What is a Streaming Radio Station?
Online radio has been popular for many years and now it’s easier than ever to create your own radio station.
Online radio is similar but different from a podcast. With a podcast, you can record your audio as an episode and upload it to your website and many podcast hosts, such as iTunes and SoundCloud, where listeners can stream or download the episode to listen when they want.
With an online radio station, your audio streams to your listeners live from a server. Create your own content, stream music, talk shows, preaching, old-time radio dramas, and more. It’s similar to a regular radio station, but the listener uses a website player or mobile app to hear the audio. You can submit your radio station to internet radio directories.
Types of Broadcasting
There are two ways to broadcast your stream and you can do them in combination.
It’s possible to automate your broadcast so you don’t have to attend the station 24/7 in order to remain on the air. The system will play your playlist and pre-recorded audio according to the schedule you set up.
With live broadcasting, a DJ talks over the air to the audience in real-time. This is the best way to connect to your radio listeners. You can talk to your listeners, have them call in, do phone interviews, etc.
You don’t need a lot of equipment to run an online radio station. You can start cheap and upgrade as you need to. Here are the basics.
Studio – you need a quiet place where you can talk on the radio without interruptions and without external noise. A corner of a room would give you some good acoustics, but you could be anywhere as long as you like the sound.
Computer – if you plan to stream the content yourself then you’ll need a dedicated computer with a lot of storage.
Microphone – this is only needed if you plan to talk on the air. Consider how many people will be talking into the same microphone. Also, you’ll need a stand with a shock mount and a pop filter, and, depending on the level of quality and number of microphones you want, a mixer. Practically any microphone setup that’s good for podcasting is good for online radio.
Headphones – this is needed so any sound coming through your speakers won’t be picked up by the microphone. This allows you to confirm you’re on the air and hear your guests and callers.
Internet connection – you’ll need a fast and reliable connection to stream audio.
Broadcasting Software – you can host the stream yourself using free software or use a service. A service can handle streaming, management, statistics, and other needs. There are lots of services and they vary in bandwidth, storage, listener caps, etc. They provide a stream URL and the player and apps use. Some handle the licensing for commercial music. Some store the content for you, while others stream from your computer.