All This Jazz

All posts tagged All This Jazz

Plex client playing ATJ's 1st 3-hr show.

Plex app on a Galaxy Note II

I recently mentioned my free, PC-based DIY internet radio recorder, which I use to record an .mp3 of “All This Jazz” on KWGS @ 9pm Saturdays (now expanded to 3 hours).

In an earlier post, ‘All This Jazz’ in the home and on the run, I described how I used FTP to copy the show from my PC to a hand-me-down, wifi-only smartphone. I then plugged the phone into a radio in the kitchen or a boombox in the workout room to listen.

Now that my wife has moved up to an iPhone and an iPad, there is a better way. I am the proud owner of her old devices, a Galaxy Note II phone and a Google Nexus 7 tablet. Both are capable of running the free Plex client app, unlike the older smartphone.

Plex lets me stream the recorded show directly to the Note II from my laptop running free Plex Media Server software.

To celebrate the expansion of the show and the new devices, I spruced up Plex’ presentation by associating a photo of host Scott Gregory with the show name.

In addition, I can listen through a media room Raspberry Pi computer running PleXBMC software, or via the Plex channel on a Roku box or TiVo.

Even if I were at a Starbucks in Hong Kong, I could stream the show to either new device from our house using Plex. Pretty amazing.

Here is a new “All This Jazz”-related story I posted over on Tulsa TV Memories@Facebook:


Our nephew Jared (and also nephew Jordan) have been spending time at our house doing some scanning/archiving work for my wife. We added Jared’s preferred Pandora channels for his listening pleasure on TiVo. After he got tired of listening to what he wanted, he put it on Shuffle, which included my Pandora stations.

Lee Ritenour’s version of the Oliver Nelson jazz tune “Stolen Moments” came on at one point. I hadn’t heard my CD of it for years, so I found it and ripped it to one of our Plex Media Servers for later.

Since I had no handy liner notes while listening, I read the AllMusic review of the album and Lee’s followup, “Wes Bound” on my wifiphone. The reviewer snootily inquired why you should be listening to this when you could be listening to Wes Montgomery himself. I happen to like both Ritenour albums a lot, but was reminded of the monstrous Montgomery tune played on Scott Gregory’s All This Jazz show on KWGS a short time ago.

Since I save the shows and the playlists, I searched “Montgomery” on my PC with Agent Ransack and found that Wes’ stunning version of Coltrane’s “Impressions” was played at 11:08 pm on 5/23/2015. I listened to it again on my recording, and then bought “Smokin’ At The Half Note” on MP3 from Amazon.

What a guitarist! Disciplined, driving and musically brilliant. Wynton Kelly, Jimmy Cobb, and Paul Chambers made it a highly cohesive unit.

The musical journey started with Blake Shelton and ended with prime Wes Montgomery.

Software-defined radio (SDR) is a technique for turning a computer into a radio. But not just an AM/FM radio...

(Click to enlarge) Free SDR# software playing KWGS using a USB tuner. But it’s not only an FM radio…

Last week, I set up a Free DIY internet radio recorder on my PC to record “All This Jazz” on KWGS in .mp3 automatically.

In that post, I mentioned that I had ordered an $8 USB FM tuner from Hong Kong on eBay. It arrived yesterday.

RTL2832U-R820T USB stick

RTL USB dongle. You won’t need the remote or the disk.

More precisely, it is an RTL2832U+R820T DVB-T SDR+DAB+FM USB 2.0 DIGITAL TV Tuner Receiver HT.

(If you can’t wait the week or two it takes from Hong Kong, here is an equivalent from Amazon: KEEDOX® RTL-SDR, FM+DAB, DVB-T USB Stick Set with RTL2832U & R820T)

The RTL2832U part of the chipset is a TV tuner, which is useless, because it works on the European standard, not ours.

R820T refers to the radio tuner part. Unlike a normal tuner, it has a vast frequency range of 24MHz to 1850MHz.

With the dongle plugged into my computer and free SDR# software installed, my “software-defined radio” tuned in FM stations and NOAA weather radio (162.55MHz in Tulsa).

Ham radio including CW (Morse code), unencrypted police and fire radio, aviation, etc. should also be receivable with the right antenna. Of course, the antenna supplied was inadequate, but good enough to verify the product works. (A 2’9″ piece of wire, alligator-clipped to the jack, does much better for FM reception.)

I saw regular spikes in the police and fire band, but I presume their communications are encrypted.

I have also been able to record KWGS in .wav format. I converted the .wav file to .mp3 with free Audacity software, at about 1/20 the size.

If you acquire one of these RTL2832U/R820T devices, here is a complete tutorial on setting up software-defined radio on your PC:

Getting Started with RTL-SDR and SDR-Sharp

Caution: try this only if you are careful and fairly knowledgeable about Windows. It is an excellent tutorial, but I still shot myself in the foot last night, while trying to swap the USB stick’s standard driver for a special low-level access driver (I was in a hurry to get it working before our Date Night started.)

