BoomBox Periodic Events Update

We’ve recently released a software update to BoomBox which addresses the challenges some customers are having scheduling and executing periodic playlists like spots and news blasts.

The issue, as reported by Support, concerns confusion when prioritizing periodic playlists which complicates triggering at the times expected by the customer.

Currently BoomBox mimics playlist scheduling implemented by the now defunct ShoutCast Transcoder as it was the most well known process by customers at the time of development. With the implementation of the Liquidsoap Transcoder, this process will eventually be replaced by a more intuitive calendar-based approach.

The resolution was to simplify the way BoomBox processes periodic playlists. BoomBox now tries to determine prioritization according to the weight of all playlists scheduled in the queue. Those with ‘heavier’ rotation requirements are now automatically prioritized at a lower rate than periodic playlists in order to ensure expected triggering.

In addition, the duration property is now less deterministic in favor of the higher priority repeat property which ensures that a periodic playlist only plays one track per event instead of playing all tracks to the end. This behaviour also favors better shuffling of multiple track playlists.

Setting up periodic playlist now requires only the ‘Start Time’ (How often an event is triggered in relation to midnight UTC) and ‘Time Offset’ (When the event should be triggered in relation to the Start Time) properties in order to be properly scheduled. Event repetition (Repeat) and Track Shuffling behave as before and will override automated settings.

Examples:

Although customers will not notice any difference in the BoomBox interface, the scheduling of periodic playlists has been immensely simplified in the backend. The following scenarios serve as a start point for quickly understanding periodic event processing and setup.

Scenario: Spot

This scenario assumes that there is heavy rotation playlist (Daily) containing tracks that play all day, every day and a radio spot playlist that will inject itself over the ‘Daily’ playlist every 15 minutes (or roughly every 3 songs) on the hour.

  1. In BoomBox, create a new playlist and name it ‘Radio Spot’
  2. Set Shuffle and Repeat properties to ‘No’ (default for new playlists)
  3. Change Recurrence to ‘Time Periodic (Spots or Jingles)’ (
    default for new playlists)
  4. Set Priority to ‘Average’
  5. Leave Date Range fields empty
  6. Set Start Time to ’00:00:00′ (triggers every hour)
  7. Set Time Offset to ’00:15:00′ (triggers every 15 minutes after the top of the hour)
  8. Leave Duration field empty and save (Floppy Icon top right corner of the form)
  9. Navigate to the File Manager and upload your radio spot file to the auto-generated radio_spot folder.

At this point, no further intervention is required. The playlist is automatically scheduled and activated. However, one should ensure that the heavy rotation playlist (named ‘Daily’ in this scenario) is prioritized as ‘Lower’ and the ‘Radio Spot’ playlist is prioritized as ‘Average’ in the playlist manager.

Scenario: Jingle

This scenario assumes that there is heavy rotation playlist (Daily) containing tracks that play all day, every day and a jingle playlist that will randomly inject a jingle or radio advertisement over the ‘Daily’ playlist every 30 minutes (or roughly every 5 songs) on the hour.

  1. In BoomBox, create a new playlist and name it ‘Jingles’
  2. Set Shuffle and Repeat properties to ‘No’ (default for new playlists)
  3. Change Recurrence to ‘Time Periodic (Spots or Jingles)’ (
    default for new playlists)
  4. Set Priority to ‘Average’
  5. Leave Date Range fields empty
  6. Set Start Time to ’00:00:00′ (triggers every hour)
  7. Set Time Offset to ’00:30:00′ (triggers every 30 minutes after the top of the hour)
  8. Leave Duration field empty and save (Floppy Icon top right corner of the form)
  9. Navigate to the File Manager and upload your jingle tracks to the auto-generated jingles folder.

At this point, no further intervention is required. The playlist is automatically scheduled and activated. However, one should ensure that the heavy rotation playlist (named ‘Daily’ in this scenario) is prioritized as ‘Lower’ and the ‘Jingles’ playlist is prioritized as ‘Average’ in the playlist manager.

Be sure to read the BoomBox Playlist Manager documentation for more detailed understanding of option settings and scenarios.



BB35 Upgrade

Customers on BB35 (BoomBox) have been experiencing higher than usual loads due to a recent addition of the ABC Radio Network to the SoniXFM platform which has introduced SoniXCast Radios to an additional 4 million potential daily listeners.

BB35 is one of the last servers on the legacy hardware platform and is having a hard time keeping up with the additional network traffic which is disturbing smooth operations in Europe and South America.

We are in the process of setting up new hardware and will move BB35 and are adding 4 more AnyCastIP nodes in Europe and South America
over the next 24 hour period in order to handle the higher than usual network traffic.

