Adventures in Radio Land – Part 1
I often feel that I was born like thirty years too early! When I look at the technology available now and the possible opportunities I often do wonder what I would be doing if I was thirty years younger! People will always say that it is never too late to do anything in life and I try to live to this aspiration, engaging in what I would like to do rather than, at my age, what I feel society feels I should be doing. I don’t know whether it is something about being a teacher/tutor, but I do like to present and it was always a dream of mine to have a successful radio station. Well, I didn’t have the time or the money, so what did I do – you guessed it – started my own radio station…and this is the story so far…
When you look at the great Youtubers and Twitch Streamers, many of them focus solely on one game and become great at it. They stream/create videos about that content week after week and build up a great following. Yes, I know they take small breaks to indulge in some of the recently released games, but generally they focus. I’m someone who learned long ago that I am not good at focusing. I can focus when I have to work, but I’m not very good at focusing solely on one project and developed it. Currently I have several projects on the go;
- this blog
- Professional Blog
- Professional Youtube Channel
- Personal Youtube Channel
- Twitch Channel
- Minecraft Servers
I am managing to keep them all on the go at the moment, although whether I am doing this effectively is probably noticeable from the small viewing figures. On top of all of this, I decided to create my own radio station, Wilson Waffling Radio. I thought it would be interesting to see the steps I did in order to set this up, just in case you are thinking of starting your own – or even getting a show on mine!
License – The first thing that you soon realise is that setting up your own radio station is not going to be cheap. In order to play music online you need a license. I went to the PPL website. They were very helpful answering my questions and ensuring that I got the right license for my station and, perhaps most importantly, at the cheapest price. Every quarter I need to submit data to the company such as my total listener times, and they then assess whether my license requirements have changed or not. There was an initial yearly payment for the license, but as the popularity of the station increases (haha) the cost of this might also increase – so be prepared!
Music – This is another cost and I haven’t even got to the interesting stuff yet! In my 20s and 30s I was a member of an online company called Britannia – I think that what is was. Every month they sent me a CD and I had decide whether I wanted to keep it or return it. It was a clever marketing ploy since I often forgot to return it and therefore ended up keeping it and paying for it. I always thought that I had quite a good collection of music but when I actually started to play the music on my shows, I quickly found that I had to buy more music in order to avoid repeating the same songs and/or artists. I would definitely say, if you are thinking about starting your station, be prepared to be buying either CDs or, like me, spend time buying music from iTunes and converting to mp3 format.
Hosting – This next one can be as cheap or as expensive as you want. Basically you need somewhere that you can stream your music to in order to allow your listeners to tune in and enjoy your shows. I looked at three sites primarily – MyRadioStream, Internet Radio and Radio.co. I actually wanted my radio station to be available 24/7 so I wanted some sort of auto DJ function. One thing I would encourage you to do is ask lots of questions and be patient. I looked at cost and customer service before I started so I knew what I was getting into. Eventually I went for Internet-Radio.com. They provided everything I needed, at a reasonable price and, when the trial went wrong, they extended it for me in order to ensure we got it right. They have also been very good at answering questions since I have been with them. I guess its quite personal – but do ask and do investigate.
Equipment – And finally -for this episode – equipment! As well as radio I have always been interested in streaming, Youtube videos and Podcasting. I was luck enough to stumble across an excellent podcaster called Colin Gray. He produces excellent courses, at a very reasonable cost, about starting off in podcasting including marketing, concepts and equipment. I invested time and energy in completing two of Colin’s courses since I knew absolutely nothing about microphones and mixers. I then went out and started to buy mixers and headphones and microphones. This was a huge learning curve and I spent many weeks after actually buying cables to connect things and, even now, I still get confused by sound levels and have, one several occasions, nearly deafened by listeners! Equipment can cost a lot of money, so I would definitely recommend either doing loads of research or completing a course of some description.
I’m going to leave this episode of adventure into radio land here and return to it at a later date to talk about the software I use, marketing, jingles and shows. If you are interested in listening to Wilson Waffling Radio, then I would love to have you along for the journey. You can also support the station by liking the radio’s facebook page. As ever, if you have any questions or comments about this blog post or the station then please add them in the comments below. If you are interesting in producing a show for the station or running an audio advert then get in touch and I’ll see what I can do!
You can keep up to date with my content by following me on Twitch, Twitter and Facebook. If you are interested in joining or playing Minecraft, then you can join the server and website here. Of course any subscribers to my YouTube channel are always appreciated.