Got a Spare PC? Why Not Launch Your Own Radio Station For Free?


When you're listening to your favourite radio station, have you ever stopped to wonder what's happening at the other end?  Are the presenters really in the studio, or is the show recorded in advance?  Is the music being played "live", from CDs, or does the DJ just have a big MP3 player on his desk?

Software to automate the running of a radio station is in widespread use, across both traditional broadcast stations as well as internet-only ones.  In effect, the software combines an MP3 player and a timer, along with the ability for the station's owner or presenters to upload MP3 files and schedule which ones get played when.

For example, you can create an entire show and upload it into the system as a single MP3 file which is then scheduled to be played out on specified dates and times.  Or, if you have a collection of MP3 music tracks already loaded onto the system, you can create a show by scheduling a playlist of tracks.  Again, the built-in diary lets you specify when, and how often, the show will be broadcast.  So long as you keep uploading and scheduling files, you can keep your station on the air.

Commercial radio station software is expensive and a very specialist product.  But Airtime, from Sourcefabric, is open-source and free.  And is used by loads of stations, broadcasting both traditionally and on the internet, around the world.

To run Airtime you'll need a spare dedicated PC running Linux.  You'll also need to invest some time in setting it all up correctly.  Plus, if you'll be broadcasting from your own home or office, make sure your internet connection is fast enough and that you won't be running up additional bandwidth charges.

If you'd like to experiment with online radio, even for fun, head to in the first instance, where you can try the web-based demo for creating shows and playlists.  You can also download the software from the same page.

If you have a decent collection of MP3 files but you don't want to create your own station, you could even use Airtime as a way to organise and play music just for yourself.  Remember, though, that this is best run on a spare, dedicated PC running Linux.  It won't work on Windows.




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any links to legal implications for an individual? (not for profit)

I googled but, my search terms weren't exact enough

Umm, copyright considerations might be something to think about - if you put this online, you are probably liable for the same "performance royalties" that radio stations pay...

Thanks guys for the answers. Something I learned, MOST of these for Windows/Linux need the back end of a database system.

thanks again,
michael clyde

Search geeked on me. Anybody recommend similar for se7en x64.

michael clyde

For Windows try this..

@There seems to be much discussion about problems installing on Ubuntu 14.04 flavors, seems as if 12.04 LTS may be the last 'easy to install compatible' version, maybe someone here can confirm?

Yes: first take 15 minutes to install ZorinOS, Mint, Deepin, or Ubuntu; then install Airtime. Be free of Microsoft.

Why don't you answer my question, if one has the latest LTS 14.04 installed, will Airtime, last updated in 2013 and compatible with 12.04, install without errors and work.?
Searching reveals it IS a problem and without farting about for hours with the terminal it's unclear if it can be EASILY installed.
@FWIW other than lightweight distros like Puppy Flavors and Porteus, even with the ISO downloaded, no major Linux OS can be fully installed and updated in 15 minutes.

amen to that! Linux groupies suffer from a delusion as to its ease and usability, regardless of distro. drivers always a headache, many limitations. at least with MS you have an idea of WHO is watching your every move - do you know who is monitoring LINUX distros, embedding hooks, etc?

But this idea of mounting a radio station has legs!! worth some hassle

Sorry, I'm not AirTime tech support. Also, I was just curious and don't need it.

Reading the "automated" instructions, it looks pretty complicated and lengthy but doable. It requires setting up a webserver and feeding your stream into it, so good luck. The forum tells of successful installs in Ubuntu 14.04, a long term release (probably a good idea, since you won't want to fool with it after you get it going).

And yes, I can install my favorite distro, Mint, from a USB stick under fifteen minutes or so, but that doesn't include downloading updates to freshen it up. Nor the weeks of playing with the settings to please my eye; that is never finished.

Interesting, thanks, have a Dell Xubuntu box gathering dust.