The best way to promote your online radio station

The most common problem that online radio station owners have is getting enough listeners. Even though many of these radio station owners have websites and place their streams for every website visitor to listen to, it is still not enough to fill their station’s listener slots. Probably the best way to increase the popularity of an online radio is to submit it to a number of well-known online radio station directories.

There are many ways in which you could promote your station however, submitting it to online directories is the cheapest and most effective way. Internet radio directories are a quick way to promote your station and get more listeners. You can find websites who share entire list of directories where you can submit your station. These directories have thousands of visitors eager to find new and good quality music, many of which can become your clients.

 There are probably thousands of radio directories out there. However, this doesn’t mean that you should subscribe to all of them. Not only will this take a lot of your time but not all radio directories are worth subscribing to. You can start out with only a hand full of directories to subscribe to and increase the number as you go along, Whenever you feel the need to bring more listeners to your radio station.

Submitting your station to many directories will help you promote your online radio station the right way by exposing your logo, name and link to your website in all the places where listeners gather in search of a radio station.

Build your very own radio station that practically runs itself

There are probably hundreds of thousands of radio stations on the internet right now. With such a large competition out there you may be wondering if it would make any sense at all building your own online radio station. The truth is that the online world is in a continuous expansion and there will always be people interested in your type of music or in what you have to say. Even if you don’t have the success you were expecting to have, you don’t really have much to lose starting your own radio station since the cost for starting one is quite negligible.

The first step to creating your online radio station is to determine the platform you will be using for your radio station. There are several options available to you but your best bet would be choosing SHOUTcast. This software, besides being free of charge is the complete solution for anyone looking to build an online radio station, be it a professional or an amateur one. Even though SHOUTcast is free software, you will still need to host it on a server, as you would with much any other online radio platform software. There are many online services offering radio hosting services right now that you can benefit from. You could also host this software yourself but the low cost for hosting it elsewhere and the inconveniences of having to host it yourself make this a no-brainer. Another great advantage that comes with having a paid radio hosting account is that you don’t have to trouble yourself with configuring the streaming server. The company that provides this service will handle everything for you. They could even help you start your first online stream. You really don’t need to have any sort of technical knowledge to start streaming online.

Normally, if you will be streaming on your online station your computer will have to be always on since the audio files your audience will be listening to will be on your computer. However, there is another more convenient option available that automates your radio station completely. This software is called Auto DJ and it allows you to completely automate your radio station. With Auto DJ you won’t even need to keep your computer on all the time. Auto DJ is totally worth having if only for the money you will be saving on your electrical bill. You need to keep in mind though that Auto DJ will not work without a SHOUTcast account. Once you have purchased an Auto DJ account you will need to attach it to a SHOUTcast account. The SHOUTcast account doesn’t even need to be from the same company.

Configuring Auto DJ to work with your station will be no problem at all. You only need to upload your audio files through an FTP program (if you don’t know what FTP is then you can find plenty tutorials on YouTube. Simply do a search for it and you will be amazed at how many results you will find). Once your files have been uploaded onto the Auto DJ server you will only need to create your playlists and you are pretty much done. You will still be able to stream from a live source on your online radio station by turning off Auto DJ.

Having your own online radio station could bring many benefits both socially and financially so there really is no reason why you shouldn’t give it a try.

What you should know about SHOUTcast before you start using it

There are numerous protocols that could be used to stream or broadcast media across the internet. The specialized protocols will undoubtedly help in overcoming the data transfer inconsistencies. That way you can have proper viewing and listening quality however the delivery of content has to be specific and in the proper sequential manner. For this reason, you will need to use SHOUTcast hosting to get reliable multimedia streaming.

SHOUTcast hosting is an alternate kind of web hosting service. It is typically used for streaming media. SHOUTcast is primarily a server type software. The company that came up with this piece of software is called Nullsoft. What the server does is to allow the broadcasting of digital or audio content to and from media player software using the MP3 or HE-AAC format. Professionals and hobbyists create internet radios in the same manner.

You can get SHOUTcast for free and it is able to run on several platforms. Operating this software on multiple platforms is as easy as it is implementing it. Apart from that, it is also available for using at an optional fee or no cost.

Some little known things about SHOUTcast background and usage

The server was first created in the year 1999. This streaming protocol uses metadata tags and responses starting with ‘ICY’ which stands for “I Can Yell”, the genuine name of the protocol. The domains of the protocol were registered before Nullsoft, the creator of the software. They then proceeded to change the protocol’s name to SHOUTcast, although the prefix ‘ICY’ is still in the protocol specifications even today.

Producing or listening to internet broadcasts is the software’s main purpose. Mainly because of the inexpensive way to set up broadcasting stations, a lot of these were born with the help of this amazing software. This way a large number of radio network owners and hobbyists were able to set up their own broadcasting stations much less expensive than if they were to set up a regular FM radio station or an AM broadcasting station.

How does its design work??

SHOUTcast’s client-server model has each component communicating through a network protocol. This protocol intermingle the audio data with meta-data like station name or song titles. In order to deliver web page data over the internet, the HTTP protocol has to be used as a transport protocol.

