How Does Online Radio work?

FM radio stations in all the world have tried one way or another in the past few years. In the face of declining public interest in radio, the rapid development of technology, and fierce competition, the owners of large radio stations no longer feel as comfortable as they are in the “complete zero.”

Let’s try to understand the situation!

We can say that the foreign minister’s trend is “withering.” For example, at the end of last year, Norway abandoned the FM format, and now all-digital radio stations are broadcasted in the country.

Digital broadcasting has its advantages: high quality, the ability to transmit images and text with audio (more advanced messages through RDS), provided that the transmission strength is reduced.


However, to fully transition to “number,” you will need individual radios (AM and FM standards will not work), and these receivers are expensive. Another minus is a small delay in sound when a signal is sent. However, the Norwegian authorities said that with the full transition to digital broadcasting, they would save approximately $ 25 million.

In Russia, in turn, they are also considering switching to digital broadcasting. Still, so far, there are many nuances (high equipment cost, audience unwillingness, etc.) that hinder the implementation of such a shift. In the Saint Petersburg conspiracy “Fontanka”, the expert gives three years to the “digital revolution”.

Despite Rospechat’s 2015 pink reports that Russians are actively listening to their favorite radio channels, the audience of radio listeners has decreased over the past ten years.

At the same time, new radio stations continue to emerge, both national and regional, strengthening the already saturated market and creating healthy competition. To survive in such conditions, the stations are forced to change one way or another.

How it works now :

Dozens and hundreds of articles have been written on broadcast technology, although everything makes sense in this area: there is a transmitter, there is a receiver, and there is a signal. The easiest way to find the elements of this diagram is in the Wikipedia article.

Radio stations use radio transmitters of different capacities, depending on the information they transmit at different distances. The listener contains a radio receiver that receives electromagnetic radiation and converts it into sound. The sound is adjusted in two ways – amplitude (these are AM) and frequency (in fact, FM).

Separately, you can consider the program used for broadcasting. The program through which video is the main instrument of the broadcasting station of the radio station. For broadcasting all the content over the air, automated broadcast complexes are used, for example, Digital, DJin, or Sam Broadcaster.

The tasks of these programs are to organize work with the content on the air and bring everything together: advertising, music, design, recorded programs, and live broadcasts.

The software structure is also almost the same. There is a workspace in which the current state is displayed (what is being played, and what will be broadcast on the air), and there is an hourly division: hourly filling is done according to the broadcast network, which is made by the program manager.

In the workspace, all processors occur according to the principle of clouds, where files are taken from folders that the program can access. In addition to the workspace, there is a jingle machine that launches design elements, bushings, melodies, and interruptions.

Management is not only performed with mouse and keyboard, but also from the DJ remote control (corresponding “tracks” and window can play the next track automatically or start the song, it all depends on the settings). Simply put, everything is “stitched” in the program, the entire broadcast.

If the program is turned off, this is done at an emergency level, because all broadcasting functions are related to it. Of course, on dangerous radio stations, there is a backup disk for such cases, where the music starts simply so that the air does not remain “silent” during the “lifting” of the program, because without it, for example, the ads and recorded programs will not come out.

Automation programs, however, differ. In professional societies, DJin is often praised for having the best settings. But it also costs more than other complexes.

In contrast, although Digiton is cheaper, it often “annoys” with its slowness and independence. The program sometimes produces unexpected things, it alters tracks, or the chants do not start, such errors are fatal to broadcast. However, in popularity, it is almost no less than DJin.


Any number of employees can service the radio station – it all depends on its size and functions. There are small regional stations with three marketers, de jin and editor. There are giants for three hundred people with sections for Promotional, Trade, Editorial Board, Public Relations Service, Warehouse, Security, and Board of Directors.

On the regular radio station, in addition to the music coordinators, there is a program manager who builds a broadcast network, an air editor, a commercial manager, a sound engineer to work with audio and post-production, and a promotion department.

There are radio stations broadcasting all over the country – Federal, and there are those that only operate for their region. Moreover, regional radio stations often do not have their own broadcasts and are involved in the relay of Moscow stations. In this case, several hours are allocated from the local broadcast time and the local advertisement time to the regions (specified in the concession agreement).

New radio stations open, despite the complexity of the process and vague expectations for profit. To open an FM radio station, the concept is codified, a legal entity registers, the specific location coordinates of the transmitter, the collection of documents, the frequency tender contract that is held twice a year, etc. (More details all steps are described here).

Russia now has many key players in the industry. As a rule, these are holdings that combine many radio stations: EMG, ProfMedia, Gazprom Media, VGTRK, Russian Media Group, and others. This site contains a brief description of each. In addition to the leading players, there are single radio stations that do not consist of holdings, but at the same time, have a reasonably vast broadcast network and even get them abroad.


The main factor that distinguishes (or does not differentiate) radio stations from each other is coordination. Coordination consists of and for which the aether is filled. In the Classic section, there are approximately 14 formats, such as AC (Contemporary Adult), CHR (Contemporary Multiplication Radio), Classic, Rock, etc., which in turn are divided into sub-formats. Disconnection occurs depending on audience age and music content.

It should be understood that such a division into formats is very arbitrary, and today it is tough to find an “authentic” rock radio station or an AC format – in conditions of fierce competition, powerful stations are continually researching and displaying new formats, combining many old forms In one.


Why will you stop working soon?

The radio no longer plays the role assigned to it in “Zero.” The Internet has given users everything: any songs, information, operational news, advertisements for books, movies, forums to communicate with professionals, and a platform for sermons. Everything the audience turned on the radio, go to the network. Now, to survive (without considering the high percentage of motorists who still listen to the radio), there are new ways to attract the audience.

First, the unique content solves the problem of attraction (at one time, when the competition on the radio grew, and the Internet was still very uncommon, programs were launched that “blew up” the audience: “Collection Model” or “Frankie Show” – these are things yet being heard ). Second, withdrawing some information on the Internet and over the air. If the radio station does not live out of the air – it can be buried.

Radio stations create web communities, as well as audio, post photos, videos, new texts, links, and start pages on Instagram – all this just to keep the listeners interested. Each self-respecting station also contains events on the air (for example, “Europe plus Live” or “Invasion,” “Golden Gramophone” and other activities that gather and keep fans on the channel).

However, podcasts come to replace the continuous radio stream (and it has already arrived in the West). Another phenomenon expected to defeat FM stations is Internet Radio. To date, everyone can open an internet terminal – it does not have to be officially registered and buy expensive licenses and equipment.

To get the simplest online streaming, you need a website hosting, broadcast service (for example, IceCast or ShoutCast) through which it will stream audio streams, and the broadcast automation program, which we wrote about above (there are also free options). After you’ve set all of these elements, you can start the live broadcast, i.e., music or chat programs, and the only question is audience selection.

In Russia, there have already been successful projects of this kind. For example, Follow me (which, incidentally, has collaborated with an FM radio station for the upgrade) or ChiplDuk talk radio.

To some extent, we can watch the sunset of the classic FM broadcast – sooner or later; the development will have an impact. Unprofitable FM stations will likely stop broadcasting, there is a possibility that the technology will allow you to “pick up” Internet radio, and the Russian listener himself will get used to the audio broadcast. Voice information is still considered the most irritating and easy to read in the background.