I’ve always been interested in radio, and how music was played around the world.
In 2006, once I got my very own computer, I started making friends from far away through sites like Myspace, Facebook, and eventually twitter. Through these friends, I learned about internet radio. This is similar to AM or FM radio, but with a wider audience.
Over the next few years, I listened to a wide variety of internet radio stations, and in the fall of 2013, after becoming acquainted with a person who had their own internet radio station, I began the process of learning the ins and outs of internet broadcasting. As my time as a broadcaster or DJ continued over the years, I learned how to use different pieces of software to bring Skype calls or team talk channels in to my show.
I have had experience on a few stations. I have had some experience as a station founder and manager. There are a few differences in these roles. As a broadcaster, you basically do your show. If you work for a station who ask the team to help create great things for the listeners to participate in. as a manager, you are in the middle of things. You may help with hiring or firing broadcasters, event planning, content creation, and even have your own show. As a manager, you have to be able to receive feedback and decide how that feedback should be handled; for example, if a listener comes to you and asked that less country be in automation, and more metal be played. It is the managements job to figure out how best that should be handled. Can we schedule more metal at this time, and schedule country to be played at another time? Do we need to add more metal to automation in general? These questions and many others as a manager. As a broadcaster, you may not be involved in as much of this decision making. For some people, being a broadcaster works perfectly, but for others, just being a broadcaster may not be enough. For some of us, leaving a management role and becoming a broadcaster does not set well.
In 2014, some friends and I developed a station. We had a five person management team. This set up worked beautifully for us. We were able to make some awesome plans. We had a good sized listener base. Our station was around for a little over a year. I know that that experience gave me some great knowledge to continue my broadcasting career.
To begin broadcasting, I needed a few things. I needed the software that would connect me to the internet so that I could broadcast. I needed to open my eyes to other genres. So, what did I do? I found some great online tutorials to teach me the software that I would be using to broadcast. I started listening to different genres of music, and I started practicing with the software I use. I found myself randomly creating playlists to play and practice with. My goal was to be able to amerce myself in the software and understand what many, if not all, of the keyboard commands did.
It’s been a little over two years since I started broadcasting, and I enjoy every show I get the opportunity to do. I still have things brake on me. I am sometimes the culprit behind these braking things. I still don’t understand what some functions do, or randomly figure them out at the strangest times, but I enjoy broadcasting. It helps me find a way to let out some emotions I may not have any other way of releasing.
If you are considering broadcasting, you will need a specific set up with appropriate hardware and software. In this blog post, I will cover how I have my set up. We will soon have a Mac set up posted.
The only piece of hardware I use is a $39.00 USB microphone. You can make the hardware portion of the setup process as complicated and expensive as you like, or you can start with just a microphone. Some additional suggestions include a mic stand, pop filter, and shock mount. Alternatively, some USB headsets also work fine and have decent sound quality.
Now for the complicated part – the software.
Most people use Station Playlist Studio (SPL). You can use Station Playlist Studio to not only host a show, but if you have a computer and a stable internet connection, you can also host your stations automation system.
Some free alternatives for broadcasting are Foobar and Winamp. These are both media players, which require additional plugins to connect to the server. The plugins can be difficult to locate, so the setup can be a bit more complicated than it is with Station Playlist studio.
If you wish to have co-hosts on your shows or to take calls from listeners, you will need Virtual Audio Cable. This will allow you to bring in audio from a program like Skype or TeamTalk, and your listeners will be able to hear it whenever your mic is on.
If you’re broadcasting on a station, you should not need any additional software, unless you choose to have a setup which differs from mine. However, if you intend to broadcast on your own server, or start your own station, you will need a server, a way to do automation, and possibly a website. If you are a very technical person, you can setup your own website and server. If you are not technically inclined, you can pay someone to do it for you.
If you wish to have automation on your server/future station, you can choose one of the following: broadcast 24/7 from your own computer with SPL, code your own automation, or pay for a service. The solution our station used, which is very accessible, is LiveWebDJ.
If you have any questions about my experience broadcasting and/or my particular setup, please let me know. If anyone would like to contribute to this article, please feel free to post a comment. I hope you have enjoyed this post. Thanks for reading!