Start An Online Radio Station Of Your Own: Here’s How

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how to start a radio stationIf you’ve been wondering how one goes about setting up an online radio station then you’re in luck. There are a number of simple ways to make an online radio station involving nothing more than some free software and a microphone attached to your computer. There’s also a lot of variety in costs and radio types depending on whether you’re a professional or a hobbyist – or somewhere in between.

So, here’s a run-down of the best tools you can use to get your radio station up and running. Then all you need to do is to keep it interesting and get some listeners!

Basic Radio Hardware & Software

If you’re going to make radio, you’re going to need a microphone, headphones and computer in order to speak, record and hear yourself as you go. Obviously, the better the tools, the better you’ll sound.

Some of these methods involve using web software or software developed especially for the radio host. But for many methods, to create and record the sounds required for radio on your computer you’ll need to have a way of playing music and a way of recording voice and the music that’s playing. There are lots of free tools available for Windows, Mac and Linux. Many of these tools can also convert your recording into a stream for you too with or without extensions. Try using Winamp or Audacity for two good, free starting points.

Legal Warning About Hosting Radio Online

Hosting your own radio station might sound like fun, but you will need to ensure you stay on the right side of the law. Ensure that you have the rights to broadcast all music played online and check local authorities to see if there are any local broadcasting rules you need to be aware of. For some locations, you may be able to pay rights for digital broadcasting to a collector who will calculate your costs according to how many listeners you have.

Use A Free Radio Station Host

Shoutcast is a simple, free way to host your radio station. The tools you need vary according to your operating system, but Shoutcast have made every effort to keep the process simple. If you have any problems, there is a forum of broadcasters who can help you with your questions, plus give you advice on how to make your station great. We’ve previously gone through the basics of creating a Shoutcast station. Things have changed a little since it was written, but it’s still worth a read if you’re having trouble with the settings.

how to start a radio station

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Another free host to consider is Free Stream Hosting, which lets you have up to 1000 users for free before charging for the service. They make money by placing ads on your site in the radio streaming player.

Create A Video Station Instead

It’s actually far quicker and easier to create a video station than it is to create a pure radio station. Try using Justin.tv or Ustream.tv and you’ll see that you instantly create a “channel” that’s dedicated to you and can be on at any time. They’ll even notify people that follow you when you’re on and streaming. It’s not pure radio, sure, but if you don’t mind the video aspect of it then it’s a really easy way to get started with your own dedicated media channel.

online radio station

Create A Live Radio Station With Web Tools

Spreaker is essentially a tool similar to Ustream.tv or Google On Air, but for radio. You can record your show live or record it for later using tools from the Spreaker site. All shows are kept and can be shared with friends, much like a podcast (but without RSS). Shows are shared via followers on Spreaker and to your friends via your Facebook feed.

how to start a radio station

DIY Radio Station

This is the trickiest method, but will result in a more professional station which you control entirely. It’s best not to bother streaming directly from your PC to your audience unless you have an incredible amount of upstream bandwidth, which most people don’t have. Paid online radio stream hosting will cost you a little each month, depending on your audience size. To begin with you might be able to pay $10 per month, but those costs may balloon if your audience picks up.

With a paid host, as well as being responsible for the technical side of the radio recording locally, you would also be responsible for the technical details of your radio station and all the promotion of the radio stream.

Conclusion

When you create your online radio station you will need to factor in how professional you want it to be and whether a little bit of advertising will outweigh costs and technical needs.

The absolute easiest methods, such as Spreaker, Justin.tv and Ustream.tv don’t give you a mp3 stream to share, but make use of social sharing to share with friends. These are a great option if you’re doing this for a bit of fun as a personal project.

Using a free radio stream host such as Shoutcast or FreeStreamHosting is the ideal midway between personal project and a professional set-up.

More Reading

If you’re interested in starting a radio station, here’s a few more articles you might like:

Do you prefer video streaming or radio streaming? Podcasts or live radio? Tell us in the comments!

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Comments (11)
  • Shine

    More interested in finding a way to feature a spreaker recording or youtube tv station on something like itunes or windows media player? Does anyone possibly have more information on such an adventure?

    Also what about running a webshow/ video show show directly through youtube/ through googlehangouts? or what would you technically call that? Is it a podcast a web show ? They are weekly and usually over an our long and recordings can be made from the audio and altered into spreaker for better quality.

    I just wish I knew how to get them out onto bigger platforms.

  • ashish mishra

    how can i start a radio station

  • Adam Greenberg

    While I am preparing to create the station (saving up the $$ for the year’s expenses, etc), will I need to get an FCC license as well?

    Thanks

    Adam

    • Angela Alcorn

      Legalities are all very country-specific, so I couldn’t say. You should check with the FCC and/or a local lawyer before you start your station. There may be a local body who will take a regular fee from you in order to cover the licensing.

  • lily

    hi when people call you a loser or a not cool person just ignore them cause who are they to judge. SO this is what I always say don’t act cool because of what they said just be who you are. Show the world the real you. Don’t give up.

  • Dave Hill

    A great intro piece for all bedroom DJs !

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Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.