FAQ's for Radio Vashon

(I'll update this post in place, and link to it from the player page.)

It Didn't Work!

If you went to radiovashon.com with your browser, and didn't get a working page, the first thing to check is whether your browser is out of date.

Most phone makers supply a "browser" on the phone; it's usually built upon out-of-date Google browser bits. This isn't just about having the snazziest new software; old browsers have unfixed security flaws. It's the rule rather than the exception that phone software vendors don't stay on top of the fixes to keep their customers safe.

So please go install the latest Chrome or Firefox from whatever app store you have at hand. Either will work, though I must say that somewhere around 2017 Firefox got their act together and made their browser faster and yet use less memory than Chrome.

(For iOS users, Chrome and Firefox actually are forced to use Safari's browser engine underneath, so it doesn't matter much which one you use–Chrome, Firefox, or Safari.)

How Much Data Will I Use?

The system's HTML, CSS, and JavaScript are all hand-written by me. They're small and load quickly.

But data usage is dominated by the audio stream! I tried many different formats, and settled on MP3 48k ABR ("Average Bit Rate") as the best tradeoff of small size and acceptable audio quality. You should see about 6K bytes per second, so an hour of listening consumes 22,118,400 bytes–22 megabytes, or 1/48th of a 1 gigabyte data plan.

If you switch to playing one of other Internet radio stations:

Radio buttons with Radio Paradise

do be aware that they're all quite a bit heavier in data usage.

I have a table top streaming player...?

The primary interface for Radio Vashon is a modern web browser. That said, there are some very nice table top players which can access a streaming Internet radio station. Radio Vashon supports these.

You can play Radio Vashon on most simple streaming players which accept a URL. From your account management page, use the "Create URL for your streaming player" to set up a custom URL which will stream Radio Vashon to a "dumb" streaming device. Once you set one up, copy the generated URL to the control panel for your device.

When streaming in this fashion, Radio Vashon tries very hard to behave like a full-featured streaming radio service, including so-called Icecast metadata with album art updates.

I like X, but you play it too much

Use "Comment on this Track" with "tired" as the text.

You should play Y

Use the player menu, "Suggest a Track". Our favorite submissions are the ones with a Youtube URL or ID, so we can directly give it a listen!

Why Does the Player Stop Sometimes?

Network interruptions can stop the player. The great thing about web based services is you can always close the tab or hit refresh.

I've tried to make network interruptions seamless, but there are endless tradeoffs. If you encounter a scenario where it could behave better, please submit a general comment. (Thanks!)

Any one user account only plays from a single stream. If your account is being used to play at one location, and then you start a new device, the old one will stop. The album art will be replaced with a message telling you which device took over your streaming.

The 'Ready to Play' button is blank?

The big button (which turns into album art once you're playing) uses SVG with SVG animations. If you're a power user and have disabled "GIF Animations", at least Firefox will also disable displaying our SVG image in its entirety.

You can still tap the big dark circle (or the smaller play button) and music will still start.

I have a big red "Audio Error" button

(You get this when you try to start playing music.)

This means when Radio Vashon tried to play, the audio system sent back an error instead of playing the music. This is often just a transient error (i.e., on your phone as you transition from Wifi to cell), but if the player sees too many errors in a row, it stops trying to play and shows you that error indication.

This can be caused by an ad blocker (i.e., "disable access to audio devices"), or by advanced settings within your browser or OS. Once you've hopefully fixed the problem, you can click the "reload" button on your browser (or, you can kill and restart your browser entirely) and see if it'll play for you.