Today, I was able to extract the bullet, cauterize the wound, and finish the job, but just be advised, it can be a risky operation if you aren’t super-careful.

I opened Windows Media Center to see if it would recognize the tuner, but it didn’t. I will investigate later; this is our Sci-Fi Saturday!

(3/15/2015: I don’t think this device can integrate into Windows Media Center, unless you are on a European version of Windows. As it is, the SDR radio/recorder is cheap, fun and useful; it lacks only a scheduled recording capability. SDR-Radio.com offers software that does scheduled recording, but with different hardware, such as FUNcube.)

I mentioned the DAR.fm (Digital Audio Recorder) online radio “DVR” in a previous post (‘All This Jazz’ in the home and on the run). It has become a paid service if you want to download the .mp3 files, rather than listen on your computer with ads inserted.

Being a bit of a skinflint, I have come up with a couple of new, free ways to time-shift my favorite radio show, “All This Jazz” on KWGS.

I’ve ordered a cheap USB FM tuner from Hong Kong. I’m looking forward to trying it. (3/15/2015: I did try it; see my post $8 USB tuner turns PC into FM radio/recorder. It covers a huge frequency spectrum and records in .wav format, but can’t do scheduled recordings. Still amazing for the price.)


I also found a way to record KWGS’ online stream at a scheduled time.

KWGS streaming on VLC Player

KWGS streaming on VLC media player. Click to enlarge.

The popular and versatile freeware multimedia player VLC can serve as a player and a recorder. I pasted KWGS’ .m3u URL into VLC, enabling me to listen, and record the stream as an .mp3 file. Here is a good tutorial showing how to do it.

Also, on the VLC player menu, go to View and click ‘Advanced Controls’ to add a record button.

Once you have VLC working as a radio recorder, you need a way to make it record at a scheduled time.

This I did by first creating a Windows batch file that uses VLC to record 2 hours of KWGS whenever you run the file. (See below.)

Then I added a basic task to Windows’ Task Scheduler to run the batch file every Saturday at 10 pm. Here is a useful tutorial for creating a basic task.

The result is a 42 MB .mp3 file of the show with a name that includes the current date, e.g., tonight’s “ATJ20150307.mp3”.

I recommend using free Notepad++ to copy, edit and save the text from my own ATJrecord.bat file. It will save you headaches over special characters and spacing. Standard Notepad is more trouble than it is worth for this purpose. Word and WordPad are worse.

Copy all the following, paste it into NotePad++ and save as ATJrecord.bat. Some of the code runs off the side of the page, but you will pick it up in your copy/paste operation:

“C:\Program Files (x86)\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe” http://www.publicbroadcasting.net/kwgs/ppr/kwgs.m3u –sout=”#std{access=file,mux=raw,dst=C:\Users\TulsaTV\Music\1AllThisJazz\ATJ%DATE:~10,4%%DATE:~4,2%%DATE:~7,2%.mp3}” –run-time=7200 –stop-time=7200 vlc://quit

You would need to alter in the path (in orange above) to your own AllThisJazz folder, double-check the path to vlc.exe (in green) on your computer after installing VLC, and make sure the four double-quote marks are the straight up-and-down kind, not the slanted ones (it happens when you copy text from a web page like this). Also replace the apparent dashes immediately in front of sout, run-time and stop-time with double hyphens from your keyboard (another copy weirdness). The text colors won’t be copied; they are just for visual clarity here.

There should be only a space between each string of code. I count 6 strings and 5 spaces between them. The 3rd string is a long one, starting with –sout and ending with .mp3}”. If you have it right in Notepad++, you will see solid shading around the whole “paragraph”.

FYI, 7200 is the number of seconds in two hours. You can change it to adapt the .bat file for other shows, e.g., “Swing on This”, a one-hour (3600 second) program.

Test your ATJrecord.bat file by double-clicking on it. A black command prompt window will pop up to execute it, and then a VLC Player will pop up and start recording KWGS. You may want to change the 7200 in both places in the file to 20 for testing so you can see that both windows disappear when the recording is complete.


If trying this looks too horrible to you, other software exists to accomplish the same purpose. But after looking around, this way seemed best for my singular purpose and geekish inclination. If anyone has a favorite streaming audio recorder, feel free to tell us about it!

DAR.fm‘s free account still allows you to record any one show or station at a time and listen through their website. Their introductory Pro account is currently $39.95/year.

The KWGS stream sounds pretty good to me at a bitrate of 48 kbps. That isn’t too surprising, since a CNet blind listening test showed that a third of people can’t tell the difference between music encoded at 48 kbps and the same music encoded at 160 kbps. (Amazon’s .mp3s are at an average of 256 kbps)

The USB radio tuner/Windows Media Center method I mentioned at the top should yield higher fidelity. I’ll let you know how that works out once the tuner arrives on a slow boat from China.

Lately, Scott Gregory has been playing some really good avant garde jazz. 🙂