Date: 14 Dec 1994 23:13:52 -0500
Organization: Tallahassee Free-Net
Lines: 264
Message-ID: <3cofq0$>

{{connected Ronnie.

Hello. This is Ronnie Dobbs of the Hastings UFO Society channeling to
you by way of Madame Thelma on the Psychic CB Channel number 22, lower
sideband, from an undisclosed location.

We would like to comment on the following:

: marlaina  wrote:

: What is this concept you are discussing?  Is it like 
: actual talk radio?  How does it work and 3whose voices would be heard?  
: I am sorry if these are simple questions 

Dear Miss Marlaina,

We have uploaded a Psychic CB Test Channeling on
alt.binaries.sounds.misc so that you, and others who are interested,
can have some idea as to what we are talking about if you have a
soundcard. It will be in 8.svx format, so you will need a converter
like Sox or GoldWin to change it to whatever sound format you like to

If you don't have a soundcard, then read on, and hopefully our concept
for the 1st PSYCHIC CB RADIO STATION IN CYBERSPACE may reveal itself

Now for those of you who don't think that the ITR should be fun, or
that audio on the internet was not meant to for anything but serious
stuff, then you should not read any further, but should, instead move
on to other messages.

In fact, we don't want you to read the following.

We forbid it.


Go away.

Go on now.

Now, if there's anybody left, here goes.

The ITR FAQ offers in it's guidelines a clear and open invitation and
encouragement to others like yourself and us to start up an audio
production effort to send to the internet. Therefore, should you feel
inclined to do so, then this newsgroup is a valid place to inquire
about, and discuss things like startup problems, programming content,
equipment, test material so's we can have an idea of what you're up
to, and such because this is the only newsgroup we've been able to
find so far that contains audio production for the internet as part of
it's FAQ.

At least that's the way we interpret the FAQ. Doubtless, there are
probably others who might interpret it differently, but we feel that
one would have to disregard the ITR FAQ to do so.

Since productions start with ITR as a reference, and since ITR
programming is itself an experiment, then we don't see as how anything
must be cast in stone as to how the programming should be formatted,
or even locked into the MBONE for distribution as all avenues should
be fair game for exploration.

One of the things we here at the Society see as a problem with
current efforts by CBC, VOA, and ITR on the internet is their sheer
size.  As Harlan says, "they're just too durn big" for most of the
users on the internet. (15 to 30+megs)

Another problem is that a lot of it is rewarmed radio broadcasts. That
means that money is being spent to transfer audio files of 8 bit
degraded audio which most folks can hear for free and with better
sound quality on their radios.

Still another problem is that the target market is narrow.  This is
not a bad thing since the upcoming 450+ video channels and unknown
number of audio channels are expected to fragment current commercial
broadcast practices.  Narrowcasting may probably become the rule
rather than the exception.

That ITR efforts have done as well as they have is actually to their
credit and may show the viability of narrowcasting on the intertnet.

The reason we say "problem" is because the subject material that is
covered in the programming is not of central interest to the Top 40
newsgroups on the internet...nor the top 200....and probably not the
top 2000 out of some 6000+ newsgroups.

For instance, the last time we checked, which was a while back, the
ITR newsgroup had an estimated readership of about 46,000 if it was

The numbers vary pretty wildly with the year, but to give you an idea,
alt.atheism always seems to hold steady in the #40 spot with about
450k to 250k, and alt.alien.visitors is in the top 200 with between
250,000 and 180,000 readers.

So, if you're a programmer (audio production), then if you want to
generate numbers, it would seem to us to be sort of logical to come up
with material which would appeal to larger groups.

Now while there may be those who object to the idea of audio
production which deals with Aliens, UFOs, Ouija Boards, Vicious
Chicken Research, or Religious broadcasts by the Cybervangelist Rev.
Therman P. Rychess, or the Church of the SubGenius, and stuff, you can
rest be assured that there are many more who would like it and the
numbers are there to demonstrate it.

The big majority of the 30 million plus audience are running pc's,
MACs, and Amigas as opposed to SUN Sparcstations, so we don't think
that the audio format necessarily has to be .au.  The Sox conversion
software works for SUNs too, and if the Sox upgrades haven't addressed
the problem, there were many complaints that the coversions from .au
were real noisy to other platforms.

Numerically, in the face of the systems of the 30 million + audience,
SUNs are just a drop in the bucket anyway. So it would seem to make
more sense to output WAV, AIFF, or 8svx, or whatever your system
natively outputs that can be converted to another format if need be.

