Definition: Internet Radio describes a technical achievement which allows audio to be digitized and split into small pieces for transmission across the Internet. The ultimate effect is to create the illusion of “radio”. The audio is “streamed” through the Internet from a server in one location and reassembled on the listener’s end by a software player on a computer or Internet Radio receiver. However, those listening to the continuous stream audio broadcast have no control over the stream, similar to traditional radio broadcasting. Many radio stations worldwide offer their broadcast via Internet radio to a worldwide audience. Nowadays, hardware devices commonly known as web radio and radio automation software such as SAM Broadcaster LITE that connects to a home-based network and then plays through a live audio streams.
Always wanted to be a DJ or radio host? No more excuses–here’s how to start your own radio station online without breaking the bank.
Have you ever wondered how internet radio stations work and/or wanted to create your own, but thought it would be too complicated and costly?. As long as you have a PC with a broadband connection, you have what it takes to showcase your musical taste to anyone around the world. This step-by-step will guide you how. It is actually very easy, and you can set up your own radio station and begin broadcasting songs in about 15 minutes.
The process is broken down in 3 basic stages of internet broadcasting:
- You – The supplier of the content
- Us – CheapestStream, the streaming platform that will broadcast your content
- Audience – The listeners, anyone with an internet connection, can now connect to your radio station worldwide.
First of all, let me give you a quick rundown on how it works. You have your music player (you get a free Flash Media Player with CheapestStream) and radio automation software (you get SAM Broadcaster LITE as part of a CheapestStream package). You will need a fast internet connection so you can broadcast without buffer underruns occurring. Broadcasting software like SAM Broadcaster LITE sends music to a streaming service like CheapestStream where the music is possibly re-encoded and then sent to the listener.
Sound Quality based on the Bit rate:
24 to 32kbps = AM radio quality – excellent for talking radio
48 to 80kbps = FM radio quality – decent for music and perfect for mobile phones
92 to 128kbps = CD quality – great for music
192 to 320kbps = Superior quality – closer than CD quality
Bit rate, as the name implies, describes the rate at which bits are transferred from one location to another. In other words, it measures how much data is transmitted in a given amount of time.
Bandwidth refers to the maximum possible bit rate of an internet connection.
- Download and Install your Radio Automation Software (SAM Broadcaster LITE, comes free with ANY of CheapestStream packages)
- How much streaming do I need? (CheapestStream has several beginners packages for you to get started)
- How do I configure my CheapestStream streaming settings with my Radio Automation Software? (SAM Broadcaster LITE, so I can begin broadcasting)
Radio automation software lets radio broadcasters automate the tasks required to run an online radio station. These tasks include managing your audio files and scheduling them in a specific queue.
Using a sound card or any other sound-capture device, a live audio encoder like the one included in SAM Broadcaster LITE or SAM Cast lets you capture audio content and stream it online in real-time.
SAM Broadcaster LITE has a set of default categories under “Content” and “Special” in the “Playlist” window. We call them “Smart Categories” because they group tracks based on a common feature.
When you right-click on a track, select “Song Info.” In this window, under the “Info” tab and near the bottom, you’ll notice that the file has a “Type.” Here are the different types SAM Broadcaster LITE can attribute to media files (you can also change the file type manually in this window):
S: Normal song
I: Station ID
N: Syndicated news
X: Sound FX
C: Unknown content
So, for example, under Content > Music > Music (All), all the tracks found in this smart category should be marked as Type “S” to indicate that they’re all “Normal songs.”
You’ll find other smart categories under “Special,” also in “Playlist.” These include “Weighted Rotation,” “Overlay,” “Song Rights,” and “Play Limit.”
The categories under “Groups” in “Playlist” are read-only files. You also can’t drag new items into these categories. However, they’re ideal for locating tracks from a specific artist, title, year, genre, or album.
What makes the smart categories so clever is their ability to edit data to match a category. For example, if you drag and drop a normal music file into the “Sound FX” category, it will automatically change that song’s setting to Type “X.” In other words, you won’t have to change the song’s type in the “Song Info” window manually. You can even drag and drop multiple files into a smart category and change their settings in one quick motion. This applies to all smart categories except “Groups.”
After you edit media files in “Song Info,” hit F5 to refresh your smart categories.
SAM Broadcaster LITE and SAM Broadcaster Full are almost alike with just some minor differences but the quality and main features of the full version of SAM Broadcaster are all included. SAM Broadcaster LITE allows you to manage a media library, automate your radio station and interact with your listeners. The difference between SAM Broadcaster LITE and the FULL Version are the quantity of tracks allowed in your Media Library, the limited supported media formats, the number of encoders allowed and the LITE Version does not include the Automation features. Other than these main features the quality and performance is the same.