SHOUTcast has known a huge rise in popularity even since it was first launched. Using this software to build your own online radio station is probably the best way to go. With SHOUTcast hosting you will be able to develop the online radio station of any size you like.

Smooth Streaming – what is it and why you should use it

Right now the best way to stream your videos online is with adaptive bitrate technology and Smooth Streaming is going to be your best choice. Smooth streaming can identify the available bandwidth and settle on the most appropriate bit-rate to display your video clip at. That way you don’t have to settle for the lowest common denominator in order to ensure that all your watchers will have a sleek viewing experience.

The performance of Smooth Streaming lies in the fact that you can easily transition the video quality of a media file that a player receives in real time. Consumers with high-bandwidth internet connections can enjoy high definition (HD) quality streaming while others with reduced bandwidth speeds receive the proper stream for their connection, allowing consumers across the board to have fun with a compelling, consistent streaming experience and alleviating the need for media providers to accommodate to the lowest common denominator quality level inside of their audience base.

With their increased viewing times through higher quality true High-definition experiences, firms are now capable to increase their brand interest and marketing revenues as well. They can furthermore benefit from unparalleled network scalability making use of distributed HTTP-based Web servers and offer greater quality to much more clients.

Smooth Streaming is simple enough to conduct. As an user you may not be required to do anything else besides install Silverlight on your Mac or Personal computer. On the other hand if you are a content creator you will need to upgrade your encoding software to one that facilitates encoding to the new Smooth Streaming file format.

In order to stream media assets to clients, hosting providers will need to have IIS Media Services installed on their servers. You will only need to install IIS Media Services on your origin servers. You may need to manage your edge cache/proxy structure as well in order to correctly pass through Smooth Streaming URLs.

Software developers will need to add Smooth Streaming playback support to their Silverlight applications. This is easily done using Silverlight Media Framework with Smooth Streaming Client or by simply using Silverlight player templates integrated in the Expression Encoder.

To design Smooth Streaming presentations you need to encode your videos in a particular way. The same source content would need to be encoded at several bit-rates with each bit-rate being one complete file. The advantage of this is that the user does not have to handle hundreds or even thousands of ‘fragments’ as the server will create ‘virtual fragments’ and will be able to transition between which complete file it is delivering. Presentations with Smooth Streaming can be easily created with the help of the Microsoft Expression Encoder.

Listing your online radio station on iTunes radio

If you want to have many listeners for your online radio station you will definitely need to submit your radio station to iTunes for inclusion into their station listing. Even though many people try to do this and gain the much needed exposure, very few actually manage to get a listing on iTunes. For the best change to get your radio station accepted into iTunes you need to follow the below guidelines.

Before we get to the actual steps you need to take in order to get your station listed, you need to be mindful of the increased expenses that come with more listeners. While a listing in iTunes will definitely bring you more listeners, you can also expect to be required to pay extra for the listener slots but also for licensing fees and other expenses.

An important thing to notice when submitting your station for inclusion into iTunes is that your stream needs to broadcast at a birtrate of at least 128 kbps. Your station can list only one bitrate and one genre so make sure you get everything right from the start. Also, stations that use other than their name to be listed higher in the directory or even to get listed twice will automatically get rejected.

When it comes to adding, editing or troubleshooting your listing you need to keep to the following guidelines:

Your emails must have one of the subject lines from below:

a) Station submission: (station name)

b) Station update: (station name)

c) Other inquiry: (brief description of the issue)

If you have multiple stations listed in iTunes then you can send information concerning one or all of them in the same email. However, make sure to attach the needed information in MSWord or Pages when submitting information for more than 3 radio stations.

It is sensible that iTunes will only accept radio inclusion requests only from the contact they have on file or from the radio station owner. Therefore listeners, friends and auxiliary station personnel cannot make requests on behalf of a radio station.

When submitting your request for radio station inclusion make sure to provide all the requested information. This means you need to write the following:

  • Your iTunes Store login account or email address

  • Your legitimate radio station name

  • The City/State or Country of origin

  • The language your radio station is broadcasting in

  • The type of audio stream (whether it is MP3, AAC or AAC+)

  • Station genre (you are only allowed one genre per radio station)

  • Include the address of your radio station’s website

  • Provide a short description for your radio station

  • Contact details such as name, phone number and email address

  • Include the bitrate you are streaming at (you are only allowed to include one bitrate per radio station)

  • You will also need to provide the radio tation URL or IP (again, only one per radio station)

When requesting an update for you radio station you will also need to provide some information. Therefore, your request needs to contain the following information:

  • The radio station name (same as it is written in iTunes)

  • The name, phone number and email of the contact person

  • Write specifically the update you would like to make for your radio station. Attention: do not resubmit information that is remaining unchanged.

Before sending your submission request to iTunes you need to ensure that your radio station works properly in iTunes. To do this you need to open iTunes, select ‘Opend Audio Stream’ from the Advanced menu and from there enter your audio stream URL.

It usually takes up to 5 business days to hear back from iTunes. Always be sure to respect the guidelines or they may even ban your radio station without the possibility of every including it in iTunes again.

Author : Lucian Paun