The Cost of Radio

Studio Equipment

"A studio can be put together primarily with donated our used equipment. A cheap studio set up using consumer grade audio gear can cost as little as $5,000, depending how much you scavenge and how picky you are. If you opt for top-of-the-line new equipment, it is easy to spend upwards of $100,000! The one thing that almost always has to be bought new is the emergency alert system (EAS), which monitors the airwaves for emergency alerts and rebroadcasts them on your station. The FCC requires every station to have this, and it costs around $3,000 for a fully compliant EAS. It is hard to find a used EAS because radio stations rarely replace them.

Some stations have a second "production" studio in addition to their main studio. This allows one person to pre-record material while another person is doing a live broadcast. A production studio is by no means essential, but will make station operation much smoother. Production studios require a bit less equipment than on-air studios.

Transmission Equipment

A transmitter, antenna, and associated equipment usually cost between $4,500 and $12,000. Transmitting equipment is harder to scavenge than studio equipment because the FCC has special rules about what transmitting equipment a licensed station can use. Because transmitting equipment is only useful when you're broadcasting on the air, we recommend waiting until you have a Construction Permit from the FCC before buying this equipment.

Sign up for a Station Building Assessment or visit our Transmission Resources page for additional information."(R1)


Recurring Expenses

Rent and Utilities

Just like any other business radio stations have physical locations. Our Radio Station is located in Egg Harbor Township 


People Power

"Many stations get by on volunteers exclusively. However, in many cases stations may want to hire part-time or even full-time staff to keep the office running smoothly. This is largely a matter of your organization’s operating philosophy. If paid staff are desired, figure out how much (or little) they will work for and make this a part of your operating budget. Tasks that may require paid services include volunteer coordination and training, accounting, fundraising, and general record keeping." (R1)


Content Licensing

"If you play any content on the air that is licensed, you'll need to pay licensing fees. Licensing fees are paid to Performance Rights Organizations (PROs) that in turn pass on money to artists and composers. Licensing fees for LPFMs are generally around $600/year, with additional fees if you stream your programming on the Internet. Check out our Music Licensing guide for more information." (R1)