Hello everybody I hope you have had a relaxing break!
Along with Neil I've been doing research on some possible software we could use for the internet radio. I think that the best way to do things is through free open-source software, because we have the freedom to modify it to meet our needs.
ICEcast (http://www.icecast.org/) is a tried-and-true streaming audio server. It will allow us to encode, stream, and archive our shows live. As well, it supports encoding in .ogg, which is a free audio codec that sounds as good as MP3 at lower bitrates. Since our number of listeners depends not only on our bandwidth, but on the bitrate of the audio stream, it would be good to embrace this codec as it would allow more people to listen at once.
There are a number of programs that will work to send audio to the web server, such as ICEs, for which there is an excellent tutorial here: http://www.6809.org.uk/media/ices2-howto.shtml. I envision a setup with one dedicated computer collecting our audio, encoding it, archiving it, and sending it out to the web. This machine would run away from the rest of our studio. Once we had it set up we wouldn't need to touch it except to start and stop the broadcast.
Further, we want to be able to stream our radio through a web browser. Since not all audio streams are compatible with all client-side programs such as itunes, winamp, or windows media player, it would be convenient to give listeners a chance to tune in to the show through their browser.
There are conflicts that do not normally allow audio streams like ours to play through the browser, however, just today I found someone who has written a program which works around these issues and allows us to present our show in a webpage with a good-looking interface. The site is in German, but you can find it here: http://blog.codingexpert.de/?p=66
Since our bandwidth is only used if someone is listening, we could easily offer a number of options to listeners of the show, whether they would prefer to listen using an audio program on their computer like winamp or itunes, or connect through the browser. This way we could present them with an option of streaming an MP3 or ogg file, encouraging them to use the ogg if they are able (firefox has built in compatibility,) since it would cut down on our bandwidth.
All of this without spending a dime.