Starting your own SHOUTcast radio station can be just a dream for a lot of people due to the potentially expensive equipment required to get up and running, however these days it can be very simple. There are various ways of starting a radio station, the most popular method today is using the internet.
The majority of the population today have access to the internet on some sort of device, where it be a laptop, tablet or smart phone, this opens up so much potential to reach your audience without the need to transmit accross the airwaves.
In order to get your radio station up and running will require some key ingredients that when put together gives you scope for so much poential.
You will need:-
- A SHOUTcast Server – the hub where your listeners will connect to and listen in.
- Winamp – the source plays the music from your desktop/laptop machine.
- SHOUTcast DSP plugin – a plugin for Winamp which converts the music and connects to the SHOUTcast server so your listeners can hear.
- A good internet connection
- Music of course!
We will quickly cover the items required
A mentioned this is basically the hub where you as the broadcaster will upload your music to, which in turn allows the listeners to also connect to and listen to your stream. You can purchase your SHOUTcast server from TidyHosts, there are a number of packages to choose from.
This is the software that needs to be installed on your desktop/laptop. You can download from http://www.winamp.com/ Once installed you then need to create your playlist that will be streamed for your audience to listen to. Of course you are not limited to files, you can connect external equipment such as CDJs and peform live shows. Please visit http://forums.winamp.com for more details on how to setup your equipment for use with Winamp.
SHOUTcast DSP plugin
Now that you have the server and Winamp installed its time to get the plugin that actually encodes and sends your stream to the server. Without this vital of software you wont be streaming anytime soon. You can download the plugin from http://www.shoutcast.com/BroadcastNow There is a useful guides on the forums at http://forums.winamp.com that show you how to install and setup the plugin for use on your machine.
A Good Internet Connection
If you plan to stream at a good quality bitrate such as 320 kbps then you will need a good and stable internet connection. We cannot stress enough how important this is. If your connection is known for drops then you will quickly lose your audience. The automated SHOUTcast directory may block the listing in the directory if it detects flapping so before starting out make sure this in good shape.
Music of Course
You have got everything ready, server is up, PC is up, all you need now is quality music for your listeners. What you stream is entirely up to you, make sure it is clear and can be easily heard. Having your input volume to low will put listeners off whislt having it too high will cause distortion so test with friends before starting off. Once you have decided what you want to broadcast, try and do some online advertising using social media such as Facebook and Twitter etc. Remember, word of mouth is a great advertising tool, produce a great show and the listeners will increase before you know it!