Another factor to consider is that the majority of the 30 million+
users aren't running Big Hardware on t1 or even ISDN lines, so all
that speed goes up in smoke as soon as it hits the server.  Everybody
downloads from there at much much slower rates to real tiny hard
drives which are always on the verge of being maxed out.

Even at 28.8 modem transfer speeds, these files are a bit too large to
be practical to the average end user. Our best real world observations
for a 28.8 transfer are on the order of around 1 meg in around 6 to 8
minutes. Even if you were able to transfer a meg in 4 minutes, a 15
meg file would take 1 hr.

At 10 cents a minute, this means that a person will spend 6 dollars to
download an inferior sample, say the National Press Club, that they
can hear on the radio for free, and sounds better if they do.

Therefore, until the user base comes up to MBONE speeds, we think it
may be feasible to explore other paths of distribution to see what
works today.

What seems to have been overlooked is that all of us, at least in the
U.S., have been conditioned over the past 30 or 40 years to accept
short "bytes" of information.

To get an idea as to what we mean, the next time you listen to morning
drive on your favorite radio station ( even All Things Considered does
something similar on NPR), time the programming that you hear.

Everything's kinda short ain't it?  There are several reasons for
this, much of which is driven by advertising, feed schedules and such.
Even the comedy bits are real short. Even the music is real short, and
the commercial breaks consist of clusters of :30 second bytes of product

Study the TV.  This is where it gets interesting.  In America, the
usual 30 minute show consists of 7 minute segments.  Look at MTV, and
you can get an idea as to where it could maybe be headed in terms of
"byte" handling.

Now what gets sort of interesting is what happens between those short
segments in the commercial breaks.

For the past 5 years Americans have been faithfully watching and
keeping up with a Soap Opera which has been running in :30 second
bytes, and which, under normal programming conditions, wouldn't even
be anywhere close to a normal spot break. They are known as the
Taster's Choice Coffee commercials and Americans love them.

The Pink Battery Bunny has had many adventures, and has anybody seen
the new sitcom by the Coppertop Battery people?

The bottom line is that we have evolved to the point where we can have
a satisfying entertainment experience in :30 seconds. The News Media
has demonstrated that something similar can be done with information
not related to product.

The audience which devours that approach is right here on the internet.

And when the "online" services eventually come online, we think it
will sort of be like a big giant wave. AOL was nothing compared to
what's coming.

So, we think that a "byte" approach fits right nicely both with the
already conditioned audience, and the state of the internet in it's
present configuration.

We think that a program can be comprised of short, downloadable
segments, which are digestable to smaller systems and more people, if
the segments stand alone in some way, and are related enough to to be
linked together in the editors of larger systems by those who prefer
the longer piece, then bigger program lengths are also possible.

Those who don't have Big Hardware can then download what they like,
when they want, and it won't cost them much in time or money to do so,
and, hopefully, the programming objectives will still have been

It shouldn't cost an arm and a leg to produce either.

A 386 with a soundblaster or GUS (remember we only need good quality
8 bit audio not 16 bit), 8 to 16 megs of ram, a reasonably sized HD
(whatever that is) and a reasonably fast modem shouldn't break the

On the audio side, good performing mixers have become quite reasonable
( like the Mackie 1202...something like 300 to 350 bucks), microphones
are reasonable ( a Shure SM 58 goes for about 125 to 185 bucks),
processors are reasonable like the quadraverb (not great, but
affordable), compressors are affordable (again Alesis makes an
affordable 3630), and if you get a soundcard with a synth module on it
like a Yamaha or a Roland or an EMU sound module, then you can get by
with a cheesewhiz keyboard driver from your local discount store. Put
that together with decent sequencing and algorhythmic composition
software, and you've got a reasonably formidable production setup.

We are not recommending the above products over others, we are just
trying to give you some idea, and your wallet will most likely dictate
how much of what kind of neat stuff you will get.

The main thing to look for is a good signal to noise ratio in your
"audio chain". Try to keep the s/n ratio around 90 db if you can, but,
hey, it's 8 bit audio so you have some latitude.

Shop around some, and you will find that you can probably afford it as
I don't think that all of the above will take you over 2000 dollars if
that, because if you're reading this, then you at least have a
computer, and probably a HD, and maybe even a soundcard. You're almost

There's a whole bunch of us folks out here who would really like to
hear something original as opposed to moldy, warmed over radio

This concludes our commentary.

Thank You.

Ronnie Dobbs
Hastings UFO Society