Setting Up an Internet Radio Station: What You Need to Know

Have you got an idea for setting up an internet radio station? Here's a short list of things you need to know to get up and running.

Jamie Ashbrook
Setting Up An Internet Radio Station1

Have you got an idea for a station but don’t know where to begin? Setting up an internet radio station doesn't have to be hard, if you have the knowledge to get started.

You don’t need to go it alone when you have this list of things you need to know when setting up an internet radio station. The following advice will provide you with some insight to head down the right path. You will learn:

  • 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 the 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 stand out from the crowd and get noticed.

Setting Up an Internet Radio Station

Before you get too far into setting up an internet radio station, let’s first address some concerns you might have about internet radio broadcasting.

Common Questions

These are some frequently asked questions that you may find useful, so let’s get to it!

“I’m new to internet radio broadcasting and not super technical, is there someone that can help me?”

Certainly! At Radio.co we have a dedicated team of in-house experts who can walk you through our system and answer any questions you might have, plus there’s a support team on standby ready to help look into anything for you if need be, just drop them a message.

“Do I need expensive equipment to broadcast?”

Nope, you just need a computer or laptop, an internet connection, and a microphone, you can even get away with a built-in mic!

When you’re first starting out it’s 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 you would need a dedicated machine running around the clock streaming your audio. It’s easier to automate your shows using Radio.co’s scheduler, this way you can switch between live and automated tracks to make sure your broadcast never ends.

“FM/AM & DAB require a license to broadcast - Do I need one for my internet radio station?”

Unlike terrestrial radio, you don’t actually need to own a license to broadcast, however, if your station is going to be playing commercial music then we have a few suggestions you can check out.

There are quite a lot of common questions broadcasters have when it comes to internet radio, that’s why we’ve compiled a full list of answers to give you a clear idea.

Common Questions Answered

Fundamentals of Internet Radio

Understanding the basics of setting up an internet radio station and how it works helps you know what to look out for and gives a clearer picture of how your audio travels from point A to point B and gets to your listeners.

How it Works

There are 3 basic stages when it comes to internet broadcasting:

  1. Source (You): Your computer captures audio, this can be live voice or music, then it converts it into a stream of data packets which are sent to a server.
  2. Server (Provider): When your stream arrives at the server it’s cleaned up and dispensed to the appropriate channels.
  3. Listener (Everyone): Wherever your broadcast is online, if there’s a media player or direct streaming link to the server, anyone can connect and hear you.

Quite straightforward, right? Your content is pushed to the internet, managed in the cloud via server providers like Radio.co, and distributed to your audience worldwide.

Now let’s break down what’s on offer with internet radio providers to explain the nitty-gritty details.

Server Costs

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. They need to cover their own costs and make a profit to run their business, so they’ll probably be cheap for a reason.

Bandwidth

The content you're streaming to listeners uses bandwidth, which costs money depending on the quality of the stream and how frequently you’re broadcasting. Use Radio Toolbox to determine roughly how much you will use before setting up an internet radio station.

Listener Caps

Servers have limits, without them, they overload when pushed too far, that’s what listener caps are for, to prevent server loads becoming unmanageable and deteriorating streams.

Media Management

Storage space for your station determines how many tracks you can upload to your media, for instance, 10GB is enough for around 2,500 tracks and 50GB is 12,500 tracks.

Tuning In

There are multiple ways listeners can tune in to your station, either directly on your server and port like https://streaming.radio.co/s5c5da6a36/listen, through internet radio directories, or on an embedded player on your site.

Internet radio providers offer several different methods you can give listeners to access your stream, but the more the better; it might be a player on your website, your own mobile app (iOS and Android), or on as many directories and third-party spaces as you can manage.

Automated Broadcasting 24/7

Running a radio station live throughout the week can be exhausting, especially in the long term. That’s where automation can help.

Our services as Radio.co provide an all in one solution to create round the clock radio shows, not to mention it gives you peace of mind knowing your radio station is running non-stop with no interference.

Birdsong

Birdsong is a radio station built and run by Radio.co.

It’s accessible via DAB worldwide online, and runs a 24/7 stream of relaxing ambiance, so using an automated system is absolutely essential! The station uses playlists to compile calming shows and then broadcasts them using the scheduler throughout the week.

Friends & DJ Takeovers

If automating your station isn’t really your thing then you can invite your friends and DJ’s to take over your broadcasts when you’re 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. If they try to jump on air outside of their slot, they won’t be able to access the station, so you can sleep soundly knowing your shows are safe.

You can do a whole bunch of cool things with radio automation, just check out this article which explains absolutely everything!

Live Broadcasting

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 fans about current events, tracks you’re broadcasting, and give shout-outs to listeners; everyone loves hearing their name on the radio!

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’re a first-time internet radio broadcaster looking for something simple or an experienced professional scouting for a better alternative, there are plenty of choices - ranging from easy “click and broadcast” to complex “oh my god why are there so many buttons” solutions.

Whatever you’re after, it’s best to weigh up the options, that’s why you should educate yourself on the best radio broadcasting solutions you should check out.

Best Radio Broadcasting Software You Should Know

Station Branding

Coca-cola, Apple, and McDonald’s all have something very similar in common; they each have very strong and recognisable brands.

If your station can easily be recognised by its logo, slogan, or the type of music you play, then you’re doing something right! Your station should have a strong brand to stand out from the competition and other choices available online.

The “WOW” Factor

Owning an internet radio station that’s broadcasting 24/7 isn’t always enough, you need to stand out and be someone worth following to build your audience, especially early on so you have the essentials in place. Take relax and chill station Buzz Beach Radio.

Buzz Beach Radio

They have a consistent brand with tracks they play, the artwork they use for content on their site, and how they position themselves online through advertisements and tone.

Buzz Beach Radio Ad

Your station's branding should be just as memorable and individual so you stick in people's minds.

Setup Your Internet Radio Station

Now it’s your turn. Use this as a launch pad to push you towards launching the internet radio station of your dreams.

You should know some of the essentials of internet radio broadcasting, how automation can help with the sometimes heavy load of running your own station, the different solutions you have access to broadcast live, and how you should brand yourself to stand out from the masses online.

Got questions about setting up an internet radio station? Our team here at Radio.co know just how tricky it is setting up an internet radio station for the first time and the hurdles you’re up against. That’s why we pool our resources together to bring you free content to give you advice, give you access to a team of in-house experts to chat with, and have a support team on standby to lend a helping hand- Not to mention you can try Radio.co for free for 7 days!

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