Interested in small radio business ideas? If YES, here is how to start an FM radio station business with no money and no experience. How much does it cost to startup?
How to Start a Radio Station
The broadcast industry is one that has witnessed a lot of growth and transitions from analog to digital broadcasting. Today the broadcasting landscape has seen a dramatic growth where it is now possible to easily tune-in to a TV or radio program from anywhere in the world with the help of an internet connection.
The radio station is our focus as we seek to discuss how to start a radio station. We will also be looking at how much it cost to start a radio station. There are lots of people getting into the radio broadcasting industry due to its perceived benefits and rightly so. As you read through, you will be guided on how to start one as well as what is expected of you by the regulatory agencies.
Step 1: Obtaining FCC Approval
The Federal Communications Commission is also known as the FCC is the regulatory body saddled with the responsibility of regulating all broadcast activities as well as issuing of licenses. There are basically 2 types of radio stations. These include the low power radio station which has a lesser coverage and costs significantly lower and the full power radio stations. This type of radio station is mostly used for commercial operations and has a wider coverage area.
To operate any of these, you need to obtain an approval from the FCC. According to the FCC, it receives tons of applications for new radio stations. This, according to it outweighs the availability of available spectrums. This has led to delays in the issuance of licenses and approval as well as outright denial in some cases. Applying for a radio license does not guarantee that you will obtain one. In fact, the FCC recommends that you do not purchase equipment before applying for a permit as you may have wasted your resources if your application is denied.
However, if you obtain the required licensing, then you can commence the process of starting your radio station. The following steps should be followed;
Step 2: Deciding the Type of Station You Want to Operate
When applying for an FCC approval, you must have made a decision on the type of radio station you wish to start. That is either low power (which requires less powerful equipment and a smaller coverage area) as well as the full power radio station (with the widest spread requiring a larger spectrum). Granting an approval to your licensing request depends on spectrum availability.
Step 3: Purchasing Equipment
Radio broadcast equipment is a necessity for smooth operations. There are several varieties of equipment you will need to buy. This will require having the financial resources to foot these purchases. Some equipment you will need to buy includes Emergency Alert Systems that starts from $3,000.00, transmitters, antennas and other transmitting related equipment starting from $4,000.00, a studio transmitter link, an FM Stereo generator, composite switcher, FM transmitter power amplifier among several other pieces of equipment.
There are several options for purchasing equipment for a radio station. These include top of the range equipment as well as cheaper equipment for lower power radio stations. Hence the funding required for starting a radio station including the purchase of equipment could range from $10,000.00 to $100,000.00.
Step 4: Equipment Installation and Studio Design
What is the equipment needed to start a radio station? A large radio station will have several studios while a smaller one will have a single studio. After purchasing your equipment, you will require the services of an engineer or group of engineers. These professionals will help you in setting up your equipment. To cut down on expenses, you don’t need to mount an antenna tower from scratch. All you need to do is to rent a space on an available tower and mount your antenna on it. Studio equipment will include headphones, microphones, soundproofing and more.
Step 5: Hiring Broadcasters and Running a Test Transmission
Your broadcast equipment is only as good as the people using them. Hence you will need to hire competent broadcasters to handle this equipment. Only persons with the requisite skills should be considered. After this step, it is necessary to run a test transmission. Here you are trying to ensure that every installed equipment is working and in perfect condition. Your broadcasters can use this opportunity to get comfortable with the studio environment and equipment as well as being able to hold shows and develop engaging and exciting programs.
Step 6: Designing a Program Schedule
As a new radio station, you will have to develop your program schedule and to also decide if you will run a 12 hour or 24-hour radio. This decision will enhance how productive and exciting your radio station becomes. When designing a program schedule, you should take into consideration the time a particular segment of your listenership is active as well as which are not. This helps in running particular programs at certain times of the day. These preparations ensure that you give your listeners the best listening experience when full operations commence.
Starting an online radio station may need a significant investment. However, the good news is that you can choose which type fits into your budget. That is either the low power radio station with a limited frequency or a full power radio station with much wider frequency coverage. Your radio station will need other standard business requirements such as writing a good business plan, funding, choosing an appropriate location, registration as well as licensing among others.