Customer Impact is expected to be minimal to non-existent as BB35 has long been part of SoniXCast’s portable dynamic IP network, however customers using static IP-Addresses are advised to contact support to request an updated IP or to conform with usage guidelines and begin using the fully qualified hostname (bb35.sonixcast.com).

We apologize for any inconvenience to customers and listeners of the SoniXCast Broadcast Network. Turning up a new broadcast provider the size of the ABC Radio Networks is a complex process in which the full impact is near impossible to predict until listeners start actually tuning in.

It is unfortunate that our wonderful partners in Europe and South America, have been challenged to keep up with the additional loads, however we all are dedicated to addressing such issues with vigor and with an eye on future expansion so that such disturbances remain the exception going forward.

BoomBox Upgraded to ShoutCast Server 2.6

Howdy Folks! We’re happy to announce that BoomBox has been upgraded to ShoutCast Server 2.6 (more info) which resolves issues, with the authorization hash, aacp encoding, targetspot and more…

Customers on the BoomBox platform will have to completely restart their server to take advantage of the new features. The easiest way to do this is to login to your BoomBox control panel and press the beating heart icon (upper right hand corner) which will stop, re-configure and restart your streaming server and auto-dj (if enabled).

Our dev team is in the process of discovering and adding the new features supported by the server to the BoomBox platform, so be sure to follow us on facebook or twitter and watch for updates.

BoomBox Minor Patch Released

Customers having issues restarting their server or that some settings are not being applied on BoomBox will be happy to hear that we just released a patch to BoomBox that resolves these issues and more.

The recently released patch (3.3.3212) resolves an undocumented operating system idiosyncrasy that caused wide ranging issues starting and stopping streaming services which would keep some changes from being applied.

Kudos go out to the Dev Team for fixing this issue quickly and apologies go out to the customers who experienced inconveniences resulting from this issue.

Global Music Library Offline

Yeap. We noticed that the global music library looks like it is corrupt. However the Dev Team wishes to ensure all that it was a programming error and not a hack.

We are in the process of restoring the GML from backup, but that could take a day or two due to the sheer number of tracks. We will notify all customers when the GML is once again available.

What to Expect in 2019

2018 was a wonderful year for SoniXCast (SX), but 2019 could possibly be the most exciting and innovative year yet for customers…

2018 in Retrospect…

In 2018 we explored a completely new technological strategy, initiated forward looking partnerships and completely decentralized our infrastructure. Here are the Highlights…

1st Quarter: We expanded our partnerships with Amazon and iHeartRadio to provide radio content on their platforms raising our average listener base from roughly 2 million to an estimated 42 million daily listeners.

2nd Quarter: We acquired 4 stream hosting providers (2 in Europe, 1 in Asia, 1 in North America) which grew our retail client base from roughly 800 to over 1500. Also we introduced the updated SoniXFM popularization platform to retail customers on BoomBox which allowed their radios to be heard on the Amazon/iHeartRadio platforms.

3rd Quarter: After loads of pressure from retail customers, we introduced CentovaCast hosting for Hobbyists and small Webcasters. We also rolled out our new cloud infrastructure into 24 geographically diverse data centers.

4th Quarter: We capped the year with the final release of BoomBox 3.3 which showcases our Liquidsoap transcoder strategy. And we expanded our partnerships with Sony, Microsoft and Apple to provide even more media content on their platforms.

Relationships are a lot…

Strategic partnerships are the cornerstone to our business and the clue to our longevity. Not only does it raise our company integrity, but more importantly, customers are better protected from the turbulences in the industry.

We are constantly exploring new partnerships, but some are on the short list for 2019 like: Expanding our footprint on Roku, Exploring partnerships with monetization platforms like TargetSpot and becoming more prevalent on devices like car radios, social media platforms and AI devices.

But Technology is everything…

Being a technology and platform provider give us the unique ability to set standards, forge relationships, better communication and shape the future of the industry. Here are some of the Highlights planned for 2019…

Public API: We are in the process of normalizing and securing our platform to make it accessible via a set of HTTP API’s that will allow 3rd party providers and resellers (Yes. We will be introducing a Reseller program) access to our extensive line of services, media and libraries.

WebDJ: Imagine you’re out in public and come across a unique news opportunity. With WebDJ you can whip out your smartphone and comment on news or conduct an interview directly to your listeners in real time. You can also broadcast directly from your computer eliminating the need to fork out cash for 3rd party broadcast client software. Already tested and in limited use with commercial customers, we will be introducing the WebDJ platform to retail customers in 2019.

