Thursday, 28 June 2012

Recording Internet Radio & Chinese Learning

This post is intended to show how to use VLC to make MP3 recordings of streaming internet radio stations.  The hardest part is locating and copying the streaming address for your station, once you have this it's very simple from there.  VLC is a free and fully featured video and audio playing tool.  It also has a wide range of related functionality, like playing and recording internet streams.

I record the local Mandarin language radio station AM936 so that I can:
  • Have access to pre-recorded Mandarin language listening material wherever I am.
  • Listen to a particular part of the broadcast as often as I need to better understand it.
  • Save money due to the cost of streaming in New Zealand.
The first step is to open VLC and select the Open Network Stream option in the Media menu (or just hit Ctrl-N, as shown).

Then select the Network panel, paste in the streaming address and click on Stream.

At this point you should hear the streaming radio.  To start recording, click on the record button (the red dot).

VLC will then record the stream with a useful file name within a standard folder.  In my case, and most likely any case, it was in the Music folder under the Libraries folder on the Desktop.

That's pretty simple.

You can make it more complicated by choosing the Convert / Save option shown in the menu in the first screenshot.  But that gets overly messy and buggy.  When I tried it, it refused to encode the stream as an MP4 file, giving an unhelpfully vague message.

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