Tools
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Creating your online radio station website

Creating your online radio station website:

Tools and methods for independent & community radio sites

September 28th, 2023

Among the never ending list of tasks that comes with running your own online radio station is creating your own website. It’s not surprising that a core component of running an internet radio station is having a website. It is an internet radio station after all. If people can’t listen in via their car radio then they need somewhere else to listen — your website becomes that place.

There are two clear routes to create your own website — you can either build a custom website or use a website builder.

Custom website

If you want a website that 100% matches your vision, that is unique, that you have full control over, that is an example of what your station stands for then a custom website is really your only choice. There are many beautiful custom built station websites out there. Some of our favourites are Oroko Radio, Voices Radio and AAJA Radio.

A custom website can look exactly how you want it to. You have full control over the design, the colour scheme, the interaction and everything else. Your website is essentially your digital home so a custom website can be a great choice to showcase your station.

However, the biggest downside to a custom website is also the most obvious — the cost. If you don’t have the requisite web design and engineering knowledge (or a friend who is willing to work on the cheap!) then expect to pay top dollar.

Station websites can get complicated very quickly. Station websites usually display their schedule in one form or another. It is unfortunately well known that dates are one of the hardest things to deal with when it comes to building software. This can add a lot of complexity to a site when you get to dealing with complicated repeating rules like shows that are on every third Thursday of the month. The complication of calculating this in your own code or trying to emulate calendar functionality in a normal CMS cannot be overstated. Luckily, using Radio Cult as a CMS or using one of our schedule embeds can resolve all of this complexity for you.

The other complication is updating your site. If you get your site built by an external party then you will most likely need to contact them any time you want to make changes. This means that your initial cost may be followed by multiple smaller payments as time goes on.

Web builder

Web builders have exploded in popularity in recent years. There are many solid choices out there for you to pick from, most notably Wix, Squarespace and ReadyMag.

Web builders let you build your own website by dragging and dropping elements. It’s a very intuitive and easy way to build a site. You don’t need any technical knowledge at all. Just drag and drop text, panels, images — you name it. You can make truly beautiful sites with a web builder. In fact, they are used heavily in certain industries like the restaurant industry.

The main downside of a web builder is the lack of total control. As I just said, you can definitely make a beautiful site with a web builder. There is no doubt about that. However, it is unlikely that you can make your website look exactly like that design you have in your head.

Additionally, your station website is most likely going to be built on top of rich data that is dynamic in nature. This can be difficult with web builders where you would normally need to go in manually to update which show is live, or update artist details and the like. This is where the Radio Cult embeds shine. You can drop any of our embeds, like our schedule one, into your web builder with a copy and paste. Boom, your site updates in real time as you run your station and update details.

Web builders really shine when it comes to ease of setting up and the low barrier to entry. They can help keep your costs low. You may to have pay an ongoing fee for the site builder itself but this is normally far more affordable than the initial cost of building a custom site. Additionally, you are free to update your site whenever you want. You are in charge. There is no need to contact any developers or designers to make any changes.

Conclusion

Whichever route you go down will most likely be dictated by your budget and your design. The good news is that there is no right choice and you can switch between the two paths whenever you want. While it may take some effort to switch, you aren’t locked in forever.

Whichever path you choose, Radio Cult has your station covered. Whether you want to use our CMS to power your custom site or drop one of our embeds in to keep it simple, we can handle any use case.

If you’re looking for advice or if you even want us to build your station’s website then reach out! We are always here to help independent and community radio.

And, as always, keep it locked.

Create your own online radio station and start streaming today!

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