All posts tagged KWGS

On Facebook, my brother Alan just posted a YouTube of violinist Stephane Grappelli and guitarist Diz Disley with the comment, “Maybe the ultimate Sunday ‘morning’ music for me.” This sent me on a quest yesterday.

Still have it.

One evening in 1979, on or after April Fool’s Day, I tuned in KWGS on my “new” 1969 Sony ST-80F AM/FM stereo tuner and happened onto some great acoustic jazz.

I fired up my reel-to-reel tape deck to capture it.

It turned out to be Grappelli and Disley, plus David Grisman doing the music he wrote for “King of the Gypsies” (1978) with Grappelli and Tony Rice. All but Grappelli were unknown to me at the time.

By June 2, 1984, I had transferred what I had recorded to cassette, editing out the between-song patter.

After seeing my bro’s Facebook post, I listened to my tape again and wondered if that radio show might be available anywhere. No luck commercially, then I found this blog post:

An entire show was there for download, archived as two .rar files. The description sounded like what I taped:

This is a real nice recording with David Grisman and Tony Rice on the last five tracks.

Stephane Grappelli Group
Great American Music Hall
San Francisco, CA
Soundboard > NPR radio

John Etheridge – guitar
Brian Toff – bass
Diz Disley – guitar
Stephane Grappelli – violin

Comparing it with my partial recording, the songs, arrangements, and ambience are the same, but the solos are different. Amazing to find an entire show from the same tour.

(By the way, according to Gary Chew, then Station Manager, KWGS’ first broadcast programming from NPR was in early December 1977.)

I used free 7-Zip to extract the 320 kbps .mp3 files from the .rar files.

I retitled each .mp3 with the song name. With free Mp3tag, I gave all the tracks the same Album Artist and Album name (these are key tags for Plex). I added track number tags and brief comments about content.

Mp3tag view after I finished. (Click  to enlarge)

Next I moved all the .mp3s into an “album” folder under a Stephane Grappelli folder for my Plex system, conforming to its naming and organizational conventions. Added art to Plex from the internet.

Live Stephane Grappelli 1978 NPR radio show now on my Plex system. (Click  to enlarge)

Now I can stream it to browser, smartphone, Roku or the Raspberry Pi.

Maybe my frequent playing of the tape in 1979 stuck in my brother’s mind, the sound having seeped through his bedroom wall. I like the result of this 38-year boomerang.

Detail of the “album”. (Click  to enlarge)

Amazon Dash Button, repurposed.

If you are an avid Public Radio Tulsa 89.5 listener like I am, you probably have had a “driveway moment”:

You just arrived back home with a riveting story in progress, but there is something urgent you need to be doing besides sitting and listening to the radio in your car.

So you dash indoors, turn on the radio, and try to continue listening while you do whatever is so all-fired important.

But wait, here’s the Public Radio Tulsa “Driveway Moment” Button!

From your driveway or garage, push the button on your key ring, and instantly start recording on your indoors Windows PC. Listen to the rest of the story when you have time.

Yes, in only one fast, easy stroke of your index finger!

Public Radio Tulsa “Driveway Moment” Button in action. Bottom right: the “listener” process running in the System Tray, waiting for the button push. Bottom left: the command prompt window  created by the listener process. Top left: the VLC recorder window created by the command prompt window. Top right: icon of the VLC recording. (Click to enlarge)

This is a short how-to, since the hard work is in two previous posts.

  1. Do the hack described in detail in this post: Amazon Dash Button Hack: X10 wireless doorbell.
  2. Instead of creating the doorbell.bat file, create a KWGSrecord.bat file as described in this post: DIY online radio recorder (KWGS update). Change the number of seconds in that file from 10800 (3 hours) to 1800 (1/2 hour), or whatever length of time you want.
  3. Alter the text in DashButton.bat from the first post so it executes KWGSrecord.bat instead of doorbell.bat.

There, wasn’t that easy?

Maybe not.

But it can be done, because I just tested it from both our garage and driveway.

You could also keep the button near where you listen to your home radio for spur-of-the-moment KWGS recording.

Yet another example of repurposing the Amazon Dash Button.

(By the way, the button’s product label can be peeled off, and replaced with a custom label if you wish. Or you might say it means a “Bounty” of good radio.)

Now it’s a KWGS radio with recorder!


The new Plex beta addon for Kodi as seen on our 65″ TV. (Click to enlarge.)

Plex is a great free way to deliver local music/TV/movie content from your computer(s) to your TVs, smartphones, tablets, and browsers.

