How to Create Your Own Internet Radio Station

Decide What Your Goals Are

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

So, you want to be a broadcaster? Great! Lucky for you today's technology allows anyone to do what was once limited to a small percentage of people. Now you can become a broadcaster, you can be the deejay, you can be the Program Director who decides what to broadcast to the world - thanks to the Internet.

There are several approaches to creating streaming Internet radio and which one you choose depends on your goals and the learning curve you wish to undertake.

If you are truly inspired to begin a Internet-based Radio station that operates for the purpose of profit and generating revenue, your path will be different than from the person who just wants to set up a broadcast to simply share his or her favorite music or opinions with friends or like-minded people.

There are excellent options for the novice which 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!

So, keep reading because you're about to enter the world of online radio.

Live365.com - Affordable and Easy
 

Live 365 is the premiere provider of independent web-based Internet radio streams. What Live365 does is act as your "transmitter". They have constructed the infrastructure to allow thousands of audio streams to use their servers to make Internet broadcasting simple. It's easy to begin broadcasting with them and it's easy for listeners to hear your broadcast. Live365 offers several options.

(Direct Link)

Personal Stations

Live365.com offers packages for "personal stations" and "Professional stations". With a personal station you can broadcast your favorite music or talk for a relatively small amount of money.

Packages for personal stations begin as low as $4.00/month to $99.95/month. The more expensive the package, the more server space you receive and the more listeners can simultaneously listen to your Internet stream. Plus: Live365.com pays all royalty fees to organizations like SoundExchange, BMI, ASCAP, and SESAC. (Direct Link)

There are six Personal broadcasting packages. Live365.fom says the most popular one is the "Gold" at $29.95/month. With it you receive 28K sound quality, 1GB of Storage, the ability for 60 people to listen at the same time (in Basic Mode) or 30 Live Mode Listeners,unlimited VIP Listeners, and the ability to upgrade at any time. Live365.com is by far the easiest solution for most people.

The company provides excellent software to help you create your station and does all the heavy lifting. All you have to do is be creative! Plus: there's a 7-day free trial. (Direct Link)

Professional Stations

Live365 Professional Broadcasting Servces allow you to create live or pre-recorded streams, earn revenue through your own advertising, put links to your station on your own website and stream through popular players like Windows Media, iTunes, Winamp, and more.

The prices for the Professional packages are disclosed when you contact Live365.com. According to their website: "Live365 offers full royalty/licensing coverage for SoundExchange, ASCAP, BMI and SESAC. Your station gets wide distribution including Live365.com (preferred station status), iTunes Radio (128k stations only), Mobile Apps (iPhone, Android), TiVo (home listening), Roku (home listening), and more. According to the Live365 website, it is "...the ONLY internet radio service that offers full music licensing for your station and website." In other words, if you're running a station with music, you pay a fee to Live365.com and the service worries about royalty payments. Professional packages start at $99/month (for talk radio) and $107/month for music stations. (Direct Link)

The software lets the user broadcast live at any time to ubroadcast listeners or upload MP3 and WAV music files, commercials, and other pre-recorded content to play on their ubroadcast station 24 hours-a-day. "Station Manager" is designed to be used by someone with no prior broadcast experience.

Free - from Low to High Learning Curves


Radionomy is free and easy to use. You can create your own online radio station. The main interface creators use is the "Radio Manager." This web-based dashboard allows puts all the controls in one place to run your own online radio station. You select the name of your station, choose the musical genre and songs, set up the rules for music rotation, upload an image for it and within 24 hours it's streaming.

Free But Down in the Weeds

If you wish to set up a broadcast and don't want to pay the fees a other 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 by using your own personal computer to create a dedicated server for doing the job.

Some of the software options for getting this done include:

Quicktime Streaming Server

Apple.com says: "Whether you are looking to add streaming media to your web site, deliver distance learning or provide rich content for your mobile subscribers, Mac OS X Server has all of the tools you need. QuickTime Streaming Server lets you deliver live or prerecorded content in real time over the Internet." You can find out more at apple.com.

Quicktime Broadcaster

Apple.com writes: "Combining the power of QuickTime with Apple's ease of use, QuickTime Broadcaster allows just about anyone to produce a live broadcast event." Download this software from apple.com

Peercast

Peercast.org is a non-profit website that provides free peer-to-peer broadcasting software. "PeerCast is a simple, free way to listen to radio and watch video on the Internet. It uses P2P technology to let anyone become a broadcaster without the costs of traditional streaming," according to the peercast.org website.

Icecast

Icecast is "free server software for streaming multimedia." Download a copy from icecast.org.

Andromeda

Andromeda is delivery-on-demand software. "Andromeda scans your MP3s and presents them as a fully-featured streaming Web site. That means you simply add, move, rename, and delete files and folders to update the contents of your Andromeda-powered site. It's as easy as drag, drop, stream," according to turnstyle.com where you can download an evaluation copy.

If you decide to broadcast with Live365.com, they cover your royalties if you buy a Personal Broadcasting package. Professional packages requires a royalty fee paid to Live365.com and then the company handles payments on your behalf.

If you endeavor to be a profit-making webcaster, depending on your status, you might qualify to pay royalties based on a percentage of your revenue. Larger commercial broadcasts fall under other guidelines.

That said, different classes of online broadcasters (non-profit, etc.) have different rates.

For a complete explanation of the current royalty situation that applies to webcasters, see the Summary of the Determination of the Librarian of Congress on Rates and Terms for Webcasting

The Bottom Line

Your expenses are going to vary greatly depending on how big of a broadcast you plan to create. Aside from fees paid to a third party to host your broadcast, you may decide to invest in a computer to act as a server which can cost up to several thousand dollars.

Other potential expenses you might incur include the cost of electricity, the cost of CDs or music files, a microphone, a mixer board, DJ talent fees and even promotional expenditures should you decide to create a live, revenue-generating online radio station.

Whichever direction you should decide to go in, remember: your first priority is to please your listeners and always try and keep it fun!