I was a college dj and loved it. I had my own show, my own time slot, my own playlist (late nite was much more forgving) Starting a station is a lot easier today than it was at the heyday of college radio in the 1990s. Hell, even in my own time in the 80's, it was a great place to learn the craft before it all became 'push button', and discovering bands before the average listener to FM, well, that was a perk that I loved.
Here we are in 2019, and thanx to the internet and great sofware packages like Airtime Pro, things are really taking off. It's a great way to find the next big thing and the flexibility of type of format makes it so appealing to aspiring dj's and their listeners. More and more radio stations are online-only, taking advantage The big thing is that now two things are covered at once, it's cost-effective and easy to set up.
Going thru the hoops and paperwork to get a real broacast license is a royal pain, to say the least. Get yourself online and let'er rip. Here are some steps recommeneded by Airtime Pro, which is what i use:
Step 1: Put together programming ideas and station identity
From the start, define the purpose of the station and specific ideas for shows, documenting it all in as much detail as possible. Programming is the heart and soul of a radio station, and you probably already have a good idea of what percentage of airtime will be dedicated to playing different genres of music, discussing news and broadcasting talk shows, live performances and special events. Put it in writing, and keep refining as ideas for the station’s identity and content evolve.
Step 2: Build a team
Much of your station’s programming will depend upon the team you put together. Radio is by no means a one-person effort, so reach as far as possible into the campus community. Canvas professors, fellow students, even alumni–and don’t forget about those lovable engineering students–to see who’s interested in participating. Pooling ideas and talent from a diverse group with different skills, backgrounds and passions is a surefire way to establish the foundation for a vibrant college radio station that will stand the test of time.
Step 3: Write and submit your campus radio station proposal
Write a formal proposal and submit it to your school’s administration outlining initial and yearly budgets, the purpose of the station and programming, day-to-day management and staffing, and studio space and technology requirements. For detailed help on writing a proposal for a campus radio station, HobbyBroadcaster.net has an excellent guide.
Step 4: Build your studio space
Assuming you’ve submitted a serious proposal and put together a solid team, chances are good that your school’s administration will see the educational value and give your station the go ahead. For studio space, you don’t want to operate out of a janitor’s closet, but a space of 8-feet-by-8-feet would seem to be the bare minimum. Ideally, your station’s studio would consist of at least three rooms, one for normal broadcasting operations, another where you can spread out and do things like host live performances by local or visiting bands, and another to be used for storage or as a waiting area for guests and DJs waiting to go on shift. One of our partner stations, Titon Radio (CSUF) at Cal State Fullerton, has such a setup and operates out of the basement of the university’s library. We’ve put together a handy guide that details “10 Essential Pieces of Equipment” to get you started on building out a studio.
Step 5: Start broadcasting and promoting your station
Now it’s time to put all your planning and hard work into action. Fortunately, our internet radio broadcasting software is super easy to set up, and with Airtime Pro you can be on air in minutes. See our Step-to-Step Guide to setting it up, which also has ideas on branding and promoting your station.
So, go forth and build upon the independent, colorful history of college radio. Think of it as a collegial broadcasting laboratory, a link to jobs in the recording industry, which at every level is peopled with campus radio alumni. And, with a little luck, your station may even be the first to air the breakout song–think “Smells Like Teen Spirit”, which launched the career of ‘90s grunge gods Nirvana when first played on college station KXLU in Los Angeles–of the next great band.