Friday, 7 August 2015

CEU Medieval Radio

Stream URL:

It's always a little heartbreaking when a great format is handcuffed to substandard technology. You want to listen, but you can't. CEU Medieval Radio is a good example of this quandary.

Operated by Budapest's Central European University, CEU Medieval Radio streams really compelling music from its eponymous era – more interesting stuff than we've heard on similar stations. Selections run to instruments grown rare or functionally extinct; choral; solo vocal; and Gregorian chant. It's simply a great station… when you can get it.

Problem is, the stream is very dodgy, at least on our technology. (iTunes – one of the most-used net radio reception platforms on the planet – and Internet Radio Box on iOS). Sometimes all you get is their bouncer (a pointless station ID), over and over. More often the stream begins, but drops after a single track. Other times the stream continues up to a station ID, and then fails. Performance is marginally better on IRB, but unreliable everywhere. This in spite of the fact that CEU offers a respectable range of connection formats.

There is no embedded player on the station website, but it's widely available on browser-based services such as Tunein, Streema, and Surfmusic. Sadly, all seem to have much the same difficulties as installed platforms.

To date, messages to the station haven't produced decisive improvement. Technical quirks extend as far as the programme schedule, which is keyed to notations such as "8:00 PM". Is that 2000 Central Europe Time? In target cities overseas? GMT?

Those of us who were SWLs and offshore anoraks, for whom seat-of-the-pants organisation and wonky reception were part of the fun, may power through such annoyances; younger listeners, accustomed to light-switch convenience, probably won't.

Whichever you are, by all means give CEU Medieval Radio a try; it truly has a unique and worthwhile playlist, when you can get it, and it's usually good for at least a few minutes. If you too find it unreliable, a comment to the station might help convince directors to elbow us humanities majors out of the way and turn technical operations over to the Computer Science Department.

The Gouge:

Genre: College radio, Hungarian radio
Location: Budapest
Time zone: Hard to say
Stream URL access: Excellent
Bouncer: Yes
Type of radio: Net-only
Mic presence: Not anymore; a lecture series seems to have been abandoned.
Stream reliability: Poor
Format selection: MP3 128 kbps via clickable .pls file; many others on listen page. (No embedded website player; available on several third-party services.)
Song ID: Yes
Found it on: Shoutcast

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