20 Years

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Jay
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20 Years

Post by Jay »

Hi All,

Time flies, 20 years ago today I registered the radiotoolbox.com domain. Jan 14th was 20 years this board has existed. For those not familiar, Radio Toolbox has it's roots in a former website called "ShoutClub". This former website was largely a SHOUTcast fan club. I provided help, played with and learned a lot about C++ and PHP application development, and basically implemented a lot of geeky radio services and tools just to see what stuck. Things like Random Radio, a very rudimentary station directory with application called NetRadio+ and the ShoutClub Directory Controller (SCDC) which started out as a way to show online presence but was utilized by many to maintain their radio website's operations.
ShoutClub
ShoutClub
However behind the scenes I was a college student with a part-time job and a regular college load on top of maintaining the website. I soon would be approached by a rights management agency regarding the links to other radio stations. At the time, I had no understanding of IP law and my rights and things like the DMCA were concepts that were brand new. The rights agency wanted me to pay up for the links, so I decided to leave the station directory behind and build a tools and knowledge focused website instead. Thus was born Radio Toolbox.

The first iteration of Radio Toolbox was focused on replacing what the SCDC did but without the ShoutClub Directory. The focus would be on presence and monitoring and then later a very basic analytics with a song rotation focus that is still in operation today.
Radio Toolbox Alpha
Radio Toolbox Alpha
Several tools were built quickly in my spare time that you probably don't know of or have never heard of at this point. "Scramp" which was a Winamp controller that would shuffle music and avoid repetitive playback and try to maintain some sense of DMCA rotation compliance. "Mp3 Toolbox" which was a small collection of PHP scripts that would allow you to host mp3 files anywhere on the web. It even would virtualize the radio experience by faithfully duplicating a SHOUTcast-like stream. Then of course, the first versions of Radio Toolbox which were quite primitive but served to replace the automation that people wanted from SCDC. One huge upgrade was handling multiple servers and allowing servers to be imported and exported through explorer as Playlist files.
Radio Toolbox Beta
Radio Toolbox Beta
Radio Toolbox v1 was my first real community C++ project that was purpose built to benefit anyone who wanted to use it. Following Radio Toolbox I built sc_nsv which was a little Video streaming daemon written to support Winamp's NSV format. There were plenty of Windows tools to do this, but I wanted some way to stream recorded video files into a linear video channel utilizing the technology. At this time Video was really new on the internet. YouTube didn't even exist yet and watching video online was mostly a frustrating experience for average users. After playing around in video for a year or two I went back to audio and wrote Steamcast. After lessons learned from my last run in with rights associations, I knew how to come back and do it right. Steamcast was largely a project started in frustration with the slow development at Icecast and Shoutcast. Things have definitely improved a lot on the Icecast side of streaming although I still think more can be done. It would be a few years and eventually Radio Toolbox v2 was released that better handled multiple stations with many relays. The code base for the tool in use today is over 10 years old. Then finally this past phase of change being the new more focused website.

We are in a very stable period for linear streaming. Much of the web has moved on to mobile tech which a lot of you have found ways to make your stations available through mobile apps and browsers. Radio Toolbox today is largely a passion project. It's free for you to use because I benefit from learning the tech behind what makes the web work. Early on many people were skeptical of my motives and I am sure today many still are, but I will also be honest with you on where I stand and what negative impacts could occur. We have shed much of the advertising that supported this site for many years to ensure that you can trust the tech behind Radio Toolbox. I believe in building this project to the level that I would expect from other services I use. With the help of Max we have streamlined the stack that allows this website to exist utilizing smart resource utilization and cost controls to make maintaining this project as free as possible. I thank all of you for at least trying things out and giving honest feedback and I especially thank the few of you that I have been consistently coming back for 10+ years. I also want to thank everyone who filled out our Fall 2021 survey, it really helped us to know how you personally experienced Radio Toolbox both criticisms and praise.

I can't see where things will be in another 20 years and I don't know if Radio Toolbox will be a part of that web, but I hope that in some way it will be. I can guarantee that so long as I am able and can continue to learn from my experience with this project it will continue to exist. As usual more experimenting is happening in the background and I hope to bring you at the bare minimum and interesting conversation.

Cheers to 20 years.
- Jay
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gdradio
Posts: 130
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2004 9:03 pm
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Re: 20 Years

Post by gdradio »

hey Jay

I love you man

RTB is pretty damn important to me and for that, I am thankful!
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