How to Start an Internet Music Radio Station for Free

By D. Wright

Creating your own Internet radio station is a fun and easy way to let your voice and musical tastes be heard by listeners around the world. However, while this guide will instruct you on how to create a free Internet radio station, creating a "great" radio station takes a little more effort (and is generally not free).

Things You'll Need

  • Windows based PCrnMicrophone (if you plan to talk)
  • WinamprnEdcast (Winamp plug-in)
  • lame_enc.dll (zipped file)

Pre-planning

Step 1

Decide how to go about obtaining the proper equipment before you begin setting up your station. Most of the equipment you will be using is free software. Therefore, unless you already have a microphone or do not plan to talk on your station, you will likely have to pay nothing.

Step 2

Download Winamp. You will be using this small but reliable program to play your music. Because it is a small program, it is easy on your system's resources. This in turn will decrease the chances of your music messing up during streaming (i.e. skipping, freezing). This is especially good if your computer is a few years old and you must keep a few programs open during streaming.

Step 3

Download a plug-in for Winamp called Edcast. This will be used to turn the music into a stream.

Step 4

Download lame_enc.dll if your music is in an MP3 format. To install the file, unzip it and put it inside Winamp's root directory (usually in C:/Program Files/Winamp).

Setting up the Server

Step 1

Estimate the size of your audience. In addition, keep in mind your Internet connection's upstream (bandwidth), which is the speed at which data can be sent from your computer to another. The faster the upstream, the more listeners that can listen at one time and the better the audio quality. Keep in mind that connection speed and audio quality is measured in kilobits per second. The measurement of kilobits in audio is called the audio's bitrate. Therefore, the higher the kilobits in your connection, the faster it is. In addition, the higher the bitrate in your audio, the better the quality. Use this formula when deciding how much bandwidth you will need: Listeners at one time x audio bitrate = required bandwidth.

Step 2

Visit FreeStreamHosting.org and sign up for an account and for Shoutcast's free service. This service will be used to broadcast your stream via the Internet.

Step 3

Configure the Edcast Winamp plug-in to stream your station. Open Winamp, go to Options, Preferences, Plug-ins, DSP/Effect, and choose "edcast DSP vs [dsp_edcast.dll]." Finally, click Configure active plug-in. It is here that you can configure Edcast to use either your microphone jack or the Winamp playlist. Simply click the microphone picture to enable or disable the microphone. When the microphone is disabled, Winamp will automatically use Winamp to stream music.

Step 4

Choose Add Encoder to add a new entry in the box below and double click the new entry to configure it. It is here that you will need to configure your server settings and ensure that the server type is set to the right protocol (in your case, Shoutcast). Enter your server's IP address in the Sever IP field and enter the port and password accordingly. Also, select your encoder type at this time (MP3 is the most popular choice, but some people prefer AAC).

Step 5

Click on the YP Settings tab to edit your public listing information. This will include your station name, URL, genre you are broadcasting).