Radio broadcasting is the transmission of audio or data content to an unaided audience through any analog mass communications media, usually one utilizing the very same electromagnetic spectrum, but normally one with the distinct advantage of being able to target specific regions of the radio spectrum. In a nutshell, it is similar to television broadcasting, except that instead of broadcasting video and audio information, it sends radio waves. This form of media has been around for a long time and has gradually been assimilated into the Internet and phone systems. Radio stations and television broadcasts had made great strides in the past decade and continue to do so in the present. There are numerous options available for those who wish to engage in radio broadcasting. From short, live broadcasts via portable devices such as iPods and i-pads to a much more sophisticated tool, the internet, which allows broadcasting of radio content over the airwaves, all the way up to commercial internet programming and television commercials.
For the purposes of this discussion, the term ‘radio broadcasting’ will apply to any medium that permits the transmission of sound or data in the form of communications, and which receives such transmissions. In other words, broadcasting involves both the broadcasting and reception of communications. In the broadest sense of the term, all communications are covered by radio broadcasting. Broadcasting is used to transmit audio and video communications to targeted audiences, generally with the intent of either passing on the information to the wider audience or to make it available for retransmission.
The term radio broadcasting covers a wide array of activities. While some radio stations may offer their affiliates free music downloads, news and information or other programming, and while some satellite and cable companies charge for the provision of these types of services, radio stations themselves rarely charge for their broadcast content. The vast majority of radio stations today broadcast both music and non-music programs. Some countries, such as the United States and Canada, allow their citizens the option of paying to receive public broadcast content as well, although this option usually has a much narrower scope than in other countries.
A radio broadcasting station can be a commercial broadcasting station or a public media company. A commercial broadcasting station is one that broadcast may transmit both music and non-music programs and may also provide news and information programming. In contrast, a public media company is one that broadcast both music and non-music programs and may also provide news and information programming.
As a general rule, listeners prefer a station that broadcasts from a fixed location, in most cases an office building or other structure that is not located on or near an active airfield. This is because most radio waves travel very long distances, and a radio station that wishes to broadcast on a long wave, such as the radio waves used by emergency medical services, has to be based in an area where the airfield is located. A short wave radio broadcasting station, by contrast, can be positioned anywhere.
Many people listen to radio broadcasting in their cars while driving down busy highways and expressways. Some car owners have installed car radio scanners to receive and retain only the best-quality programs for their car radio stereos. Stereo companies, in turn, sell portable devices that most people find very convenient when they wish to listen to multiple different stations while traveling on the road. These portable devices are usually called “hams”, or “hams kits”.