Having your own radio station might sound like fun, but do you know what it really takes to run a radio station? Whether you want to start up an FM radio station that operates on a full power frequency, low power FM basis or internet streaming, it is essential to know the options that are available for you. Here’s some information you need to consider before you start your own radio station:
Radio business is highly competitive so you need to invest yourself in your business goal with commitment. A sound business plan is needed to run a radio station. Your plan should ensure that your start-up capital can cover the cost, regain the setup cost and generate revenue. Costs vary on the type of station and the length of license period. The main start-up costs are engineering fees, studio space, and studio equipment. Other costs include transmitter rental, utilities, promotion budgets, staff salaries and the standard costs of running a business.
If you want to run a radio station, you need to apply for a licence. It’s illegal to operate an unlicensed ratio station. Understand the process of obtaining a frequency. It may take a while before you’re assigned a frequency. If you’re having trouble finding an available frequency, it’s worth to hire an engineer. An engineer can help you find a frequency and prepare the application. He can also help in choosing and installing transmitting equipment.
You need transmitting equipment like transmitter, antenna and other associated equipment to send your signal to the world. Transmitting equipment is important when you’re broadcasting on the air. There are special rules about the kind of transmitting equipment for licensed station. Wait for construction permit before buying your equipment. You also need to prepare a technical plan to get your signal broadcast.
You need to get at least one or two soundproofed rooms with the right equipment. You will need a mixing desk, music servers, computer playout systems, recording equipment, CD players, microphones, headphones, telephone lines, etc. Office computer network, emergency alert system, link from the studio complex to the transmitter or satellite uplink may also be needed.
To broadcast music, you’ll need to buy a license. Licensing fees are needed to play any content that is licensed. Licensing fees are paid to performance rights organisation that pays artists and composers. Ensure that you have the right to broadcast music or any content. Check with local authorities to learn about local broadcasting rules you need to be aware of. You will also need a music library if you’re a music station.
It’s good if you can get by on volunteers to run your station. However you may want to hire part-time or full time staff to keep your station running smoothly. You may need to hire Disk jockeys, advertising representatives, accounting, fundraising and record keeping staff. Determine how much is the salary needed for each staff and make it a part of your operating budget. Ensure all station employees follow procedures. You need to learn the right procedure management in radio to comply with regulations and local laws.
Basic Radio Hardware and Software
You’ll need better equipment to sound good. You need a good microphone, headphone and computer to record and hear yourself. You will also need web software especially designed for radio. These apps will help you to play music, record voice and music and covert your recording into a stream. You can also use software that can help you in broadcast management. It will help you to schedule commercial, compile music playlist send emails to listeners, and coordinate contests and promotions.
Rent and Utilities
If you can’t get your group to donate a room for your studio, you can consider renting a studio space. If your antenna is not set-up on the roof of your studio, you may also need to rent a space at a transmitter site. The studio and the transmitter will need electricity, phone and internet connection.
A good looking website is also needed to attract more listeners to your station. Your website can be a place where your listeners can tune in to or a hub for activity and feedback. Look for website builders to help you design your website. Content management systems such as WordPress or Joomla have a wide range of free templates to get you started.
Set-up accounts on social media networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to drive more listeners to your station. Setting up accounts on social platforms that cater to radio fans like SoundCloud, MixCloud, TuneIn and Audioboom is also important. Social media sites drive engagement and allow people to be up-dated with their favourite musicians.