WBRi Special Event - Mahalaya - Sep 27-29, 2008 - A recap
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WBRi, the Pioneers of Internet Webcast of Kolkata Radio, Once Again Live Broadcasts All India Radio Mahalaya over the Internet
As in previous years, we broadcast Mahalaya under license from HMV-Saregama across various timezones starting on Sunday Sept 28 at 4 AM in Sydney, Australia with the final broadcast of the All India Radio program on Monday Sept 29, 2008. The flier on the right was posted on this site's announcement scroller for many weeks before the event.
Among the repeated Mahishashurmardini broadcasts , the feed from Kolkata was the most popular. We deployed three servers running in parallel for the event, presenting it as an additional channel. The primary WBRi radio channel was not modified in any way, it continued to deliver classic bengali songs to some listeners while others tuned in to the second channel dedicated to Mahalaya.
Listeners were initially disappointed because there was a lot of buffering and periods of silence just before the Mahalaya program started, with growing frustration quickly changing to glee when we promptly lowered our stream bit-rate to get the buffering problem under control. There were no additional hiccups during the entire 90 minutes of the program.
Wikipedia says: "Birendra Krishna Bhadra was a spiritual poet widely remembered for his super-natural and magically wonderful recital of Mahishashura Mardini, a collection of shlokas and songs broadcast by All India Radio Calcutta (now Kolkata) in the dawn of Mahalaya. He was an alumnus of the well-known Scottish Church College in Kolkata.
An important festival in the calendar of a Bengali Hindu is Durga Puja. Durga Puja lies within Devi Paksha (fortnight of Goddess), a particular fortnight of Bengali calendar when the Durga Puja is scheduled. The first day of the Devi Paksha is Mahalaya.
In the 1930s All India Radio used to broadcast a program called Mahishashura Mardini which describes the epic battle of goddess Durga with the demon king Mahishashura. The script of this program was written by Bani Kumar and music directed by Pankaj Kumar Mallik. The enchanting rendition by Birendra Krishna Bhadra was the stand out aspect of the recital. In 1970s, the programme became a recorded one. It has been decades since then, but even today Durga Puja opens with the same enthralling recital by Birendra Krishna Bhadra."
Primary Radio Channel
Server-1 for Mahalaya broadcast was deployed in Germantown, Maryland. Aroud 45 people tuned into this server, even though the link on the WBRi Web Site was modified to point to Server 2 a couple of hours before the broadcast. This indicates cache issues in terms of cached pages not expiring in a timely manner on the browser or server side (or both). Server 1 was not equipped to handle a large number of high-bitrate clients, and this was the root cause of the initial buffering problems faced by listeners. The bit-rate was quickly brought down very early in the program to address this.
Server-2, located near Baltimore, Maryland, was intended to support most of the listeners, and it performed flawlessly, supporting 81 listeners with ease.
Additional Server - Listen2MyRadio
WashingtonBanglaRadio.com Web Server
The main web-site itself had a high number of visitors, as expected, to tune in to the broadcast. Around 360 visitors and members were browsing our site.
Here is a video of the player window: