Getting Technical: The Equipment You’ll Need to Host Your Own Radio Show on the Internet
What Is Internet Radio?
The internet has fundamentally changed the way most people consume media. One notable example of this is internet radio. Traditional models of radio broadcast rely on a radio signal being broadcast with terrestrial towers to various receivers around the world.
Internet radio, however, can either be a streaming signal or downloadable media that is sent out via the internet so that listeners can receive the media by using their computers. It is also much more affordable to broadcast an internet radio station yourself; in fact, starting an internet radio station is possible for most people with just a small amount of internet radio equipment.
The Fundamentals of Internet Radio
There are two basic ways to deliver the media via an internet radio station: as streaming content or downloadable files. Both use a form of audio codec, which is just another way of saying that the audio is encoded using a programming language that can then be translated and rendered into audio using your computer’s sound card. In essence, the use of codecs permits broadcast-quality, high fidelity audio to be transmitted between two points over an internet connection. This is crucial if you want to host your own radio show.
Using an audio mixer also allows an engineer to “mix” the audio levels for the final broadcast: either setting certain audio cues louder or quieter, or even muting them altogether, so that the final product is easy to hear and understand. Using codecs allows for a link that runs both ways, which for example allows the engineer to speak to the broadcaster without that audio being present in the final audio transmission.
You can then host this content online using a Web or FTP site. As such, there are three basic components: the encoder, the server and the player. The encoder is essentially the audio codec or streaming media player, the server is the website or FTP where the content lives online and the player is simply your computer or web device that receives the content. You can even broadcast live by having the encoder and streamer work together in real-time.
How to Create Your Own Internet Radio Station – The Equipment You’ll Need
With these basics in mind, starting an internet radio station is possible for anyone who has the time and the essentials of internet radio broadcasting equipment. One need only have an audio mixer, some decent quality microphones with an accompanying amplifier, a telephone interface (if you want to have an internet radio show where you take callers), a computer connection (preferably broadband to decrease any lag in the audio signal, particularly if broadcasting live) and an audio codec that will allow for high quality audio to be broadcast and received.
There are various options available to anyone wanting to host their own radio show, and obviously you can decide how you want to structure whatever content you transmit. It can be talk radio, where you broadcast live and take guest callers, or it can simply be a continuous stream of music. That is the fundamental allure of internet radio: it is affordable enough to allow for a large variety of people to create their own content. This, in turn, creates a diversity of programs that is ultimately enriching for both the creators and listeners.
You could get started right away; there are companies which provide easy-to-use starter packs for anyone interested in creating their internet radio station. One option is to use Zencast’ account packages that offer a variety of options such as bandwidth, listener slots and user interfaces for very affordable monthly fees. By using these services, you could start broadcasting for the whole world to hear as quickly and efficiently as possible.