Starting up an internet radio station? Here are 5 tips to bear in mind that will help to give you an edge and keep listeners to your station happy.
Never publish IP addresses for your streams. Always use DNS in links and anywhere else you use to tell people where your stream is. If you publish an IP address, this is what may be bookmarked by listeners. If you then change the location of the stream to another server and therefore IP address, these bookmarks will fail and due to the transient nature of the internet, people will assume your station has closed and you will lose listeners.
You would also have to re-code your website and any links from other websites or directories will fail resulting in loss of audience. So be sure to setup, in your DNS settings for your domain, a sub-domain (like sc.yourdomain.com or ice.yourdomain.net) pointing at your stream server IP address. ONLY publish your sub-domain and port. If you change servers, simply amend the IP setting in the DNS entry and no one will know you have moved. That way you are in control and you are not tied to one provider.
Think about the location and infrastructure of your listeners. If the intended audience in not in a first world country internet links may be slow and data costs high. A 128Kbps stream may sound great, but costs in data may rule out listening on mobile devices in some countries. The audience may well accept a lower bit rate and marginal drop in audio quality if you provide a choice of streams at different bit rates and encoding methods. Mobile users will want to use a lower bandwidth stream to save on their data allowance and avoid buffering when their connection cannot keep up with the data from your radio station. Also remember there are parts of the USA that still use dial-up modems to connect to the internet.
Keep an eye on the numbers of listeners you get and when. Look for peaks and check that you don’t max out your streams and turn listeners away.
If your encoder allows you to send scripts in the stream try not to. Take the tick out of the box. Scripts in streams can often disrupt the audio and result in a bad listener experience.
Remember your audience is not just Railway Cuttings, East Cheam, it is the world. Internet radio station an easily get listeners in over 100 countries each month.
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