Some of the links on this page are affiliate links, which means I might get a few cents if you pay to buy something. Let me know of any broken links (thanks) or worthwhile additions.
Music and news for broadcasters
Public Radio Exchange. This service might cost you a few bob, but if you are serious about news, features and speech content then it might be worth a whirl.
CBI: College Broadcasters Inc has a page full of shows, short and long, that may interest you. Click the link and scroll down when it page appears.
Syndicast. This organization offers lots of high-quality free radio programmes from the cream of the electronic music scene that are ready to play on your station. Lovely job.
Podcasts: Like a podcast and want to broadcast it on your station. Plenty do, but you must ask permission first. So search your favourite podcast library and see what fits your station. There’s everything from news, technology shows and radio theatre. Then contact the podcaster asking for permission.
- Play MPE – Play MPE is the trusted service used by all major labels and thousands of independents to showcase their latest music. Free for approved DJs and broadcasters.
- I Pluggers A broad selection for free music, including new releases, to approved broadcasters and DJs.
- Air Play Direct supplies top stations with music by new and established artists.
- Promo Only – The latest top 40 and dance music supplied to qualifying radio presenters and DJs (paid service).
- IDJ Pool – Huge back catalogue covering all genres; country to club music. Supplied to qualifying radio presenters and DJs (paid service). Service supplies radio (clean) versions and extended versions along with numerous remixes (more tracks a week than you can listen to).
- Free Music Archive The Free Music Archive is an interactive library of high-quality, legal audio downloads. Don’t expect to find any top 100 artists, but plenty of good music for filling the gaps in talk shows etc.
ZapSplat – users can audition and download SFX and music for free, use them in their work safe in the knowledge that everything is 100% legal to use.
News and features
- Radio4All – Formed in 1996 by grassroots broadcasters, this site offers free shows featuring news and specialist music programmes.
- Democracy Now! – a daily one-hour independent news show out of the US. Its TV show is offered as an MP3 download. The show is really radio with pictures, so will work fine for radio broadcast.
- Making Contact – Produces stories from around the world, with a focus on the US.
- Feature Story News – a paid-for news service delivering bulletins every hour. Good terms for not-for-profit broadcasters.
- Radio News Hub – Providing news, sport, showbiz and business bulletins to English speaking radio stations. Prices start from £14.99 a month.
Got a show or resource you want to add to this list? Send us the details.
Random bits – jingles and movie quote drop-ins
Convert Sound files. Download Here and receive 10-50% off the normal price to convert between 20+ audio file formats. Record anything on your PC including streaming audio, IM voice calls and more. Download today and receive 10-50% off the normal price.
We love the free play from Muses. Add your streaming URL, select a skin, copy the embed code and paste the audio player anywhere.
Software for DJs
Virtual DJ – Designed for mobile and club DJs, this free app offers a lot and is ideal for broadcasters who don’t have any hardware – such as turntables, CDs or a mixer.
MIXXX – This app works on any platform and has ‘sample’ buttons that can be used to play your jingles and commercials.
BUTT – Broadcast Using This Tool is a free app that some people may need to connect their broadcast app to their streaming account. It supports Shoutcast and Icecast and runs on Linux, Mac OS X and Windows. The main purpose of Butt is to stream live audio data from your computer’s Mic or Line input. Recording is also possible.
Broadcast apps (in no particular order)
- Sam Broadcaster – This is a popular app for use in broadcast studios (PC only).
- Sam Cast. Try for free – SAM Cast lets you stream live audio content. With a microphone, line-in or sound card, you can encode real-time audio and broadcast it live.
- Sam Radio DJ – SAM DJ features a built-in advanced audio processor which will make your station sound incredible. Drag & Drop your tracks where you need them.
- Station Playlist – Budget but fully-featured radio automation app.
- RadioLogik – If you broadcast using an Apple Mac then this must be a contender for you. RadioLogik from MacInMind is as close to professional broadcast software as one can get. There’s a fully-functional free trial version with no expiry date. Gotta love those Macs.
- Broadcast Radio – Myriad 5 Playout is a radio playout and automation system. Free trial.
- MegaSeg – With its integrated music scheduling and programmed events, you can broadcast with MegaSeg with live assist or full automation. Broadcasters will need the Pro version.
- Nextkast Internet Radio Automation Software is written and designed to give the user a professional sounding radio station without the learning curve of other automation software.
- Music Master – MusicMaster music scheduling software.
- Radio DJ – Free (that’s right) radio automation software.
- BroadWave – This runs on any PC as a server to stream live audio. A free version of BroadWave is available for non-commercial use only.
- DJ Soft – Radio automation software. Automatic volume leveling, timed announcements, block rotations, advertising volume enhancement and more.
- MixTime – Radio automation donate-ware, make a donation based on your proposed use.
Reaper – Full and flexible multi-track recorder. I highly recommend this one (and it’s not an affiliate link). It is as powerful as Adobe Audition and it costs $90 (one off payment). Free 90 day trial.
OcenAudio – This is a cross-platform, easy to use, fast and functional audio recorder. Available for all major operating systems.
