Internet Radio is the new thing that people are appreciating. You could be a radio sensation by starting your own internet radio station. An own radio station over the internet gives you complete control to program what you want. However, this is not as easy as it seems. The Internet is the most dynamic business forum, and if you are launching a venture via it, you will be solely responsible for branding, updating, building audience, and marketing.
Running an internet radio can fetch you good money if you know how to start and from where to start. If you always have dreamed of owning one, read this blog post because we have shared the process to set up an internet radio station. We will take you through the fundamentals, through the steps and all up to the tips in this article.
So, let’s get started, shall we?
What is Internet Radio?
Internet radio is accessed online with the help of Wi-Fi or broadband connection, unlike traditional radio that requires an aerial to receive it. One doesn’t need a conventional radio to listen to internet radio. Web browser, media player, mobile app, smart tv, tablet or even the laptop can act as the transmitter for your radio programs. There are innumerable benefits that an internet radio gives to the audience. Firstly, one can listen to radio shows across the world in real time. This is possible because unlike traditional radio, internet radio does not limit to what the signals broadcast locally.
Manual tuning is also eliminated here. Listeners also enjoy uninterrupted programme without any signal problem. Several internet radio stations allow listeners to listen to audios from shows of the previous week, and some even from the past month. Signal strength is not an issue as well. One just needs a Wi-Fi connection, and just like how you stream YouTube videos, you can stream high-quality recordings seamlessly.
What’s more? Internet radio also allows listeners to stream music through subscriptions, offering you several reasons to stick to internet radio more than ever. Since it is all new and popular, you can hoist your flag sooner as an expert internet radio artist.
How Does it Work?
You need to understand the basics of internet radio broadcasting so that you can know what to look out for. It will also help you gain more audiences in the future. Basically, there are 3 fundamental stages of internet radio broadcasting:
- The Source: You are going to be the source. Your computer will mix the audio, which can be either live music or recorded voice. Then the audio is converted into a stream of data packets, which are sent to the server.
- The Server: The server is the radio provider. When your audio stream reaches the server, it cleans up and dispenses to audio stream to appropriate channels.
- The Listener: When your broadcast is out on the internet, anyone can connect and hear your audio either via direct stream link or through a media record player.
It is just a three-step process where your audio is sent to the internet, the service provider manages the content in the cloud, and then it is distributed to the right audience.
Steps to Setup an Internet Radio Station
Step 1: Equipment You Will Need
You just need a computer or laptop, a very fast internet connection, and content. Content refers to your audio, which can be your music, pre-recorded talk shows, or live programme. You would also require a microphone and digital recording software if you wish to broadcast sports shows, talk radio, or comment on music in between.
Step 2: Find Your Server Provider
Once you have arranged your gears, find your service provider. A service provider is a stream hosting provider that gives you the required platform to upload your playlist or broadcast your recorded or live content using an encoder. You need to do some research to figure out what you want out of your internet station and based on it, choose your service provider.
When choosing your server provider, you need to consider certain things, such as:
Server Provider Cost
Just as you pay for your web hosting services, you will also have to pay for your internet radio station hosting. Through data centers, providers house radio stations on the servers. However, if you want reliable servers, the price will be more depending upon the memory capacity, storage, speed etc. Choose a provider that is reliable and not too cheap. Low-cost providers may not offer quality services.
The content, which is your music, talk show, live concert or whatever you offer to your listeners, is streamed on the net. This streamed content is called bandwidth. The bandwidth will cost you a few extra dollars, based on its quality and your broadcasting frequency. You can use a radio toolbox to determine how much bandwidth you will be using. Calculating the bandwidth is very important before setting up the radio station to determine your cost or your budget.
Media management is basically managing the storage space of your station. The storage space will determine how many tracks you can upload. For instance, if you want to upload 2500 tracks, 10 GB storage space is enough and if you want to upload 12, 500 tracks you will require 50 GB space.
Listener caps are important for them to prevent servers from overloading and becoming unmanageable. Both can instigate stream deterioration. Servers come with limitation and without limits they can fall apart if pushed.
You also need to determine how you would want your listeners to tune into your radio station. They can directly tune into your server or port, or through internet radio directories or via an embedded player in your device.
Usually, internet radio providers offer several different methods for listeners to access their streams. Choose a provider that has more types, such as a player on the website, on your smartphone, third-party places, or more number of directories.
Step 3: Types of Broadcasting
You can choose between Automated Broadcasting and Live Broadcasting or use both to broadcast your content to the audience.
