No matter how carefully you plan, problems are bound to happen. Especially with live shows. Whether that's DJs dropping out or metadata not updating on your players, here are the most common problems and solutions.
Live DJ disconnecting (Radio.co automation)
This is one of the most common issues we face with live broadcasts.
When you're broadcasting live, your broadcaster is sending a constant stream of audio (known as data packets) to your Radio.co server, which is hosted in the cloud. Radio.co waits to receive these data packets, at which point this data is sent via the listen link to your listeners.
Sometimes, due to network issues Radio.co may not receive the data packets your broadcaster has sent. In this case, to prevent silence on your station, Radio.co will fall back to automation (your backup tracks within Radio.co) whilst waiting for the connection to be re-established.
The first recommended approach is to ensure you have a hard-wired (Ethernet) connection between your broadcasting PC and the router.
WiFi, as brilliant is it is for the flexibility it gives you, it's susceptible to interference from other electromagnetic devices (i.e. your mobile phone), as well as encountering obstacles in your property (think thick walls). This can cause data packets to be dropped (lost) on their way from your broadcasting PC to the router.
If you've already set up an Ethernet connection but continue to have issues, we recommend reducing the stream bitrate in both your broadcaster and Radio.co.
The lower the stream bitrate, the less data which needs to be transferred over the network. This can help alleviate issues with less stable connections.
To change this in Radio.co, head to Settings > Broadcast > Stream Bitrate. In BUTT, you can set this in Settings > Audio > Streaming > Bitrate. You need to ensure the bitrate on the broadcaster and Radio.co matches. If you're using an alternative broadcaster to BUTT, please review the developer's support page for further guidance.
If you continue to have issues after completing the above steps, we finally recommend restarting your router. Any further troubleshooting would need to be handled between you and your internet service provider.
Delay between the live broadcast and the stream audio
If you notice a substantial period of time between you broadcasting live and that audio being heard via the listen link, this is completely normal. We normally advise anything under 30 seconds to be acceptable, anything longer and it indicates network issues.
When you're broadcasting live, there's a lot going on behind the scenes for the audio to reach your listener. The stream has to reach your station server, which is then distributed to a streaming server, which is then distributed to your listeners. It's this traversing of the network which causes the delay, otherwise known as latency. This isn't solely an issue affecting Radio.co, this affects all streaming services on the internet.
Since this is mostly out of your control, there isn't too much you can do. However, following the same steps provided earlier can help reduce the latency as much as possible. A reminder:
Ensure you're operating an Ethernet connection, as opposed to WiFi.
Reduce the stream bitrate (be careful however, reducing the bitrate by too much can cause an audible decrease in quality).
Restart your router.
It's important to note however that unlike Live DJ disconnections, latency is not going to have an adverse effect for the listener. It's not something to be overly concerned about, however it's important to understand how it works.
Metadata not updating
Are you broadcasting live, but the metadata isn't changing from the last broadcast event?
When broadcasting live, Radio.co has two options for gathering metadata. They are set on the event within the schedule, but the options are 'Default' and 'Playlist'
Default: This shows the metadata sent via the broadcaster.
Playlist: This shows the metadata from the event's backup playlist, set within the event on the schedule.
If you've set the metadata to 'Default', when you don't send metadata via the broadcaster, Radio.co will continue to display the last received metadata until new metadata is received. On most occasions, this is the previous event's metadata.
There are two options to resolve this:
Should you wish to only display the backup playlist's artwork and metadata on the web players, select 'Playlist' as the track information source within the event on the schedule.
Should you wish to display metadata live from your broadcaster, ensure the track information is set to 'Default', then on your broadcaster ensure metadata is being sent. Every broadcaster is different so we'd recommend reviewing the developers help guide material for further guidance. If using BUTT, we've created a guide on it here.
Incorrect artwork showing on the web players
When broadcasting live, does the artwork shown on the web players not match the audio being broadcast?
When broadcasting live, there's no way for you to manually send artwork via most broadcasters. Therefore, Radio.co has had to find a solution to ensure artwork is still displayed.
This solution is as follows: When you send metadata via the broadcaster, Radio.co sends the metadata to Apple Music, and in return Apple Music provides us the artwork which is best matched. Most the times, this results in accurate artwork.
There is no way to guarantee with 100% accuracy that the artwork will be correct, given we're at the mercy of Apple Music and their algorithm. That said, there's steps you can take to drastically improve the changes of accurate results:
Ensure the metadata is correct: Sounds simple, but just review metadata before it's sent to ensure it's accurate. Remove any spelling mistakes, and check that it contains both the artist and track name.
Remove punctuation: Remove any unnecessary punctuation from the metadata, such as exclamation marks and full stops. If the track/artist name includes punctuation, this can be left in.
Format the metadata correctly: Metadata should be formatted in either artist - track or track - artist format. Use a dash to separate the two.
Still a problem? 😤
Unfortunately in some cases, especially with less well-known tracks, artwork will still be incorrect despite following the earlier steps. In this case, there's not much you can do unfortunately.
If you would rather display the backup playlist's metadata/artwork, you can do so by selecting 'Playlist' as the event track information source.
Audio keeps repeating
Otherwise known as a feedback loop, have you experienced an issue where audio you've previously broadcast keeps repeating on the air?
The usual cause of this is when you're listening to the stream on the same device you're broadcasting live from. This can also happen when you listen on a device in earshot of the broadcasting microphone. The audio is broadcast live, and then when you listen back to it via the listen link/dashboard etc, that audio is being picked up and re-broadcast over the air again, i.e. in a loop.
The really simple solution here, and that's to not listen to the stream when broadcasting live. If you really must listen to the output, you should do this on a different device to the broadcasting PC, and ensure the output is not in earshot of the input source, i.e. your microphone.
We hope the above troubleshooting steps have helped. If we've not covered your issue above, or you just want to discuss further with a member of the support team, please reach out to us.