Brief Introduction - How the Internet Radio works
Radio on the Internet is a popular way to earn money, engage the audience, or get fun. This business allows you not only to earn money but also to express yourself, share information and communicate with listeners. Internet radio is easier and cheaper to create and maintain than FM radio.
In 2020, the creation of online radio is cheaper than ever. The settling period is a few hours and no specific skills required. No programming. Only a spirit and learning the basic concept.
What is Internet radio
Internet radio is a radio that broadcasts over the Internet, not radio waves. This radio can be listened to anywhere in the world where there is an Internet connection. To better understand the features of radio business on the Internet, consider the following pros and cons.
How does online radio work?
Radio should be hosted on a server. Imagine this is a computer, from where your radio has been serving music, shows or whatever you would like. This computer (also known as a cloud) is limited by resources like simulated listeners, storage of the content (for example, 10 GB data). Also, it could be limited by the quality of the sound and more criteria.
On this cloud, your radio hosts your live performances, recorded shows or music that you stream as interval acts or when you're not online.
Don't afraid! We'll explain detailed below how that works and what the price is. It's a cheaper (lower than a dollar per day)!
Advantages and Disadvantages
Advantages of radio business on the Internet
Internet radio does not require expensive hardware and software. Saving money and time to set up.
Online radio is available wherever there is an Internet connection. The availability of radio waves is limited by the territory and capacity of the transmitters. Well, internet radio is available everywhere.
The ease of communication with the audience is the next advantage. It is possible to receive feedback from listeners via the website or app. Listeners can put a "like" or write a comment. Your radio could be accessed by any device (smartphone, laptop, tablet, etc), platform (Android App, iPhone App, or website) and country.
Collection statistics for concurrent listeners or as overall is prior. When connecting to Internet radio, the listener's IP is transmitted to the radio server. This way information is collected on the geography of the audience. When you register a listener on the site or in the app via social networks, you can get information from your profile. Based on the collected data, content is adjusted or targeted advertising is configured.
Don't worry, anything special as a setting to start measuring the listener's behavior.
Internet radio is a way to express yourself creatively and find an audience. Example of creating an Internet radio from a hobby radio 20ft radio. 6 musicians created an Internet radio with electronic music of their own composition and invited DJs. Through radio, they share their creativity and allow other DJs to be heard. In 2017, the 20ft radio station was included in the shortlist for the international Internet award of Webby Awards.
Minimum control and censorship.
Broadcasting via Internet radio is not subject to mandatory certification and licensing.
No need for uninterrupted staying online. You can queue long playlists and broadcast your program when you go online or on schedule. Also, you can queue recorded show programs or podcasts on a particular daytime.
So, the radio will be on air 24/7.
Cons of radio business on the Internet
There is a lot of online radio on the market. Large FM stations also host radio on the Internet. Therefore, it is difficult to "break into" the market and form a brand. You need to carefully consider a niche for your Internet radio. To be honest, if you have social profiles or a website, achieving an audience will be a simple task for you.
How to create internet radio: preparations
Before you launch your radio, you should answer questions:
Why do I create a radio?
Who is this radio for?
What exactly will I offer to the audience?
Goal 1. To determine the goal of creating a radio
At this stage, it is important to determine the main focus and mission of the radio. It can be entertaining (only music, or jokes, excerpts), informational (news, educational), or combine several directions. But it's better to focus on one thing.
Goal 2. Select a niche and target audience
This stage is related to the first stage and answers the question "For whom do I create a radio?". It is important to understand who will be interested in your radio. Who is the consumer?
Goal 3. To determine the contents of radio
Based on the first two goals, it remains to decide what you will broadcast. In other words, create a content plan. What time, what duration, what content will the Internet radio have, find the presenters, the style of presentation, a set of programs.
Goal 4. To select the conditions of work
At the initial stages, you can conduct broadcasts from your own apartment. When the radio station begins to generate revenue, you should think about renting a room where the broadcasts will be conducted and where the guests of the issues will come. If you're the only one member of the team it's not something to worry about.
Goal 5. Bought equipment
At the initial stage, even a computer and headphones with a microphone will be enough.
Goal 6. Create a website or mobile app
To promote the radio, we recommend creating a website, as well as communities in social networks. Think about the logo, symbols, and style that will be associated with your Internet radio in the future. The site is used for displaying news, events, conducting surveys, schedule, and collecting feedback.
Goal 7. Monetization methods
The main ways to earn radio:
contests with prizes from advertisers,
the invitation of guests from the advertisers for an interview,
rotation of songs (promotion of performers).
banner ads on radio website/apps
Self-hosted vs Cloud-Based Radio
The server is a device where your radio is hosted. In other words, your playlists, libraries, and software to broadcast are stored on this server.
The self-hosted solution is when your station is situated on your computer device (used as a server).
This way, you have to possess a 24/7 working station (server) and a very good quality and a faster internet connection.
Usually, home-internet connectivity is not that good as needed to broadcast internet radio. Most likely, internet providers will guarantee 50mbs/s for local traffic and that's not enough, especially you're planning to have many listeners. Plus, if your radio will expand to the international audience, you must have a high-performing internet connection.
Note: Most providers of the internet suggest lower speed for uploading comparing downloading.
A self-hosted radio station has a few advantages
No monthly fees and the broadcasting quality depends on your technical skills and computer (server) configuration.
No limited metrics, such as the number of broadcasting hours, etc.
No external ads included.
Cloud-Based Internet Radio
The cloud-based solution is when your station is hosted on a server that you rent.
We can access and manipulate the server anytime and the radio will be 24/7 online, without downtime. Also, storage, internet speed, and broadcasting software are guaranteed. In return, we have to play out advertisements or pay a monthly subscription.
A few disadvantages occurred when we use a cloud-based radio station
reducing a bitrate (or upgrade your plan)
limited listening hours per month
limited storage for your shows, songs or podcasts
limited concurent number of listeners
The crucial problem is listening hours
If a certain service has limited to 20,000 hours per month, that means your radio should go offline or upgrade to higher subscription plan. 20,000 hours are 1,200,000 minutes per month. Is that enough? Let say, one listener, spend 30 minutes on average listening per day, then for a month will consume 900 minutes.
1,200,000 / 900 = 13,333 listener per month
Of course, the calculation may vary from radio to radio but the logic is clear.
How much it costs?
Self-hosting radio could consume more money for improving internet connection. Also, equipment may need for an urgent situation that occurred like maintenance or software issues. Literally, the approximate price to broadcast could reach $500 per month.
On the other hand, cloud-based radios come with low-cost subscriptions, starting at $30 per month. For brand new launched radio, this investment is nothing.