Guide to Starting a Radio Station

Starting a radio station is moderately challenging and lucrative. You need good transmission equipment, qualified staff and operational license.
You need to determine the type of broadcasting, frequency and content. Other challenges include finding an ideal location, government restrictions and funding.
Depending on the type of broadcast you need a minimum of N 20 million (naira) to setup a small station. This includes fess, levies, operational license, and equipment.
Radio Station
How to Start a Radio Station
Choose the Type of Broadcast
Before setting up your radio station you need to choose the broadcast format. We have satellite TV, Satellite radio, and terrestrial radio. Others are direct to home format, cable, government and local radios. Once you have determined the type of broadcast you need content.
  • satellite TV
  • Satellite radio
  • terrestrial radio
  • terrestrial TV
  • direct to home format
  • cable
  • government
  • local radios
There are stipulated rules to content delivery. A licensee is required to broadcast 60% local content for open television and 80% for radio. Cable should broadcast minimum 20% local content. The station is also mandated to promote national interest, cohesion and unity.
Incorporate the Company
You need to incorporate the business with the corporate affairs commission. Register the business as a limited liability company.
The company is required to have a minimum N1 million naira shareholders. You need to define the type of broadcasting and content in your article of association.
Lease Office Space
The location of the station is very important. This is because broadcasting license is location based. Make sure the office has the appropriate equipment, good transmission room and broadcast studio.
Hire competent staff with experience in broadcasting. The staff should have a minimum of bachelor’s degree or good technical knowledge.
You need broadcast staff, technicians, journalist, location drivers and management staff. Others are secretary, cleaners, accounts officer and content creators.
  • on air broadcast staff
  • technicians
  • journalist
  • location drivers
  • management staff
  • account officer
  • advert department staff
  • secretary
  • cleaners
  • content creators
Every broadcasting station is allotted a frequency. The frequency is where the transmission reaches its audience.
Once you are allotted a frequency you need to test out your broadcasting. Testing a frequency is only permitted once the operational license and permit is granted.
Radio Station Equipment
The primary equipment in a radio station is the audio Console. A panel controller operates the audio console control that transmits the broadcast.
There are basic equipments you find in a radio station. Common equipment is phone talkback system, button panel, level meters, and audio console.
Others are microphone, payouts/automated software, headphone. More include on air light, talent panel, studio monitor speakers, cd players, microprocessors and DAT machines.
  • audio console
  • phone talkback system
  • button panel
  • level meters
  • microphone
  • payouts/automated software
  • headphone
  • on air light
  • talent panel
  • studio monitor speakers
  • cd players
  • microprocessors
  • DAT machines
Rank Room Equipment
Rank room equipments are studio hub, audio/O Node, mix engine. More are computer, KVM Extender, network router, broadcast audio processor and satellite receiver.
  • studio hub
  • audio/O Node
  • mix engine
  • computer
  • KVM Extender
  • network router
  • broadcast audio processor
  • satellite receiver
Transmitter Equipment
You need good transmitter equipment. Common ones are FM exciter, FM stereo generator, composite switcher, studio transmitter link.
More are antenna cabiner, transmitter remote control and antenna array. Office equipment includes stationeries, standby generator, and furniture.
  • FM exciter
  • FM stereo generator
  • composite switcher
  • studio transmitter link
  • antenna cabiner
  • transmitter remote control
  • antenna array
Procedure for Obtain a Broadcasting License
The License is obtained for community radio, free to air terrestrial TV. Others are FM Radios, Satellite broadcasting, Direct to Home and Direct Satellite broadcast.
The applicant should be a Limited Liability Company with minimum share capital of N1 million. Other documentation include certificate of incorporation, memorandum and Articles of Association.
More documents are feasibility study, letter of bank guarantee and payment of license fee. FM Radio is city based and religious or political organizations are prohibited.
  • Limited Liability Company
  • minimum share capital of N1 million
  • certificate of incorporation
  • memorandum and Articles of Association
  • feasibility study
  • letter of bank guarantee
  • payment of license fee
Licensing Application Form
In pursuance of an application for broadcasting in Nigeria a set form fee is paid. The commission certifies that the applicant is a registered corporate body under the Companies and Allied Act. They must ascertain that they are not applying for any foreign interest.
Licensing Fee
The schedule of licensing fee is paid for an initial term not exceeding five years and subject to renewal. There are ten categories covered by the Nigerian Broadcasting Commission.
The categories are locations in port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja Category A, Category B Any other locations. Others are cable satellite television, government stations and direct home DTH. Fees cover direct broadcasting satellite, wholesale importers/dealers.
The direct to home fees are N25 million for five years, N5 million renewals. Cable fees are N5 million for five years Lagos Abuja Port Harcourt.  Other locations attract 4 Million naira.
Category A Radio N20 million, Terrestrial TV N15 million, Cable N10 million(Lagos, Abuja, Port Harcourt). Other locations Radio N15 million, Terrestrial 12.5 million, cable N7.5 million.
  • Category A locations in port Harcourt, Lagos and Abuja
  • Category B Any other locations
  • cable satellite television
  • government stations
  • direct home DTH
  • wholesale importers/dealers
How do Radio Stations Make Money
Since radio stations don’t charge listeners how do they make money? There are several ways the make money especially from popular shows. Popular shows attract corporate sponsors in the form of advertisement.
On air advertisement is the primary revenue earner for radio stations. The cost of the ad is predicted on the length and time of broadcast. Pick periods attract higher advertisement costs and attracts huge audience.
Other revenue generating sources are through special events, syndication of popular shows and selling newscasts. Independent producer’s can purchase air time for their programs.
Radio Earning Sources
Renewal of License
The procedure for renewal of license is clear outstanding financial obligations to NBC. The application should include original application form for expired license and a report of compliance.
The broadcasting station could be subjected to inspection by NBC and transmission logbook made available. The application for is submitted to the director General NBC through the zonal director.


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