What to KnowDecide what type of show you want to create, then choose an internet radio service, such as Live365, Shoutcast, Radio.co, or Airtime Pro.Alternatively, consider a DIY software package, such as PeerCast, Icecast, or Andromeda.Expenses vary depending on your broadcast size and services, so budget accordingly.
Today's web technology makes it easy for anyone to become a broadcaster, DJ, or program director with your own internet radio station. Depending on your goals and budget, there are several ways to get started. Here's a brief overview of how to make your own internet radio station.
Determine Your Internet Radio Goals
Think about your internet radio station goals. Do you want to make money? Explore an interest? Have some fun sharing opinions or your favorite music? Narrowing down your approach will give you an idea of the amount of time and money you want to invest.
Don't worry if you aren't super technical. Many radio station-building methods are great for novices, requiring minimal tech knowledge. If you know how to create and upload audio files, you'll be able to reach a global audience.
Before you get started, think about the kind of radio program you want. Research the different types of shows out there and learn about show promotion and the other behind-the-scenes duties you'll need to carry out.
Use an Internet Radio Service
There are several internet radio services out there that take the guesswork out of launching your own radio program.
Live365 is a web-based radio pioneer, helping users build licensed and legal online radio stations as part of the Live365 online radio network. Access monetization methods and statistics as you remotely manage your radio station.
Live365 offers several paid tiers, with less expensive options if you opt for an ad-supported setup to help offset costs. Prices range from $59 to $199 per month, depending on how much storage and total listening hours (TLH) you have in mind.
All Live365 plans offer an unlimited number of listeners and unlimited bandwidth, along with U.S., Canada, and U.K. music licensing.
Live365 offers a free seven-day trial. Contact the company for its Pro packages if you need more total listening hours.
Shoutcast is another option for making your own radio station online, appealing to pros and newbies alike. Its free plan, Shoutcast Server Software Freemium, is a great way to get involved with online radio without making an investment.
Shoutcast's free plan and Software Premium plan ($9.90 monthly) are set up so you host your station on your own server. If you want something more robust, try Shoutcast for Business ($14.90), which is hosted on Shoutcast's servers and offers more advanced features.
Radio.co is a simple broadcasting platform that will help you create and automate your station and then go live. Radio.co is more full-featured than some of the other options, but if you're looking for scheduling, voice tracking, viewer engagement, and other more robust features, this is a great service to try. Prices start at $49 monthly.
Airtime Pro is another full-featured option that's great for starting, managing, and monetizing your radio station. Prices start at $9.95 per month.
DIY Options for Building an Internet Radio Station
If you're more interested in a DIY radio station project, various software packages can help you get started. With these options, you'll use your computer as a dedicated server.
Here are a few software packages to consider:
PeerCast is a nonprofit site that provides free peer-to-peer broadcasting software to help you create your own radio programs.
Icecast is another nonprofit solution for streaming audio and video. It offers file format versatility and support for communication and interaction standards.
Andromeda is delivery-on-demand software that allows you to stream your audio content via an Andromeda-powered site.
Expenses to Expect
Internet radio expenses vary greatly depending on the size of your broadcast and what services you're using. If you're using your own computer as a server, expect to spend several thousand dollars on an adequate machine.
You'll also need to think about costs such as electricity, music files, microphones, a mixer board, DJ talent fees, and promotional expenditures.
Whichever direction you take, remember to have fun, keep your listeners' best interests at heart, and use your new platform wisely and responsibly.