How to Start a Sirius XM Radio Station

by Steve Brachmann; Updated September 26, 2017

The dream of every radio professional is to create a broadcast that will overcome the bounds of AM/FM radio to be accessed by millions of listeners all over the globe. Sirius XM Radio, a satellite radio subscription service, provides millions of subscribers worldwide access to their approved stations. To create a Sirius XM station, you first must develop a radio presence large enough to be considered profitable by Sirius XM.

Step 1

Create an Internet radio station through which you can broadcast music or talk radio. Internet radio host services that will broadcast your station for free or for a monthly fee include Live365, ubroadcast and Shoutcast. These fees typically pay for royalty fees on music as well as operational fees for running the Internet radio station. These services require minimal equipment for broadcasting, usually including MP3 files of the music you wish to broadcast and microphone equipment for broadcasting your voice.

Step 2

Grow your listener base by increasing the exposure for your Internet radio station. Create a listener's club and hold related events, such as live broadcasting events, to grow your fan base. Advertise your station on social media outlets, such as Facebook. Involve your station in the local community by sponsoring or setting up a live radio feed from community festivals, events or local forums.

Step 3

Apply for an AM or FM radio station with the U.S. Federal Communications Commission, or FCC. The FCC issues licenses for radio broadcasting across either AM or FM radio frequencies. Applicants must file FCC Form 301 to request a radio license; FM radio station applicants must also submit a petition containing information on the proposed station, including the community to which you will broadcast and the content of the station. The FCC only accepts applications for new radio stations during specific time windows, which it publicizes on the official website.

Step 4

Purchase broadcasting equipment to comply with FCC regulations for terrestrial radio stations. This includes FCC-compliant transmission systems, an on-air control room, a production control room, a remote record unit and proper test equipment. Price estimates released by the FCC indicate that new equipment can cost anywhere from $200,000 to $250,000.

Step 5

Operate your FM or AM radio station for a few years. During this time, continue to grow your listener base through community events and Internet exposure. Broadcast your Am or FM station online to increase the geographical diversity of your audience.

Step 6

Send a brief proposal to Sirius XM Radio about including your radio station in their service. Sirius XM Radio accepts unsolicited proposals, which should include a demo tape, a description of your broadcast experience and your station's business pitch. Provide any information you have about audience statistics, including the number of Internet users streaming your station online or those listening on AM/FM radios. Sirius XM Radio will give a greater preference to radio stations with more than 500,000 listeners.

Tips

  • Hire an audience tracking service, such as Nielsen or Arbitron. These services can help you keep track of your developing listener base.

Warnings

  • Before making the jump to Sirius XM Radio, make sure that your finances are solid enough to transition properly. Joining Sirius XM will require you to drop all other Internet and terrestrial radio operations, and many listeners may not want to pay the Sirius XM subscriber fee.