Radio tips, content and apps
Broadcasting your own choice of chat, music and programmes across the internet is great fun and can be very rewarding on many levels.
There is a whole community of online radio broadcasters to help you, and running a station that’s open to the community you live in can create a super resource for locals to share news, their favourite music and important information.
There are few guidelines you might want to take on board if you are new to broadcasting – they are listed below, and further down the page is a list of apps you might need.
Draw up guidelines for any volunteers (on and off air). Station rules such as no offensive language on air, equal opportunities, no discrimination etc, you might have a music policy stating ‘clean’ versions of songs only; or only playing music of a particular genre or decade. Best to lay these ground rules out at the get-go.
You might also decide to police-check volunteers.
Think of where you live and market your station as the local community station. This may help you with selling commercial air time as well as ads on your station’s website. Yes, you can broadcast to the world, but listeners in foreign lands, or even in the next city may not benefit you or your station’s supporters.
Build relationships with local businesses, charitable organisations and support each other.
You must have a professional website for your station. One that looks great on smartphones and has an audio player that works on every platform. Have a contact form for listeners and advertisers to contact you, social sharing buttons and local news if you can.
Remember though that the vast majority of your listeners may not hear your station by visiting your website, they will use services such as TuneIn and other digital radio listing services.
Because of the above, you need to clearly ID your station name, the area it serves and your website using a station ID jingle. Keep jingles clear, short and punchy. Use the same piece of ID music for everything, to help build the brand and listener recognition.
Do think about having a station logo. Study the logos of the stations you enjoy listening to and create a logo that is simple, legible, and can be scaled to be used at any size. Try and keep it to no more than 2 colours plus white or black. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
One thing we have noticed is lots of digital broadcasters use Auto DJ all week and then play out shows at weekends. We have a view that it wouldn’t hurt to schedule your weekly shows to run every night of the week – i.e; a daily schedule that repeats for 7 days until newer shows are loaded. Not everyone listens all the time (worth a thought, eh).
Your pre-recorded shows are up in the cloud anyway, why not use them more? And you can schedule them to play out at different times on different days.
Radio industry training and resources – here
Boy, us broadcasters need quality content don’t we! But where to find it? Try these…
Public Radio Exchange. This service might cost you a few bob, but if you are serious about news, features and speech content then it might be worth a whirl.
Podcasts: Like a podcast and want to broadcast it on your station. Plenty do, but you must ask permission first. So search your favourite podcast library and see what fits your station. There’s everything from news, technology shows and radio theatre. Then contact the podcaster asking for permission.
CBI – College Broadcasters Inc has a page full of shows, short and long, that may interest you. Click the CBI link and scroll down.
Syndicast. This organization offers lots of high-quality free radio programmes from the cream of the electronic music scene, that are ready to play on your radio station. Lovely job.
Promo Only – The latest top 40 and dance music supplied to qualifying radio presenters and DJs (paid service).
IDJ Pool – Huge back catalogue covering all genres; country to club music. Supplied to qualifying radio presenters and DJs (paid service).
News and features
Radio4All – Formed in 1996 by grassroots broadcasters, this site offers free shows featuring news and specialist music programmes.
Democracy Now! – a daily one-hour independent news show out of the US. Its TV show is offered as an MP3 download. The show is really radio with pictures, so will work fine for radio broadcast.
Feature Story News – a paid-for news service delivering bulletins every hour. Good terms for not-for-profit broadcasters.
Radio News Hub – Providing news, sport, showbiz and business bulletins to English speaking radio stations. Prices start from £14.99 a month.
Got a show or resource you want to add to this list? Send us the details.
Virtual DJ – Designed for mobile and club DJs, this free app offers a lot and is ideal for broadcasters who don’t have any hardware – such as turntables, CDs or a mixer.
MIXXX – This app works on any platform and has sample panels that can be used to play your jingles and commercials.
BUTT – Broadcast Using This Tool is a free app that some people may need to connect their broadcast app to their streaming account. It supports Shoutcast and Icecast and runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. The main purpose of Butt is to stream live audio data from your computer’s Mic or Line input. Recording is also possible.
Audacity – There’s no need to stump up cash for apps such as Adobe Audition when Audacity is available for free. Again, it runs on all platforms, is stable and free. It is ideal for recording shows, voice overs, jingles and making commercials.
Sam Broadcaster – This is a popular app for use in broadcast studios (PC only).
Sam Cast. Try for free – SAM Cast lets you stream live audio content. With a microphone, line-in or sound card, you can encode real-time audio and broadcast it live.
Sam Radio DJ – SAM DJ features a built-in advanced audio processor which will make your station sound incredible. Drag & Drop your tracks where you need them.
OcenAudio – This is a cross-platform, easy to use, fast and functional audio editor. Available for all major operating systems.
RadioLogik – If you broadcast using an Apple Mac then this must be a contender for you. RadioLogik from MacInMind is a wonderful app that’s as close to professional broadcast software as one can get. There’s a fully-functional free trial version available with no expiry date. Gotta love those Macs.
MegaSeg – With its integrated music scheduling and programmed events, you can broadcast with MegaSeg with live assist or full automation. Broadcasters will need the Pro version.
Envato – for a wide range of website themes, audio, graphics and image elements, check out Envato.
MP3 Normalizer – For Mac users…If you are uploading MP3 to Auto DJ you will need to trim the silence off the start and end of each MP3, level the sound so they are all the same volume (your listeners will thank you for it) and maybe change the bit rate to match your package (128k for example). This could take hours using Audacity etc, but this app does it all in a trice in batch mode.
MP3 Gain – This free app for the PC analyzes and adjusts the volume of MP3 files – just like MP3 Normalizer (but for the PC).
PTA Volunteer Sign Up Sheets – If you have WordPress installed as your CMS and want to sign up volunteers, then this plugin is for you. It allows you to easily create and manage volunteer sign up sheets, and you can define four different types of events: Single, Recurring, Multi-Day, or Ongoing.
Need WordPress installed and this plugin configured? We can help.
If you have any apps you think should appear here, or any broadcasting tips and tricks to share, then do let us know using the contact form – cheers.