Airtime for Broadcasters

Automated installation

This installation method is intended for computers running Ubuntu or Debian GNU/Linux, and is the recommended method for production Airtime systems. If you have previously performed a manual installation of Airtime on the server, you should run the airtime-uninstall script to remove it before setting up the server for automated installation.

Set up repositories for Ubuntu

When installing on an Ubuntu server, a few of the packages that Airtime relies on are in the Ubuntu universe or multiverse repositories. If either of these repositories is disabled, you can enable them in the /etc/apt/sources.list file, by opening the nano editor in your server's console. The nano editor should be installed by default, but if not, you can install it with the command:

$ sudo apt-get install nano  

Then open the sources.list file with the command:

$ sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list
For an Ubuntu Lucid server, find the lines which begin deb and end with lucid universe or lucid-updates universe, adding multiverse to the end of these lines, if it is not there already. The multiverse repository is required for the libmp3lame0 library, which is an MP3 encoder.

The exact repository mirror URLs in your sources.list file will differ from the above screenshot, depending on your location.

The Sourcefabric repository contains packages for Airtime, and any other packages which Airtime requires. To add the Sourcefabric repository to an Ubuntu Lucid server, scroll to the end of the sources.list file and add the following line:

deb lucid main

For Ubuntu Maverick, Natty or Oneiric, substitute maverick, natty or oneiric in place of lucid in the line above.

Press Ctrl+O (the Ctrl key and the letter O together) to save the file, then Ctrl+X to exit the nano editor.

Set up repositories for Debian

On a Debian squeeze server, you can edit the /etc/apt/sources.list file as root with the command:

# nano /etc/apt/sources.list

Packages for MP3 encoding are not included in official Debian repositories. You can obtain the necessary libmp3lame0 and libmp3lame-dev packages by adding the following repository to the end of the file:

deb squeeze main non-free

To add the Sourcefabric repository to a Debian squeeze server, add the following line to the end of the file:

deb squeeze main

Press Ctrl+O (the Ctrl key and the letter O together) to save the file, then Ctrl+X to exit the nano editor.

Install the Sourcefabric signing key 

Reload the system's package list with:

$ sudo apt-get update

You will see an error message about a missing public key.

To fix this system error, you need to install the sourcefabric-keyring package, which contains the package signing key. This encryption key is a security measure which helps ensure that the Airtime packages you will be downloading in future have not been tampered with by a third party. You can install the key with the command:

$ sudo apt-get install sourcefabric-keyring

When prompted, press the y key on your keyboard to install the sourcefabric-keyring package without verification. If you wish to verify the authenticity of the package signing key, please contact Sourcefabric for assistance.

If you are running Debian squeeze, you should also install the debian-multimedia-keyring package:

$ sudo apt-get install debian-multimedia-keyring 

Update your computer's software sources again, to confirm that you are now using a trusted software repository:

$ sudo apt-get update
You should no longer see the error message about the missing public key.

Install the database management system

Airtime uses a PostgreSQL database to keep track of media assets and associated metadata in its storage server. Depending on the scale of your Airtime installation and the hardware available, you may wish to install PostgreSQL on a separate server. If you only have one server, you can install the postgresql package on the same machine as Airtime with the command:

$ sudo apt-get install postgresql

Install a streaming server

Optionally, you may wish to stream directly from Airtime to an Icecast media distribution server, without requiring a soundcard or mixer in the broadcast chain. This option is particularly suitable for fully automated stations, in which all shows are played out using Airtime. You can install the icecast2 package on your server with the command:

$ sudo apt-get install icecast2

In some scenarios, you may wish to stream from Airtime to a remote Icecast server, for example when Icecast is installed on a server in a datacenter with greater bandwidth available than an Airtime server located at your broadcast studio has. This separation may become necessary if your stream becomes popular, because each additional listener which connects to the Icecast stream uses additional bandwidth. In this case, you do not need to install the icecast2 package on the Airtime server.

Before running Icecast for the first time, you should edit the file /etc/icecast2/icecast.xml to change the default <source-password>, <relay-password> and <admin-password> values from 'hackme' to something more secure.

$ sudo nano /etc/icecast2/icecast.xml

You should also set the value of <hostname> to the domain name of the Icecast server, for example:


Save and close the icecast.xml file with Ctrl+O and Ctrl+X. Then set the Icecast server to start automatically when the server boots in the /etc/default/icecast2 file:

$ sudo nano /etc/default/icecast2

by setting the value of ENABLE to true on the last line of that file:


Save and close this file with Ctrl+O and Ctrl+X, then start Icecast:

$ sudo service icecast2 start

The server should respond:

Starting icecast2: Starting icecast2
Detaching from the console

Install Airtime

You can now install the Airtime package with:

$ sudo apt-get install airtime

This command will install all of the Airtime components, plus any other packages that Airtime requires in order to run.

$ sudo apt-get install airtime
Reading package lists... Done
Building dependency tree      
Reading state information... Done
Suggested packages:
  airtime-audio-samples lame mpg123
The following NEW packages will be installed
0 upgraded, 1 newly installed, 0 to remove and 0 not upgraded.
Need to get 0B/15.6MB of archives.
After this operation, 73.1MB of additional disk space will be used.
Preconfiguring packages ...
Selecting previously deselected package airtime.
(Reading database ... 400129 files and directories currently installed.)
Unpacking airtime (from .../airtime_1.9.4-10_amd64.deb) ...

Once all the packages have been downloaded and installed, you will be asked a few questions about the configuration of the Airtime system. You can accept the default settings by pressing the Enter key, or use the Tab key to change your selection.

Firstly, you will asked if you wish to create an Apache virtual host web server configuration automatically.

If so, you will need to enter the domain name that your station staff will use to access Airtime. For a test server that will only be accessed directly from the same machine, you can use the default setting of localhost here.

Next, set the contact email address of the server administrator, which is good practice in case of any server problems. For a test server, using an address at the localhost is acceptable.

Debian and Ubuntu servers are set up with a default Apache configuration, which might block station staff from accessing Airtime. If you wish, this default configuration can be removed automatically for you.

If you are setting up Airtime to stream directly to Icecast without using a soundcard in between, you can set the hostname and passwords for the Icecast server during the Airtime installation.

First, set the hostname of the Icecast server. If you have Icecast installed on the same machine as Airtime, you can use localhost here.

The security of your streaming server depends on the strength of the passwords that you choose. You should set strong passwords for source, relay and admin access.

Finally, you will be asked for the local timezone at your station. You can find a list of timezones in the Appendix of this book.

On some GNU/Linux distributions, you may be warned about upgrading the rabbitmq-server package, even if you have never installed this package before. If RabbitMQ is only being used by Airtime on your server, it is safe to press the Enter key to continue.

The Airtime installer will then run a script to check that your server environment is set up correctly.

 *** Verifying your system environment ***
CPU                            = Dual Core AMD Opteron(tm) Processor 170
Total RAM                      = 6128244 kB
Free RAM                       = 167276 kB
OS                             = Ubuntu 10.04.3 LTS x86-64
PYTHON_KOMBU_VERSION           = 1.2.0
PYTHON_POSTER_VERSION          = 0.8.1
RABBITMQ_SERVER                = OK
AIRTIME_VERSION_URL            = http://localhost:80/api/version/api_key/%%api_key%%
AIRTIME_VERSION                = 1.9.5
LIQUIDSOAP_PROCESS_ID          = 24025
ICECAST_PROCESS_ID             = 23649

  -- System setup looks OK!

********************** Install Complete ***********************

You are now ready to proceed to the Configuration chapter.