Back in the day before the internet and before computers became a household item, starting your very own radio station was a daunting task. It meant complying with government regulations and permits, spending copious amounts of cash to buy equipment, and quite possibly renting office space and setting up just right. We haven’t even touched on marketing, advertising and hiring a competent DJ to run the tracks, a manager to handle everything, and a sound engineer to make sure everything sounds crisp and clear. Let me repeat. Not impossible but expensive and complicated and time consuming
However, thanks to the internet and computers going down in prices, creating your own radio station has never been easier. In as little as a day (assuming you already have the tracks and decent internet connection) you can start running and broadcasting your own radio station. Take note that we are referring to an internet radio station and not your local AM/FM radio station.
So let's have a checklist of sorts.
First off you’ll need a computer or a laptop. Easy enough as most people have one, and no it doesn’t have to be a top-of-the-line model i7 running at 4.0Ghz with 128Gb of RAM. What you need to remember is whether or not it meets the requirements of your broadcasting program (if you choose to use one). An i3 with a minimum of 8Gb of RAM would be good enough to use and you definitely will want a speaker or earphones so you can check the tracks that you are putting out.
An internet connection. You want an internet radio station right? Make sure those bills are paid and the connection constant especially if you choose to use your own software to broadcast. Now the question is, how much download or upload speed do you need? This is one of those cases were bigger or higher is better but more important to consider is the latency and consistency. You do not want your connection to be intermittent cutting off every minute or so, nor do you want to have so much latency that it your listeners are wondering why it keeps buffering on their end. Nope, the last thing anybody wants when listening to music or a program is the signal cutting off just when it gets to the best parts.
AutoDJ vs Broadcast Software. We have already covered the pros and cons of using Autodj in the article titled “AutoDJ: Yay or Nay?” Should you wish to use AutoDJ there are a number of tutorials, including setting up playlists, available from our website under the Help section. If you do decide to use your own broadcasting software we recommend Mixxx as it is free and we have also added a tutorial for you on the website. Try using the AutoDJ feature in Centova first before delving into other programs just to get the feel of running a radio station and as demand or your needs go up then start looking at other programs. Don’t complicate things when you start out as it often ends in frustration.
Tracks. Well it is a radio station so it needs stuff to share to the world right? Unless you want to be talking non-stop for 8 to 16 hrs a day you wanna make sure you have something to play either in your Autodj or from your computer. Tracks can be anything from music to pre-recorded shows that you’ve done (and not recorded programs online or from the telly. Think legal matters.) Should you wish to use the AutoDJ feature in Centova then make sure you have those uploaded to the server. A playlist isn’t really a necessity but you will want it when you want to have some sort of order. If you’re running your station from your PC or laptop, make sure you have more than enough memory (physical and virtual) to store the files and to keep the program running.
A radio server. Yep, a radio server. So what's the deal of having a radio server? Well someone has to store your radio station and you need someone to help you broadcast those as well. Unless you want to buy a dedicated physical machine and install it in your basement, get your stuff registered and make things more complicated, then you’ll need someone like FastCast4u. We are the ones that get your stuff out to the world. We provide the necessary bandwidth that allows multiple listeners to access your stream simultaneously.
This is pretty much just a basic list to start your own station. The list can get more complicated when you start talking about physical equipment like microphones, phone-ins, mixers, etc. Take some baby steps for now til you get the hang of it. Eventually you will want more, so check other sources online as well.