Internet radio station starter kit
If you want instant access to all of these stations, check out my article on why the Amazon Echo is the best radio I’ve ever owned. Or, you can just take my word for it and order one.
What is this list?
I should preface this list by pointing out that I am assuming that the reader is coming to internet radio looking for the same things that I came looking for. I came looking for:
- Curation: I grew up listening to FM DJ’s who took the readers on a trip through the music future and history. I liked the idea of trusting someone to pick my playlist while I was free to go about my business.
- Live DJ’s: I have always kept weird hours. It’s sometimes 2AM when I am tuning in. Knowing that a live person is out there spinning records has always been comforting.
- Eclectic: I have eclectic tastes. I want to hear what I am in the mood for, but I want it to make sense in context.
In the near future, I will be updating the site to reflect the list of stations in the live database we’ll be building in the internet radio project.
The types of stations
There are a few types of stations you’ll find on this list. Just to make everything clear, I’ll denote the type of station. They are:
- Pre Programmed - These are stations which deliver a curated playlist, without the live interaction. These differ from rhapsody in that when your friend tunes in, s/he will be listening to the same content.
- Show Streamers - These are stations that play full length shows, one after the other. For instance, “This American Life 24/7” plays shows from their backlog in random order, one after the other. It’s perfect when you’re in the mood to hear This American Life, but don’t want to go and find an episode and hope that you haven’t already memorized the beginning.
- Live - While there are a great deal of live stations out there, most do not have a live DJ 24/7. When there is a Live DJ most of the time, or a good deal of time is spent playing previous live shows, I’ll call this live.
So, here’s the list
There are several Networks you should be aware of. Networks are collections of stations owned and operated by a common company. They usually are accessed by a separate app or website. Most allow the individual stations to be accessed with a separate player.
- Soma FM - Soma FM is a network of stations that deliver multiple thematic channels . It is the home to Bagel Radio (The best cutting edge station in existence), Groove Salad, and a massive selection of other great stations. I would urge you to check out genres you might not think you like, or might not have even heard of.
- DI.fm - If you are into electronica, this network delivers an incredible selection of high quality genre specific feeds. A premium membership (I am a subscriber) gives you high quality commercial free streams and access to programming on any device. If you are an electronica fan, this should probably be your first stop. Probably your last.
Stations are individual stations which allow you to tune in, but are not connected to each other. All can be tuned with any player. This list would is a good selection to start exploration with:
- Bagel Radio - live Bagel Radio belongs to SomaFM, and they are pretty much responsible for my obsession with internet radio. DJ Ted, the programmer for the radio station painstakingly curates the best in modern alternative music intertwined with classic alt favorites. He hosts a live show on Tuesdays from 3-5, then, on Fridays, the mother of all shows, “480 Minutes,” in which Ted plays 8 hours of the absolute newest in modern music, and interacts with the listeners.
- 98.7 The Freq - live The Freq is what college radio would be, if it had been kept alive, and grown up with us. Impossible you say? Well, it’s there! They are socially and culturally conscious, musically relevant, and passionate about curating great music. Tune in any time of the day or night for great material, but notably, FreqU (Saturday mornings 8-10EST), which covers college rock staples of the 80s/early nineties hosted by Radio’s Don Bedell, and The morning mix tape, with Jason Crane. If I were asked to design the perfect station, I would simply point to 98.7 The Freq, and call it done. Follow them on facebook, or risk missing something great.
- KCSB - live I worked at this station as a kid with my uncle. It’s a local station in Santa Barbara, California, run by the University of Santa Barbara. Expect massively eclectic shows and informative news 24/7. Some shows to catch: Burnt Weenie Sandwich with Primo Eli (American folk rock and Americana, Mondays 9-11AM EST), Muevelas with Tio Chuy (eclectic latin music Tuesdays 9-11AM EST), and Cold Cuts for Breakfast with DJ Tibonius (Classic Low Rider Oldies and feel good groove, Wednesdays 9-11AM EST).
- BBC 6 - live This station is always a fun ride. Always modern, always cutting edge, and always relevant. Tune in any time day or night for great DJ hosted shows. Make sure to check out the website for show schedules and great online content.
- KVOQ - live Colorado Public Radio’s OpenAir. Plays modern eclectic music all day and night. Another example of perfection on the air.
- KEXP - live Awesome station in Seattle. They somehow get the coolest of the cool artists to stop in and perform. It would be worth your time to dig into the web site and youtube channel.
- WFMU - live Free form listener supported station in Jersey City, NJ. This rabbit hole is so deep that I would just advise you to start listening now, and read up on the website.
- WRUW - live College radio station from Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland, Ohio. Expect an eclectic schedule of American music, Latin jams, freeform and public affairs. Of note, check out "The Spandex Years" with Patty Marvel on Mondays 5-6PM EST.
- The Summit - Live Akron OH station playing modern music mixed with classic alternative and americana.
- Frisky Radio - Show Streamer This station plays exclusive DJ mixes tagged #frisky, #chill, and #deep. Not a whole lot to be said on this one, just hit play, and float off.
- GD Radio - Show Streamer This is one of the better grateful dead radio stations I have heard. Lots of variety, great quality tapes, and higher bandwidth. This is the road trip station you’re looking for.
- Dandelion Radio - Pre Programmed They call themselves “The internet radio station inspired by John Peel.” Well done, my friends, you nailed it. Just tune in, and get the app. You can thank me later.
- Wadsworth Community Radio - live This is the model community radio station. Local sports scores, public affairs, local guests, and even a show on bigfoot. Since I don’t live in Wadsworth, I tune in for the music. Expect a steady stream of yacht rock and 70’s AM Gold.
- WXNA - live This is a newer acquisition on my radar. It’s a lower power, high voltage (100 watt) community freeform radio station in Nashville, TN. The shows run the gamut of any type of music you might be interested, plus the station has recently put their archives online. Go dig around the website, and find a rabbit hole to your liking.
- TWiT Live - Show Streamers This station is a stream of the TWiT network. It is a live stream of all the different shows on twit, live (for the most part) as they happen. Be prepared to hear people tuning up broadcast systems, dialing in cameras, etc. But you can tune in any time day or night and hear some relevant tech talk.
- This American Life 24/7 - Show Streamers Tune in any time, day or night to hear a random episode of “This American Life” playing.
- The Very Best of Art Bell - Show Streamers Offers random episodes of the Art Bell show. All day, all night. Incredible.
- Random Loveline - Show Streamers Tune in for random episodes of KROQ’s Loveline. it sounds kinda silly, but it makes for a great long haul drive companion.
I know I have glossed over a lot of information (like how to tune in), but all links point to either a web player or further information. I will be writing an article on tuning in to internet radio soon, but following is a list of apps I have used and been happy with, in order of preference.
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