BoomBox: In 2019, program management will become even more powerful and intuitive as we introduce a calendar like interface in which users can schedule individual tracks, ads, spots or even whole playlists with a simple drag and drop. Edit track titles in place, set crossfades and even leave notes for other broadcasters. All from simple easy to use interface.

SoniXFM Media Center: Is our new radio platform based upon SoniXFM™ and AnyCastIP™ which will allow listeners to tune in to thousands of terrestrial and web radios from all over the world. In testing now is our own embeddable operating system based upon android open source that will be targeted towards hardware media devices like car radios. Also in testing right now are: Alexa Skills, Google Home Actions and Android/iTune Apps.

And there is much more…

Video broadcasting (WebVJ), tighter integration with social networking platforms and developing technology guidelines and standards are all on the drawing board as well as working out more direct relationships with performance rights organizations and working with licensing providers to help end pirating and intellectual property theft. Our goal is to ensure radio broadcasting remains a staple for all well into the future.

We wish all our Friends, Partners and Customers a very Happy and Prosperous New Year.

The War on Radio

The untimely demise of the US/Canadian Stream Hosting Provider TorontoCast (torontocast.com) at the hands of the US performance rights organization SoundExchange is the latest in a long list of providers who have been forced out of business or marginalized by an industry on a mission to consolidate content.

It takes Work

Many hosting providers (like TorontoCast) often do not consider that relationships and partnerships should be as diversified as their client base and must go beyond just a single license provider. Understanding that foreign performance rights organizations (PRO’s) may prosecute station members (operators, producers, djs) located within their jurisdiction, if they can’t go after the radio station or hosting provider, is key to protecting ones customers.

Hosting providers should understand that it is not enough to simply license through SOCAN. Much more is required. We’ve made it no secret that Sony and SoniXCast have been partners for many years. Sony IS in large part SoundExchange as they are also largely responsible for DRM. We have spent many years forging relationships with similar PRO’s and Record Labels in many of the worlds countries, building a cooperation and reputation that effectively shields our customers from many of the legal woes experienced elsewhere.

Keep an Eye towards the Future

Listener trends have changed. More and more consumers are moving away from the advertisement filled, monolithic concept of Public Radio for personalized playlists and AI targeted content. Producers are tasked with not only building reputation, but maintaining relevance in an oversaturated market.

We recognize that relevance is as important as reputation and we have been working closely with major content providers like Amazon, Apple, Google and Microsoft (available to BoomBox customers only) to provide high quality content to their massive worldwide user base.

Our unique Global Broadcast Network (likewise only available in BoomBox) forms the backbone of providers like Amazon, iTunes and iHeartRadio as well as device manufacturers like Roku, Microsoft and Nintendo.

We, together with our partners, pioneered the internationally recognized station identification (callsigns in BoomBox only) system. Ensuring that our stations are respected and known to be backed by a serious and legally sound provider.

The War Continues…

Centova Technologies Inc has not released a significant update in many years and users of CentovaCast cannot take part in the protections offered by our more innovative BoomBox platform. Therefore, broadcasters on CentovaCast (regardless if hosted with us or elsewhere) and other legacy platforms can be subject the same substantial personal legal jeopardy as with TorontoCast.

Globalization has made it easier for foreign PRO’s to assert jurisdiction in other nations. Radionomy was effectively banned from opening up shop in the US, StreamLicensing.com was stripped of many of its licensing options and more recently TorontoCast was unable to find a remedy for their legal issues.

The legal landscape around internet broadcasting is complex and ever changing. It pays to be on the cutting edge of technology and legal understanding. Of that we are committed as a company and technology provider.

BoomBox v3.3 Released

We are happy to announce the release of BoomBox v3.3!

BoomBox Version 3.3 signifies a significant milestone and is the most comprehensive release to date. Besides a major code rewrite, there have been significant upgrades made to the frontend as well as the popularization sub-system and the relay network.

Brand new Backend

The BoomBox backend (the part customers do not see) has been completely rewritten and upgraded to support a wider variety of 3rd party components. this will allow the development of many more advanced features and immensely enhances application reliability and stability.

Long Live Liquidsoap

Version 3.3 signifies the departure of SoniXCast’s hybrid ShoutCast transcoder and the full implementation of the Liquidsoap transcoder. Currently the implementation simply mirrors previous functionality, but future versions of BoomBox will take advantage of Liquidsoap’s advanced features.

Fully Mobile Ready

The BoomBox frontend (The part customers do see) has been updated to twitter bootstrap 4 and is now fully compatible with any mobile device. Use your phone to view statistics or broadcast live with your tablet. No need to download a special app. BoomBox will run in any browser on any device. Whatever you want to do, BoomBox can do it!

