Due to advances in technology and the Internet, almost anyone can have their own streaming online radio station. Internet radio stations are becoming serious competition to some traditional radio stations, and they are surprisingly easy to run. The average person can now share their music or opinions with anyone who chooses to listen just by streaming their own radio station online.
Things You Will Need
- A computer
- A microphone
Choose your broadcasting options. There are several options that online broadcasters can choose from to stream.
Stream from a computer, but be aware that this will take a tremendous amount of the computer's resources to accomplish. Many broadcasters choose to dedicate a single machine for this purpose. You will also need to be sure that you have enough bandwidth from your web host to run the programming smoothly. Bandwidth is the amount of activity you are allowed transmit. If you find that you are experiencing a slow connection, you may not have enough bandwidth and might want to contact your website hosting company about adding more. You need software to stream from a computer. Some of the most popular ones are Pirate Radio, software available for purchase and download, and Icecast, a free download.
Stream from free online servers. Real.com and Quicktime give anyone free streaming capability. Another popular option is PeerCast.org, a free streaming site that describes itself as, "a simple, free way to listen to radio and watch video on the Internet. It uses P2P technology to let anyone become a broadcaster without the costs of traditional streaming."
If you do not have the resources to dedicate to streaming on your own computer, there are streaming services that you can use online to broadcast your radio station. Live365 is a popular site many broadcasters use. The fact that you do not need a continuous Internet connection is a major benefit. You can also connect with other broadcasters on their boards. Depending on the level of broadcasting you choose the cost ranges start at $9.95 a month.
The next step is to create your audio files. A good analogy for your radio station is to think of it like a book. Books are made up of chapters. Your radio station will be made up of audio files, which make up the radio program you will stream. Audio files can be music, the spoken word, or anything else you can listen to. MP3 is the most popular computer format to use for these files because they are reasonable sound quality while being too large.
Many new computers come with microphones and audio recording software that produce surprisingly good quality audio. If you do not have a mic already, the easiest way to get good quality recordings is to find a USB microphone that you can simply plug in to your computer and start using.
If you need audio recording software Audacity is a free download that is even used by some recording professionals. It is extremely simple to use and no recording studio knowledge is required to work with it.
When using audio files that are not original or that you do not own the license to, be careful that you are not in violation of any copyright laws.
Create an outline of your program. Decide what content you want to include in the broadcast and how long you would like your program to run. For example, if you are creating a program featuring music of independent local bands start by making a list of your content. If you have three songs you must know exactly how long they run. If you have an interview with one of the bands you need to know the time, as well. You will need to record an opening for your program and a closing to put at the end.
Once you decide on the order you must get them online. How you do this will depend upon the method of streaming you have chosen. For example, if you are using a service such as the popular Live365, you will simply log into your account on the site and follow the instructions given to broadcasters for adding audio files. If you are using a software program and streaming from your computer, follow the instructions for uploading your programming provided with the software.
While creating your online radio station is made fairly easy with modern day technology, building an audience is much harder. Educating yourself on marketing will be necessary to make your project a success.
Tips & Warnings