Best way to stream KEXP archive shows (or other "live" radio streams)?
February 11, 2018 4:44 PM   Subscribe

We are huge fans of the "Swinging Doors" show on KEXP. Is there any way to stream the show to Sonos or Alexa-type speakers or some other way more reliable than web-to-Airport Express?

Currently, I stream the show using a web browser on my Mac and then send the audio to a stereo with an Airport Express hooked to it. But the sound drops out at least once an hour - I think it is the link between the Mac and the Airport. We usually get "dead air" for about 3 minutes and then either the sound will come back on the stereo or it will shift over to the computer speakers. Sometimes the audio will go dead for ~10 minutes and I just give up. Maybe the stream over the web browser also "hiccups" from time to time, not sure.

My main question is: is there a better way to do this, such as somehow accessing the stream through a Sonos or Alexa-type setup? Spotify? I haven't been able to find anything on line.

I wish they produced the show as a downloadable podcast, but I don't think they have the right kind of music license for that, so the only way I know how to get it is as a "live" playable stream on the website. This seems to be one of the factors that makes the stream unreliable - i.e., it doesn't buffer or download like a podcast or normal internet radio.
posted by Mid to Technology (6 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
Hmm. I can tell my Alexa “Alexa, play KEXP” and she does for hours (I’m in Texas). The show page on KEXP has the previous two weeks (all KEXP archives go back two weeks). If you use something like VLC on your computer you can set the amount to buffer, but that ties you to your computer.
posted by tayknight at 8:18 PM on February 11, 2018


I don’t think I was clear. The show page doesn’t give you the ability to download, just steam the last two weeks of episodes.
posted by tayknight at 8:20 PM on February 11, 2018


There are a good number of applications for Windows (I'll get to OSX below) which are made to be desktop players, and may of them have scheduled recording capability. You can perhaps run one of these and tell it to record KEXP during the Thursday night shows, and then you have an mp3 file. From there, I hope you can work out how to play it on Alexa or Sonos; for myself, I'd use Alexa with the Plex skill, since I'm already set up with a Plex server.

I just set up Streamwriter in about 5 minutes; I found it via this article (slideshow, grrrr) on Tom's Guide.

Now I've reread your post and you said OSX. I'm not finding any free solutions. I see there's Radio for Mac which is affordable at $7 and can be persuaded to record on a schedule, but not by itself; there's a question in the FAQ that has a guide on that process. I found RadioLover and StreamRipperX; looks like both are abandonware at this point, so no promises on functioning with a current stream. Looks like Radio for Mac is your best bet.

I've been so neglectful of KEXP because of my podcast cycle, but it'd be great to pull down Swinging Doors and Shake the Shack; I could also grab American Routes, which also has never had the right rights for podcasting.
posted by Sunburnt at 9:28 PM on February 11, 2018


It's possible but not easy. I used Firefox to get the streaming URL of the station; to do that, I loaded the page and then picked "Tools -> Web Developer -> Network" from the menu. I then clicked play on one of the episodes, and one of the URLs it showed loading was "https://streaming.kexp.net/stream-256.mp3?date=2018-02-09T02:00:06Z"

Playing around with this, it looks like that URL will give you an endless MP3 stream of the station, starting at the time and date specified in the URL. So, you can either get the correct date parameters to find your show like I did by clicking around in Firefox, or if you know the schedule the show airs at, you can probably predict the correct URL for any particular episode by just changing the date and/or time in the URL. This stream should be understood by pretty much any modern media player or tool. If you have a way of just sending a URL to your devices to play already, you could just do that. If you install VLC, then you can play the stream by going to "File > Open Network" and then pasting in your URL. Make sure the "Stream output" box is checked, click the "Open" button, and you should be in business. The latest version of VLC purportedly can stream to Chromecast-compatible devices so if you have one of those around, that might work for you too.

If you want the save the show, VLC can also capture the stream to a file if you go into "Settings" before clicking "Open", but the tricky part is that it's an endless stream, so you'll have to wait around and hit stop yourself. I couldn't find a way tell VLC to stop automatically at a certain point using the GUI. You can do it on the command-line though; the specifics will differ depending on your operating system, but on Windows or Linux you'd want to run something like:
cvlc "https://streaming.kexp.net/stream-256.mp3?date=2018-02-09T02:00:06Z" --sout=file/mp3:episodeX.mp3 --run-time=7200 --stop-time=7200
That command is meant to be all on one line; from what I've read here you need to specify both run-time and stop-time. The value is in seconds, so 7200 would grab 2 hours worth.
posted by jordemort at 8:48 AM on February 12, 2018 [1 favorite]


Thanks, all - I'll give some of these a try and try to report back.
posted by Mid at 5:23 AM on February 13, 2018


Late update - KEXP has (finally) redone their streaming pages. Using the "developer > network" tool (thanks jordemort), I see that the most recent weekly stream is linked on the page as: https://kexp-recast.streamguys1.com/content/kexp/20180614180013-27-164-swingin-doors.mp3 . So I can go on the webpage and just grab that link and then put it into Sonos as a radio station. Works great!
posted by Mid at 3:45 PM on June 17, 2018


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