What Equipment Is Necessary to Start a Radio Station?

Equipment needed to start a radio station includes an audio mixer and audio source such as a CD player, an antenna, a transmitter, a compressor and an Emergency Alert System. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) also requires that you have a permit to operate a radio station.

Most beginning radio stations are Low Power FM, or LPFM, because they are the easiest and least expensive to get started. Although it is not technically equipment, the first step to operating a radio station is the FCC license. Even LPFM stations are required by law to have a permit.

Once a license is obtained, studio and transmission equipment can be procured.This includes audio equipment such as CD players or a personal computer, a coaxial cable, an FM radio transmitter and an antenna. The transmitter and antenna are what enable the broadcasting and are highly important pieces of equipment.

The FCC has strict regulations regarding transmitting equipment. It is best to obtain the assistance of a professional broadcast engineer for the permit application and choosing equipment.

Equipment may be purchased used or donated, except for the Emergency Alert System. Federal law requires this be fully compliant, and it is difficult to find a used one that meets guidelines.