, but we love doing it, and we're glad to have so many that love to listen.