Answering the most popular questions about internet radio - Part 1

In this post we’ve compiled the most frequently asked questions about internet radio from all your requests to our support team as well as online forums and groups. From simple questions like, how to start an internet radio from home, or how an online radio station makes money, to more complicated questions like, how to deal with licensing, we’ve got you covered. If you have more questions that you would like us to answer, just leave a comment below and we will answer them all in part 2.

Question 1: How to start an internet radio station from home

There are plenty of things to consider when starting an internet radio station. First and foremost, you will need to decide on the concept of your station. Will your station only play music? What kind of music will you play? Will there be radio DJs and presenters? What kind of topics will the radio shows cover? How will you name your station? These are just some of the questions you will need to answer before starting your station. As we already mentioned above, if you plan to play commercial music you will need to take care of music licensing.

 Next, you will need to think of your radio equipment. You don’t need to spend a fortune. All you’ll need to start off with is a microphone, a pair of headphones, and broadcasting software like Airtime Pro. With Airtime Pro you will have your internet station and a dedicated radio page up and running in 5 minutes. We have written the most detailed guide you will ever need on starting an internet radio station from home. Be sure to check it out here.

If you aim for a more sophisticated set-up you may wish to invest in extra equipment  like a soundcard and a mixing desk. For further info check out our guide: 10 Essential Pieces of Equipment for Online Radio Newbies.

Question 2: How much does it cost to run an online radio station?

The costs for running an internet radio station will be different depending on the setup you’re looking to have and also on your goals. For example, if it’s a hobby then you can have just a simple, budget friendly setup to get started, then the only thing you need is a laptop/computer, a USB mic, a pair of headphones, and an internet connection. If you decide to launch your station with Airtime Pro you can start from as low as $10/month. If you plan on live broadcasting and playing commercial music then the cost adds up and can be anywhere between $100 and $1000/month depending on your deal with the station hosting company, the number of listeners, the licensing cost, etc. 

If you’re looking to build a professional operation either as a community project or as a for-profit business, then you need to consider making more of an investment. For example, you may want to consider getting XLR mics, boom arms, as well as a sound interface or a mixing desk (we cover the microphone part in question 6). Finally, be sure to look very carefully into the licensing costs before starting. We cover the licensing part in question 7.

Be sure to check out our guide: 10 Essential Pieces of Equipment for Online Radio Newbies Looking to Become Broadcasting Pros.

Tip: It might be a good idea to check through eBay or Facebook ads to find some second-hand equipment. This can save you money. Another solution would be to contact local radio stations to ask if they have any spare kit they are looking to sell. 

Question 3: How do I get listeners to my internet radio?

That’s another super common question and luckily there are plenty of ways to do exactly that.

Some are fairly easy and some require a bit more effort. 

1. Submit your internet station to Internet radio directories

2. Invite guests to your shows – they will most probably have their friends and followers tuning in

3. Interview influencers to your show – influencers have many followers who can be potential new listeners

4. Promote your station or shows on social media 

5. Blog to get organic traffic to your site and convert them into listeners

6. Join community forums and groups to share exciting news and shows

7. Start podcasting – You can turn your radio shows into podcasts and upload them into podcast databases where you can attract new listeners. 

9. Use paid promotion – Facebook ads

10. Upload your music shows on YouTube and Mixcloud to get organic listeners

If you want to dive into this be sure to check out our blog post: 10+ ways to attract new listeners to your internet radio station

Starting an online radio station has never been easier. No credit card required!

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Question 4: How does a radio station make money?

Most of the internet stations out there make money through on-air ads and sponsors. However, there are some more clever ways to monetise your station. Below I mention 14 of them.

1. Sell on-air ads

2. Host sponsored shows

3. Offer endorsements

4. Offer infomercials

5. Offer banner placements on your site

6. Utilise affiliate marketing

7. Launch a blog and offer sponsored post opportunities

8. Rent out your studio and gear

9. Organise online events and gigs

10. Get sponsors for your events

11. Receive donations

12. Sell merchandise

13. Launch a membership section

14. Offer consulting services

You can read more about all of these options in our blog post: How to make money with your internet radio station

Question 5: How radio shows make money

In many stations there are specific radio shows that are the most popular of their programming and get most of the listenership. The reason why, might be the charisma of the radio host or the music that they play. Whatever that is, the popularity of the show makes sponsors want to associate their brand with it. On-air ads, sponsorships, infomercials and endorsements are the most common ways radio shows make their money.

Question 6: What are the best microphones for Internet radio?

If you are on a tight budget and you aim for a simple set-up then you may want to consider a USB microphone. This is the simplest option as it requires little technical knowledge or setup time. You just plug it straight into your computer and you’re ready to broadcast. USB microphones might not offer the same quality as XLR microphones, but they’re a cheaper solution and more transportable. There are plenty of decent USB mic options for under $100. Below we mention 4 of the top ranked USB microphones on Amazon.

  1. Blue Snowball iCE Microphone – $50 
  2. Razer Seiren – $50 
  3. Samson Meteor Microphone – $80
  4. Rode NT-USB-Mini – $99

If you want to invest o=in a more sophisticated set-up then you might want to consider using an XLR condenser microphone. Large-diaphragm condenser microphones (LDC’s) are best suited to capturing vocals. However, if you do decide to use a condenser mic then you should know that you will also need to have a mixing desk or audio interface to plug it into. That adds to the overall cost of your setup. Also, keep in mind that condenser microphones require extra power to work, so make sure that your audio interface provides ‘phantom power’. Below we mention some of the best affordable condenser mics.

  1. Behringer C1 – $35
  2. Samson C01 – $69
  3. Marantz Professional MPM-1000U – $69
  4. Audio-Technica AT2020 – $99


Question 7: How do I start an Internet radio station legally?

Do I need a licence for internet radio? That’s the most common question we receive and the answer is not that simple. When you’re considering starting an internet station, the music copyright is the most important element you’ll need to take care of in order to avoid any legal trouble. If your station is intended to be strictly non-musical and host just talk shows and panel discussions, then you don’t need to worry about music copyrights. However, if you intend to broadcast commercial music, you’ll most probably need to pay royalties. The cost of the music licence depends on the country you’re broadcasting from. Even using royalty-free music will probably still require a licence. For more info about licensing check out our blog post: Why You Need To Learn About Music Licensing Before You Start an Internet Radio Station.

Do you have more questions? Just leave a comment below and we will answer them all in part 2.

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