With not much more than bandwidth and a laptop, you can broadcast your voice and your ideas to every corner of the world.
Written by Craig Wilson
Here’s what you’ll need to get up and running.
The bare necessities
The obvious first requirement for any online endeavour is an internet connection. To stream live audio content you’ll need a connection that can handle high-speed uploads and large quantities of data. And unless you want to host your own servers, you’re going to need a hosting service. SHOUTcast is one of the most popular and offers various packages from US$29 per month for 500GB of bandwidth (or around 9 000 listening hours) up to $99 per month for 2 500GB (or around 45 000 listening hours). However, as the market grows the prices are dropping, so be sure to google the best offers before you kick off.
Next up, you’ll want to invest in a decent microphone. Quality sound is as important as quality content if you’re going to attract and retain listeners. Samson’s Meteor mic ($100) or Go USB mic ($50), or Blue’s Yeti USB mic ($130) are all good options.
Beware the price of licensing
If you’re planning to include music in your shows you need to factor in licensing costs for the music you play; rates will vary depending on where you’re based. There will also be administration costs: you’ll need to keep meticulous records of everything you play.
Studio on the cheap
You’ll want to record your shows in a room with plenty of soft furnishing – carpets, closed curtains, couches – to limit reverberations or echoes. If you plan to have guests, you’ll need either multiple microphones or a mic that supports omnidirectional recording (like those mentioned above), and you’re going to need a decent laptop or desktop computer from which to stream the audio.
It pays to keep recordings of everything you do and upload them to a service such as Soundcloud. This gives your content a longer lifespan and creates an archive of your output that can be referenced in future, assuming you tag it as you go.
The gold standard in software for creating internet radio is SAM Broadcaster ($299), made by a company called Spatial. From broadcasting live to creating and managing scheduled content, it’s an end-to-end solution for the upstart online broadcaster. For editing audio after recording, Garageband for Mac or Audacity for Windows users are both excellent, easy-to-use, free solutions.
Sites to get you started
Hosting and streaming: wavestreaming.com, caster.fm, myradiostream.com, airtime.pro
Recording and editing: spacial.com (creator of SAM Broadcaster), web.audacityteam.org
Distribution: apple.com/itunes, tunein.com