Setting Up Your Own Internet Radio Station
By Jason Cole
Radio has been lagging for some years now, seeming to be a dinosaur compared to streaming internet radio, podcasting, XM satellite radio, and the plethora of other technologies that have reared their heads in the past 10 years. One of these new technologies is basically the same thing as old-school AM/FM radio, and that is internet radio. They both serve the same basic function, except with internet radio, you can set up your own station and play the music you want to play. I find this to be really exciting. So, with this knowledge in hand, how would one go about setting up an internet radio station?
Internet radio stations use streaming audio technology to deliver audio content to your listeners. Basically, streaming audio is a more efficient and effective solution for delivering audio content. Instead of someone having to download the full audio file to listen to it, it is "streamed" off of a server so the end user can listen to the content live instead of having the file's data stored on their computer. There are special servers that deliver streaming media, and most ISPs have streaming media abilities, so you need to ask your internet provider first to make sure that you'll be able to do so.
This tutorial is concerned with setting up and working a internet radio station utilizing pre-recorded content. (You can also broadcast live, but that's another tutorial in itself.) So, let's jump right into what hardware you'll need to get going.
Gear you'll need to get going:
1. CD Player – You'll most likely be using and audio player on your computer, such as Real Player. You can set-up your playlist as you see fit. Some ISPs offer streaming radio services that utilize your media player playlist to figure out what you want played, and when to play it. You will need to check with your ISP to find out the details, as every one is different.
2. CD ripping software (To gather your audio files) – I personally use Windows Media Player to rip my audio cds, it seems to be the easiest I've come across. Please keep in mind that there are special rules for broadcasting copyrighted content, and you will be liable if you broadcast any copyrighted content.
3. Audio editing software – If you decide to record anything yourself, station identification bits and the like, you'll need a microphone too. I use Sony Soundforge for any audio editing, as it's a very simple, intuitive program. This will also benefit you if you'd like to censor any of the songs, or add anything to them. It also helps out if you want to cut down on the song's file sizes. You can pull a .wav file into Soundforge and output a compressed MP3 file in seconds.
4. A standard hosting account with an ISP – Every ISP is different, so you'll have to check with yours. All you really need to ask is if they support streaming internet radio, and if they do, you're good to go.
This is a very simplified guide to setting up and internet radio station, but it should be an adequate primer if you have no knowledge of streaming internet radio. There are many programs out there, free and paid, that will help you get the job done too. There is a great repository of resources over at http://www.webdevelopersjournal.com/software/multimedia_goodies.html that I suggest you check out. Anyways, I learned a lot writing this article, I hope you learned just as much reading it.
About the Author
Jason Cole and DiskFaktory Jams offer free downloadable music videos and music lyrics. Get the information you are seeking now by visiting DFJams.com.
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