Advancements in technology mean that anyone can now set up their own internet radio station. Far from being a drain on your time, resources and forward-thinking, it’s super easy to get your idea to broadcast. Digital radio is a force to be reckoned with. There’s no holding your DJ ambitions back from fulfilment, providing you have the desire to maintain them. Yet, if you’re searching for a plan, let’s take it by the horns, and figure out how to start a radio station… Look out for the special offer at the bottom of the article!
Step One – Get The Right Software
It’s incredibly vital that your software/hardware combo does exactly what you want it to. The good news is that the full package is close at hand in the 21st century. All you require, really, is a computer, a quality microphone, and an automated software investment that makes playlist creation a breeze.
SAM Broadcaster Cloud is one such provision, and it’s the only internet radio tool you’ll ever need. When you are scaling up or down with your listener base it is handy with a wide range of pre-sets to make use of. As well as live streaming features and a breakdown of who’s listening (and where they are) at any given moment.
What’s more, Spacial’s Jingles & Drops feature is a winner. You can add your jingles & drops to both SAM Broadcaster Cloud & SAM Broadcaster Pro. With the latter, we’ve introduced a new, intuitive drop window to help you easily manage your jingle content.
Step Two – Find Your Radio Sanctuary
Whatever the place you’ll be broadcasting from – a school, an office, your own home study – it’s imperative to find a space that relaxes you, and is relatively noise-free. This’ll be the HQ you’ll return to. Even in times when the automated software keeps an eye on things. Furthermore, you’ll want somewhere that’s comfortable, closed off from the world, and big enough for any guests you bring into the studio.
Step Three – Online Home For Your Station
At this stage, you should also invest in a website with radio streaming capabilities: there are a host of great providers out there. SAM Broadcaster Cloud takes away this headache, as it comes with a hosted player page, meaning you do not need to get a website developed from scratch.
If you however want to create your own website, you need to create a professional, eye catching online home for your radio station. A few guidelines have been listed for you below:
- Choose the right colour scheme for your website. Colours signify the brand in a big way, with black associated with power and sophistication.
- They are a number of professional themes designed for radio, so ensure you choose the right one. WordPress, Joomla or Drupal are content management systems you can use to build your website and they have numerous responsive themes to choose from. Good place for you to look is Theme Forest. You need to make sure that the theme you choose is still maintained by developers. This is VERY important as you want to make sure that your theme is updated with latest bug fixes and adapted to forever changing web!
- If you love using website backgrounds, ensure that you choose subtle colours so that you don’t overshadow your brand
- Content is everything. Add interesting content to your website such as show slots, upcoming events, competitions and testimonials.. Use blog feature to do so. This will allow you to share the content with your listeners via social media in an easy way.
- How active are you on social media? Make sure to choose the right platform for your listeners. Social media offers a great opportunity to connect with your listeners and engage them with the content you create.
Step Four– Stay On The Right Side Of Law
Licensing can be a straightjacket for your creative work. Internet radio is no exception. Every country, including the UK and USA, has a licensing body that monitors what can and can’t be broadcasted. This relates specifically to stations that choose to play music on air.
The license you need to pay will vary depending on the size of your audience, and the number of ‘performances’ (listens, in plain-speak) that you have throughout the year. If you want to start small and avoid licensing you could look at playing only royalty free music and audio clips. The key is however to be 100% sure that it is the case. If you choose to go with the mainstream music below is a guideline for the US and UK markets.
As 2015 came to a close, the US Copyright Royalty Board (CRB) reviewed its rates for the period 2016-2020. The new rates published by the Copyright Royalty Board for 2016-2020 apply to US internet broadcasters of all sizes. If you are a non-commercial broadcaster you will be obliged to pay an annual fee of $500.
Furthermore, stations or channels that broadcast over 159,140 Aggregate Tuning Hours must pay royalty fees of $0.0017 per performance in 2016, a figure that may be adjusted in subsequent years.
See the official statement from CRB.
For the UK market, streaming professional recordings, needs validation from the PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited). You can buy a starter, yearly license for £211+ VAT if you’re classed as a ‘small’ radio station. This means you earn less than £5,000 from your hobby, and have fewer than 270,000 listens (one listener per track) over 12 months.
The step up option is a Standard Radio Service rate, which is £400, carrying no limit on listens and the rights to stream in global territories. You’ll have to submit quarterly reports on your streaming activity, including how far apart you’ve spaced plays from a certain artist – the PPL does not want you to blanket a station in an exclusive, biased library.
Written by: Thaka Mandiwona
Thaka Mandiwona is the Digital Marketing Manager for Spacial Audio. Spacial Audio is the leading Internet Radio Software provider, used by more than 200,000 radio stations in over 150 countries. Spacial Audio’s award winning products include SAM Broadcaster Pro, SAM DJ, , and Spacial’s top selling solution SAM Broadcaster Cloud.
Do you want to make your broadcasting wishes come true? Then we have great news for you! We have teamed up with our friends at Spacial to give you, our valued customers an exclusive deal to help you kick start and create your own Internet Radio Station.
Our friends at Spacial are offering you 25% OFF SAM Broadcaster Pro and SAM Broadcaster Cloud Packages (both monthly & yearly). *The discount is applicable for initial payments only and cannot be applied to existing services. The promotion ends on 01st May 2017 so hurry and buy today!
How to claim?
Head over to http://spacial.com/what-we-do-features/, select the product of your choice and add the product to the shopping cart. In the shopping cart, select the option ‘Check to enter the coupon code’ and enter the discount coupon code SAM-MRC25 before submitting payment.