June 2, 2016
Can’t Find a Great Radio Station? Consider Starting One Online
Maybe your community doesn’t have a station for your favorite genre? Or you would simply prefer more control over what is (or isn’t) played? Regardless of your reasons, starting your own radio station online is an option.
But how do you get started? It’s actually easier than you think.
Music Only Channels
There are multiple free streaming services available online. All you need to do is create an account, pick your content, and get going. If your songs are available through an MP3 player, you just need to get a male-to-male audio cable at an appropriate size and connect the player’s headphone jack to a computer’s microphone jack. Then, anyone who accesses the stream will hear whatever music you are playing.
Some services, like Twitch, support playlists created on YouTube. This means you can create a playlist and it can run regardless of whether you are online. Then, listeners can enjoy the stream even if you aren’t logged in yourself.
Adding a DJ
As you can see, creating a music only feed is fairly simple. But, if you want to be able to speak to your listeners, you’ll need a little more. The only equipment you need is a suitable microphone, but you might need to get suitable software that will let your vocal stylings be streamed. This includes a method for converting your audio into suitable file types as well as one to emulate server operations.
If you are performing server operations, you need to secure suitable bandwidth based on your anticipated listener base. In this case, your upstream speed is more important to consider. This may require an upgrade in your internet service or even your equipment and cabling. Alternatively, you can work with outside sources to provide the bandwidth you need as it alleviates the pressure on your system.
Upgrading Your Space
While the occasional ambient sounds may be acceptable in the beginning, if your station rises in popularity, you may need to upgrade. This can include creating a soundproof space within your current home or potentially locating a new property with an appropriate room. Either process can be time-consuming and pricey.
If you want to soundproof a room in your home, you will need to improve the quality of the insulation and possibly the windows and doors. The project might be manageable for those with certain construction skills, but others may be better served by hiring a professional.
For those interested in purchasing a property, you can work with a mortgage broker to determine your budget. They will be able to tell you the size of loans for which you qualify based on the intended property type. Purchasing a primary home is different than second homes, vacation properties, or business locations. Each has its own loan requirements and restrictions, so working with a professional may be necessary to make sure all of the requirements are met.
Upgrading Equipment and Streaming Services
If the popularity of your station continues to rise, then it could be time to invest in higher-quality equipment and streaming services. While free options may be suitable for quite some time, they may not do the job forever. If you find that the number of listeners coming in degrades the quality of service, then an upgrade may be in order.
Luckily, once your popularity reaches that level, you may be able to support these upgrades with advertising contracts. And, who know, maybe the station can become your full-time job one day.