Rangecast FAQ
[FAQ-1149] Chain of settings that brings content from the air to a player



For broadcast content to pass from the air (on a broadcast channel) to the Rangecast media player (on a user's PC or tablet), there is a chain of settings that must be successfully navigated. On the monitoring side, the broadcast channel must be monitored by a radio scanner connected to Rangecast, the operator of the scanner must grant distribution rights to an administrator (if they are not the same), who issues a License giving access permissions to the user. On the user's side, the user must request content by referencing a World name (analogous to a website address in a browser, selecting certain content from the full universe of channels available through Rangecast) and then using their Rangecast media player to select or de-select channels for reception.



A broadcast channel is received by a radio scanner. The scanner is operated by a hub, which has programmed the scanner to receive that channel. Therefore, this channel is *received by* an *originating hub*.

Note: Certain sets of channels received at the originating hub are grouped together into "collections". For example, a collection may be all received fire dispatch channels, or all channels within a certain county. In any place where the originating hub may be referred to by name (to refer to the group of all channels received on their scanners), you can also refer to the collection name (to refer to a particular set of selected channels).

[FAQ-1133] What is a Collection?

A Collection is a subset of the channels received by scanners (or other audio inputs) operated by a Hub, which are bundled together into and treated as a group. The channels belonging to a Collection are defined in the HTML5 programming system, where a hub administrator selects channels for reception. A channel may belong to multiple Collections.


The originating hub always has the right to distribute content received on their own scanners. This does not require any setup or configuration, it is automatic.

On occasion, a hub may obtain the right to distribute content received by another hub's scanners. This is called "importing content" or "cross-hub permissions", reflecting the concept that content received by one hub's scanners is included in the pool of content that another hub distributes.

[FAQ-1127] How a License written by one hub can grant authority to hear content received by another hub

By default, a hub administrator cannot grant access to any other content, since the other content is owned by other hubs. However, Rangecast can create exceptions to this general rule, so that content originating from one hub may be included in the Licence access grants written by another hub.

Cross-hub permissions may refer to an originating hub (all channels received there), or a collection at an originating hub (a selected group of channels received there.)


A hub has the right to distribute (make available to listeners) certain content via Rangecast. This content is a pool of channels, including all channels received by their own scanners, plus all channels received elsewhere for which cross-hub permissions have been established. All together, this is called the channels *distributed by* the *distributing hub*.

This pool of channels is *available* to the distributing hub for licensing to users, but at this point in the process, no access permissions have been granted.


To grant access permission to particular users, the *distributing hub* writes a License listing all the users (by Rangecast username) who shall be authorized (via this hub's grant of authority) to receive the channels. The License is written by the hub administrator.

[FAQ-1110] What is a License?

A License grants Rangecast user account(s) permission to access a specific set of channels, from someone authorized to allow access (a hub administrator). The channels may be identified individually, or access may be granted to entire baskets of channels (Collections, or all content from one or more originating hubs). For a hub administrator to grant access via a License, either (a) Rangecast administration must have given permission to this hub's administrators to grant access to the channels, or (b) the channels must originate at the same hub (in which case the administrator's right to grant access is implicit in the role of hub administrator.) Note that a hub may exist for the sole purpose of License authority; it is not required that a hub originate any content (e.g. operate feed sites or scanners.)

In the normal case, these listeners are given authority to hear *all content* in the pool of channels that the distributing hub is allowed to distribute.

However, the License may be written so that certain listeners are allowed to access only certain channels (defined by originating hub, collection, or channel ID), or so that their access is subject to certain restrictions (such as an imposed time delay, or a maximum depth in history.)

Therefore, the content that is *licensed by* the distributing hub to one user, may be different from the content that is licensed by the same distributing hub to another user. The concept of "licensed" content refers to the *combination* of distribution hub and username.

