Help me drag an 88-year-old radio commentator into the 21st century ...
February 21, 2007 3:04 PM   Subscribe

Help me drag radio commentator Paul Harvey into the 21st century. A request for podcast help and Mac compatibility follows inside.

Paul Harvey is not officially available by podcast, but has made Windows Media files of his show available on his website. I have a twofold request. Preferably, has anyone made an unofficial Paul Harvey podcast feed available (preferably in MP3 format)? As a fallback, has anyone with a Macintosh computer successfully gotten the Windows Media files that Paul Harvey makes available on his site to play on their machine? Windows Media Player, VLC, and the Flip4Mac stuff all seem to have failed me when it comes to getting those files to play.

I grew up listening to him now and then. I'm nostalgic. Sue me.
posted by WCityMike to Technology (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Wow, nothing? Have I actually stumped Metafilter?
posted by WCityMike at 6:11 PM on February 21, 2007

You might want to consider rephrasing the question and just ask for advice on how to convert Windows media files to MP3 using a Mac.

I haven't checked, but I'm doubtful that anyone is making pod casts available because it would probably be a violation of his copyrights and there may not be a lot of other people clamoring for them.
posted by 14580 at 6:59 PM on February 21, 2007

Well, these Windows Media files are a bit pecuiliar in and of that no Windows Media player for Mac (VLC, Flip, or Microsoft's own) seems capable of playing the damn things ... which is why my question is a bit specific to them.
posted by WCityMike at 7:46 PM on February 21, 2007

On my linux box, and on my windows box, mplayer plays them just fine (so I'd assume that when combined with the appropriate codecs, it should work on your Mac, too). When combined with the -dumpstream option, it'll write a normal ASF file to disk, ready for further manipulation. Use of the -ao pcm options will create wav files for you.

To convert to MP3, try something like:
 mplayer -nocache -vo null -vc null -quiet -ao pcm:fast -ao pcm:waveheader -ao pcm:file=paul.wav -playlist $URL
 lame paul.wav paulharvey.mp3
where $URL is the URL of the links on harvey's page. And obviously you'll need mplayer and lame installed
posted by toxic at 9:05 PM on February 21, 2007

toxics method will work, and the software is all available via Darwinports.

I used to do almost the exact same thing to get mp3s of This American Life, back when it was all in Real Audio.
posted by Tacos Are Pretty Great at 10:18 PM on February 21, 2007

If you can find a radio station that streams in MP3 that airs his show, you can probably use the method I outlined here. It's how I get my Car Talk podcasts. It's really designed for someone with a unix server available, but I bet most of it would work on OSX as well.
posted by jferg at 5:56 AM on February 22, 2007

The reason you probably can't play them on the Mac is you've got an older PPC-based Mac, right? If so, then I can almost guarantee you that the media files are in WM v9 format. As I understand it, v9 was more closed than MS other versions, and no codec exists outside the Intel-space. In other words, it's not just a DRM issue, it's a binary compatibility issue. Mplayer and the like are able to run so many different formats because they simply use the DLLs from Windows that make up the codec for playback. There's no PPC-based DLL for v9, so you can't use it. This also means, you can't convert the file to MP3 format on your Mac since it can't be decoded at all. The methods others have mentioned WILL work for all other formats except this one, WM9. (It also won't work on PPC-based Linuxes, either. Intel-based Linuxes work fine.)

Your only recourses then are to either petition Mr. Harvey to rethink at least the version of the encoder he uses, follow jfergs advice and back door it through a third party or you need to buy an Intel-based Mac. Sorry.
posted by Spoonman at 7:04 AM on February 22, 2007

Spoonman: nope, I'm on an Intel iMac.
posted by WCityMike at 8:14 AM on February 22, 2007

Drat, really thought it was going to be a PPC Mac. :) Well, what have you tried to use to play them? Have you tried WMP for the Mac? The problem is, he doesn't have actual files up there, they're links to streams (MMS:// links, not HTTP:// links). Since you're on an Intel Mac, you could run Parallels and run Windows virtually (I know, a bit just to listen to a radio show). Another option is to find a Mac equivalent of Streambox VCR Suite. I've used that to capture a few streaming videos (most importantly the webcam at our wedding chapel :) and it works just spiffy. I've got to believe there's something similar for the Mac. Finally, as a last resort, I believe Wine is on it's way to the Mac, you can see where that stands and just run Streambox directly...
posted by Spoonman at 11:34 AM on February 23, 2007

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