How To Set Up Your Own School Radio Station

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.

Key Features

  • 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/

pcc_radio

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. 

You can also listen to my school radio station by clicking on this link. Or by downloading the app from App Store. DOWNLOAD APP

 

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. 


The Rode Reporter app is fantastic for recoding interviews. It works even better if you have one a Rode Reporter microphone with the i-XLR adapter. 

Download Rode Reporter app - http://apple.co/2reyDoX

The Rode Record app is a great way to record field interviews. It works with a multitude of microphones and allows passthrough audio meaning you can monitor your recording using a set of headphones on the fly.

Download Rode Record app - http://apple.co/2pwyWhH


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 Rode Reporter mic is exceptional for doing field reporting either with a wireless transceiver or combining it with the Rode i-XLR interface and recording on your iPhone using either of the RODE recording apps mentioned in this post. The versatility of this mic means it could also be used in the studio as an additional mic to be paired with the any mixer or audio interface.  


The Rode i-XLR is a XRL to Lightning interface that can be paired with the Rode Reporter Microphone and the Rode Reporter iPhone app. You can start and stop audio clips, increase the mic gain and monitor audio through the headphone jack.

It is a very handy and will take your field recording to the next level. 


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.

How to create your own Podcast on an iPad or iPhone.

podcasting_with_bossjock

Over the past 6+ years there has been a huge rise in people listening to podcasts as they commute to work, exercise in gyms or even multitasking at home.  Podcasting is rapidly increasing in popularity due to its accessibility and wide range of genres. What makes podcasting great is anyone can do it and they can achieve fantastic results on a very low budget. 

Podcasting is a fantastic way for students to practice and improve their speaking and listening skills through a fun and engaging multi modal format with an authentic audience. Podcasting involves students writing and planning a script on a predetermined topic so they are organised when it comes time to record. I believe podcasting is a digital literacy skill our teachers need to expose their students to. Podcasting is fun, engaging and a great way to include cross curricula content and digi tech skills.

Creating your own radio station or podcast on your iPad or iPhone has never been easier! Bossjock Studio provides everything you need to get started. Whether you're an expert or beginner there is something for everyone with its easy to use interface and professional features.  Look no further as there is no better way to get started podcasting on your IOS device than with Bossjock Studio or Bossjock Jnr. 

Developing a format for your podcast is a key to the success of your show. You need to consider a theme song or jingle you want to use at the beginning of your show. It creates drama and anticipation, it is also the first things your listeners hear so it can either instantly engage or disengage your listeners. Stingers or sound effects are important elements to any podcast they are used to fill the void or dead space between topics or a discussion. Garage Band for IOS and MAC are the "go to" apps to create theme songs and stingers.

Watch the brief walkthrough below;

boss_jock_sound_box

A great way to improve your audio recording in noisy classrooms is to use a DIY sound booth. The sound booth pictured below is a simple box construction made from plywood and eggshell foam used to help with any reverb. The booth blocks any sound waves from reaching the microphone from the rear. The eggshell foam can purchased from shops like Clark Rubber. This is an inexpensive way to improve your podcast audio. 

Audio Settings Explained

it is also advised that you switch your iPad or iPhone to a  eroplane   mode whilst recording any podcast as sounds from   pushed emails or notifications could interrupt your recording.

it is also advised that you switch your iPad or iPhone to aeroplane mode whilst recording any podcast as sounds from pushed emails or notifications could interrupt your recording.

Ducking is the amount that the volume of the carts is reduced when you trigger the mic. The cart audio “ducks” under the audio of the microphone.

Amount is the amount by percentage the audio is reduced.

Attack is the speed that the Cart audio is lowered when you hit the mic button. Release is how fast the Cart audio is again raised to its original volume.

Cart Fades: we put automatic fades on carts so there are smooth transitions when you stop playing Cart early.  The Cart Fades Time sets the amount of time for the fade out transition.

ACCESSORIES

One of the great things about Bossjock Studio is that it supports a wide variety of accessories. I will discuss below some products from audio industry pioneers RODE as they are cost effective and sound amazing. I have added links to Amazon if you wish to proceed and purchase any of this equipment. How you want to roll this out in your classroom or school will obviously depend on your budget and purpose. I have two options below for you to consider. Each option will create one podcasting studio per two students with one iPad to share. 

Option 1

Option 1 is good if you want the flexibility to use the Video MicGo as a podcasting mic and a shotgun mic for film making or creating green screen movies. 

  • 1x Rode SC6 TRRS break out box
  • 1x Rode Video MicGo microphone
  • 1x Rode PG1 pistol grip
  • 1x Rode SC7 TRS to TRRS patch cable
  • 1x Audio splitter
  • 2x Headphones

Option 2

Option 2 is good if you want to create a podcast studio with the ability to do audio interviews on your iPad or iPhone.

  • 2x 1k Multimedia iRig microphones
  • 1x Rode SC6 TRRS break out box
  • 1x Audio splitter
  • 2x Headphones

The first accessory to consider if you are going to use Bossjock Studio or any sound recording app on IOS for that matter is the RODE SC6 breakout box. The SC6 allow you to connect two microphones for simultaneous recording and a headphone jack to monitor your recording on the fly. You can also use the headphone jack as an audio out option. Connect to a PA system or mixer to one of the mic inputs using a 3.5mm stereo jack and perform a live radio show using the features of Bossjock Studio.

The RODE VideoMic Go is a fantastic directional shotgun microphone with excellent sound quality. the VideoMic Go is compatible with iPad's, iPhone's, DLSR, GoPro's or any device with a 3.5mm stereo jack.  The VideoMic Go is also relatively inexpensive. The addition of the PG1 Pistol grip provides a mount for the VideoMic Go. Allowing the mic to be handheld or fixed to a tripod, mic stand or boom pole using the 3/8" thread. You now have an awesome podcasting and video mic to improve the audio in movies shot on your IOS devices. The directional shotgun feature of the Video MicGo mic means that two students can comfortably sit around one mic to record their podcast. The Video MicGo is a really versatile mic and my preferred option because of it's dual purpose both podcast and video. 

rode_video_mic_go_pistol_grip.jpg

The Rode SC7 is also a very handy patch cable when doing any audio recording on an IOS device. The SC7 allows any mic including the VideoMic Go to connect to any TRRS compatible device such as iPads and iPhones.  The SC7 needs to be purchased in addition to the cable supplied with the Rode VideoMic Go as it is not TRRS compatible. 

Audio splitters are a great way to allow more than one person to monitor the volume during a podcast using headphones. This is particularly important when working in groups. You will need to use the SC7 Breakout box if you want to use a headphone splitter with Bossjock Studio. They are cheap and keeps everyone in the action. 

audio_splitters

A good set of headphones is essential for the production of a podcast. I recommend the Sony MDRZX110 as they are a cheap yet durable set of headphone suitable for use in a school. I have had a class set of these for the past 3 years and they can handle any rough treatment your students want to dish out. I also like the smaller cable length on these headphones, the less cord the less mess and tangles. 

Other Accessories To Consider

The Apogee Mic is also a brilliant mic to use with any iPad or IOS device. It will provide a crisp sound to any recording. It is a bit more expensive but the results will be worth the extra money. Choosing this mic also frees up the headphone jack so you won't need the RODE SC7 break out box.

The iRig mic is also a fantastic and inexpensive mic to use with your iPhone or iPad. It is great mic for doing interviews or podcasting however you will need one mic per person when recoding as it is not a directional mic. You also loose the ability to use this as a microphone when creating films on your device. Where the Rod Mic Go can be used for both podcasting and video production as it is a directional mic with a wider audio range. 

If you don't have the budget for all these extra accessories the Apple earbuds that come free with all iPhones are a good alternative as they have TRRS capabilities. You can tell if a microphone has TRRS functionality by counting the three black rings on the stereo jack. Traditional headphones or stereo jacks will only have two black rings. The rings seen on the end of a TRRS compatible device mean the following stereo left, stereo right and mic output.

The Rode Smart Lav+ is another option to consider for anyone looking to get broadcast quality sound out of their iPad or iPhone. This is also the perfect option for use in a noisy classroom. As these are a lapel mic you would need to supply one for each person speaking. The Smart Lav+ can be used for doing video interviews however you would need to purchase the SC1 TRRS extension cable.