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Internet Radio Station

Hello, a few years ago I thought it would be great to start a Radio Statio for our local community (www.ColneRadio.com), I looked into it and found that the best way was to start an Internet based Radio Station as the cost was too prohibitive for an FM radio station.

The following instructions tell you how to start your own and gives instructions and details of all the software you need to start one up. The software we have detailed below is currently free on the internet, you just have to do a Google search and you'll find it.

How Internet Radio Works

You have a PC in your Studio (we actually started our Radio Station from the bedroom), on that PC you have the Radio Broadcast software and music. The PC “Streams” your show to the internet, now unless you have a massive internet connection that will support lots of listeners we recommend using an Internet Radio ISP.

We actually use www.cloudrad.io and the monthly costs starts from $5 which is for 25 concurrent listeners, we pay $9.99 which will allow up to 50 people to listen to your Radio Station which is really good value. But there are lots of companies doing it. Don’t worry that their servers aren’t located in the same Country as you, with the Internet you can be connected anywhere. Our audience is in the UK but our ISP servers are based in Houston!

To be able to be “registered” on iTunes Radio you need to stream your music at 132Kbs so if you had 50 listeners each listening at 132Kbs then you would need an internet upload connection in excess of 7Mb bandwidth, that’s not the speed it’s the capacity. I can tell you that bandwidth of that size costs $100’s a month. Best do it through a Radio ISP!.

Streaming To The Internet

So you have your PC running your show, you are streaming to the Internet probably via a Radio ISP, they'll give you an IP address and port and tell you to get your listeners to “connect” to it. It sounds difficult but it’s not, because the good ISP’s also provide a small programme you can add to your website where your listeners click on it and it connects to your live radio show. That’s it – so easy! Ours is '2440.cloudrad.io' and the port is 8232 if you fancy listening. Put http://2440.cloudrad.io:8232/ into your web browser and listen.

Create Your Website

The hard bit is creating your website, attracting listeners and producing your shows.

We can’t really help you with your website but we have used WordPress initially and then moved onto Joomla where there are lots of free Apps to enhance your website for your listeners. The software described in this article is RadioDJ and has a good App for WordPress but nothing for Joomla, so it’s really your choice. Download the Apps from the RadioDJ website.

Anyway, let’s start off with the software we have collected over the few years that we have been running an Internet Radio Station.

Software

The “Playout” software which runs your station is called RadioDJ, its free and has a lot of extra features that you can download from their website (www.radiodj.ro). To stream to the internet you need a copy of Edcast (http://code.google.com/p/edcast-reborn/). The configuration is quite easy once you know the IP address and Port, along with username and password from your Streaming ISP. Set Edcast to broadcast the music from your PC and connect it to the Internet. There are lots of sites that can give you advice on how to do this if you google it. Each PC is different and so we can’t tell you what to do with yours.

Music

So now you’re connected to the Internet and your RadioDJ software is running, the format of the music is normally MP3, so if your music collection is WMA, OGG, WAV then you need to convert it. We recommend converting at 160KBs with a Constant Bit Rate, don’t use Variable Bit Rate as it makes the majority of software throw a wobbly. If you are ripping music from CD’s then don’t use Windows Media Player as it only does half the job. We recommend FreeRip3 because it also rips the tags from your CD, and these are important for your PPL and PRS licenses, as they contain the barcodes and ISRC codes of each track. Some CD’s don’t have these so don’t worry about them. More about UK Licencing below, but the ISRC is the barcode of the track. A nice touch on your website is to show the name of the Artist and Title of the current song playing, this is easy to get running with RadioDJ and Edcast, but you need all of your songs to be saved in the format of Artist – Title.mp3 (ie Black Lace – Agadoo.mp3). FreeRip (http://www.freerip.com/)does that for you. If you already have mp3 tracks saved then you need to change them.

TagScanner is the tool to do it (http://www.xdlab.ru/en/). It’s very straightforward, highlight the tracks that you want to change, make sure that the Artist and Title fields are completed, then go to Rename and then Preview. If they’re ok then Save and it’s all done for you. Next, you need to equalise all your tracks. When they are recorded they have different volumes, when listening on the radio you don’t want to be turning the volume up and down all the time, so download MP3Gain (http://mp3gain.sourceforge.net/). A brilliant programme!. Set the default volume to around 89 or 89.5dB, load your MP3 tracks and click on Track Gain. It automatically does it and saves all the info for you.

Additional Software Required

Nearly done then – also needed is 1. BPM Detector, this scans your music for Beats per Minute and writes that info to the Tags. Good dancy music is around 120BPM, same as your heatbeat!. (http://www.pistonsoft.com/bpm-detector.html) 2. MP3Tag, If any of your tags are wrong or missing then you can correct them with this software. (http://www.mp3tag.de/en/) 3. OGG to MP3 Convertor (http://download.cnet.com/Free-OGG-to-MP3-Converter/3000-2140_4-75989963.html) and WMA to MP3 (http://download.cnet.com/Free-WMA-to-MP3/3000-2140_4-75758783.html), both convert existing tracks to MP3.