There are free official Plex apps on several of our media devices: Roku boxes, smartphones, and TiVo.

I have been using the unofficial PleXBMC addon with my $35 Raspberry Pi/OSMC-Kodi computer.

Now there is an official Plex for Kodi addon. It is still in beta, and is currently available only to PlexPass holders.

Preview it in the following series of screenshots.

They also show how I have organized for Plex my Windows-automated online recordings of the locally-produced weekend KWGS music shows (see the previous Cord-Cutting post). Details after the screenshots…


My Christmas recording of “The Folk Sampler”. I added the pix from KWGS’ and Mike Flynn’s websites.


Christmas “Folk Salad”. That is my own simple naming convention for the recordings.


Christmas Eve “All This Jazz”. The AAC+ format provides the best sound for the 56Kbps bandwidth.


Christmas Eve “Swing On This”. Grabbed the nice background shot from the internet.

How to organize home-recorded radio shows for Plex:

I will demonstrate by adding my KWGS recordings of “Jazz Night in America” to Plex.

They are on my Windows Desktop in a folder called 1JazzNightInAmerica, with names like JNIA20150704.mp3.

For Plex, each .mp3 needs to be in a separate folder, so that Plex will see them as “albums”. We will name each folder the same as the .mp3 name. My simple naming convention allows them to be put in order by date.

Right-click an .mp3 in Windows Explorer, select “Rename” from the context menu, and use Ctrl-C to copy the show name. Then right-click on the leftmost space within the right pane of Explorer, create a New Folder, then do Ctrl-V to paste in the name of the show. Finally, move the .mp3 into the new folder of the same name. Do this for all the .mp3s.


I created a new folder in Windows Explorer under “Music” called “Jazz Night in America (KWGS)” to be consistent with the naming of the other KWGS shows. (I configured Plex to look for new music in the Music folder when I installed it on this PC.)

Now I move one of the folders from 1JazzNightInAmerica into it.

Plex will detect it eventually, but to snap it up, I tell Plex to Update Libraries. Now I see an [Unknown Artist]/[Unknown Album] under “Recently Added Music”. I ignore it for now and go to my Music Library on Plex where I see a list of artists. Scroll down and find “Unknown Artist”. This will now be renamed.

Click the pencil icon for the [Unknown Artist] to edit. Type “Jazz Night in America (KWGS)” into the Artist slot. I copy and paste that same text into the “Sort Artist” field as well. You may, if you wish, add genre Tags (I selected “Jazz” and “Contemporary Jazz”).

You may also add a Poster image and a Background image for this artist. I usually look for official images associated with the show. You need only enter the URL of an image and it will be imported into Plex (but go ahead and save them to your PC as well for future use). I found a photo of host Christian McBride with his bass, and the JNIA logo to use as the background.

I now have a new “Artist” listed as “Jazz Night in America (KWGS)”. Click that artist icon. This artist has one [Unknown Album] so far. Edit the album by clicking the pencil icon on it.

The path to the .mp3 is visible under the Info tab. Copy the intended album name from the path, in this case, “JNIA20150704”. Paste it into both the Album and Sort Album slots under the General tab.

Click to enlarge.

(Optionally, you may also wish to add the same image you used for the artist Poster above; it must already be saved on your PC to do this. Plex uses it for display in some views if it is there. I found that if I added the image to this first album, Plex added it to the rest of the albums I added later.)

I now have a new Artist with one properly named Album to his credit.

At this point, I cut and paste the remaining folders from the Desktop folder into Music/Jazz Night in America (KWGS) folder.

I then tell Plex to Update the Music Library again. When complete, Recently Added Music shows a bunch of new [Unknown Artist]/[Unknown Albums].

You must edit each one, but it is easier this time. For Artist, just type in “Ja”, which will be sufficient to bring up a small list of matching artists from your library. Select “Jazz Night in America (KWGS)”. Click the Info tab and copy the name of this album (e.g., JNIA20150711) from the path, and paste it into Album and Sort Album under the General tab. Save Changes.

The latter process was a bit laborious, since I had so many shows already recorded. It’s not so much work if you are just beginning to record a weekly show.

Here is Mr. McBride and his shows. Now I can go to any of my devices with Plex and listen!

I hope this is helpful to someone, somewhere.


Browser view of “Jazz Night in America (KWGS)” in Plex, with all the shows (“albums”) I previously recorded. All are now available to my Plex apps on Roku, smartphone, TiVo, Chromecast, Raspberry Pi. (Click to enlarge)

(This is an update and upgrade of a previous post, Free DIY internet radio recorder, due to KWGS changing the hosting of their streams in October 2016.)

