Radiohack Day, Berlin

Caroline Brindle,

Over three days from 28 – 30th June, radio producers, developers and entrepreneurs gathered together in Berlin at a Radiohack Day to look at how radio and the digital world can shape the future.

Pete Redhead, Andy Buckingham and Ben Poor, three of Global Radio’s Creative Technology team, attended the Radio Hack Day. As well as presenting RadioDNS and RadioEPG to the conference, they entered the hacking competition with a RadioEPG themed application.

Pete explains more below.

The weekend before the RadioHack event I purchased a Kobo mini (http://www.kobo.com/kobomini ), costing just £30. The Kobo mini is an e-reader with a 5″ eInk touchscreen display and WiFi. But most importantly, it runs a linux-based operating system.
After a quick search on the Internet, I found it was possible to get access to the Kobo over Telnet with a quick software hack. Once on the device, a deeper search showed that the device had libraries for Qt (a cross-platform application framework) already installed.

Once quick cat-based test later, we were ready to go.

Cat-based test

The idea we came up with was to use the e-Reader as a remote control for a radio, using our RadioEPG data (service information and programme information) to provide a list of stations, logos, presenter photos, show names and synopsis.
Our first task was to parse the XSI file to create a list of groups and services, as well as lists of services within groups and logos. This task was made easier by the fact that we could reuse a large part of our XSI parser from our BlackBerry application, which was also based on the Qt framework.

The second task was to create a station view, to display information about the current show, as well as the name of the next show. All of this information is contained in the PI (programme information) file for each service. The appropriate file was found by combining the station identifier and date to create a path to the PI file for the current day.

PikoDio  Heart  Classic

The data in the PI file was then parsed in a similar way to the XSI file to obtain the show names of the current and next shows, as well as the show synopsis and presenter photo.

To handle the audio side of the project, we used a RaspberryPi running MPD (Music Player Daemon). MPD is an open source music player server that can play a variety of streaming audio formats.

A PHP wrapper was written for MPD, so that we could control it with a very simple REST interface:
• http://<ip_address>/play?url=<stream_url>
• http://<ip_address>/stop
• http://<ip_address>/volume/up
• http://<ip_address>/volume/down

Finally, we programmed four control buttons, to our application, to call these URLs when pressed.
A bit of testing and debugging followed and soon our application was complete!

Debug (800x600)

For a total cost of £60 we created a RadioEPG internet radio, with programme details and presenter photos on a wireless remote control.

This project is a good demonstration of the data broadcasters can easily provide using RadioEPG and how manufacturers can enhance their products using the additional data available.

See the PiKoDio in action: