Also see FAQ's for band's
Do I have to register to use the site or listen to the radio ?
No. You only need to register & log in if you want to create a profile to use on the message board. You can use the chat box with out registering.
Does it cost anything ? Do you want donations ?
No. The station is ran and paid for by me, Bob. If you really wanted to make a donation you can email me for the paypal address or send me money but honestly 3 or 4$ extra a month wouldn't pay for much. This site is fully funded by me and I loose a bit of money each month running it, but as long as I can afford to keep everyone entertained I willl keep it up. If you have money to spend I would recommend you buy albums from the bands played on Bob's SKA Radio to keep them going and putting out new music.
How do I play it ?
You can play 3 different formats (all have identical music). I would recommend you use the long time media player Winamp and listen to the Shoutcast stream, its what I use. It supports displaying the song name and artist thats currently playing. You can also use Itunes, if you have Itunes but nothing happens when you click listen now, from Itunes click Advanced, then Open Stream, then past this address in the box http://bobjr942.primcast.com:7836/listen.pls or http://www.primcast.com/asx/listen266280.m3u
Also, if you have Itunes, this site is listed under Radio, in the Reggae/Island category.
You can click on the Pop Out Flash Player, it will play on most any computer with a recent version of Adobe Flash installed. It will also work on some phones that support flash but requires alot of cpu power.
If you don't want to (or can't) install any software and you are running Windows, you can listen to the Windows Media Stream.
You can also play also play the shoutcast stream on many portable devices & phones so you can listen from anywhere you have service: Iphone/Ipad, Android, Blackberry, Windows Mobile Phones and more. I play my radio on my Sidekick while Im driving, you can plug the headphone jack into the Aux input on your car deck. Or if you have stereo Bluetooth, no wires needed, just set your sound to goto Bluetooth.
Tip to Android & Iphone/Pad users, TuneIn Radio Free and Pro (99 cents for pro version) will both play shoutcast with aac audio ( I have tried on my own phone). Android users can get it from Amazon or the market, IOS users can get it from Itunes, both linked below.
A online player (free from Android market, but ad supported) also works, and I tried it myself.
I can not connect...
There could be several reasons. Planned outages (computer/software/network) updates should be posted on the Facebook page.
At times the stream may have reached the maximum numbers of listeners, just wait a few minutes and try again. Check the Now playing page, if the listener count is in the 60's then the stream has likely reached it's limit.
The host computer(s) or internet may be down. Check the Now Playing page, if the song title, date and time is not changing every few minutes then the stream may be temporally down also.
Last, check the news in Seattle, WA. Was there a major windstorm, snowstorm, flood or earthquake ? When the power may be out and there is little I can do.
I am listening at work or school, will I hear anything inappropriate ?
Most likely, if you listen for long enough. Some music is NSFW and may contain bad words. These songs are not marked and can be played at anytime. Most bands played on Bob's SKA Radio do not release radio or edited versions of their songs.
Sometime songs in the upcoming artist list do not play in order....
No, they do not. Listeners may be making requests or I may be at the helm adding in songs I want to hear.
Can you play music from my band ?
I like that song, can you email it to me or burn a copy of their cd ?
Not really. The best way to make it possible for your favorite bands to keep putting out music is to buy their CD's, or if you cant wait you can probably find it on Amazon MP3 for 99 cents or less.
What Is SKA Music ?
There are many sites that go into SKA history so I will be brief.
Many people first hearing ska think it it reggae, that is kind of true. Both came from the island of Jamaica, many famous artists (like Bob Marley) started in SKA later moving to and creating reggae from ska. Like all music there are different
versions or waves.SKA can be fast and loud, a style called ska/punk with almost no traditional beats or rhythms, or it can have a modern pop sound sometime called rock with horns or pop/ska, it can be slower with a large horn section in a traditional style, or a band can be made up of just 3 or 4 artists, with no horns or keyboard but following a ska or reggae beat(Sublime may be most well known in that section), sometimes called reggae/rock. Some bands may consider them selves both reggae and ska since the styles cross over. There are many more styles and smaller sub groups after this. Even at a concert today it is not uncommon at a ska show have a band play a cover song from the 1960's and even though the song may be 40 years old it will be well known with the fans, even the younger ones.