New Popularization Features

Want your station to be found on Amazon, iTunes or iHeart? Well everybody knows sonixfm.com is the platform preferred by all popular aggregation services and BoomBox now supports music ‘moods’ popular on said platforms. Just enter a mood (like ‘tailgate country’ or ‘looney tunes’) into the genre field along with your regular music genre and your station will be among those requested on Roku, Echo Dot or Google Home devices.

Massive Music Library

Never has it been easier or faster to get a new radio up and running. The global music library has grow to over half a million tracks representing entertainment from around the world.

New Relay and Redirect Network

We’ve completely rebuilt the relay and redirect network and have added over 100 worldwide nodes making the reliability and speed at which listeners can find and tunein to your stream faster and better than ever before. And, of course, the new network is backwards compatible so current stations do not have to change any of their tunein or nobex links.

CentovaCast ‘Server Offline’ Issues

Shoutcast Server Port Woes

Recently some customers have reported their shoutcast v2 servers being offline in the CentovaCast control panel, however the stream server itself is online and they are able to broadcast. This is a known issue reported upon by other users many times in the CentovaCast Forum.

Quick Resolution: change the port setting in the configuration section of your CentovaCast control panel to a higher port (i.e. 8000 -> 9000). Save then restart your server service.

CentovaCast is a closed source project maintained by Centova Technologies Inc (https://centova.com) and as such our tech team has only limited insight into the workings of the control panel. The best we can ascertain based upon tracing operating system calls and reading the CentovaCast support forum is that the control panel is for some reason unable to kill the server process and notify the control panel as to its current state. This ‘confuses’ the control panel into believing the service is offline when it is in fact still running. Unfortunately, manually killing the process and restarting the server in the control panel also does not resolve the issue.

We’re limited in what we can do.

We offer CentovaCast only as a concession to those customers ‘hard set’ in using legacy streaming concepts or who are not interested in the features offered in BoomBox. Principally, CentovaCast is a competing product and unlike SoniXCast, Centova requires payment for support which is not worth the cost for the handful of customers using it.

The Resolution

The control panel must properly function in order to maintain DJ’s and playlists and the only reliable way we’ve found to fix the issue is to change the server port, save and restart the service which also synchronizes the configuration of the autodj. This is achieved by logging into CentovaCast, navigating to Configuration -> Settings and manually changing the port value. Afterwards click on Server -> Start to restart services. We recommend using a port value between 9000 and 10000.

The ‘auto’ port function does not function correctly in CentovaCast and it will always recommend the same old port.

Customers may have to try multiple ports before finding one that is free. CentovaCast does not seem to have any port checking built in, so there is a chance that a chosen port will conflict with that of another customer. Just keep changing the port and trying to start the server until a port is found that works.

Move to BoomBox

BoomBox is geared towards professional broadcasters who have little interest in the technical details of configuring a streaming service. The dynamic nature of BoomBox ip and port management often frustrates those wanting to use dedicated ip-addresses or change ports. Most Hobbyists find the playlist and DJ editors too tedious to use as they are geared towards how professional radio stations work. And BoomBox offers little to no access to the raw configuration files. However, our dev team is constantly working on BoomBox to make it better for all users and can react immediately to any issues that may arise.

Network Attack Resolved

Chinese attempt at brute force attack foiled.

On Saturday November 11th, 2018 at 04:30 EST SoniXCast was contacted by the United States Federal Bureau of Investigation that there was a brute force attack occurring on the SoniXCast edge network that serves US government systems. Within a short period of time the attack expanded to other SoniXCast networks in Canada and Europe that serve federal and commercial services including retail branch services.

The attack was mounted from the US.

The attack was mounted from 3 separate US location from Virtual Private Servers located in Atlanta Georgia, Dallas Texas and San Francisco California. Payment came from an offshore financial services company known to be associated with Chinese Intelligence Services. The attack was in form of a bot that would attempt multiple password variations in order to gain root access to a system. By evaluating TCP headers, technicians were able to backtrack connections to a server in Taiwan China.

The Resolution

SoniXCast emergency attack protocol was immediately implemented which confuses most modern network attacks. However, the protocol also confuses customer systems so some minimal downtime was experienced. There seems to have been a timeout associated with the attack script so that when the requested ip-address and port was no longer available, the bot gave up and moved on to another system which minimized downtime overall.

SoniXCast is cooperating with the US federal government and has contacted cyber attack units in countries where the attack on SoniXCast networks occured. Once a full report has been issued, the network team will evaluate and advise if further actions are necessary.