A radio station studio is where the on-air action happens: Music plays, DJs talk and commercials are aired. Some stations have two studios, one for on-air activity and the other for production -- recording commercials and interviews for later, for instance. The equipment you need depends on your station. Whatever your needs, you'll find plenty of places to shop.
What You Need
Before you go shopping, think through what you really need. If you're starting a low-power FM station, such as college radio, you may do fine relying on your iPod as a source of music. A commercial station needs equipment to play compact discs or digital files. An all-talk station needs enough microphones for your DJ and his interviewees and a setup to hear callers on the air. If you have a production studio, you'll need recording equipment to tape your material.
Shopping for Goods
If you're a small, noncommercial radio station, you may be able to find a lot of your equipment -- microphones, CD player -- at a local electronics store. You can also search eBay, which has sellers offering used radio equipment. If you have a local supply store, ask its owners about prices, or contact sellers that advertise online, such as Broadcast Supply Worldwide, Erickson Broadcast Sales or Gear By Owner. Look for good quality equipment that will fit your budget.
It's possible to run a small noncommercial station with all live material. Automating some of your material -- recording a show digitally then setting the computer to broadcast it -- makes it easier to fill air time and reduce the demands on you and your staff. For example, you can record enough music to run from midnight to 6 a.m. even without anyone there. You'll have to research which computer equipment and software work for you. Prometheus Radio has a guide line for low-power FM for instance.
Things to Remember
Your equipment won't all be high-tech. Unless you plan to have everything, including people, sitting on the floor, you'll need chairs, table and other furniture for your studio. Some of your other equipment has to comply with Federal Communication Commission standards. For example, every radio station must have an Emergency Alert Service transmitter: If there's an emergency in your area, EAS will use it to warn the public.