When you purchase one of our software programs, you are entitled to 1 license for this program. This license entitles you to 1 registration key, which activates the program. You are permitted to activate the program on 3 systems altogether: Your primary system (presumably a desktop), your laptop in case you travel, and a secondary system in case your primary system breaks down. You may not operate SAM products on more than 1 system at a time, and you may not share your SAM Broadcaster LITE license with a third party.
To avoid situations like this, we advise against sharing your SAM Broadcaster LITE license with a third party. As such, we cannot provide assistance if you willingly shared your SAM Broadcaster LITE license. However, if you believe your license and registration were stolen without your knowledge, contact CheapestStream Support.
The installation process is easy and uncomplicated. Log in to your CheapestStream.com Client Zone and go to “Accounts and Tools>Tools” where you will find your copy of SAM Broadcaster LITE available for download.
You will need your CheapestStream.com User Name and Password to access the Client Zone.
Running the Installation File
- Click ‘Yes’ to install
- Click ‘Next’ after reading the welcome message
- Read the Terms and Conditions then click ‘Accept’
- Make sure SAM Broadcaster LITE installs in its proper directory Example: C:Program FilesSpacialAudioSAMBC
- Accept all defaults, clicking ‘Next’ until you complete the installation.
Once the installation has completed, you will be prompted with a few options:
- View SAM Broadcaster LITE Readme File
- Run SAM Broadcaster LITE Program
- Visit AudioRealm, One of the best Online Radio Directories
- When finished with this Quick Setup Guide, you can read through the Readme.
- Click ‘Finish’
If you selected ‘Run SAM Broadcaster LITE Program’ then the SAM Broadcaster LITE software should start running immediately. If not, or you pressed on the [X], you can load it manually by going to: Start / Run / Programs / SAM Broadcaster LITE / SAM Broadcaster LITE.
Note: CheapestStream.com platform only works with SAM encoders like the one in SAM Broadcaster LITE, SAM Broadcaster & SAM Cast.
How to Set Up Your CheapestStream.com Encoder with SAM Broadcaster LITE?
You can set up your CheapestStream.com encoder. To do this, open SAM Broadcaster LITE and follow these steps:
- Click on “Desktop B” in the toolbar.
- In the “Encoders” window, click the plus sign (“+”) to add a new encoder.
- Select the CheapestStream.com encoder.
- Click “OK”
The CheapestStream.com encoder window will then appear.
- In the “Service” tab, enter your CheapestStream.com username and password you use to log in to CheapestStream.com.
- Click “Login.”
- A list of active services will appear. Click the “Select” button next to the service you wish to use.
- Click “Next”to proceed to the “Encoder” tab and verify your settings.
- Click “Next” to proceed to “Station Details.”
In “Station Details”:
- Enter your radio station’s name.
- Select your station’s genre from the drop-down menu.
- Provide your website’s URL.
- Note that the “AIM,” “ICQ,” and “IRC channel” fields are optional. If you have already provided your station details under “Configuration” in “Station Details,” the information will already be filled in.
- Click “Next” to proceed to the “Archive” tab.
In the “Archive” tab:
- Check “Save stream to file” if you want to save a copy of your stream to your local hard drive.
Once you’ve configured all your settings, click “OK” to close the CheapestStream.com Encoder window.
Initial SAM Broadcaster LITE Start
A ‘Welcome!’ window will appear with:
- A checkbox for ‘Add SoundFX and demo audio files’
- A checkbox for ‘Add my audio files to the media library (Recommended)’
These features are optional and can be added later on once you have gotten familiarised with the software.
- Click ‘Continue’.
- Choose the directory that your music files are located in and click on ‘OK’.
At this point SAM Broadcaster LITE will add those songs to the media library. After it sorts through your music, SAM Broadcaster LITE will now be ready to start broadcasting live.
Now that you have SAM Broadcaster LITE up and running, let’s quickly set up your system settings so you can start streaming your online radio.
Configuring your Station Information for Online Radio Directories
Now that you have set-up your radio station to run with SAM Broadcaster LITE, you are ready to broadcast to the world. The thrill of entertaining people and impressing them with your music scheduling and other talents can only be explained by experiencing it! You might even become an online super-star and turn your hobby into a full-time business. Promote your radio station through one of the biggest Online Radio Directories for FREE – AudioRealm. By listing your radio station in AudioRealm you gain extra listeners from all over the world.
By signing-up and becoming part of the AudioRealm community, you get to chat to other music lovers, share your favourite stations with your friends or make new friends that share your deep passion for music. As a member you also gain access to many special areas and community features.