KWGS’ engineer advised in email: “I’d recommend our listeners use our new AAC-format stereo stream for best fidelity. It’s the ‘Public Radio 89.5 (stereo)’ option found on our Listen Live page:”

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 recorder as well as a player.

I pasted the URL from “Public Radio 89.5 HD1  (stereo)” on KWGS’ Listen Live page into VLC, enabling me to record their stereo stream as an .mp4 file. This tutorial shows how to do it, just name your test file ‘radio.mp4’ instead of ‘radio.mp3’.

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

Once you are a bit familiar with VLC as a radio recorder, you need a way to make it automatically record your station at a scheduled time.

This I did by first creating a Windows batch file that uses command-line VLC to record 3 hours of KWGS whenever the file is run.

Then I used the built-in Windows Task Scheduler to run the batch file every week at 9 pm when “All This Jazz” is on.

The result each week is a 74 MB .mp4 file of the show. The file name includes the current date, e.g., last night’s “ATJ20161217.mp4”.

The batch file can be easily duplicated then modified to record other KWGS shows as well.

Here’s how to do it.

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

“C:\Program Files\VideoLAN\VLC\vlc.exe” –sout=”#std{access=file,mux=mp4,dst=C:\Users\TulsaTV\Music\1AllThisJazzM4A\ATJ%DATE:~10,4%%DATE:~4,2%%DATE:~7,2%.mp4″} –run-time=10800 –stop-time=10800 vlc://quit

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

There should be only one space between each string of characters. I count 6 strings and 5 spaces between them. The 3rd string is a long one, starting with –sout and ending with .mp4}”. If you have it right in Notepad++, you will see solid shading around the whole “paragraph”.

FYI, 10800 is the number of seconds in three hours. You can change it to adapt the .bat file to record other KWGS shows such as “Swing on This”, “Folk Salad”, and “Folk Sampler”, all one-hour (3600 second) programs. I am enjoying all of them.

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 temporarily change 10800 in both places in the file to 20 for testing so you can see that both windows disappear when the recording is complete.)

Once you have your batch file working, add a task to Windows’ Task Scheduler to run it every Saturday at 9 pm. Here is a useful tutorial for creating a basic task. (Type “Task Scheduler” in the Run box to access it.)

Suggestions for creating and modifying your basic task:

General Tab:
Name: Use .bat file name, minus the “.bat”.
User account: Your own, rather than Admin.
Run whether user is logged on or not.
Run with highest privileges.
Configure for: whichever Windows version you are using, e.g., Windows 7, or 10.

Triggers Tab:
Weekly at 9 pm every Saturday of every week, starting on your next Saturday.
Enabled (be sure it is enabled!)

Actions Tab:
Browse for path to your .bat file

Conditions Tab:
The actions in parentheses are optional:

(Start the task only if the computer is on AC power.)
(Stop if the computer switches to battery power.)
(Wake the computer to run this task.)

Settings Tab:
(Allow task to be run on demand.)
(Run task as soon as possible after a scheduled start is missed.)
Stop the task if it runs longer than 4 hours (for this 3 hour show).
If the running task does not end when requested, force it to stop.

You can play the recordings on your computer with VLC.

I like to download the .mp4 files directly onto my smartphone for listening while exercising.

Running the free Filezilla FTP server on my Win 10 laptop lets me use the free FtpCafe app on the phone to grab the recorded files. (I have a 64GB microSD card in the phone for media file storage.)

I added the free VLC media player app to my phone. The app handles the AAC+ format, so you get stereo and the full sound spectrum. It lets you easily jump to the spot you want to start listening from by dragging the pointer on the seekbar. I keep a memo of where my listening left off on a Notepad-type phone app.

Additional technical note:

In the batch file code above, you will see this URL:
[12/15/2017: changed 18103 in the code above to 17993. See explanation in box below.]

The URL comes from the KWGSFMAAC.pls file you can download when you click “Public Radio 89.5 HD1  (stereo)” on the KWGS Listen Live page.

The .pls (playlist) file is just a text file that looks like this currently:


I used the first URL for my batch file. I’m not sure why the others are listed. Could be as alternate URLs, or for load balancing. Maybe someone can enlighten me. But the batch file works only if you pick just one of them.

If the batch file should stop working at some time in the future, download and edit the then-current KWGSFMAAC.pls file from, and see if you need to use a different URL in the batch file.

12/15/2017: ATJrecord.bat stopped working today for just this reason!

