Banshee: Screaming Media

There have been many times I have looked over my Linux system wishing for something more. I love music to listen to when I am writing these articles. I came across Banshee already installed on my Linux Mint system, but only to find there are no stations to listen to when the application is opened. There is no streaming media ready to go to make Banshee scream from my speakers.

The lack of stations put me on a hunt to remedy this situation.

Before we add stations, let’s get the latest version of Banshee. You can add the PPA and check for an update with the following commands:

  • sudo add-apt-repository ppa:banshee-team/ppa
  • sudo apt-get update
  • sudo apt-get install banshee

Now that Banshee is up to date, we can add stations to listen to on Banshee.

Many radio stations across the globe are streaming their broadcasts over the Internet. Finding these radio stations is not as hard as it may seem.

First, let’s go to a website called ‘radio-locater’ found at http://radio-locator.com/.

Once here, you have a few choices as shown in Figure 01.

FIGURE 01

A listing of radio stations for a specific area (city or zip) can be listed. A radio station can be found by its call letters, such as WKRP (but not in Cincinnati). The broadcast format can be chosen, such as 80’s rock, Christian, children’s, etc. Lastly, you can choose a radio station by country.

So, let’s find a station to start. Why don’t we try something a little bit out there, like Ireland? Under the option ‘Find World Radio’, choose the drop down arrow and scroll to find ‘Ireland’ then select ‘go’ net to it.

You should now see a listing of radio stations in Ireland as shown in Figure 02.

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FIGURE 02

Any of the listed stations with a lightning bolt to the left of the listing should work for streaming to Banshee. The lightning bolt represents a station which streams on the Internet.

NOTE: In the following example I am using Firefox. My option to download files is set to ‘Always ask me where to save files’. The option is found under Edit → Preferences. The General tab (the first one to appear) has the option to ‘Save files to’ a specific directory or ‘Always ask me where to save files’. Set the option to ‘Always ask me where to save files’.

So, let’s select the lightning bolt to the left of the station ‘2XS’. When the screen appears to open the RealAudio document, select ‘Open With’ and change ‘Videos’ to ‘Others’. You may now be prompted to ‘Choose the Helper Application’, to select a text editor. If a text editor is not listed, then click the button labeled ‘Show Other Applications’. A box should appear listing all available applications to choose from, so select a text editor and then click ‘Select’ and then ‘OK’. Your text editor should open with the RealAudio document opened in it. The document should contain a URL to ‘http://radio2xs.ddns.net:8500/2XS‘. Copy the URL and get ready to create the Radio Station link in Banshee.

Open Banshee and you should see something similar to Figure 03.

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FIGURE 03

In the left pane, select ‘Radio’. Right-click on ‘Radio’ and select ‘Add Station’. A window similar to that in Figure 04 should be shown.

NOTE: If the Radio option is missing, open Edit → Preferences and select the Extensions tab. Under the heading of Core should be an option for ‘Internet Radio’ be sure that the option is checked to allow the Internet Radio to be enabled.

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FIGURE 04

The ‘Station Genre’ should be like that shown on ‘Radio-Locator’, which in the case of the station 2XS, is ‘Alternative’. The stations will be arranged by Genre, so it is best to keep these set to something to keep them organized a bit. The ‘Station Name’ is 2XS. The ‘Stream URL’ is the line we copied from the file: http://radio2xs.ddns.net:8500/2XS. In the ‘Description’ we can put ‘Dublin, Ireland’. Now, click on the ‘Save’ button and you should have a screen similar to Figure 05.

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FIGURE 05

In the top right pane of Banshee, right-click on the line ‘2XS’ and select ‘Play’ to start streaming the Irish radio station.

Now, let’s try another part of the world – Japan. Go back to the main page on ‘Radio-Locator’ and select Japan under ‘Find World Radio’, then select ‘Go’.

We will select the Radio Station ‘J-Wave’ in Tokyo listed as ‘Urban Contemporary’. If you click on the lightning bolt, a new window will appear and attempt to automatically open the stream. This will not work since we need to place the stream in Banshee. So, right-click on the lightning bolt and select ‘Save Link Location’. The link is now on the clipboard and can be pasted into the Station URL when adding a new radio station in Banshee. Go ahead and add this station.

NOTE: Be aware that not all links will work in Banshee.

You may ask if there are more ways to get a list of radio stations. The answer is ‘Yes’. With the Internet, there always seems to be more information somewhere. Another good source is SHOUTcast found at ‘http://www.shoutcast.com‘. Here, you can find your stations by Genre. You can also do a search for station, artist or genre.

To add a station from SHOUTcast, let’s do a search in the upper right corner for a specific artist, such as the Beatles. The search produced 67 results, at the time I performed the search, and is shown in Figure 06. The station called ‘Beatles Radio’ looks promising.

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FIGURE 06

To the left of the line for ‘Beatles Radio’ are two icons. The second icon allows you to download the link. Click the icon and you should be given three options:

  1. Winamp (.pls)
  2. Any player (.m3u)
  3. Open Format (.xspf)

Choosing ‘Winamp (.pls)’ is fine. Once the ‘Save window’ appears, select to open the file with a text editor as we did before. After opening the file, you should have something like the following:



numberofentries=2

File1=http://64.40.99.76:8000

Title1=(#1 – 321/512) Beatles Radio

Length1=-1

File2=http://64.40.99.76:8088

Title2=(#2 – 9/9) Beatles Radio

Length2=-1

Version=2

All you need is the the File1 address of ‘http://64.40.99.76:8000‘. Use this address as your URL when you add a new radio station in Banshee.

If you would download the ‘Any Player (.m3u)’ file, you would see a line with the same URL which is used to create the station in Banshee.

This should get you on your way to creating an Internet radio list to listen to for a long time. Don’t forget to look up local radio stations or even the radio station you listened to when you lived elsewhere. Radio stations are broadcast from everywhere, so enjoy the wide range of listening possibilities. Let Banshee stream and scream!

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