Granting permission in a License is analogous to placing someone's name on a list of people who are allowed to pass through a security gate. This does not mean that the Rangecast user will receive this content; the user still needs to walk up to the gate and request access.


Jumping to the user's side of the fence, the first element is the Rangecast username. All access to content in Rangecast is keyed to usernames, which identify particular users

[FAQ-1109] What is a Rangecast user account?

The most important function of a Rangecast user account is *user authentication* for access to audio content or administrative controls. A second function is that a user account provides a place for the user to store certain information (to restore settings between player sessions, or share user-generated Worlds with other users.)

[FAQ-1135] Usernames and passwords for the Rangecast HTML5 system

A User Account is required for you to interact with the Rangecast HTML5 system. Creating an account requires only setting a Username and a Password. To access content, a hub administrator must grant permissions to your username in the hub's License.

Note: in some cases, such as people visiting a Rangecast player embedded in a media website, a single username is used by a groups of users who share access credentials -- there is no attempt to identify particular end users, only that they are a visitor to the media website.

[FAQ-1098] User Accounts: Single-User vs Multi-User

User accounts come in two varieties -- single-user and multi-user.


To access content, the user *makes a request* for Rangecast content by selecting a *World*.

[FAQ-1104] How to select/enter/load a Rangecast World

Each Rangecast World has a unique name, and a Rangecast user may request any World by name on the Options screen. Worlds that the Rangecast user has previously accessed will be listed in a drop-down menu, for ease in switching between Worlds while the player is in use. To access a World for the first time, choose the option to request a world by name; this opens a text box (where the name should be entered) below the drop-down menu.

Note: when exiting the Rangecast player (for example, closing the browser), the system remembers the last visited World, and restores the player to that same world when the user next connects to Rangecast. Therefore, for many users, "selecting a World" is a one-time event when first using their new Rangecast user account; after that, their player "just goes there".

At its core, every World includes a reference to one or more Licenses, and is a request for content under the authority of those Licenses.

In addition, a World *may* specify that the request is limited particular content (identified by the name(s) of the originating hub(s), or collection(s) thereof.) If this is omitted (the usual case), the distributing hub returns all channels that the username may access through their License -- so specifying content can never return *more* channels than would have been obtained without making a specific request, but this can trim down the response (useful if the hub distributes many more channels than are of interest to the user.)

For every distribution hub, there is a special World (with a name identical to the hub) that simply says "please give me all the channels that are distributed by your hub". If that hub's License grants the user access to all or some of this content, it will be available on the player.

There are other ways the user may construct a World name to request certain content

[FAQ-1120] Name syntax of automatically generated Worlds (how to request content by a World name)

In addition, "Custom" worlds (authored by other Rangecast users) may include hand-crafted "Views" (discussed below).


When the user connects to (loads) a World, the Rangecast system compares the World's specification -- the cited License(s) (this refers to *distribution* hubs), and if applicable, the specific content requested (this refers to *originating* hubs) -- against the License's stated access permissions for this username (this is a combination of what the distribution hub itself is permitted to distribute, and what portion of that access has been granted in the License to this user.) Content approved at all those levels is then unlocked for the user, and is experienced by the user as what they see when accessing this World.

Note: Since users may be granted different permissions by a License, it is not necessarily true that two users accessing the same World will receive the same channels. This is usually the case, but if one user is granted more access rights than another, the results will differ.

Once the Rangecast player has loaded a World, the player receives real-time notifications of new transmissions on all channels within the World. The user may interact with the player in various ways to select or de-select channels, structure priority (what channels take precedence when there is too much content) and time management (how close to realtime the player stays when there is too much content), and otherwise control their user experience.


Within each World, the player can be quickly switched between several "Views" that arrange and group channels in different ways. In the case of "Custom" Worlds, there may be hand-crafted Views that show only certain channels from the full set available in the World (for example, to allow focus on a particular community.)

Rangecast FAQ - ID 1149 - last updated 02 August 2017     Images shown - [block]