Comparison
Azuracast Alternative: How Does Radio Cult Compare?

Azuracast Alternative: How Does Radio Cult Compare?

June 27th, 2024

If you're looking for Azuracast alternatives, then you're in the right place. Azuracast and Radio Cult are both great products, with fantastic features. They both help you run your radio station and stream over the internet.

What's the difference between Azuracast and Radio Cult?

Short answer: Azuracast is an open-source, self-hosted solution for streaming. Radio Cult is a fully managed internet radio platform built specifically for independent and community radio. And, in particular, for those that play mixes.

Radio Cult and Azuracast do have some overlaps but which one is a better fit for your station will depend on your specific circumstances.

Azuracast was built as the spiritual successor to other, older open-source internet providers like Libretime. It has a lick of new paint on top, is cheap to run but has the same drawbacks as other open-source solutions - slow to release updates, lack of customer support, minimal people working on it and it requires a large amount of technical knowledge to get up and running (updates and deployments have to be managed by you).

Additionally, Azuracast has limited scheduling capability and is really designed for stations that mainly play playlists. Radio Cult is a modern platform, with ongoing development, that is built specifically for the current state of online radio.

Don't get it twisted, we have the utmost respect for the people behind Azuracast. Building a free tool, that lowers the bar of entry for new stations is a commendable endeavour. However, we believe that Azuracast isn't the best fit for all stations. It might be for your radio station, that's really up to you to decide.

Many radio stations play a range of content - from pre-records, to playlists, to live sets and everything in between. You need a tool that is fit for purpose.

So if you're a modern station looking for a tool that is a delight to use, has dedicated mix support and is more affordable than other fully managed providers then you're in the right place.

Read on to see whether Radio Cult or Azuracast would suit you better.

Eight reasons why stations use Radio Cult over Azuracast

We've condensed eight propositions that explain why you might consider Radio Cult to be a better alternative to Azuracast for your station.

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Reasons to choose Radio Cult over Azuracast

1. A mix focussed platform

Stations evolve as listeners' habits change. Nowadays many stations stream live sets, pre-recorded mixes, playlists and everything in between. We made sure to support all the different content that you might need.

A particular area where we shine is in handling mixes. Radio Cult has dedicated scheduling support for mixes. Create an event, set it to a mix and choose what file you want to play. It's that simple.

With Azuracast you have to create a playlist, put the individual mix file into a playlist, create the event and then attach the playlist. It's a lot more cumbersome, especially if you are scheduling multiple pre-recorded mixes.

This next feature is unique to Radio Cult. We call it a live-stream fallback. It allows you to specify what you want to play while we wait for you to connect live. Sometimes you, or your hosts, might be a few minutes late or disconnect a bit early from a live set. The live-stream fallback allows you to configure what you want to play in those moments - either silence, an audio file like a jingle/sting or your default playlist. These options let your station stream sound polished and professional and removes the scheduling burden from yourself.

2. Customer support

Azuracast is an open-source product. That means everything is provided for free. That's great if you're strapped for cash. It's not so great if you're wanting comprehensive customer support.

Azuracast requires a lot of technical knowledge. You'll need an understanding of bash scripts, docker containers, cloud infrastructure, SSL certificates and more. Sound intimidating? We think so.

If you need help during installation, updates or even if something goes wrong during the running of your station then you'll have to troubleshoot the solution on your own. You could submit a help request on the Github. But there's no guarantee you'll get a timely response or if anyone will help out.

That's nothing to do with the people behind Azuracast. It's just the fact of software given away for free - support is always going to be limited.

Here at Radio Cult we love independent and community radio. We endeavour to help as much as we can. Have a problem? We will jump on a call, reply to an email or live chat. You can even contact us on Whatsapp if you want.

We also help you migrate off your old streaming provider. So many stations we talk to feel trapped with their current provider because they don't have the technical know-how to update their site. Don't bother paying a developer to update your streaming link - we can do it for you. In most cases, we migrate stations for free!

3. A fully managed solution

As mentioned above, you're responsible for deploying Azuracast to the cloud infrastructure of your choice, managing updates, securing cloud storage and everything else. It can be overwhelming. Especially if you're non-technical.

