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Published: 2005/04/04

biscoradio.com

This month Rob Fischer discusses biscoradio.com...
When you ask what the most important thing about a band is, the answer is simple. It’s the music. biscoradio exists to deliver the music of the disco biscuits to the people.
In early 2002, I was blessed with some free bandwidth, enough to provide a poor quality (30 kbps) audio stream to 10 people. I started out playing music from all sorts of genres, but quickly realized that not many people would tune in because they didn’t know what would be playing at any given time. So, inspired by www.weenradio.com, I figured I’d take the most interesting live band I’d seen, the disco biscuits, and set up a streaming radio station for them. This way if someone wanted to hear the disco biscuits, well, they could tune into biscoradio and get some instant gratification.
Within a few months, the 10 slots were filling up daily and it was time to expand. I got in touch with www.streamguys.com, and they hooked me up with a bandwidth deal that I’ve exploited for years, giving biscoradio 35 streams of 128kbps stereo "cd-quality" disco biscuits goodness. Around the same time that streamguys helped me out, I also started messing with YaBB message board software. I figured I’d test it out on biscoradio before I recommended it to a client, and amazingly, people started posting and the software was stable, free, and it worked. Although we’ve grown to over 1200 registered users, we’ve kept the friendly community feeling that we’ve had since the beginning. I’m constantly amazed by the generosity and helpful nature of the disco biscuits fans.
After about 6 months of setting up playlists and controlling what was being played, I decided it was time to turn over control to the people listening. As Microsoft had just released C#.NET, I figured I’d try messing around with that, so I wrote a radio control program to listen to winamp and load up whole shows based on votes cast on the website.
So, biscoradio has constantly running elections to determine what will play next. While other sites will let users request single songs, biscoradio is unique in the world of streaming radio in having listeners vote for whole shows. Democracy is king.
After running the site for awhile, I became a member of the biscuits taping community, Plan C(think of PCP in phish days). This group of people record shows, track them, listen to find the best source, etc.
While Plan C wants to propogate flawless copies of shows and doesn’t release a source to the public until it has been listened to by a couple people, biscoradio has the honor of being able to play shows as soon as the taper gets them transferred. So, in the days following a show, biscoradio usually gets it played for up to 85 listeners at a time, before it is available to the public on archive.org. The biscoradio message boards have a private area that just deals with Plan C issues and sources. By embracing the taping community, providing bandwidth and a discussion area, biscoradio has helped spread the music of the biscuits beyond just the streams.
Biscoradio has streamed the music of the biscuits, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for over 3 years now, and has grown to include an active message board, extensive show information, and has become a place for the tapers to get their shows released through Plan C. For almost 2 years now, biscoradio has been completely financially supported by the listeners. It’s refreshing to have a site that doesn’t have advertisements where the content is good enough that the users are willing to chip in a few dollars here and there to keep it coming.
So, if you want to hear the music of the disco biscuits, the place to go for instant gratification is biscoradio.com. – A huge thanks to foss of www.nurbs.org for site design and the initial streaming radio idea and also to rebdrew, who provides the bandwidth and hardware for the website. Without these two guys biscoradio would not exist.
Thanks to The Disco Biscuits, Jon Goldberg and the Plan C community, and our wonderful message board moderators – zippy, BernieBoop, burnout, Keelan, and Chucky.

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