Are you looking for a reliable guide on how to start a radio station in Ghana, then you’re on the right page.
Setting up a radio station is relatively easy and the capital requirement is not as intensive as running other mass media businesses. Presently, there are over 30 active radio stations in Ghana, operating in different regions of the country.
If you plan to start up your own radio stations, you’ll have to choose your preferred region and be ready to compete for the attention of listeners in that region.
How to Start a Radio Station in Ghana
This guide will inform you of what it takes to start and run a radio station in Ghana
Minimum Standards For Setting Up of FM In Ghana
The National Communications Authority regulates and licenses FM broadcasting stations in the country. Before you can set up your radio station, you must obtain a license that allows you to operate in the country.
Below are the minimum requirements you must meet before you’ll be considered eligible for a license.
- The owners shall Construct and install facilities for the provision of broadcast services within 2 years after authorization of frequency is granted.
- The facilities shall be inspected by the authority to ensure it meets the required standards
- The Authority shall issue a ‘Test Transmission Letter’ after inspection.
- The radio station must have a means of contact for the public
- The radio station must have a Security post/desk. And security personnel must be at the post during all the hours of operation.
- The radio station must install a signboard close to its premises for purposes of identifying the station.
- The radio station must acquire fire certificate from the Ghana National Fire Service (GNFS) for their premises and shall install fire extinguishers at the premises.
- The radio station must make provisions for an alternative source of power to ensure the station is always on-air during the hours of operation.
- The radio station must make known to the Authority regarding any amendment in their equipment installation before it is done.
Processes To Follow
Obtain A License
After going through the minimum standards as required by the National Communications Authority (NAC), you can go ahead to obtain a license from the authority.
Note: if you are not able to meet these standards within 2 years after the approval of your license, the authority will withdraw your license and you will not be allowed to operate the radio station.
Rent Office Space
You’ll either have to rent studio space or buy one for your radio station, You’ll need to get a space for your transmitter and another space for an alternative power supply (generator).
When getting an office space, you’ll need to take the equipment, people power, offices and the number of studios you want in the building into consideration. If you want to do more with your radio station, then you will need more space and definitely you will need to budget more for a larger office space.
Set Up the Radio Station
The license obtained from the NCA will include the grant of frequency authorization. It is through this frequency that you’ll be able to reach your listeners. Once you acquired the grant, you can go ahead to construct and install the necessary facilities. These facilities include antenna, transmitter, and studio equipment.
The studio set up and the equipment you’ll need depends on how you want your studio to look like. Some radio stations set up two studios; the main studio where live broadcasts are done and a production studio which allows someone to pre-record materials.
Production studios allow for smoother operation of the entire radio station and require less equipment to run.
You’ll also have to get the right transmitting equipment for the studio. It is important you get equipment of good quality so as to reach your listeners clearly
You will require a transmitter, antenna, and the structure (scaffold) to support the equipment. Transmission equipment usually costs a lot of purchase and install, so you should do some research before creating your budget.
Note: You have a maximum of 2 years to construct and install all your station equipment or your license will be withdrawn.
Get the Right Labor
The success of a radio station depends on its creativity and the staff. When employing part-time or full-time staff for your radio station, always look for the ones that have successful careers. If you’re tight on your budget, you can hire a few full-time staff and leave your doors open to interns.
Most interns are ready to work for free since what they really need is the experience. Always screen your interns and go for the competent ones.
This shouldn’t be much of a problem as most of the content in Ghana are available to the public for free. However, if you want to play any content on the air that is licensed, you will be required to pay licensing fees.
It is better to avoid playing licensed content than to do so without paying the required fees.
Some artists and composers could go as far as suing your radio station for copyright infringement and you might have to part away with a huge sum either as settlement or due to frequent visits to the court (you could also incur heavy costs by hiring a lawyer).
Staying On Air
As said earlier, there are lots of radio stations operating in all the regions of Ghana. Some of these radio stations are still active while others have folded up. If you’re planning to open a radio station anytime soon, then you should be ready to face huge competition.
Most listeners will remain loyal to a radio station that is entertaining, educating, and creative. Every now and then you could invite celebrities like musical artists, showbiz individuals, sportspeople, and actors on air to keep your listeners entertained.
You can also run different educative segments and get creative with the kind of music you play. Most of the active and top radio stations in Ghana already have these things covered which is why they have remained at the top since their inception.
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