Monday, June 06, 2005

Sufi Streaming Audio and Podcasting

For the last 2-3 weeks I have been busily engaged
in learning about podcasting, streaming audio,
and related software programs. I have been
doing this for a number of reasons.

First, I have decided to discontinue my radio
station -- Anab's Sufi Oasis -- which was being
aired through The reasons for discontinuing
the internet radio station have little to do with lack
of an audience -- in fact, within three short months,
and despite almost no advertising (other than on my
web sites), I was very pleased that so many people from
such diverse parts of the world were tuning in -- not
for just a minute, or so, but for hours at a time.

I am not trying to say the listening audience
was in the thousands or even hundreds. However,
there were nearly a hundred people who found
their way to my station and let me know that they
liked what they heard.

In the United States, there were individuals in
Oregon, Kansas, Texas, New York, Virginia,
Washington, D.C., California, Massachusetts,
Indiana, Ohio, New Jersey, and Connecticut who
listend to 'Anab's Sufi Oasis' a fair amount.
In addition, internationally, places such as:
Ireland, Greece, Japan, Switzerland, Malaysia,
Singapore, Canada, Hong Kong, and England also
tuned in for some extended listening time.

Naturally, I was not about to even remotely compete
with the size of the audiences for professional radio
stations. Nonetheless, I was quite happy with the
number of people who were frequent visitors to my little
patch in cyber space during my three months of playing
around as an amateur radio station owner.

I can even state, with full honesty, that I made money
as a radio station owner. Of course, in order to say
this, then, honesty also requires me to point out the
amount of money I earned was just in the 4 figure range
... that's four figures as in $11.00 or $12.00 dollars --
and this amount is substantially below what is needed to
run the radio station per month.

If I had a better cash flow, then, I might very well have
continued on with the programming. But, alas, this is not
the case, and, therefore, I have had to consider other

One of these alternatives is in the form of streaming
audio. As a result, I have begun to populate my web
site --

-- with access points to streaming audio material of
one kind or another.

One of my favorite items in this category is a talk
given by my shaykh -- the authentic one -- back in
1975. The talk is entitled: An Introduction to Sufism
and can be found through:

An Introduction to Sufism

and scroll down toward the bottom of the page. The talk also can
be found at:

What's New

The talk is 23 minutes long, so, you will have to
free up nearly an half an hour to be able to listen to
it in its entirety. On the other hand, one of the neat
aspects of the streaming audio software I am using is
that one can move the streaming indicator backwards (if
one wants to listen to something again), or skip forward
to pick up where one left on the previous occasion in
which one was listening. One doesn't have to listen to
all of the audio to get to the section one wants to hear.

Furthermore, I have found a program which permits me
to tweak the bit rate and sampling rate of the MP3
for those who use dial-up, 56 kbs connections to
access the Internet. Consequently, now, even individuals
with a slow-speed Internet link also can listen to
the streaming audio format which is in various locations
around the Spiritual website.

Right now, aside from a welcoming audio, a few poems,
some information about several books which I have
published through Bilquees-Press.Com, and the talk, there
is not a great deal more in the way of streaming audio
which is currently available. In time, I hope to introduce
other kinds of material through a streaming audio format
that can be listened to by those who are so inclined while
visiting the website.

Streaming audio has been fun to do, but I have had an
even more enjoyable time with podcasting. This is much
closer to the idea of doing a radio-like program.

I especially appreciate the dimensions of podcasting
which permit people -- if they so wish -- to be
able to download large MP3 files while they are
sleeping and, then, have this MP3 synchronized with
one's portable MP3 player to be listened to away
from the computer at a time of the listener's choice.
The software which makes this all possible is
referred to as a podcast catcher -- at least, this
is how I refer to the software -- which actually
goes out into cyberspace and retrieves the RSS/XML
feeds to which one has subscribed without you having
to do anything ... other than subscribing in the first
place (which is as simple as writing an url in a
dialog box).

These RSS/XML feeds can either provide summaries of
news items, new development, and so on -- together with
a link if one wishes to read more, or these feeds
can contain enclosures -- which are like e-mail
attachments -- containing MP3 files or other audio
and/or video files which can be downloaded at a
pre-determined time so that one won't have to wait
around for the download to be completed or it can
be done at a time when it won't matter if it slows
down one's internet connection and, thereby, affect
whatever else one might be doing with one's computer
or the internet.

I have set up a small podcasting section on my
website which, among other things, provides some
information about some of the best available
podcast catchers, provides a free download for
one of these catchers, and links for where you
can pick up the others -- mostly for free, although
there is one commercial version that is listed
and has a price associated with it. In addition,
I have provided some sample shows which permit
a person to get an idea of what such shows might
be like and the sort of information which they
would contain.

The url for this podcasting section is:


I hope you will take a look and listen at the material
available in this portion of my web page. In time, I hope
to have both free and pay-for editions of various
podcast programs.

Anab Whitehouse

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The Intro to Sufism streaming audio is very good. It's very interesting that your shaykh talks about the "pseudo sufis" in 1975. Thank you for putting it on your website!