HOW TO: Rip an audio stream to a file

Many of us no longer have a working tape recorder in the house so recording a favourite radio program that you can’t bear to miss isn’t as easy as it once was.

Unfortunately it’s not exactly straightforward to get your PC to record the program at the right time when you’re out/asleep/busy doing something else.

However if the station also streams to the web you may be in luck. There are quite a few tools that let you rip streaming media off the web.

You firstly need to figure out what kind of stream it is (Windows Media RealNetworks MP3 Ogg/Vorbis etc) so that you can find the right tool for the job.

If the stream is MP3/AAC/OGG (Shoutcast or Icecast) or a Nullsoft Streaming Video then you’re in luck because Streamripper makes it nice and easy. It’s a free open source utility that’s available for Linux Windows FreeBSD BeOS OS/2 and as a Winamp plugin. It’s pictured running in Winamp below.

However rather than running it in Winamp I recommend running it via the Windows command prompt. If you make a simple batch file (something most of us probably haven’t done since the 90s) you can capture streams quickly simply by double-clicking on the batch file.

The next trick is to use the Windows Task Scheduler to launch the batch file when the radio program is on.

For Mac OS X users there’s also a native Cocoa version called StreamRipperX however it hasn’t been updated for a couple of years and it’s listed as ‘dead and unsupported’ on the official SourceForge StreamRipper site.

If you’ve got any ideas on how it can be done even easier for free; or had a similar predicament I’d love to hear how its done. Post your technique/story below.