You'll need to be fine with:

  • Deploying docker containers onto a server by yourself
  • Installing and managing all updates
  • Configuring and managing CPU and storage
  • Monitoring your stream in case a popular show overloads your server

Radio Cult is a fully managed solution. When you create an account with us your server, cloud storage and everything is created and managed within our dedicated radio infrastructure. Best of all, it's all behind the scenes and you don't have to think about any of it.

  • Getting more storage is as simple as upgrading a plan, it's instant.
  • You get new features instantly whenever we roll out features.
  • Need help integrating with your website or performing a task? We're at the other end of the line, fully willing to help out. Your success is our success.

4. Scheduling

Scheduling is where we shine, and probably the biggest problem stations we talk to have with Azuracast (after managing deployments and updates, of course).

Radio stations require powerful and flexible scheduling. Do you have shows repeating daily, every 2 weeks, every 4th Thursday, weekdays only or maybe monthly on the 18th? We support all of that. In fact, we support more repeating rules that most other radio platforms out there.

Azuracast only supports very basic scheduling. You can have events repeat weekly and that's it.

This drastically increases the amount of work you have to put in to manage your station on a day to day basis. You're forced to re-create your events on a weekly or even daily basis. You might even have to manage your schedule in an external tool, maybe in Google Calendar, which has support for proper repeating rules and then copy the events into Azuracast every day or week.

5. Integrations

Radio isn't one dimensional. Running a radio station involves integrating with many different tools. One of the most important of these being archival tools like Soundcloud & Mixcloud.

Modern radio means being wherever your listeners are. That means uploading sets and shows to Mixcloud & Soundcloud.

Radio Cult integrates with both Soundcloud & Mixcloud. Azuracast doesn't integrate with either.

Our integrations can save you a lot of time. You should be able to focus on the important things - not uploading media to different platforms.

6. Mobile

Gone are the days where web radio could only listened on computers. Most listeners now have the means to enjoy web radio using the device in their back pocket. We know it's important to allow your listeners to lock in through as many mediums as possible, especially through their mobile phones.

Radio Cult offers our aggregator mobile app (which is available on both iOS and Android) on all of our plans at no additional cost. Azuracast doesn't offer any dedicated app (what do you expect? You're not paying them anything).

If you want to have an app with Azuracast then you'll have to develop an app in-house or, more likely, cough up the immense funds required to hire a developer to build you a custom app.

It must be noted, that you will also have to pay an additional a one-off fee for an Android developer account and the ongoing cost for an Apple developer account. It's a constant expense on your end.

You'll also have to deal with navigating the legal and other complications of releasing apps on iOS & Android if you go with Azuracast.

With Radio Cult, we host our aggregator app ourself so you get it for no additional cost or complexity. Your station appears on the app within seconds after signing up so it couldn't be easier.

7. Chat rooms

Community radio, as the name suggests, is all about engagement with your community of listeners. Not only do you want to know that your audio content is resonating with your listeners, you also want to provide a place where you listeners can engage with each other and a chat room provides just that.

Radio Cult provides a chat room for you on all of our plans, which is accessible on our aforementioned app as well as an embeddable component on your own website. Azuracast provides no chat functionality of any kind.

A lot of stations we talk to choose Azuracast due to the low cost. However, they quickly end up paying for other software, like chat rooms, to bridge any missing features. Your costs go up, and so does your time when you're managing so many tools.

8. Station management

Running an online station is time consuming and resource intensive. We know that managing all your artists and residents can be a lot. So you need processes in place to ensure that when a show goes live, everything is in place so it goes off without a hitch.

Radio Cult offers dedicated station management functionality, allowing you to store all of your artists and presenters data in one place. A central repository to track everything about your artists and make sure you have everything from them to make certain your station runs seamlessly.

You can even use this data to power your own site, so your listeners know everything they need to about your artists. And when you need to update an artist's information, you only need to update it in one location. Azuracast provides no comparable station management functionality.

Please note: If Azuracast gets an update and this article becomes outdated, please email us and we will update it.

Create your own online radio station and start streaming today!

Click here to try Radio Cult for free - the streaming platform designed for independent and community radio.

Download the Radio Cult app on iOS and Android to listen to that original pirate material 24/7.

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