Bob's SKA radio is running SAM Broadcaster. Its using Win 7 and runs 24/7 and can go for a few months before requiring a reboot. Its using mysql server for it's local database of songs, requests, playlists, etc..
I also have an always ready back-up computer with all the songs and database updated nightly off the main computer. In the event of a crash, failed software updates, hardware updates, etc, the 2nd computer can be on the air in under 30 seconds. The only thing that will not function if Im running on the back-up is requests, in the event of a long term computer problem requests will be re-routed to the 2nd computer. If they are not working, you can email or use the chat box.
You can make requests 24/7, the tiny trained monkeys will add them in the playlist weather I am here or not. There are limits to the number of requests one listener can make in an hour and limits to how often a song, album or artist can be played. If you get an error saying that song or artist was recently played just give wait for a bit then try it again.
It broadcasts using Shoutcast and Window Media. My local computer streams a small amount of data to a streaming server, then the listeners connect to that server, not directly to my computer. The server can handle much more traffic than my local internet connection. For listening I recommend WINAMP, its a free download. If asked if you want to install a toolbar or emusic trial just say no, just say no and everything will work fine with out putting any unwanted junk on your computer. You can also use older versions VLC player (it plays about anything but shoutcast support was recently dropped due to a dispute between shoutcast & vlc) or Real Player & Itunes. There are also Iphone apps and Andriod apps for listening, just search for shoutcast. Shoutcast does not work on Windows Media player, why not ? Ask Microsoft. If your stuck with out program installing permissions, use the Windows Media stream.
If you click the Listen Now link and you get a message asking how to open the file, if you have Winamp, VLC player, Real Player or Itunes, you should be able to say open with one of those programs and say OK. If not copy this link into your favorite player http://bobjr942.primcast.com:7836/listen.pls
Bob's SKA Radio offers live streaming only, there is currently no downloadable content(songs, podcasts, etc...) If you are looking music to take with you, check out the Links section (over there <------- ) for links for downloadable SKA shows.
How are the songs picked ?
Many time during the day I am adding the songs to the playlist. When it runs out of songs I have picked, it goes into automatic mode.
The software (see above) picks songs based on a weighted playlist. Each song has a rating of 0 (Never play) to 100 (Play often). Songs with higher ratings are more likely to be played than lowered numbered songs, IE: songs rated at 100 may play twice a day, 70 may play about 1 time per day, a song rated at 30 may play once a week, songs rated under 15 will not play, unless requested. Since there are many bands on the site who's style varies greatly, when adding albums I may give non ska sounding songs a low play rating, but they still can be requested and played at any time. Whenever possible I always add the entire album then let the listeners pick what songs they want to hear and not split up the album by adding only the 3 or 4 songs I like.
Requesting a song will automatically add it to the upcoming songs list and will also it will increase it's rating, making requested music more likely to be played at a later time. I also set beginning ratings on each song as they are added to the station, the ones I like and new albums get higher ratings.
Is Bob Famous ? Do you make any money from the site ?
I have not gotten any requests for Bob's SKA Radio merchandise or signed pictures, so apparently not. I am not & have not been in a band, I am just a ska fan turned dj. I play my favorite music all day and hopefully someone will want to listen along.
It costs alot the stream hosting, plus the cost of the website & then the cost of albums I buy each month. So Bob does not make money. Maybe if I filled the site with ads and put ads in the music I could break even, but then I wouldnt listen to my own station.
SKA BOB works in real life by fixing & selling cars at http://www.campbellsautosales.com and doing truck & equipment maintenance for http://www.kensyardservice.com in West Seattle. I live in Roy, WA, about a 110 mile per day drive from my work. I live with my wife(Mrs. Bob or Beenies) & fake sister Betty. We have about 3 dogs and 3 cats on 5 acres. The commute give me ample time to listen to lots of SKA. I also download podcats of SKA radio shows each week. For non-music I listen to downloads of previous nights Coast To Coast AM radio show or science shows like the weekly Explorations with Dr. Michio Kaku. When not working I can be my myspace or youtube adding videos recorded at several Seattle concerts.
When not listening to SKA I may be enjoy bands like Big Bad Voodoo Daddy, Charlie Daniels Band, Horrorpops, older Metallica, MC Lars & other nerdcore(ish) music, Surf music at times or comedy by people like Jim Gaffigian, Cary Hurley, Mitch Hedberg, Bill Engvall & Brian Regan.