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Streaming Archive Frequently Asked Questions

Using the archive

Q: How do you use the streaming archive?
Q: What software is required?
Q: What browsers are supported?
Q: Can I listen to the archive on my iPhone?

Old vs. New

Q: What happened to the old archive?
Q: Why is the Streaming Archive now only available in mp3?
Q: Why is there no more uncompressed format?

Limitations

Q: When are archive shows made available?
Q: Why can I only see the last 14 days?
Q: Why can't I search for a specific artist or track?
Q: Why can't I fast forward in the stream while listening?
Q: Why are the song and audio not always displayed in sync on the player?

Misc

Q: What is the Streaming Archive? How it was conceived and developed?
Q: Why does the audio display 3:12 when I entered 3:15 as my start time?




Q: How do you use the streaming archive?
A: Point your web browser to kexp.org/archive, then:
  • Choose how you want to browse the archive, by Time, by Host or by Show (click the corresponding tab).
  • Click the date/show/host you want to hear.
  • Drill down to a specific hour and minute, if you like.
  • Click Launch Player.
That’s it! Optionally you can also change the stream quality, to 32K if you're on a slower network, or to 256K or if you’d like a higher quality stream.

Q: What software is required?
A: A modern web browser is all you need (preferably with Flash installed, though it's also designed to work with HTML5 as a fallback). If you're on an iPhone, use our latest iPhone app.

Q: What browsers are supported?
A: Internet Explorer 8+ and all current versions of Firefox, Google Chrome, Safari and Opera. Android 2.3+ and iOS 6+ (see the next question) are supported as well.

Q: Can I listen to the archive on my iPhone?
A: Yes! You can listen using our iPhone app. You might also be able to play from the website directly, but results have been more mixed going this route. You're best off using the app.

Q: What happened to the old archive?
A: The first version of our streaming archive was developed in 2001 using the technology of that era, by a department at the University of Washington that no longer exists, by developers who no longer work either here nor there. That archive depended on a lot of different moving parts, such as a Windows Media server cluster (which is being retired), a Real Media server cluster (which has already been retired), a database server, several computers running custom encoding software, and one KEXP staff member who (sort of) knew how these all fit together. Some of the computers running the archive were as old as the software itself, and it's a miracle it lasted as long as it did.

When it came time to make a new archive we opted to reimagine it for this decade. We believe this version is far, far superior to the old one, and so far it's much easier to use, and in more places.

Q: Why is the Streaming Archive only available in mp3 formats?
A: The first version of our archive (which lived for over 11 years) supported Windows Media and Real Media formats. Over time it became apparent that Windows Media and Real were not as ubiquitously supported as mp3, and that it made sense to consolidate on one format that plays everywhere, instead of several formats supported inconsistently. Hence the choice to go with mp3.

Q: Where did the uncompressed format go? A: As addressed in the question above, we had to make choices regarding what we could realistically develop and maintain to serve the largest possible listening audience most robustly. These were tough decisions knowing we couldn't please everyone, but they had to be made. We decided a 256K mp3 option on the high-end would satisfy most discriminating listeners (we have some of those here, and we all think it sounds pretty great).

Q: When are archive shows made available?
A: Archive audio is available 6 hours after the live broadcast. This restriction is entirely based on our reading of the Digital Millennium Copyright Act; it's not a technical restriction.

Q: Why can I only see the last 14 days?
A: The Streaming Archive was developed in accordance to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998) which has limitations on the length of time music archives may be stored online.

Q: Why can’t I search for a specific artist or a track?
A: This is a strict legal limitation that does not allow users to search for specific artists, titles or albums according to license agreements.

Q: Why can't I fast forward in the stream while listening?
A: This is a legal restriction surrounding the definition of interactivity and this limits our ability to allow users to move forward or backwards in the stream. There is current litigation between the RIAA and several large webcasters that may determine a more clear definition of interactivity. If/when the ruling is in webcasters' favor, we may be able to offer this feature.

Q: Why are the song and audio not always displayed in sync on the player?
A: The song information is pulled from the real-time play list and there could be several reasons why the song you are hearing may be different from what is displaying. All songs played are time-stamped by the DJ while they are live on the air. These time stamps are quite accurate for CDs, but other media (such as vinyl) are timestamped manually. This is prone to human error, and occasionally when DJs mix live there may be two songs playing simultaneously. There may also be a slight delay on your player window's refresh.

Q: What is the Streaming Archive, how it was conceived and developed?
A: KEXP wanted to provide a way for listeners to hear any of our shows at any time. Due to legal considerations surrounding the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (1998) and other hot issues surrounding music on the Internet, KEXP consulted with lawyers to develop and produce legal boundaries for an archive service. The University of Washington's Computing & Communications department (now UW-IT) developed a backend archive system to fit within these boundaries. The web design company CursiveCode designed a user interface for the website.

This all occurred back in 2001, and that system served us well until April 2013, when it was replaced with an all-new, more robust system. This new archive was developed by Vertigo Software (Point Richmond, CA) and KEXP's own online team.

Q: Why does the audio display 3:12 when I entered 3:15 as my start time?
A: The audio launches at the time you specify but the time information displayed in the player reflects the start time of the song.

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