4. Playlist Creator, you might want to create a show with a set playlist, with this programme you can drag and drop tracks in the order that you want them played, and then save it as a Playlist. (http://www.softpedia.com/get/Multimedia/Audio/Other-AUDIO-Tools/Winamp-Playlist-Creator.shtml)

5. Radio Delay, if you have someone live on air in an interview, you might want to use this to correct any foul language or mistakes? (http://www.daansystems.com/radiodelay/)

6. Audacity – the best free programme to create your own jingles and shows. You can import music and mix in a microphone and create your own show off air. Export it as an MP3 file and load it into Radio DJ, then your “pre-recorded” show can be broadcast as many times as you like. (http://audacity.sourceforge.net/)

Operations

Onto the operation, it all depends how many hours a day you want to broadcast. RadioDJ has an Automate feature where it will automatically pick songs and play them so that you don’t have to be presenting your show all day long. It’s great because you can add Commercials and also News Items which are automatically inserted. We use FSN News, its $15 a month and you can download a 30 sec, 60 sec and 5 minute Hourly news update, this can be done automatically by creating a BAT file. (http://featurestorynews.com/)

When you’re live, you’ll need a microphone, when we started we bought a Behringer USB mike that plugged into your PC because it makes it so easy to configure. Insert your song – click on play, when you want to talk – click on microphone, then music fades down and you are live on air, click it again and the music level comes back up.

There’s so much that you can do to create your own Radio Station, and lots of info on the Web with some great forums. I do recommend that RadioDJ forum, great people giving sound advice, and all free!

Royalties

Lastly licensing, if you’re in the UK then you will probably need to pay Royalties, the 2 companies to use are PPL and PRS. Depends on your station as to what you have to pay. One pays royalties to the Artistes and the other to the Composers. PPL needs to know the number of Listener hours every quarter and the average number of tracks played per hour, whereas PRS don’t. That info you can get from your Station ISP within the stats package, so it’s not daunting and very easy to do every quarter.

Can I just say that all this software is easily available and free on the Internet, we do not get any commission from any of the software in this article nor the Radio ISP that we use (www.cloudrad.io). There are professional copies that you can buy of this software, we don’t and in over 3 years as an Internet radio station we haven’t.

All this information we have found out the hard way by trial and error and is our perception of the software and what it can be used for and it’s an indication of how we use it.

On the next few pages we describe how to install RadioDJ onto your PC

Getting Started With RadioDJ

In order to operate, RadioDJ needs a database to store all the data about your tracks, rotations, playlists, events etc. For this purpose, we need to install MySQL.

If you're using Windows 7, put this into your C Drive.

If MySQL server is installed and running, the next step is to install RadioDJ. For this, download the newest version of our program from the MySQL download’s page. Most of the times, you’ll find the program archived, without an installer, that’s because it easier to update it from one version to another.

Unzip the content to your “C” partition, so you will have “C:\RadioDJ”. This is the best place for the program, because in many cases, on systems with security settings set too high, the windows will prevent RadioDJ to access its files.

In RadioDJ folder, locate the “Setup” folder and open “Database Setup.exe”. This utility will create the database for you and will allow you to do many database related tasks, such as backup or restore.

If the database is created successfully, you can now close “Database Setup.exe” and start “RadioDJ.exe”, which is the main program (it’s a good idea to create a shortcut on your desktop to this application).

Even if we tried to release the program with the best settings, it’s a good idea to check them and make sure they are right for your needs. For this, go to Options (bottom menu) and again Options in the new window. One important setting to check, is the album art folder. Make sure that it points to an existing folder, otherwise you could get some errors when importing the audio files.

After you’ve customized the settings, you can proceed with categories. You can find them in main window Options→Categories.

NOTE: Please make sure that every category has at least one subcategory! Tracks are imported to subcategories and not to main categories.

When done, you can import your audio files to the proper categories/subcategories/genres. For this operation, go to Options→Directory Import or Track Import (if you need to import your files one by one).

NOTE: Please be careful when assigning the track types to your audio files! Most of the track types have different behaviour.

Track Types in RadioDJ

When the import process has ended, the next step is to build your first rotation. Go to Options→Tracks Rotation. From you categories, you can add to the list categories/subcategories/genres and the generated playlist by AutoDJ will follow that format. When you’re done with the rotation, in the main window, activate the AutoDJ and a playlist will be generated based on your rotation.

Addendum.

If you really want to get serious then you can purchase some programmes, there’s StationPlaylist Studio and StationPlaylist Creator for your play out software as opposed to Radio DJ to create and broadcast your shows.

DBPoweramp to rip and convert your cd’s, and of course a Broadcast Mixer and Microphones. We have an Allen & Heath mixer and use Behringer mikes with Phantom Power for the broadcast desk. Add to that a couple of CD players and a Telephone Hybrid/Interface (Sonifex) and you can have live phone-ins on your show. Another alternative that’s very popular is to use SKYPE and have that broadcast live.

Apart from that continue to use the free software available from the internet.

We will include a User Guide for Audacity in the next few days, and it will become a “series” of information books as we progress.


Internet | Radio


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