Setting up a street radio station

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Boots
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Setting up a street radio station

Post: #47525 Boots
Sun Jan 28, 2007 4:55 pm

Are there any musos or audio orientated who can maybe help me move forward with an idea?

We have a few young budding broadcasters-come-DJ's in our local town and I am thinking about how I would go about setting up some sort of street radio thing.

Basically, what I'd like to do is just install speakers on the outside of the youth centre and set up the console inside the front window. The 'broadcast' would only be out onto the footpath, but I figure the youth centre is well positioned and folks pretty much have to travel past it to get anywhere in the town, so it would get noticed, and give the young people a chance to experiment a little with broadcasting and some local marketing etc.

So, what will they need inside exactly??? Can anyone suggest low cost equipment that I may be able to keep an eye out for secondhand to make this work? What do we really need, and what can we do without? Can I do this in a low tech way? Would it be sufficient to just get some sort of stereo or karaoke machine or maybe run wireless mikes over the sound? Would it need two players - to have the next track ready- or do they make two disc players, like they used to do with tapes?

Any suggestions would be great, as I am really out of my league here... I tend to just put on a CD, push repeat and wait till someone gets sick of it!
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." - Charles Schultz

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Annpan
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Post: #47687 Annpan
Tue Jan 30, 2007 3:23 pm

Are you actually wanting to brodcast this? If all you want to do is play out on some big speakers then it is really quite simple.

I was a sound tech for a while and have studied radio production, but the thing is that what you are talking about is really so simple I almost don't know what to tell you. If you have more specific questions I will do my best to help you.

I would say that a Kareoke machine would do but the sound quality would be awful, you could maybe even pick up a cheap second hand DJ mixing desk on e-bay, or in adds in newspapers. This would have your CD players built in and then you would just need to plug in the mics.

You really don't need anything expensive at all.Even some really basic stereo systems might cope but what you want is a mixing desk (you'll only need about 4 inputs) I would imagine you might find something in the storage of the youth-club - I always used to find them in the basements of pubs. Then use 1 or 2 of the inputs for mics (no need for radio mics [in fact they might be a bad idea], anything that works without popping would be fine) Use the other 2 inputs for CD players, Tape cassette players, i-pod, anything to play your music on. Use the controls on the mixing desk for fading, volume control, etc. Pretty much all mixing desks have 1 or 2 headphone sockets (for your DJs to listen to themselves on) and an output socket (to connect to your speakers) I regularly used to work with 'make-do' bits and pieces (old mics, modified guitar amps, personal stereo headphones,etc) as long as you get the right kind of sound out of it.

I am sure that one of the kids at the youth-club can help you out a bit, sometimes all that you need to do is rumage around and you'll find something that works. Then play about on it until you get the hang of it. plug in some big speakers and away you go.


Hope that is of some use to you, as I say if you have any more specific questions I hope I will try and answer them.

Ann Pan

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Post: #47691 Muddypause
Tue Jan 30, 2007 4:27 pm

I would say -

Don't do anything that's going to get you an Anti-Social Behavior Order (or whatever the Aus. equivalent is). Maybe not everyone is going to want to hear your broadcast, so you might find some opposition to your efforts.

Be careful of the Performaing Rights thing. This would prolly count as a public performance, and royalties and things may technically be due. And your local authority may want you to be licensed for such things, too.
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Post: #47695 Annpan
Tue Jan 30, 2007 4:46 pm

Good point(s) Stew :? :oops:

Any public place that has audio equipment (in britain anyhows) pays a standard rate to the PRS so the youth club will probably already pay it. Aus. might be different, and there is always different rules for live performance and private clubs. Also PRS only applys if you are playing music - you could just do spoken word stuff, or the kids can play their own music.

If the kids want to play around with DJ stuff maybe just have it in the Youth club so that just the other kids can listen to them.

Some of us would just forget the rules so that the kids can have a shot at something a bit different. (not that I am condoning it of course :wink: )

Ann Pan

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Post: #47757 Boots
Wed Jan 31, 2007 2:05 pm

Yay - thanks for the replies!

We already have a broadcast license, which sends on a royalty share to the original artists, because we already play music there - but it is just played on a standard stereo player. In Aus, you must have a broadcast license, even if you are just playing the radio publicly.