Audacity – Runs on all platforms, is stable and free. Has a few quirks; but it’s free.
How does one put a caller to air? Here are a few budget options…
- Connect a mobile phone to the mixer. This involves using the headphone output of the phone to an input on your mixer. The caller hears the presenter via the phone’s microphone, but their response goes through the mixer.
- Google Voice. Get a dedicated phone number for use on a smartphone or desktop website.
- Skype. Again, you can get a unique phone number or have people contact you via your Skype user account.
- If using Skype, use the Ecamm Call Recorder app to automatically record all calls. The Ecamm Call Recorder can output the interview as 2 files; one being your side of the conversation and the other being the interviewee – ideal for processing one side of the conversation and not the other.
- Skype TX. A pro solution for handling multiple callers.
- You can use a standard phone line, but typically the audio quality won’t match the digital options above. You’ll need a gadget to sit between the phone and the line to connect to your mixer. One of the better solutions is AudioTX which converts a standard landline into a higher quality ISDN line or search for a JK Audio Inline Patch on eBay etc (product discontinued).
- FeenPhone A fully duplex (and free) option meaning when one person speaks they do not drown out the other.
MP3 Normalizer – For Mac users…If you are uploading MP3 to Auto DJ you will need to trim the silence off the start and end of each MP3, level the sound so they are all the same volume (your listeners will thank you for it) and maybe change the bit rate to match your package (128k for example). This could take hours doing in manually, but this app does it all in a trice in batch mode. Play safe and only work with copies of your MP3 files.
MP3 Gain – This free app for the PC analyzes and adjusts the volume of MP3 files – just like MP3 Normalizer (but for the PC).
Add meta data to a range of file types with MP3Tag (free). Add artist and track name to your files so the correct details, such as current song playing, are displayed correctly of your website and elsewhere..
Envato – for a wide range of website themes, audio, graphics and image elements, check out Envato.
PTA Volunteer Sign Up Sheets – If you have WordPress installed as your CMS and want to sign up volunteers, then this plugin is for you. It allows you to easily create and manage volunteer sign up sheets, and you can define four different types of events: Single, Recurring, Multi-Day, or Ongoing.
Essential tips for broadcasters
Broadcasting your own choice of chat, music and programmes across the internet is great fun and can be very rewarding on many levels.
There is a whole community of online radio broadcasters to help you, and running a station that’s open to the community you live in can create a super resource for locals to share news, their favourite music and important information.
There are few guidelines you might want to take on board if you are new to broadcasting – they are listed below, and further down the page is a list of apps you might need.
Draw up guidelines for any volunteers (on and off air). Station rules such as no offensive language on air, equal opportunities, no discrimination etc, you might have a music policy stating ‘clean’ versions of songs only; or only playing music of a particular genre or decade. Best to lay these ground rules out at the get-go.
You might also decide to police-check volunteers.
Think of where you live and market your station as the local community station. This may help you with selling commercial air time as well as ads on your station’s website. Yes, you can broadcast to the world, but listeners in foreign lands, or even in the next city may not benefit you or your station’s supporters.
Build relationships with local businesses, charitable organisations and support each other.
You must have a professional website for your station. One that looks great on smartphones and has an audio player that works on every platform. Have a contact form for listeners and advertisers to contact you, social sharing buttons and local news if you can.
Remember though that the vast majority of your listeners may not hear your station by visiting your website, they will use services such digital radio listing services.
You need to clearly ID your station name, the area it serves and your website using a station ID jingle. Keep jingles clear, short and punchy. Use the same piece of ID music for everything, to help build the brand and listener recognition.
Do think about having a station logo. Study the logos of the stations you enjoy listening to and create a logo that is simple, legible, and can be scaled to be used at any size. Try and keep it to no more than 2 colours plus white or black. Simplify, simplify, simplify.
One thing we have noticed is lots of digital broadcasters use Auto DJ all week and then play out shows at weekends. We have a view that it wouldn’t hurt to schedule your weekly shows to run every night of the week – i.e; a daily schedule that repeats for 7 days until newer shows are loaded. Not everyone listens all the time (worth a thought, eh).
Your pre-recorded shows are up in the cloud anyway, why not use them more? And you can schedule them to play out at different times on different days.
You need a license to broadcast music
If you are broadcasting commercial music, then you will need to pay the performers, songwriters and ‘record’ companies their fair share.
Here are some of the organizations you will need to know about. Ask us about Geo Blocking your broadcast so it can only be heard in countries where you want it to be heard.
This is not an exhaustive list or music licensing authorities, nor can we take responsibility for helping to point you in the right direction, so please do your own checks to ensure you are broadcasting within the rules/laws.
However, if you are broadcasting just talk radio with royalty-free music, then you might not need a license, still – it is worth checking.
- New Zealand: OneMusic and APRA (you need a license from each organization).
- Australia: PPCA
- USA: BMI and ASCAP and SoundExchange
- UK: PPL and PRS
- Germany: Gema and GVL
- France: Secam
- Netherlands: Bumastermra
If you have any apps you think should appear here, or any broadcasting tips and tricks to share, then do let me know using the contact form – cheers.