Here is what the relevant section of the .pls file looks like now:


So I picked out “17993” out of the new one and replaced “18103” in the URL in the full code text above. The ATJrecord.bat file works again.

As you can see, it doesn’t change very often, but best to be prepared if it does!

Additional notes:

These KWGS files use the AAC+ (aka AAC+ v1, aka HE-AAC v1) advanced audio coding format. The format packs in the maximum quality for the bandwidth. I believe Apple devices will render the files correctly, since they can handle .m4a, their version of .mp4 audio files with AAC encoding. Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong. 🙂

Currently, the Plex channel on Roku boxes chokes on these AAC+ sound files. But, the Plex smartphone app handles them, and can ‘cast the shows to Chromecast for playback.

I also use PleXBMC (later note: now Plex for Kodi) on my Raspberry Pi/OSMC. A phone app ($5 Yatse or free Kore) is the best way to control the Pi for this purpose, since you can jump directly to the time you want to start at (needed with a 3-hour long show!)

I finally got down to business and properly rebuilt my Plex music database, having stumbled into various pitfalls. The setup I now have for these KWGS music shows is a wonder to behold, and will be the topic of a future post.

New Raspberry Pi 3 with Ethernet, & USB dongles: IR remote control, wireless keyboard.

New Raspberry Pi 3 with USB dongles: IR remote control, wireless keyboard/mouse.

For once, I spent birthday cash on a specific fun item: the new Raspberry Pi 3. The Pi with clear case and power supply cost $50.

A few needed extra expenses:

Two Kingston Digital 8GB microSDHC Class 10 UHS-I microSD cards: $11 total

Wireless USB PC Computer Remote Control Media Center Controller: $8

Logitech MK270 Wireless USB Keyboard/Mouse Combo: $20 (already had one to use with the hacked Wii)

This new Pi has a quad-core processor, ten times more powerful than my original Pi (which has a new job, plugged into our bedroom TV). That makes for much snappier response in OSMC (Open System Media Center), an adaptation of Kodi software for the Pi and other devices.

I loaded one of the microSD cards with OSMC, then customized it. That’s easy by now, having previously explored most of its many available settings and options.

The other microSD card I loaded with Raspbian, a Windows-like operating system for the Pi.

For the first time, using Raspbian, I can efficiently browse with the 65″ theater room TV as a monitor using a wireless keyboard and mouse.

I recall presuming back in the early 2000s that big-screen browsing would be coming soon. It turned out that laptops were a much better way. (The height of boredom is watching someone else browse.) But this would be great for demonstrating a site to a group of people.

As much fun as I have with the Pi, I must admit that a Roku/Chromecast/Apple TV/Fire TV-type device can do almost everything it can do for home theater.

The Pi on OSMC/Kodi definitely can’t replace one of these devices, as it does not have proper addons for Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu.

But the Pi still does a few unique things for me:

Serves Windows Media Center PVR recordings to the TV. But I wouldn’t need the Pi for that if the WMC PC had an HDMI output. And Emby is capable of doing the same, only better!

Plays back practically all audio and video formats.

For example, I use VLC media player with Windows Scheduler on a PC to record weekly radio shows from KWGS online. The highest quality stream offered is in the advanced audio coding format AAC+. The Pi/OSMC is a good way to take advantage of this .m4a stream delivered via Plex, my current preference in music/video library systems.

Chromecast can handle some .m4a files, but not these (tried it per How to Stream Local Media from Desktop, Android and iOS to Chromecast); my Roku 3 wouldn’t play them, even using the Roku Media Player channel.

Skip directly and easily to specific times on audio/video recordings with a Kodi smartphone app, such as Kore or Yatse. Roku can play my .mp3 files, but no skipping allowed.

OSMC has a slicker and more comprehensive interface than Roku. It includes current Yahoo weather for your zip code and a news ticker, just in case you shut yourself off from the outside world a little too much.

Free Kodi addons of various stripes, e.g., ESPN3.

More tinkering (and hair-pulling) possibilities.

As I mentioned, the original Pi has moved to our bedroom. I added a USB wifi dongle, got it onto the current version of OSMC, added PlexBMC and a few other music and video addons.

But honestly, the Roku LT is sufficient in there. I will be thinking about what else I might do with the old Pi, e.g., RISC OS, Software-Defined Radio, etc. (See previous post $8 USB tuner turns PC into FM radio/recorder.)

Update, 10/6/2016: I wound up moving the old Pi running OSMC back to the theater room; the new Pi is also there running PIXEL (Raspbian OS). With the Logitech Harmony remote, I can switch between the two rather than changing SD/microSD cards.

My original Pi