Do you have an idea of setting up a radio station but don’t know where to begin? Setting up an Internet radio station does not have to be hard.
The following advice will provide you with some insights to head down the right path:
Fundamentals of Internet radio: What to look out for when searching for a provider and terminology you should know.
Automated broadcasting 24/7: What you can achieve with tools at your fingertips to broadcast non-stop to a global audience.
Live broadcasting: Different methods to get your voice and shows live online.
Station branding: How to standout from the crowd and get noticed.
Setting up an Internet radio station
Before we get into what you need to know for setting up an Internet radio station, let us first address some concerns you may have about Internet radio broadcasting:
These are a bunch of frequently asked questions that float about, which are worth mentioning:
I’m new to Internet radio broadcasting and not super technical, is there someone that can help me?
Kindly go to Radio.co; the station has a dedicated team of in-house experts who can walk you through the system and answer any questions you may have. Plus, there is a support team on standby ready to help look into anything.
Do I need expensive equipment to broadcast?”
Not really, you just need a standard computer or laptop, Internet connection, and a microphone; you can even get away with a built in mic!
When you are first starting out, it is better to just get up and running as quickly as possible; so, use the equipment you have and upgrade as you go along.
Can I broadcast live non-stop?
You can, but that means you have to have a dedicated machine running round the clock and streaming your audio. It is easier to automate your shows using Radio.co’s scheduler; this way, you can switch between live and automated tracks.
FM/AM & DAB require a licence to broadcast. Do I need one for my Internet radio station?
Unlike terrestrial radio, you don’t actually need to own a licence to broadcast. However, if your station is going to be playing commercial music, then you may need a licence, otherwise your radio station may be classified as a pirate station and against the law.
Fundamentals of Internet radio
Understanding the basics of setting up an Internet radio station and how it works can help you to know what to look out for and get a clearer picture of how your audio travels from point A to point B, and eventually gets to your listeners.
How it works
There are three basic stages when it comes to Internet broadcasting:
Source (You): Your computer mixes audio; this can be live voice or music; then converts it into a stream of data packets which are constantly sent to a server.
Server (Provider): When your stream arrives at the server, it is cleaned up and dispensed to the appropriate channels.
Listener (Everyone): Wherever your broadcast is online, if there’s a direct streaming link to the server or via a player, anyone can connect and hear your output.
Note: Your content is pushed to the Internet, managed in the cloud via server providers like Radio.co, and distributed to your audience worldwide.
Providers use data centres to house radio stations on servers, but it costs money to host them, especially on reliable servers, as prices vary depending on specifications like memory, storage, and so on.
Providers offering low-cost services should be looked at sceptically, as they need to cover their own costs and make profits to run their business; they are cheap for a reason!
The content you are streaming to listeners is known as bandwidth, which costs money depending on the quality of content and how frequently you’re broadcasting. Use Radio Toolbox to determine roughly how much you will use before setting up an Internet radio station.
Servers have limits, without them they fall over when pushed, and that is what listener caps are for – to prevent server loads becoming unmanageable and deteriorating streams.
Storage space for your station determines how many tracks you can upload to manage your media. For instance, 10GB is enough for around 2,500 tracks and 50GB is for 12,500 tracks.
There are multiple ways listeners can tune into your station, either directly on your server and port like streaming.radio.co:80/sced7c0e79/listen, through Internet radio directories, or on an embedded player on your site.
Internet radio providers offer different methods listeners can get access to your stream, but the more they have, the better. Think of your own mobile app (iOS and Android), and as many directories or third-party places you can manage.
Automated broadcasting 24/7
Running a radio station live throughout the week can sometimes be exhausting; that is where automation can help.
Services like Radio.co provide an all in one solution to create round the clock radio shows, not to mention the fact that it gives you peace of mind knowing your radio station is running non-stop and managed by professional veterans in the industry.
Friends & Disc jockeys (DJ) takeovers
If automating your station is really your thing, then you can invite your friends and DJs to takeover your broadcasts when you are not available.
You can set the date, time and duration of when they can jump on board; you can even repeat slots if you want them to have a regular spot on your station.
Radio automation is pretty great, but when it comes to setting up an Internet radio station and broadcasting to your listeners, then, doing it live is still king.
Talk in real-time to your legion of fans about current events, tracks you are broadcasting, and give shout outs to listeners, everyone loves a special mention about himself or herself on the radio every now and then!
When it comes to finding something you like in regards to software solutions the real question is: What broadcasting solution should you choose?
Simple vs complex broadcasting software
Whether you are new to Internet radio and need a simple solution or you are an experienced professional scouting for the next best alternative, there’s plenty of choice. From easy “click and broadcast” to complex “oh my god why are there so many buttons” solutions.
Additional information: Radio.co Blog and NQR.FM