Yesterday, my housemate was on [Newstalk 106](http://www.newstalk106.ie), a national radio station, to talk about [Ladyfest Dublin](http://www.ladyfestdublin.org), which she’s involved in. Being the naive-yet-helpful type, I offered to record this for her and mp3 it, so Ladyfest could offer it as a download on their website. In the process of doing this, I downloaded 16 different pieces of software, most of which were completely useless for the job I was trying to do. That’s why I’ve written this, to help anyone else trying to do something similar.
By the way, if anyone has a simpler way, please let me know.
## Once bitten, twice shy
My previous experience of mp3’ing a radio show involved recording it to tape (yes, I still use tapes), connecting from the headphone jack on my stereo to the ‘line in’ jack on my laptop, and recording that. Unfortunately, this resulted in a really crackly mp3, full of static. So I figured, this is the 21st Century, there has to be an easier way to do this.
And being cheap, the easier way had better be free.
## A thoroughly modern, convoluted solution
Newstalk offer a Windows Media stream of their live broadcasts. I used the shareware [Net Transport](http://www.xi-soft.com/default.htm) to record the stream. I believe the shareware version will only record 15 minutes of a stream, but I didn’t check this out. Once it had recorded the stream, I exported it as a 2.14MB _.asf_ file.
Next, I used [asftools](http://www.geocities.com/myasftools/) to create a .wav of the stream. However, the .wav it created was only 2.12MB, while the actual recording was approximately 14 minutes long. Clearly asftools uses some weird codec that, despite downloading 20MBs of codec packs, I just couldn’t find. Their website wasn’t much help either. It addressed the problems with the .wav files asftools creates, but suggests it’s _”a codec problem”_. So I’d have to find something else.
After searching for a good hour or so, I finally stumbled across [http://www.dbpoweramp.com/](DB Power Amp Music Converter). This was able to read the busted wav, and export it as whatever I liked; a .wav or a .mp3. I was finally getting somewhere. Since I still had some editing to do on the source before I put it up as an mp3, I exported it as a “proper”, 145MB .wav.
I opened the .wav file in [audacity](http://audacity.sourceforge.net/) and from there, was able to trim off the useless bit I’d recorded at the beginning. I also added a nice little fade-out, for good measure. Audacity was able to export this as either a .ogg or a .mp3 file. As much as my nerd side wanted to put this out as a .ogg file, my sensible side told me that we were going for as much cross-compatibility as possible, so I exported it as a 12MB .mp3 file.
You can hear the mp3 on the [Ladyfest website](http://www.ladyfestdublin.org)
mplayer ‘http://184.108.40.206/newstalk?MSWMExt=.asf’ -ao pcm -aofile newstalk.wav lame –vbr-new -V0 newstalk.wav
(though that lame(1) quality setting is overdoing it, given the general terrible quality of online radio streams.)
B’oh – that’ll teach me to assume mplayer couldn’t handle Windows Media streams.