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How to Start a Radio Station

Tulika Nair
Are you are planning to start off on a career in the media and is the radio your chosen medium? If you learn how to start a radio station, it could be good way to kill two birds with one stone and get a kick-start in the career of your choice.
Did you know that KDKA, which is largely considered the first commercially licensed radio station in the world, was launched in the year 1920?
If you want to create the kind of radio content that you love, then here is a basic overview on starting a radio station.

You may need to contact an expert to get all the minute details that have to be necessarily met in order to start a radio station.

Starting an FM Radio Station

Even if you have absolutely no experience in the world of radio, you can easily open a radio station. You do not need to have any prior technological knowledge about the equipment that you need to use as it is possible to learn this on the job. But there are some important steps that definitely need to be considered. These steps are listed out here.


First and foremost it is important for you to decide how much money you are willing to spend on starting up a radio station and to run the same. Financial planning is absolutely essential for successful running of a radio station.


You will also need to contact people in the business to learn about the equipment that you need to use and learn how to choose the best transmitter for the radio station. Proper contacts will also help you make inroads in the business and make your job slightly easier. You will also have proper guidance.


You will need to learn the process of getting your radio station on air. This will necessitate understanding the kind of equipment you need, how much load your equipment can handle, and other such details.


Depending on whether you want a low power FM (for local use), full power FM (for commercial use), or internet radio (streaming media), you will need to obtain a license for an FM radio station.
If you are planning on broadcasting music, then music licensing and copyright issues are things that you need to handle. You will have to acquire not only a license for your station but also a frequency for your radio station.

FCC Requirements

You will first need to check the requirements as specified by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC). The requirements as specified by the commission include filling up a FCC Form 605 completely with a Proof of Passing Certificate which has been issues by the Commercial Operator License Examination Manager.


While dealing with the procurement of the license, you will also need to decide where your studio will be placed and where your radio transmitter would be situated. Once you have the license you need, you can start broadcasting from your new FM station. It is advisable to always start with a local license and then move on to full power license.


Once you have all the legal and radio station equipment hassles figured out, you can work on the content for the radio station. From playing your own band's songs to songs from a different era to having a discussion based radio station or having a comic radio station, the choice of content is yours.
With a station that plays only music, you have the freedom of hiring fewer people as once the music is playing you do not need someone on air all the time. With other content, you will need to have at least a couple of people to develop and present content on the station.


Another important decision to make is to pick a name for your radio station. Have a funky tag line that people find catchy and are sure to repeat. It is important that it is easy for people to remember the name of your station.
Once your station becomes slightly popular, you will have sponsors ready to advertise on your station, but if you need sponsors before that, you need to sell the station and its content to them. It is important to have appeal to the target audience of your sponsors.
As the radio station is up and running, remember that you need people to keep coming back to the station. Organize competitions, play around with the content, ensure that you do not keep repeating the same tracks over and over again. A good idea to have fun and keep interest alive is to have listeners call in and request for tracks or play contests.
At the end of the day, learning to start a radio station is easy. It is keeping your listeners entertained that is the hard task and if you are successful at that, there will be nothing that would stop you.