I have no idea what specific questions to ask because I know nothing of sound equipment, other than setting up a home stereo... and to be honest, I don't think the kids have much experience beyond that either. Enthusiasm they have, experience... no. Things are very limited out here. We have a karaoke machine, stereo and CD player, wireless mikes and guitar amps... but they are all used seperately for their individual purposes. How do we combine them, to create sound on the street...? We don't want to broadcast beyond our front footpath.

I did find a a small mixing desk thingy on ebay, but will ask the the local sound guy to check it out for me - because I have no idea what it needs to have, or what I am spending money on. It didn't have any cd players on it... It had a fade switch, and some input and output plugs, and I can't remember what else...That's why I thought I'd ask here. We have kids heaps keen to explore the idea, but none of us know what is actually needed. There is a sound guy who does public address systems and the odd disco, but his gear is all very expensive and the latest gear apparently, so I was a bit hesitant to ask him about recycling stuff, and making do. I'll ask him anyway.

The youth centre has a good 'berth' sound wise. We are on an intersection with roads down either side, so we will not be blasting any 'neighbours' as such, but people across the road (wide country road... like a 4 lane highway in your world maybe) at the opposite shops will still be able to hear local advertising and the music, I'm guessing. Am just trying to work out what is involved and what we would need to do it. I am guessing some people will actually cross the road to see whats happening. We have a big window at the front at seat height, and I thought maybe the kids could actually set up there and be visible....

It is a small country town, and not much happens in the street, so any activity is usually :? well received... I am just not sure what I should be looking for on ebay to be honest. Have no experience at all with mixing desks... :pale: Maybe I should ask at a music shop when next in a big town.
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." - Charles Schultz

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Post: #47877 Annpan
Fri Feb 02, 2007 10:31 am

If you are willing to have a bash messing around with cables it is possible you could cobble together something with what you have.

The problem with real sound techs. is that they usually work with good equipment and sneer at 'make do' efforts. :roll: for this reason I may suggest that you ask you local guy, but take his comments with a pinch of salt. :wink:

I have 'technojoy' :cheers: (the opposite of 'technofear') and I am willing to give any kind of messing around with cables a bash. I used to work in random comedy clubs around the country (usually in pub basements) as a tech and never had such luxurys as decent equipment, except at college, where it didn't make much sense to be studying the state of the art equipment while my part time job was being a sound tech with bits and pieces of crap, anyway, I digress.

Knowing what stuff you have helps but as I am sure you know all these things come in many shapes and sizes.

Here is a possible suggestion:
Use your Kareoke machine but where you would usually plug in a mic (some have 2 some have 4) plug in your stereo, using the headphone socket on the stereo and the input mic socket on the machine.(hopefully an ordinary guitar [jack to jack] lead ought to do - it might need an adaptor, again, its the kind of thing you might have lying around)

That will give you a suitable solution with equipment you have although limited flexability. but you should be able to experiment a bit with fading volume controls and talking over music and switching from one track to another using the stereo CD player/ tape deck and the Kareoke machine CD player/ tape deck.


If you are looking to get better equipment, the desk on e-bay sounds like the right type of thing (but get your local guy to have a look before you buy). You will easily be able to plug in 2 mics and 2 stereos/ CD players/ ipods and alter the volumes of each independantly of each other through a single unit. Use the guitar amps as speakers (again a regular guitar lead going from the desk output to the amp input) If you do get the desk I would suggest asking your sound guy if he has any spare cables kicking around (you can make do with old ones) as he probably just wants top of the range his cast offs might suit you fine.

I am sure that at least one of you guitar playing kid will be confident enough to mess around - where else do you get the experience from :wink: - especially good if you can find one who has done a bit of electronics in school (over here its rolled in as a module in physics) it is then possible to mess around with making and adapting cables to suit your needs.

I hope that hasn't flumaxed you ( reading over it I think even I am - oh bugger :oops: ), this sounds like a great idea and I wish I could help more.

Ann Pan

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Post: #47892 Boots
Fri Feb 02, 2007 4:04 pm

Thanks Ann - that is all heaps helpful. Will print and take it in with me next week and show our young "DJ Dude", and see what we can pull together.

What a shame you are so far away. Sounds like you would have them in action in an arvo.

Thanks heaps. Have a feeling I may be back later with more questions when it comes time to actually making things 'fit'... :mrgreen:
"Don't worry about the world coming to an end today. It's already tomorrow in Australia." - Charles Schultz


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