Why people still listen to the radio
Economic Guidelines for Starting a Radio Station
Starting a radio station means starting your own small business, and like any other business, it needs a good business plan. In this case, your plan will need to cover a lot of ground, especially since this is not a business where you can make it as you go. Even if you’re only planning to start small and build towards something bigger, you still need to plan everything down, and that goes beyond just obtaining a license to broadcast and setting up your station and studio. There are many other things you need to consider, problems that might occur that you need to be prepared for, because they can and will prop up months before you are on-air.
Consider starting online
There are many online radio stations today. The reach is simply bigger, and you don’t need all the hassle of setting up a ground radio station. You need broadcast software, a computer, and a stream host. On the other hand, starting online is a great way to build an audience and increase your reach. Later on, you can proceed to apply for a license to build your station.
Get all the information you need
When it comes to setting up a radio station, you need to begin with getting a license to construct your station. You apply to the FCC, which is not a simple process. You need to do your research. Find the channel you wish to broadcast on. The process will be easier if you want to broadcast in a rural area instead of an urban area because you have better chances of obtaining your license. In a more urban area, where there aren’t that many available channels, the process will be more complicated, and it may be longer before you obtain your license. After you have it, you get 18 months to build your station.
Choose the right antenna
Equipment is important, of course, but if you don’t have a decent antenna, everything will go downhill. Consider all of your options, keeping in mind where your station will be located – will it be near your actual studio, or not? Will you go digital, AM, or FM? Today, going digital might be a better option, especially if the rest of the world follows Norway’s example and switch off FM radio. Once you’ve decided on an antenna, you need to set it up – which you should never attempt to do on your own. Consider hiring an engineer. It might seem like an expense, but keep in mind that an engineer can save you a lot of money long term. First of all, an engineer will be able to organize everything and educate you on all you need to know about applying for a broadcasting license. You will avoid many financially costly problems if you hire the right person.
Building your station and studio
When you’re building your own station, you need to keep in mind that you are looking for a blend of durability, quality, and an acceptable price. Often, you get only two out of the three – in any business. However, that doesn’t mean that the perfect blend is not possible – you might have to pay a bit more than you had planned, though. Keep in mind that durability and quality are better for a long-term station. You don’t want any of your equipment failing on you when you need it most, so ponying up at the beginning will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Get second hand equipment
If you are a novice in the field, chances are that even with a lot of research and a sound engineer by your side, you will not be able to get the right equipment. If you are going in for the long run, consider starting out with second-hand gear from big radio stations – if you can find them. Don’t be turned off by using the second-hand equipment. If a big radio station had used the equipment, it means it's of high quality. Then, once you get going and can afford to spend more money, you can slowly replace it with brand new equipment which will last you for a long time.
Find different ways to fund your investment
Don’t be afraid to look for aid in the financing your radio station. Look for investors, opportunities to get good business loans, or even donors. If you start your radio station online, you can raise money via the internet, but you can also ask for donations. Even if you are only playing music with some commentary on the side, if you have a dedicated audience that likes your station, your financial opportunities will increase, because today, everything is about an audience. Even well-established stations are considering going online to increase their outreach.
Look for volunteers
Just because you are starting a new business, it doesn’t mean that you will need a certain number of staff. You can save on your expenses by looking for volunteers. Spread the word – by mouth, by flyers, on the internet, that you are looking for help, and help will come. There are many people who wish to start a career in the field, and would help you just for the experience.
Music license and other expenses
If you’re going to broadcast music, you will need a license. You will need to cover that cost, in addition to all the other expenses. In this case, saving on the license and starting with a different content will not work unless you will be setting your station as a community station where you will broadcast news and bits attractive to the community. In that case, you will need staff to cover all the news – which means, yes, you will need to hire talent to get your station off the ground. On the other hand, playing music is always the best idea – because most people tune in the radio to listen to music in between the news or other content.
Keep in mind your recurring expenses
When you create your radio station financial plan, don’t forget to include your recurring expenses. Unless your station and studio are located in your own home, that means rent for both. Then you have the bills to cover, and staff paychecks, if you are going to have staff on hand working full time. You also need help with bookkeeping, so you will need a decent bookkeeper, like MYOB Bookkeeping Services Penrith. Knowing beforehand your recurring expenses will help you plan better and save money long term, so don’t forget to calculate for the first year at the very least – and find ways to fund them. If you’re going to pitch your station to investors and loaners, having a good business plan with all of your expenses calculated, starting from the moment you apply for a license to build your station, all the way to the end of the first year of your radio station being on-air.
P.O. Box 710
Geneva, FL 32732
Phone: (407) 349-9114 | Fax: (407) 349-2485