Wanna Own Your Own Radio Station?

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(By Troy Price) If you are reading this you are aware of the revolution podcasting presented in recent years. The way podcasting allows anyone to give voice to their passion via the internet is revolutionary. There has been a smaller, quieter revolution of which you should be aware. This revolution will allow you to give voice to your passion over the A.M. radio band.

I will have to be a little technical before we talk about your participation in the local radio revolution.

Here is some history. Back in the early 2000s the U.S. government made changes to Part 15 of Title 47 of FCC regulations. This allowed a few household items to use radio frequencies. This was all part of how and when TV broadcasting converted to digital signals. The TV conversion made a lot more news back in the day – you may even remember that.

Here is where it gets interesting. The Part 15 revision allowed for unlicensed broadcasting in the AM spectrum. If you use limited power and you do not interfere with a licensed radio station, you can broadcast on the radio.

Just like with podcasting, there is a strong support system online for the Part 15 broadcasters – you can find everything you need to know to be a part 15 broadcaster with a few google searches. And as a podcaster you have all the skills and most of the equipment to be a Part 15 broadcaster already. Before we talk about what you do not have, let’s review what you already have that will help you break into radio.

As a podcaster you know about audio recording and have audio editing skills. And you have microphones, computers and I bet you know how to find and use free or inexpensive softwares. Even with all that I believe your biggest asset is your library of audio files that you can repurpose for your radio station.

Now, here is the main thing you need – a Part 15 compliant transmitter. I suggest you start out with the least expensive equipment you can find. Look on eBay or where ever you look for used audio equipment. Just search for ‘Part 15’. You can get something for under $50 that can reach a few hundred feet if you are lucky. This will give you everything you need to begin radio broadcasting. You will quickly want to upgrade and (if you are curious) that upgrade will cost no more than $700. And you will not have to spend any more. You can reach almost a mile with that transmitter.

Why would a podcaster with an international reach care about something with only a one mile radius? It is the same reason why podcasters have meet-ups. Imagine every time you leave your house is a meet-up with those listening to you. Imagine connecting to your neighbors the way you do with your current audience. You can have that as a Part 15 Radio Broadcaster.

The reason I am pitching radio so hard is that it would be so easy for you to make the transition. And it is a space that is opening up. The major radio conglomerations that purchased most of the A.M. radio stations over the past two decades are now closing down those same stations. There is a need in your community that you may not be aware of. You could provide that valuable service.

Google it. Think about it. And add Radio Station Owner to your business card.

Troy Price is the co-founder of Front Porch Studios in Berea, Kentucky. He’s been involved with podcasting for over a decade. Reach Troy by email at Troy@frontporchstudios.com.