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How to Broadcast Radio on YouTube

Platforms come and go but YouTube keeps growing. 2 billion users are waiting to hear you. Learn how to broadcast radio on YouTube.

Aaron Corkin

by Aaron Corkin in Production

Last updated 14.06.2021

How to Broadcast Radio on You Tube Header

YouTube was a surprise. Way back in 2005, it’s hard to imagine that less than 20 years later it would have the global reach and influence it does today.

For radio stations, it's an opportunity. Being the second most used social platform in the world makes it most peoples first stop for news and entertainment. Creating a channel for your station could be the foot in the door you need to reach a new audience.

Benefits of Broadcasting Your Station on YouTube

Big audiences are one thing. But just how likely is it that you’ll be found, or that people will be looking for a station like yours?

No need to worry.

  • You're Not Alone: Lots of stations already broadcast on YouTube 24/7. Lofi Girl streams a 24/7 broadcast called lofi hip hop - beats to study/relax to, which regularly reaches views in the tens of thousands.
  • Specialised Audiences: Additionally, a recent study in the US found that 74% used YouTube regularly and among those 23% regularly got their news from the site.
  • Exponential Reach: Year on year, the amount of people watching YouTube through their TVs goes up 80%. People watch TVs with friends and family, so if they’re listening to your station it’s likely you’ll catch other people’s ears too.
  • Revenue: If you amass 4,000 hours of watch time over 12 months and stick to YouTubes community guidelines, you’ll be eligible for monetization. Your videos get adverts and you’ll make 55% for every advertising dollar earned. This averages out to about $0.18 per view. Not amazing, but extra cash for your station.

Downsides of Broadcasting Radio on YouTube

As with all good things, though, there are drawbacks.

The biggest issue commercial broadcasters will face is YouTubes strict copyright rules. If you play copyrighted music on your station through YouTube, your stream will be taken down. What's worse is that copyright strikes don’t go on forever. Too many will get your channel suspended.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube Demonetised

Even with a license, YouTube’s rules apply. Kind of like Facebook. So commercial music stations aren’t going to get anywhere on YouTube. However, if you have a talk show or are a talk station, you can broadcast without fear.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube

Before you start, you’ll need a few things;

There are two primary ways to broadcast radio on YouTube. The first is to stream your broadcast to YouTube and the second is to broadcast directly on the platform.

Setting Up OBS to Stream Your Station

Enter OBS and you’ll find the default screen with a blank Scene preview. A Scene is the collection of video and audio data that will make up your stream.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube Blank Scene

To begin adding images, video and audio, click + under Sources. This will bring up a list of options.

Pick VLC Video Source. You’ll need VLC installed on your computer to do this. It's also free.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube VLC Video Source

This will bring up a menu. Next to the box marked Playlist, click + and choose Add Path/URL.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube Add URL

In the menu, paste in the listen link from your Dashboard.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube Listen Link

This takes the audio from your streams and processes it through OBS. Now you just need some visuals and you’re set.

Under Sources, add an Image for a static background, Window Capture to display your screen or a combination. Video Capture Device will display your webcam (if you’re brave enough).

OBS allows you to move images and video and format their size, so you can layout your stream however you want.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube Complete Scene

Now you’re ready to start streaming.

Setting Up OBS for Live Broadcasting

Prefer to stream directly to your YouTube channel? That's no problem.

The processes for setting up OBS is basically the same, but instead of choosing a VLC Video Source for your station, just choose Audio Input Capture.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube Audio Input Capture

In the drop-down menu, select your desk, microphone or whatever audio interface you’re using as your device.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube Audio Input Device

Broadcast OBS on YouTube

However you set up OBS, you need to get it streaming to YouTube.

Through your YouTube page, click the camera symbol and select Go Live. Account verification is needed before you can go live, so allow up to 24 hours for that.

How to Broadcast Radio on Youtube Go Live

On your livestream page, give your stream a name and fill in any metadata. Copy the Stream Key from the bottom half of the page.

How to Broadcast Radio on YouTube Stream Key

In OBS, go into Settings, then Stream. Here, enter your Stream Key, save the settings and select Start Streaming from your Scene. Now you're live!

How to Broadcast Radio on YouTube OBS Stream Settings


How to Broadcast Radio on YouTube Conclusion

YouTube isn’t for every station. If you spend your broadcasts blasting beats and commercial music, you won’t have much luck.

But if your talk shows are looking for a new, receptive audience, or you have a stockpile of non-copyrighted music to share, then you could want to broadcast radio on YouTube.

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