At the start of this year I investigated a number of options to create a radio station at my school to improve digital literacy and speaking and listening skills for our students. I initially looked at the more traditional means such as broadcasting over an FM frequency however that proved to be a really expensive way to do it, not to mention the complicated licenses, legalities and red tape.
The other option was to record podcasts and then host them using "on demand" web services such as Soundcloud, Clyp, or iTunes. However these options weren't dynamic enough for our needs. The solution was Raddio.co, a live web streaming service with all the functionality of a traditional radio station inbuilt. I was so impressed with Radio.co I paid the full year subscription upfront.
Radio.co provides students with an authentic audience for their content. Listeners can tune in anywhere anytime and on any Internet enabled device. Radio.co is the easiest and best way for schools to create their own radio station with the ability to broadcast live.
- Apple & Android app available (Premium subscription)
- Variety of affordable plans
- Live listener statistics/analytics
- Live broadcasting
- Easy to use interface
- Online storage for music
- Easy to customise playlists and music tagging
- Scheduling playlists and DJ's
- Multiple logins/ accounts including station roles and permissions
If you subscribe to the premium service it costs approx $99US a month. With the premium service you also get an IOS and Android app built for your listeners to download and enjoy your stations content. They also offer to host a free website for you to promote your station ( this is a small additional fee).
On our radio station we not only play content the students have made we also play sets of commercial music. To do this we have paid additional fees to obtain APRA and PPCA licenses to ensure the artists and record labels receive compensation for their work.
A feature I really like about Radio.co is the ability to create playlists and then schedule them to be played whenever you want. You can also create a default playlist that will "kick in" whenever the live broadcast finishes or drops out. The default playlist will automatically play when nothing else has been scheduled or programmed to play.
If you are using the "live" broadcast feature of Raadio.co you will also need to download a license of Nicecast for approx $70. Nicecast acts as the gateway between your computer and the Radio.co servers https://rogueamoeba.com/nicecast/
For my school radio station I have our students creating content on their iPad's using apps such as Bossjock and Bossjock Jnr. Students create their own content or radio show then provide a teacher or station manager with their MP3 to be uploaded to Radio.co. This has been a really effective way to develop content.
My video below is a walkthrough on some of the main features of Radio.co
Check out the video below and for more information about the benefits of creating your own school or classroom radio station.
Radio.co has the ability to perform live for your listeners using web streaming software Webcast. I have brought my DJ setup into our radio studio and allow students to use my equipment to perform live DJ sets. While I realise not all schools are going to have access to thousands of dollars worth of DJ equipment then next best thing would be to use the app DJAY2 for iPad or iPhone. It really is an amazing app and will add a really cool element to your radio station. I have written a blog post about DJAY2 including a walkthrough video.
This is a great inexpensive USB analogue to digital mixer that has 4 XLR inputs. Pair this with GarageBand and you will have a x4 multitrack recording solution. This mixer can also record to iOS devices using the USB camera connection kit.
The PreSonus Audiobox 44VSL is a brilliant USB audio interface that simplifies the recording process without the need for students or teachers to know how to use a mixer. Simply plug in your XLR mics or inputs adjust the individual volume and you are ready to record. *This model does not connect to an iPad.
The PreSonus AudioBox 2x2 USB audio Interface works the same as the Audiobox 44VSL but with two less inputs. The advantage this model has is that it can be used to record audio on an iPad. The Interface must be plugged into a power supply to make this possible.
Rode XLR Podcasting mic produces broadcast quality recordings that will dramatically lift the standard of your podcasts. This mic will also reduce the bleeding of background noise. This is the best choice if your budget can be stretched. You won't be disappointed with this mic. The Rode Podcaster needs to be used in conjunction with Presonus interfaces or the Allen + Heath Zed10i.
The Rode USB Podcaster Mic is of equal quality and Standard to the XLR version the only difference being the colour and the ability to connect via USB. This mic can also be used to record on an iPad using a powered USB hub. This is the best option of you only need to record the audio from one source.
I have added the PSM1 Shock mount to remove any vibration noise. The Boom Kit will also ensure the mic is positioned close to the speakers mouth.
The Sennheiser E835 Mic is a versatile option for use on your radio station. While its not the best mic on the market for creating podcasts it does have a good price point and it is versatile as it can be use as a vocal mic for signing or performances in addition to your school PA system.
I have used these with my radio station as I already owned them and I was really surprised at the quality for our recordings.
The Rode PSA1 is a great accessory if you want to mount your microphones to a boom. These stands help unclutter the work space and allow the mics to positioned close to the speakers mouth for optimum recording.
These desktop microphone stands are perfect for use with both of the Rode Podcaster microphones as well last the Sennheiser E835. You will need to purchase one of these or the Rode PSA1 Swivel arm to mount your microphones.
This "On Air" sign adds a great sense of professionalism to your radio station the students also thinks its pretty cool.
I purchased this one for $19.99 at JB HI-FI.
The sign is battery powered and has anchor points so it can be fixed to a variety of locations.