Killer App

by Kieran Healy on September 25, 2007

Radioshift from Rogue Amoeba. Because I am addicted to listening to BBC Radio 4 and Radio 7 on my iPod before I go to sleep, I already use their Audio Hijack Pro application to do effectively what this does, except more cumbersomely. This way you can subscribe to live radio broadcasts and treat them as if they were podcasts. Fantastic. Harry Brighouse take note.



Brian Weatherson 09.25.07 at 1:21 am

I’m confused Kieran; from looking at the website it wasn’t at all clear what Radioshift can do that Audio Hijack Pro couldn’t do. Is there a reason to get both?

I’m asking because I need to buy something to record Skype calls, and it would be useful to have something to convert radio to podcasts. But paying $64 for both of these seems like a lot of $$$.


Kieran Healy 09.25.07 at 1:28 am

As far as I can tell, 1) Radioshift makes it much easier to subscribe to particular shows, as it has a big catalog of feeds to select from. With AHP you do that work yourself. 2) AHP can copy live audio from any application (such as Skype) whereas Radioshift seems more restricted. Radioshift makes recording radio very easy, but yeah, AHP is more powerful (can capture any audio) but you have to set up regular recordings yourself and in my experience this can be tedious.


Brian Weatherson 09.25.07 at 1:34 am

Ah that makes sense. I think it’s probably best then to get AHP, since I need to record Skype calls. And then if I want to record lots of radio shows, but it is too painful to do all the setting up, send them even more money for RS.

Most of the ABC shows I’d want to tape are provided as Podcasts by the ABC itself. I don’t know how much of that the BBC does though, so that might be a reason to pay for recordings.


P O'Neill 09.25.07 at 2:32 am

The one question that must be asked, even if the answer is ignored: is live audio recording of BBC programs that aren’t podcasted legal?


peter kay 09.25.07 at 2:40 am

Yes! AHP is good, but this looks reeeally nice.
Thanks for the heads up Kieran.


Dr. Drang 09.25.07 at 3:12 am

I’m surprised to learn of someone else with the same odd habit I have (OK, I tend to listen to shows from Radio 4 and Radio 2, not 7, as I go to sleep, but still…).

What I like about using AH Pro is that I can record from the BBC’s “Listen Again” links, which seem to be more reliable than the live streams. I suspect Radioshift will work from the live streams only.


engels 09.25.07 at 4:08 am

I give you 2-3 weeks before the RIAA has it banned.


Quo Vadis 09.25.07 at 5:25 am

Check out Streamripper. It allows you to save streamed audio as mp3 and it’s open source.


Warren Terra 09.25.07 at 6:26 am

I’m a big fan of BBC Radio 4 and BBC7 programs – not being a Brit, I discovered Radio 4 by chance looking for streaming media some years ago.

I’m not familiar with either of the programs you name, but from an old comment thread at Kevin Drum’s I found the program RMRecorder, which I use to download Realplayer streams at file transfer speeds, rather than in real time.

I agree that rights are an issue. Still, if something is available for listening, is it really different to record it to your disk than to tape it off the air, as long as you don’t claim any ownership or distribute it yourself?


Kieran Healy 09.25.07 at 1:26 pm

I can record from the BBC’s “Listen Again” links, which seem to be more reliable than the live streams. I suspect Radioshift will work from the live streams only.

Hmm, I’ll have to check into that more closely — right now I recored from the listen again links too, and Radioshift probably wouldn’t be worth it to me if it didn’t list those in its catalogue.


Uncle Kvetch 09.25.07 at 2:03 pm

Sorry…how do you record from those BBC “Listen Again” links? With AHP, or something else…?


Dr. Drang 09.25.07 at 2:51 pm


Dunno how Kieran does it, but I do use Audio Hijack Pro to record from the BBC’s Listen Again links. Most BBC programs are available as streams for 7 days after they originally air. The links to these streams show up on the web site as either an icon of a speaker with sound waves coming out of it or as the words “Listen Again.” Clicking on that link will usually open a new browser window with info about the show and playback controls (some links, especially those from Radio 7, launch RealPlayer).

To get AH Pro to record a stream, I copy the URL from the Listen Again link and tell AH Pro to use Safari to open that URL and record from it, giving a day of the week and a range of time for the recording. There’s a helper application that will launch AH Pro at the right time, so you don’t have to have AH Pro running all the time. I also have the meta tags set and the recorded streams copied into iTunes automatically after the recording is done. It works quite well, and I’ve recorded several long series from Radio 4 this way.

Last night I downloaded the trial version of Radioshift and played with it for a while. The selling point is obviously that it will do in one click the several steps I described above. Unfortunately, Radioshift doesn’t have the shows I listen to in its database, so for me it wouldn’t be any easier to use than AH Pro.


Uncle Kvetch 09.25.07 at 4:13 pm

Very helpful, Dr. Drang–thanks. One question: these “Listen Again” links are available “on demand,” and can be streamed at any time, no? So why do you need to “giv[e] a day of the week and a range of time for the recording” in AHP?

(Since everyone’s talking about their favorite Beebs here, I’m most interested in grabbing BBC 6 shows, esp. Tom Robinson and the overnight shows. I listen live in the morning [NYC time], so I get the midday shows in the UK, which tend to be a little too heavy on the chitchat and contests and such. Just give me the tunes, thanks.)


jacob 09.25.07 at 5:21 pm

Brian: There’s a plug-in for Skype called Pamela that records calls, and it’s available free. Just go to Skype’s Plug-In Manager and you can find it. I downloaded it, and then I discovered that I never actually had any reason to use it, and so deleted it without testing, so I can’t vouch for its quality, only its existence.

Are there similar programs to AHP and Radioshift for Windows machines?


Dr. Drang 09.25.07 at 7:28 pm

Uncle Kvetch: So why do you need to “giv[e] a day of the week and a range of time for the recording” in AHP?

Because the Listen Again link for a show may not be up until a day or so after the show airs, and because I want the recording done at night when I’m not using the computer.

Unlike a podcast, and unlike the program RMRecorder mentioned upthread, AH Pro doesn’t download an audio file. It “listens” to the audio output of an application and records it in real time. So, like our old friend the cassette recorder, it takes an hour to capture an hourlong show.


Dr. Drang 09.25.07 at 7:30 pm

Oh, and you can’t record two shows at once that play through the same applicaton. You need to schedule your recordings to avoid overlaps.


Uncle Kvetch 09.25.07 at 8:03 pm

Gotcha. Thanks again.

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