We are involved in a great project radioactive101 setting up Internet Radio stations to address employability, inclusion and active citizenship in an original and exciting way.
This week I have been researching some of the free options which are great for use in schools or small community groups who want to do radio.
You will need to pay for a server if you plan to run a high quality professional radio show with uninterrupted service and guaranteed bandwidth.
There are others but we use internet-radio.com which offers both subscription and pay as you go packages for low fees.
If you’re looking for a lower-specification free option there are some notes and links here.
As free servers go Caster.fm is a very good option. The password protected broadcast option makes it ideal for schools or those wanting a sandbox for practice purposes. It works well with Nicecast for Mac or Edcast on Windows although Windows users will need to download the Lame encoder. The tutorials on site explain how to do this. Caster is a Beta site so there are still bugs and the server has down time which although minimal, may occasionally interfere with your programming.
- Maximum bit rate – 128kbps
- Streaming server – Ice Cast 2
- Other required/recommeded Software – Nicecast (Mac) or Edcast and Lame encoder (Windows)
- Podcasting – Once you get 100 votes it records podcasts and puts them on website where they can be downloaded
- Website – caster provides your show with a website where listeners can access broadcasts and downloads as well as your news updates, they can also put in requests.
- Sharing – easy social network integration
- Features – embeddable player to put on your other websites.
option for private or password protected broadcasts
- Maximum listeners – 300
- Mobile devices – not yet
myradiostream.com is another similar free server. In this case the bandwidth is shared between users so if you get more listeners you get more bandwidth and vice versa.
- Streaming server – Shoutcast
- Maximum Bitrate – 64kbps
- Other required/recommended software – Nicecast (Mac) or Winamp and the Shoutcast DSP v2 plugin (Windows)
- Podcasting – no options but you can still archive your broadcasts using Nicecast etc and turn them into Podcasts yourself.
- Website – MyRadioStream provides you with a website to direct your listeners to rather than giving a direct link to server, from there they can choose to use their own media player.
- Sharing – no integrated buttons but code snippets are provided for websites.
- Features – 1500GB monthly allowance
- Maximum listeners – unlimited
- Mobile Devices – on paid for options
Spreaker provides web based broadcasting without having to download any extra software, you just sign up for a free account and then click on broadcast. That’s it, you are on the air!
- Bit rate – 128kbps
- Podcasting – Broadcasts are automatically recorded and displayed on your profile, the free option gives you 10 hours of audio storage.
- Website – you get a profile page, listeners have to sign up for an account to hear your broadcast.
- Sharing – easy social network integration.
- Features – Simple to use. Paid versions let you use external tools such as Nicecast.
- Maximum listeners – no limit
- Mobile devices – Apps are available for iOS and Android devices so you can broadcast straight from your phone.
*Note for teachers – With Caster.fm and myradiostream.com you may need to spend around half an hour setting up an account and dealing with the software, with Spreaker you can be on air in under 10 minutes but the small print says you can’t use it for children under 13 due to the social networking aspects.
All details correct so far as I know but I will update and add more options as and when I find them.