For you to be listed on AudioRealm, our station listing site, you need to add a few configurations in SAM Broadcaster LITE.
- At the top of SAM Broadcaster LITE, click on ‘Config’.
- Alternatively, you can click on File / Config in SAM Broadcaster LITE
- Enter Your CheapestStream.com login information in the AudioRealm area:
- Enter your Username
- Enter your Password
- Click on ‘Station Details’
- Enter your Station Details
- Click on the down arrow for ‘Short Name’
- In a few seconds the name you created on CheapestStream.com will be added. Once you are connected online, click on your Station’s Name to add the following information:
- Choose three genres that fit your station.
- Email Address (optional)
- AIM (Optional)
- ICQ # (Optional)
- Make sure ‘Show station details on AudioRealm.com’ is checked
- Click ‘OK’
Now comes the fun part of all radio broadcaster enthusiasts: adding music to their media library and setting up your playlists. Adding music is the most vital part of using this software. It’s also one of the easiest tasks.
There are two ways to add music. For starters, open SAM Broadcaster. Once there, follow these steps:
Go to the playlist window located on “Desktop A” from the toolbar, at the far left half way down and select the category into which you want to add files in. Categories are used to split files into manageable groups or lists.
Click on “Tracks” in the “Playlist” window. You will see the content in the “Tracks in selected category” window, immediately below.
One way to add music is to click on the plus sign (“+”) to browse your documents, then locate and select music files.
There’s a down arrow next to the plus sign (“+”), which lets you add a directory (so you can place all your media files in a specific directory) or add a playlist (so you can import existing M3U, PLS, or ASX files).
Another way to add music is to drag files from Windows Explorer and drop them directly into the “Tracks in selected category” window.
To create a playlist, simply drag your tracks from the “Tracks in selected category” window and drop them into the “Queue” window. To select more than one track at a time, hold down “Shift” or “Ctrl.”
You can also right-click on a category name or on any track within that category to add those songs to a playlist you’d like to create.
A status window will display the progress of the files being added to the media library. Once completed, you should be able to see the list of tracks added to the category in the “Tracks in selected category” window.
Adding files to the Queue
The next step is to load the files you want to play into the queue. The queue contains a list of files that will be played in order from top to bottom.
Inside the Quick Tracks playlist window, double-click on a song and it will be added to the Queue. Repeat this process until you have a few songs in the Queue.
SAM Broadcaster LITE Auto DJ
First, make sure you’re set to “Auto DJ” mode (this is the default setting). You can select the DJ mode by selecting the drop down arrow just left of the “Desktop A” button in the toolbar. Auto DJ will automatically load the next song from the queue when required and cross-fade to the next track.
Note: Make sure both Deck A and Deck B are visible. You may reset the layout of the screen by selecting the default option for your resolution from the `layout` menu.
Click on the “Play” button in the toolbar just below “file” in the menu bar to start audio playback in the next available deck.
Now that you are broadcasting live: Want to know who is listening to you at any time? Now you can: You will need to set up a statistic relay that will let you know how many listeners are tuned in at any given time.
To set up CheapestStream.com statistic relays, open SAM Broadcaster LITE and follow these steps:
- Click on “Desktop B” in the toolbar.
- In the “Statistics” window, click the plus sign (“+”) to add a new relay.
- Select “CheapestStream.com Relay” from the list.
- Click “OK.”
The “CheapestStream.com Relay” window will appear.
- In the “Service” tab, enter your CheapestStream.com username and password.
- Click “Login” and select a streaming service.
- To select the “Color on graph,” click on the color box, and a color selection window will appear. Select the color you want to use to represent this particular statistic on your relays graph.
- We recommend leaving “Private statistic relay” unchecked, since “Public” relays get listed on AudioRealm.
- Click “OK.”
Tips & Tricks
You can quickly locate a song by clicking inside either the Queue or Playlist window and typing the name of the song you wish to find. This will instantly bring up a search window with matching results. Just double-click on the song to add it to the queue. Alternatively, you can click on the spyglass in that window to bring up a search window.
Drag & Drop! In SAM Broadcaster LITE you can drag track(s) from anywhere to almost anywhere. For example, you can drag a track from the search window onto the playlist, queue, or even directly onto the player decks. You can also drag from the search onto a category inside the Playlist window. You can even drag & drop directly from Windows File Explorer!
Learn the Shortcut keys – Like zippers, they make life so much easier… If a song is playing in a Deck, hold down the [Shift] key while left-clicking on the Play, Pause, Stop or Next button. This will do a nice fade of the music to the specified state.