Contrary to popular belief, starting a radio station isn’t a domain, meant only for professionals. When starting a radio station, you have the option of starting a low-power (for non-profit organizations), high-power (for commercial radio stations) or internet streaming (broadcasting live online). Internet radio has seen tremendous growth over the last ten years[i]. Approximately 124 million listeners tune in to radio via their laptops, mobile devices, and tablets in the USA alone every month, and the number is only increasing[ii].
How To Start An Offline (Non-Internet) Radio Station
Follow the underlying steps to start an offline radio station:
- First, apply for a frequency, which may take a long time in getting assigned itself
- Apply for a license because operating an unlicensed radio station is illegal even if it is done at meager power.
- Establish a source of funding for expenses like studio space, power, radio jockeys
- Decide between starting a low-power or high-power radio station and apply for broadcast station construction permit. This has to be done from the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), and it includes paying the application fee.
- Depending upon how far you would like your station to be broadcast, decide how much power you would need.
- Purchase the required equipment like the transmitter gear and the antenna. If needed, rent space on a tower for the antenna.
- Build up the studio, including the soundproofing, speakers, headphones, microphones, etc.
- Hire broadcasters as per your need.
- Run mock practice sessions with the broadcasters to give them a good practice of technical equipment and handling before going on-air.
- Eliminate all errors from the programming schedule and ensure the smooth running of the station before going on-air.
How To Start An Online (Internet) Radio Station
Furnish your studio with the required gear besides a computer, there is other equipment that you need to start a radio station.
- Microphone: Microphone is required to convert sound waves into electrical signals. It is needed to speak to listeners, hold interviews, and create radio imaging like the station ID. You can choose between a Dynamic, Condenser, or Ribbon microphone.
- Audio Software: An audio program is needed to tweak your audio files. Audacity is an open-source, easy to use, and free audio program which is a popular choice.
- Audio mixer: Audio mixer is used to combine and control more than one sound input. It can be used to manage the volume level for each information, and it also provides audio enhancements and can supply phantom power to microphones.
- Headphones and speakers: They are used to monitor the voice, preview the next track in the playlist, and listen to background music.
- Internet-enabled computer: Slow internet connection would lead to delay in sending data to the server, conducting to buffering.
2.Select playout software: You can choose between DJ programs, media players, and radio automation programs. Virtual DJ, Serato Pro, and Mixxx are some well -known playout software.
3.Connect your broadcast server to computer or studio: Connect your encoder to your server and connect through the encoder program.
4.Begin broadcasting: Once you have the playout software setup with an encoder, you can stream sound to the server and are ready to broadcast. You can transmit all kinds of content like news alerts, music, talk shows, interviews, pre-recorded shows, and podcasts on your station and regale your listeners.