So you want to create an Internet radio station, but you have a limited budget. (Let’s say that for example, a person has a $2,000 yearly budget for an Internet radio station and we’ll go on from there.)
You can’t really create an Internet radio station without a computer. You can’t set up AutoDJ without a computer. This is a crucial item you will need before launching your station. Be sure you find a computer that will perform well. (By performing well, you better have at least 2GB of RAM (random access memory) on the computer.) Others choose to build their own computer, some building a state-of-the-line computer for less than $400, depending on what they’re wanting.
I’ve been using a Compaq Presario CQ62 laptop for the station for about two years. The computer which helped with the testing before the launch, a Dell Inspiron 1501 laptop, which I owned for five years, was stolen in July 2010 and my current computer was paid for through an insurance claim. If I had to pay out-of-pocket, my computer would have cost me $469.
You will need some sort of automation software to play your music or whatever programming you will be carrying. You could do it through Winamp, but that’s a huge hassle. There are programs like SAM Broadcaster or other programs that aren’t near as expensive out there. The great thing about automation is you can schedule when a program airs or customize a rotation schedule for music. Some programs go for free, but expect to pay as high as $299 for a lifetime license.
We currently use SAM Broadcaster.
There are two types of streaming servers: Shoutcast and Icecast. You have to decide which one to utilize for your automation software for streaming of your station. I’ve heard Icecast is usually more secure and stable than Shoutcast, but that’s one opinion. I could care less what you choose, as I utilize both. There are sites which provide free Shoutcast and Icecast, but they’re not near as reliable as renting one out from a streaming company. RadioLoyalty offers free Icecast servers with unlimited listeners and when people listen, you make money from the ads that air on the player, as well as the RadioLoyalty-related commercials that air. (Airing the RL ads are optional, but they do help with making money.)
We use a free Shoutcast server, as well as rent out an Icecast server, both of which are compatible with RadioLoyalty. MAKE SURE it’s compatible with RadioLoyalty should you decide to monetize your broadcast stream.
If you intend to play music on your station, you will very likely need a stream licensing agreement for broadcast royalty reporting. It doesn’t matter if it’s an all-indie station, all-mainstream or a combo mainstream/indie station: you need licensing. Live365 and other companies offer this, but it’s a hefty price per month, unless you can get a boatload of sponsors. You need licensing to be a LEGAL station, because you have no clue which indie artists are published through the Big Four or not.
We paid about $109 a month to ASCAP, BMI, SoundExchange and SESAC during 2011. We recently switched providers on February 1 and we’re paying $22.50 a month for up to 3500 total listening hours (TLH) with the new company.
Microphones & Other Equipment
If you intend to go live on your station, you need microphones and/or headsets. (Hopefully enough to take care of any guests or co-hosts.) You may have enough left to buy other equipment, if you’re lucky and didn’t overspend.
$40 USB microphone, $30 headphones, free version of Skype, TeamSpeak server that we’re allowed to use as a conference room and a few other things.
So what’s our damage at the station? We currently pay $40 a month for expenses in 2012, compared to about $235 a month during 2011. I don’t use the USB microphone much, unless I’m in an online meeting. Nothing is damaged, so I’m well set. My budget is open for future upgrades and purchases. Let’s hope you can do the same thing.
UPDATE 08:42 AM 02/05/2012: I think I forgot one last crucial item you need: AN INTERNET CONNECTION. Cost varies on connection speed, which varies from 2Meg to 15Meg. Some are wireless, some are cable/T1 and others are through a telephone line.
We use NewWave Communications 10Meg connection and hook it up to a wireless router with 10x boost in our studio. Since the bill is $40 a month, I pay half of the costs. So my real expense is $60 a month.
- Internet Radio Taken to the Next Level for Business & Technology Listeners (prweb.com)
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- Manage And Play Internet Radio In Google Chrome (ghacks.net)