How to “Safely” verify station web sites

Hello volunteers,

I’ve been busy plugging the holes where people think we still test streams or update program schedules for WJAS-AM 🙂

These testing tools were originally meant for my use and as such are not intuitive – I’ve been stripping out the noise and creating a much simpler, very safe station editor that only shows you the things that you have the power to edit or are necessary to figure things out.

When you pull up the list of “Needs Review” stations, you get preliminary information about who controls the IP address for the station. Most of the bigger web hosting services in the United States are now identified. The color (Red or Green) shows my relative confidence in the safety. Any server (including this one) could be hacked at any time, so there is never a 100.00% certainty about anything.

canutrustme

I’m currently working on Indiana, the Hoosier state. The 2nd item is flagged as potentially dangerous. It’s a Spanish Language religious station. If you aren’t mildly literate in Spanish or hate Jesus, you always have the option of clicking on Ignore Station and letting someone else handle it.

Assuming that you’re brave and prepared enough to continue, don’t yet click on the Yellow E and pull up the editor, as that may automatically load the web site in the editor frame on the right side. Instead, click on the “Owner” link underneath the city name.

That pulls up the ARIN web site which tracks who controls which IP addresses in the United States and Canada. There are other similar agencies that handle Europe (RIPE), Asia (APNIC), Latin America (LACNIC), and Africa (AFRNIC). Within a NIC, they can suballocate ranges as they see fit, giving a range to a government of a country or an internet provider.

It would be highly unusual for an American radio station to have their web site outside of the United States. In this case, the station is not flagged as “Outside of US Jurisdiction”, so it is probably safe, but we should check further. It might be valid, it might be an SEO fake search page or it might be a clever imposter or an out of date site from a prior owner who never deleted it.

ARIN will show who controls the IP address – that doesn’t necessarily tell you who runs the web site.

Here is what ARIN says about the “Customer”:

nox

This radio station is located in Indianapolis, Indiana, yet the IP is control by some “NOX” thing in Los Angeles. Some times, radio stations use a local ISP – if it said “Juan’s Internet Shop”, that’s probably a local ISP, and reasonably safe.

So what is NOX, and should we trust it? You could google it, or the address or the phone number and should figure out pretty quickly that NOX is a large web hosting firm in Los Angeles, that lists Dr Laura as one of their customers. How is your fear factor now?

Clicking through shows this page:

pescador

Just finding out that it is not a hacker web site does not complete the task. We are testing for Accurate, not “It’s Safe”.

The web site has changed its name from laquebuena810am.com to pescador810.com. If you’re familiar with Christian icons, “fish” (Pesca) is a mutual recognition symbol that says “I’m a Christian” that non-Christians may not recognize, and the web site is in Spanish, so the Station Format looks right (for Spanish, I don’t yet break religious stations into subtypes like preaching vs music)

Checking for accuracy, the Frequency is 810 (matching what we are looking for), the page mentions the WSYW call sign next to the frequency, and if you scroll to the bottom, you see a 2014 copyright date and the name “Continental Broadcasting” which matches the FCC Licensee name, along with a link to their EEOC report. This checks out 100% accurate as being the new authoritative web site.

I would expect you to update the URL now before clicking on “Accurate”. Some day, laquebuena810am.com is going to expire (March of next year) if not renewed and is a potential future trap.

For those not familiar yet with Spanish language stations, here are some common phrases to help you figure out what you’re looking at – if you have familiarity with any latin based language, most of them should be fairly obvious:

Escuche (o,a) en Vivo (Listen Live),
Inicio (Home Page, starting place)
Programacion, Programa (programming)
Entrar (Enter)
Buscar (Search)
Noticias (Notices)
Deportes (Sports)

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7 Responses to How to “Safely” verify station web sites

  1. Art Stone says:

    Poking around to see what other web sites have for this station:

    Radio Locator: http://www.lajoya810.com/
    Tunein: http://www.lajoya810.com/
    Wikipedia: http://www.lajoya810.com/
    Streema: http://www.lajoya810.com/
    The Indy List: http://www.wsywam.com/

    This “flip” happened back at the end of January 2014
    http://www.allaccess.com/net-news/archive/story/126270/wsyw-a-flips-to-spanish-christian-as-pescador-radi

    I really need to hammer home the point to not go to those other sites and just blindly copy/paste their URL.

    It’s time to test to see who picked up Joe Pags (most stations seem to have dropped Andy Dean and not picked up Pags)

  2. If we find it is necessary to change the station’s URL, it may no longer correspond with the Owner ARIN info you have listed. Is that OK?

    • Art Stone says:

      After you change the URL, it will update the Risk information to reflect the IP change. If the current owner is the radio station and the new owner isn’t, that could be a hint that your new URL is actually an older web site. Click the red history link and read the prior updates.

      It’s also possible they moved their web site from an in-house server to the cloud or outsourced it to someone like mediasspan.

  3. OK, Art, please check out the WNSW listing when you have a moment. I’m sure you have experienced the challenges presented by websites for time-brokered stations, but I have high confidence that the changes I made are accurate.

    I put in the new URL, the new streaming page, the new format and a short description. It still lists Voice of Russia as the description. (I’ve figured out that field can’t be edited.)

    If (when?) Radio Cantico Nuevo ends its lease deal with Multicultural, the old station-specific URL may go back into use with a new site but for now, it is useless because it advertises a format they no longer have and a streaming link that no longer exists.

    • Art Stone says:

      Timing is everything 😉

      I fixed the description issue which I noticed overnight.

      Because that station was right at the top of the list, I already updated it before I saw this message. Multicultural radio is pretty much a black hole. They don’t provide accurate information on their website, and hide in the shadows on Chinatown in New York. That’s where actually knowing the facts and / or being able to turn on a real radio is helpful.

      They actually sold one of their other stations to the same folks, who list both of them on the website.

      LMAs (leases) is a big challenge, as the temporary operator is not the owner of the station and there is no way to know when they end. They are as hard to track as when a simulcast is broken.

      Carry on – in general, I don’t want to turn the blog into “what do I do about station x” unless it addresses a larger issue I had others might learn from

      The need to review default list now returns stations in the order of largest cities to small cities, so New York City floats to the top if no state is chosen. That’s why I bumped into the same thing you were working on.

  4. Art Stone says:

    The “needs review” page had serious performance problems and I had temporarily disabled the ignore station ability, suspecting it as the cause. It was not, and should be working again.

    The problem was the host name look up in reverse DNS – if there is no name connected to the IP, the page has to wait until it times out, which takes a long time – especially if more than one station has the problem. The station editor still shows the host name, since it is a one at a time operation as you can afford to wait.

  5. Art Stone says:

    College stations are another area for confusion – many schools have given up on the radio stations, and they hand over operational control to a public broadcasting corporation, but retain the station license.

    You might be tempted to think this is the “right” website for WNDY-FM
    http://www3.wabash.edu/orgs/wndy/

    Until you notice the dates are from 2005 – and the website has never been removed.

    If you look at this public broadcaster in Indianapolis, you see the station listed down at the bottom as a simulcast partner

    http://www.wfyi.org/radio/

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