Several Ways to Run An Internet Radio Station
If you're thinking of starting an internet radio station, don't get too overwhelmed. There are technicalities but if you take your time and think things out, the process should go fairly smoothly. In addition to format, music and other content, one of the first things that you should consider is a hosting company that pays royalties. This is intended for music content stations. I feel that Live 365 is the best choice. They pay the royalties and you can choose ad insertion which can help defray some of the cost. This is a discussion for future posts. We want to get you started.
After you chose your hosting service, you must decide whether you want to run the station using the Auto DJ available or run a live broadcast using your own computer. If you choose Auto DJ, you will be basically run you station from the "cloud." You will upload music and content and your station will run all the time even if your computer is shut off. Live 365 offers this service.
If you decide to run your broadcast live, you will need a computer, microphone maybe a small audio console (Note: depending on the automation software choice or the type of programming you are running, you may not even need a mixer). You'll have to choose automation software that will run the content on your station. I chose Nextkast for Edgewater Gold Radio. I highly recommend this for internet radio stations or LPFM's. It is very flexible, has a great live and voicetracking feature and is fairly easy to use. Nextkast has great support. Nextkast also has it's own adjustable processing within the software so you really don't have to invest in expensive auto processing equipment. You don't want to sound "over processed" like so many FM Stations do.
Once you have selected your hosting service, purchased your automation software and decided on content, you need to connect to the internet. Make sure you have a secure, reliable connection. Read the automation manual and contact the hosting service if you need help setting up the encoder. Live 365 has a page with all of the details that you need to enter into your encoder in order to make a successful connection. We will cover these details in another blog posting. After you've set up automation software, and entered the proper information in the encoder, you are good to go. Make sure your software is set up properly and you understand its functionality. You are now ready to activate your sutomation software. Learn how to do live shows and voice track before you start. Again read the software manual.
For Edgewater Gold Radio, I use Nextkast software. The Live 365 auto DJ is set up and runs in the background. In the event that the connection is lost, the Auto DJ kicks in immediately. I also have Nextkast on another backup computer. In the event the computer fails, I can active the backup computer, do a system restore and be back live in about two minutes. The key, always backup your automation software. This is very important. Keep the backups on several mobile hard drives.
We'll talk about more specifics in future blogs.