Automating broadcasting systemizes and automates your schedule and run your radio station, eliminating the need to stay live throughout the week. Most reliable and noteworthy service providers offer all in one solution to develop round the clock shows. Automated broadcasting also lets you relax with the knowledge that your show will be running non-stop and managed by professionals.
Automation is pretty great, but don’t you think Radio is better when it is live? If you want to set up and run a successful internet radio station, then go live broadcasting. The positive effect that talking in real time to your fans gives is unsurpassable by any automated broadcasting. You can talk to your fans about current affair and events, about a particular niche or topic, about the tracks you are broadcasting and anything else that is just the in-thing. Do not forget to give shout-outs. It is the most frenzied part of the radio and everyone loves it.
Step 4: Choose Your Broadcasting Solution
You have to make internet radio as easy as possible, for both yourself as well as the listener. From monetizing, distribution, to broadcasting, you need a software solution to make your efforts seamless but effective.
Whether you are new to internet radio or you are an expert in the profession, there are plenty of choices in broadcasting solution software for you. You can choose between a simple solution and a professional programme. However, you must go through and research several options before you decide on the right one. You can check out these radio broadcasting software solutions to get an idea before you begin your journey. Most come with a trial period, for life as well as automated broadcasting requirements.
Step 5: Brand Your Station
You need to start branding now. Creative branding is the first thing that people should practice to a targeta niche audience. Apple, Star Bucks, Coca-cola, McDonald’s are all recognized brands, but they have something very strong going in common – a good branding. The first step to branding is getting your logo done and creating your tagline or slogan. Your radio should be easily recognized by the logo, slogan, or theme music. To wade off competition and become a niche expert branding is a very important part of advertising and marketing.
Here are a few branding tips you can use to strengthen your station branding:
- Think about how you can stand out. Create a ‘wow’ factor. You have to be someone who is worth following. So, you need to be different from your competitors; not just different, but something additional, in terms of content, music, charisma, timing, and people.
- In order to bring out the ‘wow’ factor, develop theme music, artwork, classic logo, a different tone, and unique ad campaigns.
- Offer quite a few options to your niche audience. Choose a topic that has several sub-topics to speak on and discuss. You customers will stick to you only when they have more choices to choose from you.
- Create a very artistic and interesting logo.
Don’t Forget about Advertising and Promotion:
You also have to think about how you plan to look after the distribution of your content. You can either promote the station yourself, using various mediums, such as social media, television, newspaper ads etc. or let a digital marketing service provider do the work for you. All budding internet radio station owners prefer saving money by promoting their radio stations themselves. But, if you have the money to outsource a service expert then why not?
You could actually pay less to your service provider by letting commercial ads play on your station. The more companies use your station to post their ad campaigns, the lesser you pay (or the more profit you make). However, if you wish to bring your own ads, you need to discuss it with the service provider. Charges may vary based on your mutual agreement.
Step 6: Apply for Licenses and Permits
Running a legal internet radio station is just like running your business online. Depending upon the type of content you are broadcasting, be it music, entertainment, sports, or chat show, you will need to apply for a license to legally broadcast the content. Licensing is required to cover the copyrights law. You may also want to ensure that you conform to all internet rules and permits with respect to media and entertainment business. Streaming content, especially music, on the internet radio requires having the rights to both the music and composition.
However, if you are playing royalty free music or if you have direct hold of the rights to that particular music, either from the owner of the music or from the rights’ holder, you do not need licensing coverage to stream music on the internet.
Pro Tips for Internet Radio Broadcasting
- Know your TLH, as in Total Listening Hours. Your paid plan will heavily rely on your TLH. Most providers offer different levels of THL for you to choose from. THL is calculated as (Number of Listeners + Average Minutes Listened) / Minutes in an Hour. So, if you have 40 listeners, and their average minutes listened is 30, then your THL will be 20.
- Produce excellent audio quality. Radio is all about audio, so ensure that all audio is of HD quality.
- Speak clearly and loudly. Keep your mouth close to the mic.
- Make your radio specific to a particular niche. Choose a particular genre and focus on that.
- Make branding a consistent part of your growth process; without it, your radio station will easily be forgotten.
- Interact with your listeners, right from their interest, lifestyle, to their demographics and choices. Use what you know about them in your content. Include live sessions so that listeners are able to communicate their views with you.
- Conduct surveys, check out listener statistics, and use social media analytics, and based on the results, enhance your listeners’
- You may have an audience from across the world listening to your content. So think globally and incorporate international content.
Hope our post helped you to form your plan to set up an internet radio station. Have any doubts? Please connect below through comments.