How to Create Your Own Internet Radio Station

Become an Online Broadcaster

Pat Matthews, Internet Broadcaster
Pat Matthews, Internet Broadcaster. Photo: Pat Matthews

Today's technology allows anyone to do what was once limited to a small percentage of people. Now you can become a broadcaster, DJ, and program director all at the same time.

The approach you take to creating streaming internet radio depends on your goals, the learning curve you're willing to undertake, and your budget. If you are truly inspired to begin an internet-based radio station that operates for the purpose of generating revenue, your path will be different than for someone who just wants to share favorite music or opinions with friends or like-minded people.

Several excellent options for the novice require very little technical knowledge. If you can create or assemble MP3 files, upload them, and choose a few options, you can reach a global audience.

Live365.com: Affordable and Easy to Use

Live 365 was among the first providers of independent web-based internet radio streams. Live365 acts as your transmitter: Their technology allows thousands of audio streams to use their servers to make internet broadcasting simple. Getting started is easy, and so is listening. Live365 offers several paid options. As of August 2017 they are:

  • Broadcast 1: $59 per month; 25GB storage
  • Broadcast 2: $99 per month; 50GB storage
  • Broadcast 3: $199 per month; 100GB storage

All offer an unlimited number of listeners, unlimited bandwidth, U.S. music licensing, monetization capability, and a handful of other features.

Radionomy: Free and Easy to Use

The main interface that Radionomy creators use is the "Radio Manager." This web-based dashboard puts all the controls in one place to run your own online radio station.

You select the name of your station, music, and rules for music rotation. Just upload your media, and within 24 hours, it's streaming.

DIY: Free but Down in the Weeds

If you don't want to pay the fees or use a third party to host your internet radio stream—and you are a do-it-yourself kind of person—you might do well creating your own online radio station.

This setup uses your own computer as a dedicated server to do the job. Some of the software options for setting up your online radio station in this way include:

  • Quicktime Broadcaster. Apple.com offers this description: "Combining the power of QuickTime with Apple's ease of use, QuickTime Broadcaster allows just about anyone to produce a live broadcast event." 
  • PeercastPeercast is a nonprofit site that provides free peer-to-peer broadcasting software. Using peer-to-peer (P2P) technology, Peercast allows you to create your own radio programs without the costs of other streaming services.
  • Icecast. Icecast is another nonprofit solution for streaming audio and video. According to its website, its chief selling points are versatility with formats and its support of communication and interaction standards. 
  • Andromeda. Andromeda is delivery-on-demand software that allows you to stream your audio content. All you do is add it to your Andromeda-powered site.

Expenses

Expenses vary greatly depending on the size of your broadcast and the method you're using to send it out into the world. You can choose a third party to host your broadcast or spend a few thousand dollars to buy a computer to act as a server.

Other potential expenses you might incur include:

  • Electricity
  • CDs or music files
  • Microphone
  • Mixer board
  • DJ talent fees
  • Promotional expenditures (should you decide to create a live, revenue-generating online radio station)

Whichever direction you take, remember: Your first priorities should be to please your listeners and to enjoy your newfound platform.