Types of Radio Station

The first step to start radio station is to decide an appropriate method for transmission. This post will explain the most common transmission options

1. Low Power FM

 
A Low Power FM (LPFM) radio station can only broadcast educational content. They are not allowed to undertake any commercial operation. A LPFM operates at a frequency of 500mW to 100W and covers a geographical service range radius of 3 to 10 miles.

The quality of a LPFM broadcast is very mediocre as they  are not protected from interference from other classes of FM stations.

Some countries allow free broadcasts while others require obtaining broadcast license and permits for construction of the broadcast station. Some countries allow LPFM stations to noncommercial institutions and public organizations, but not to individuals or commercial units.

2. Full Power FM

These are generally used for commercial radio station broadcasts. The interference is minimum in full power FM channels and hence the quality of broadcast is the best. The full power FM band broadcasts between 88.1 MHz and 107.9 MHz in the United States. This frequency may vary amongst countries depending upon their broadcast
policies.

3. AM Radio Stations

 
As a general thumb rule – Higher the frequency of broadcast, greater is the geographical area covered and lower is the quality of broadcast. Thus all AM radio stations which cover intercontinental broadcasts are done at extremely higher frequencies of
about 1600 to 1700 kHz.

These radio stations witness high interference from local broadcasts of different countries on similar frequencies. Stations are covered by international treatises and conventions on this
subject. Setting up an AM channel requires massive infrastructural investments involving hiring of several cross border consultants to comply to each countries norms.

This is a tedious job and with the advent of new and easier modes of broadcasting it is generally not preferred now a days

4. Internet Radio

This is the least inexpensive method to start radio station broadcast to a world wide audience. You just need to have access to a computer with a large storage capacity, access to fast Internet connection with high data cap limits, good collection of music and a bit of funds to purchase the necessary software.

You can broadcast live shows as well as prerecorded events without the need to have very high powered transmitters and other equipments.
The flip side of Internet radio is presence of large number of competitors, requirement of Internet and a computer at the receiver’s end and a cap on the maximum number of people who can be listening to your radio at any given moment depending upon your server
capacity.

End note

Decide an appropriate transmission mode, as the first step to start radio station.