How to Start an Online Radio Station

With the advances made, the evolution of the internet and so many reasons, learning how to start an online radio is easier than ever.

Choose a format

Before setting up your own station, you need to choose a format for your station. You can choose to broadcast a talk show or an independent music format that plays music by local bands and musicians or music. Once you have decided on a format, there are a number of factors to consider.

Content creation

Make sure that the content you broadcast is legal even when you play directly from your own personal collection. Using any copyright-protected material requires you to pay a licensing fee. If you only stream music of independent or local bands, it’s best to obtain written permission from them. If you air your own music or operate a talk show, there’s no need for you to obtain any special permission for your online radio.


If you need to obtain a license for the content you plan to play, you can get the licensing services of a middleman such as SoundExchange or BMI. This option, however, involves a lot of paperwork and is quite costly. Instead, you can turn to a licensed network such as, who work with the BMIs so you can stream legally at a small monthly fee. While any of these services may also function as your radio station’s server at a particular package price, you can host your own show provided that you use a licensed network or you have obtained permission from the Federal Copyright Office to stream the content.


When hosting an online radio station on your server, you need to acquire software that consists of a program for playing content or music, a broadcasting program for sending the music to the server, and a serving program for sending content out to listeners. Find a program that fits your broadcasting needs because some music programs come with their own servers and plugins that may not provide high quality broadcast.

Download the software programs of your choice, install and run them. Follow every configuration and setup prompt that the programs instigate.

Go live

If you want to speak on your shows, set up an input device that allows you to announce the upcoming selections you plan to play. The most common option is a microphone that you can install in your computer. Configure the use of the microphone by selecting the “Record Live” button in a program you installed. You may return to music streaming by selecting the option again.


Make sure that your broadcast is properly working by testing it yourself. The programming software you installed should be able to provide you with a web address where your online radio station is being streamed. Use a different computer to check for yourself if your station is working correctly.


Software and internet technology have revolutionized broadcasting. Modern communication possibilities have empowered many people to successfully run their own internet radio shows. If you know how to start an online radio, you can potentially broadcast your music or message to the world even if you have limited funds.