How To Start Your Own Radio Station For Free

Old-school individuals probably prefer tuning on radio than bringing their players and allowing digital technology play music for them. However, people should admit that finding legitimate radio is not easy to accomplish these days. Fortunately, there’s a way for people to build their own radio station by just using PC and broadband connection.

THE SHORT-CUT

The easiest way of streaming music to different people is by using male-to-male 3.5 mm RCA audio cable. One just needs to plug the ends to microphone and headphone jacks and initiate conference of Skype or any web-based streaming service.

Meanwhile, computers function in feeding audio output to audio input. From there, music can be broadcasted to anyone who is present on stream. PC owner may then start playing music through MP3 players.

Some web-based streaming services allow support YouTube playlists, so radio station owners need to worry about what their listeners will listen to once they sign off.

However, for those who want to achieve more in creating their own radio station, they must exert extra amount of effort. The following includes the procedure for setting up an online radio station that can be stream in servers, such as Icecast or Shoutcast.

  1. GEAR PREPARATION

The primary tools for setting up a radio station include mic and various apps for playing music files, turning audio feed into streamable sources, and for sharing stream to various listeners.

For those who barely have idea on what these apps are, they may start with using Winamp. With Winamp they can use Edcast plug-in to turn music into stream and Icecast2 as server. Amateurs will have no trouble using the plug-ins.

lame_enc.dll must be downloaded to enable broadcasting of MP3 files, which are more compatible in older audio players. Users need only to download zipped file, extract lame_enc.dll, and transfer it to Winamp’s root directory.

  1. SETTING UP SERVERs

The station owner must know how many people would listen to his radio. Music stream is highly dependent on upstream speed of internet connection. More listeners can tune into a radio with faster upstream speeds.

Connection speeds and digital audio quality can be used to calculate the optimum bandwidth for a radio station. The formula is as follows:

Simultaneous listeners x Audio bitrate = Required bandwidth

Home PCs with typical cable or DSL connection do not have commendable upstream speeds. Most home DSL connections would have upstream speeds of 500 kbps, but high-quality MP3 feeds requires streaming speed of at least 192 kbps. In this case, only two listeners may tune in to the radio station.

Though feed quality can be lowered, this may worsen audio quality of stream. However, for talk radio, low-quality speeds may work just fine.

However, aspiring radio station owners need not to worry much since they need not to install their servers on their own PCs. They can use Winamp for playing music and Edcast for sourcing, then send stream to dedicated radio stream server in internet. These web-based radio stream servers are usually equipped with high-bandwidth connection and allow PC users to send one stream. In this case, internet connection need not to be regulated as a single stream is sent to the server, which accommodates each listener who has his own broadband connection.

People may sign up for dedicated radio servers, whose price starts at $6 depending on radio traffic. Prices for dedicated radio servers are comparatively lower than that of home internet connection. Moreover, people can easily use such servers.

When they want to run their own server, PC users should install Icecast2. After installation and opening the app, they must access Edit Configuration from Configuration menu and open icecast.xml. File contents should be edited as follows:

  • Include maximum number of listeners for radio station in “sources” tag.

  • Add password for streaming app (Edcast) in “source-password” tag.

  • Change “relay-password” and “admin-password” from default “hackme.”

  • Add IP address on “hostname” tag. For broadcasting in personal network, IP address of internal network should be added. External IP address can be searched on WhatsMyIP.net.

  • Port for streaming music can be specified in “port” tag. The default is 8000.

After editing, icecast.xml is saved in root icecast2 directory. After saving, user may click Start Server in Icecast2’s main window.

  1. CONFIGURING SOURCE APP

After setting up stream server, Edcast may now be utilized for streaming. To access plug-in, Winamp must be opened first. Then, users should access Preferences Plug-ins DSP/Effect. After selecting edcast DSP v3 [dsp_edcast.dll], users should click Configure active plugin.

Users may set Edcast to use microphone jack or Winamp playlist. The mic can be easily enabled or disabled through image button. When mic is disabled, Edcast utilizes Winamp as input. Through trial and error and by clicking on sound-level and toggling mic on and off, users can determine whether input is working.

Next step includes accessing Add Encoder in Edcast to add new entries. New entries can be configured by double-clicking on them. In this case, users should plug-in their preferred server settings. Server types must be set to corresponding protocols depending on server used. Server’s IP is placed in Server IP field. Corresponding port and password must be indicated as well.

For Icecast2, path must be indicated in “mouthpoint” entry in Basic Settings tab. Path depends on encoder type. For example, Ogg Vorbis streams can be designated as “/whatever.ogg,” whereas AAC streams can be called “/whatever.aac.” Users normally notice this string at end of radio stations URL.

  1. PLAYING MUSIC

After setting up and configuring Icecast2 and Edcast, Winamp can now be used to play music. Clicking on Connect in Edcast enables connections to radio server and streaming music. Users can share IP addresses to listeners though they are advised to register their domain name first to avoid having constantly changing IP address.

  1. BE AWARE OF THE LAW

Should they decide to set up radio stations, people should realize that there are laws surrounding broadcasting someone else’s music. Thus, permission must be sought from both artist and recording company.