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How to Start an Internet Radio Station Legally? – 7 Steps

Fact checked by Robert Combs

how to start an internet radio station legally

With today’s growing technology, listening and even setting up your own radio station is more accessible than you thought! Below are some of the important things you should prepare before starting:

  • Computer/Laptop (with sufficient RAM for editing)
  • Microphone and Microphone Pop Filter for crisp sound
  • Headphones
  • Mixing Console (Mixer)
  • Music and FM radio license

And many good ideas

Simply follow the following steps on how to start an internet radio station legally.

How Do I Start an Internet Radio Station Legally?

Step 1: Naming Your Radio Station and Identifying Your Content

setting-up

This is where you will decide on what kind of broadcasts and internet radio station you want to set up. Decide on your name and content that would appeal to your target audience.

Here are some examples of radio content and programs to create your own internet radio station:

  • News Program

This kind of content would contain the latest news and current affairs in your local area or around the world. It could be in the form of a discussion, newsreel or documentary.

  • Entertainment Program

This is where all forms of entertainment fall into such as Musical Programs, Docudrama, Phone in Programs and Storytelling Podcasts.

  • Musical Program – You may want to play different types of music such as Classical Music, Indie Music or maybe Kpop depending on your preference.
  • Docudrama – This is a type of documentary that reenacts important or notable life events of individuals represented by actors.
  • Phone In Programs – In the world of broadcasting, Phone In Programs is an interactive experience between the listener and the broadcaster (DJ).

Usually the listeners or guests are invited to give their thoughts and opinions about a particular topic.

  • Storytelling Podcast

This is where the speaker talks, starts recording and tells a certain story or narrates notable experiences to share with listeners.

Step 2: Preparation of the Necessary Equipment

make-a-radio-station-from-your-computer

Starting an internet radio station requires a collection of equipment that you should prepare. You might already have some of them ready:

  • A computer or laptop with a RAM of 8 to 12 will be sufficient for editing. If you aim to create videos with your laptop, consider an upgrade to more than 16 RAM.
  • A microphone and headphones will be the equipment needed to communicate to your audience when you start an online radio station.
  • Should you wish to have smooth voice broadcasting, a microphone pop filter is an essential device that minimizes gusts of air.
  • Prepare your mixing console. This device is used for mixing audio from incoming signals and other available widgets. It allows you to manipulate your sound signals to your desired taste and quality.

Step 3: Pick a Software

Choose software that would suit your needs to create an internet radio station, such as sound editing, statistics on airplay, and streaming signals to different platforms.

  • A sound editing software is vital for enhancing audio or trimming recordings. One good example of sound editing software is Audacity. The app has free and paid models to choose from.

With the free mode, you have basic features such as altering frequencies and noise reduction.

  • You should also have a radio monitoring tool to monitor airplay, your social media statistics, and other audit reports.

Souncharts is an ideal tool as it can provide real-time radio tracking airplay. You can browse top tracks, discover new talents and monitor playlists.

  • A software that would allow you to broadcast and stream signals across different platforms is also essential as it would aid you in reaching a wider audience.

For starters, it is recommended to try a free broadcasting software such as RadioDj. It rivals premium software and has this sleek cross-fade transition feature.

Other good software include PlayIt Live, Mixxx, and SAM Broadcaster Pro.

Step 4: Acquire a Music License/FM Radio License

Technically, you do not own the music you will share or broadcast. Even if it is free internet radio broadcasting, you have to get a Music License or FM Radio License to avoid any violation, penalties, or fines from the copyright owners.

An FM Radio license allows you to play your broadcasts in your chosen site or location.

You may want to apply for a Commercial FM Sound Broadcasting License for your internet radio station setup. With it, you can operate your radio station and broadcast to your preferred location. It has a fee of $150 per year.

Do keep in mind that such licenses may depend on your location or on what country you are planning to broadcast your content.

In the US, you may consider getting a license in the following agencies:

  • ASCAP
  • BMI
  • SESAC

The subscription might cost you some bucks as you would have to pay the license fees. A license with ASCAP could cost you $600; for SESAC, it is $700 for a year-long subscription. For BMI, it would be around $250-$400 per year.

Step 5: Promote it on Social Media

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These platforms include Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok, Snapchat etc. Another tip is to include ads to help spread across social media to gain more public awareness.

Ensure to follow the respective platform’s rules and regulations to avoid being flagged or banned as inappropriate content.

And just get creative, do your research to see what draws people to content.

Step 6: Create Your Own Website

starting-an-internet-radio-station

The purpose of a website sheds light to your audience regarding your radio station. This is also a good investment for your radio station as it would help your market navigate your content in a user-friendly way.

You have to choose what purpose or intention your website will serve to its visitors. Is it to promote, sell, provide service, entertainment, or simply become a platform for your radio station.

Step 7: Broadcast and Launch Your Radio Station

start-an-online-radio-station

Now that you can create an internet radio station, make sure that you have established your radio station and have done the necessary marketing and promotions.

Launching your radio station can give you butterflies in your stomach, but as long as you are determined, it can be fulfilling and rewarding to achieve one’s dreams and be successful in doing it.

Tips in Marketing and Promotion

  • Invite guests or influencers with a large following on social media to your radio station.
  • Involve your guests or listeners, and develop a sense of trust in them as they can be your source of word-of-mouth promotion as well.
  • Invest in merchandise and make money when it comes to returning of investment on profits earned.
  • Have a social media page. It is important to have a page on social media since millions of people now have Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, to name a few.

Conclusion

Basically, that is how you make a radio station from your computer. It is important that you have the equipment and follow the necessary steps mentioned earlier. You may encounter challenges and other tribulations, but it shall not stop you from doing what you love.

Whether you are simply curious or have a taste in setting up radio stations, as long as you are focused on your goals and objectives, you can accomplish it in no time. Feel free to share this article on how to start an internet radio station legally, for those like you who aspire to be radio DJs.

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