09 March 2010

WestmoCo TeamSpeak - What Do You Think?

Whew... need to brush a year's worth of dust off in here in order to find the controls... and well.. once again, it's been far too long since we've posted a new entry, but the time has come to get the following info out to our ever faithful WestmoCo live scanner stream listeners, so here goes...

We'll begin by briefly recapping what most of our 'regular' visitors/listeners already know, and that is the news that on 30 JAN 2010, our longtime TeamSpeak server hosting provider (IBN - Incident Broadcast Network) abruptly closed its doors for good, leaving our popular WestmoCo TeamSpeak feed without a home. Fortunately, this did not affect our other three live feed formats which are hosted with different providers, and so our TeamSpeak community at least had a place to go in order to keep listening. After about a month of our TS3 stream being 'off the air', another (to be left un-named) person attempted to take over the reigns and breathe new life into the server, which was now being hosted on "DeadlyServers.com". This was good news at the time and we were happy to take advantage of it by adding our WestmoCo stream, and all seemed good... for about 3 weeks. Then, apparently, the new operator defaulted on the costs owed to DeadlyServers for the setup/rental of the TeamSpeak platform, and so, understandably, the server owner had no choice but to purposely shut it down due to non-payment. We patiently waited to see if this problem would be resolved, but after some time now, it doesn't appear that this arrangement will be resurrected anytime soon. OK.. so our homeless TS3 feed is back to square one, and that brings us to the now...

This is where you come in, if you so choose... so please keep reading... It seems to us now, with the way things are, that the best way to get control over the 'where', 'how', and 'who' pieces of the equation for bringing our TeamSpeak feed back online in a serious way, would be to take over complete control of it ourselves. Now this is not a brand new idea.. as we've long considered running our own TeamSpeak server and not have to depend on any other third party entities whom may or may not be all that reliable. The only thing that held us back before, is the same thing that holds us back now... paying for the rental cost of hosting the TeamSpeak server. Now before getting into the details of how much that might be in actual dollars, let me take a moment first to explain how it would work.

If we were to set up our own TeamSpeak server for this purpose, it would provide a TS3 platform for streaming our Westmoreland County live scanner audio ONLY. There would be NO other live scanner channels on it, in the way that IBN had feeds from locations all over the US and elsewhere. This one would operate in the exact same way as before, except that it would be completely dedicated to our single WestmoCo channel, with no other audio being offered. The primary reasons for this would be to keep any support/maintenance efforts to the bare minimum, and, more importantly, TeamSpeak servers are ordered and rented by the total number of simultaneous users (i.e. broadcaster + listener connections, called 'slots' in TeamSpeak terms) that one wishes to have be able to connect at one time. Simply put, the more people that can connect at once (broadcasting and listening), the more you pay.

Now that you have a basic understanding of how that works, here are the important numbers:
The pricing to rent a TeamSpeak server ranges from approximately $2.50/monthly or $25.50/yearly for up to 5 simultaneous users, to $72.50/monthly or $739.50/yearly for up to 250 simultaneous users. I know right..? ..from Not Bad to No Way! Now, the number of users our feed averaged when on IBN was about 50 (more during occasional big incidents), and only about half that on the last short-lived server that didn't work out. So based on the fees included in the pricing range mentioned above, on the low side, for us to host a server that would allow up to 25 simultaneos users would cost us $9.25/monthly or $94.25/yearly. To be able to support up to 50 simultaneous users in the feed raises the ante to $17.00/monthly or $173.40/yearly.

Again, as most of you know (and if you don't, please see our previous post below this one), over the past year or so we have been accepting donations from some of our generous listeners to help supplement our slim-to-none budget just to keep the broadcast side of the feeds operating here (thanks to all of you!), without having to support any of the cost of renting a TeamSpeak server on top of that as this plan would add into the mix.

So... two things...
1. Are there enough of our listeners interested in our feed returning to the TeamSpeak community format, in addition to our other current online format streams, to make it worthwhile to even consider paying for a dedicated TS3 server for our feed?

2. Would we be able to count on enough of our generous donors who would be interested per #1 above, to help us offset the cost by contributing some amount toward the rental of the TS3 server?

We would really appreciate having some input from you on this subject so that we can either give it the amount of serious thought it may deserve, or, to simply 'let go' for now and carry on without a TeamSpeak flavored WestmoCo stream. Please send any comments or questions on this subject in to us here by using the 'Contact Us' button at left, or simply email them in to: webmaster@gmans.net.

Thanks for reading.