Local radio station on your computer or smartphone

You may not know this, but many, if not most, local AM and FM radio stations stream their broadcasts over the Internet. That means you don’t need a radio to listen to your favorite radio station. All you need is a computer or smartphone and an Internet connection.

Although many stations stream their broadcasts from their own websites, it’s often easier to use a streaming radio service or app that can access feeds from multiple radio stations. These services/apps, such as iHeartRadio or TuneIn, let you listen to practically any radio station in the United States, and many more globally. This way, you can keep in touch with your local stations when you’re away from home—or listen to the best of the best from anywhere in the world!


Using TuneIn

My favorite streaming radio app and service is TuneIn. This service streams live broadcasts from more than 100,000 radio stations around the world for free, to any computer, smartphone, or tablet. TuneIn is also available on “smart” TVs from Samsung and Panasonic, and on Roku and Sonos streaming media boxes.

What I like best about TuneIn (as opposed to iHeartRadio, discussed next) is that it’s truly a global service. You can find local stations from virtually every country around the world, which enables you to listen to the best music of any type, anywhere. You’re not limited to primarily U.S. stations, nor to stations owned by a single media conglomerate. (And, yes, TuneIn includes all the Clear Channels stations that also make up the bulk of iHeartRadio’s options.) You get the most stations of all genres from all countries, period.

To listen on your smartphone or tablet, you need to download the TuneIn mobile app. It’s available (for free) for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry devices. On your computer, you listen in by pointing your browser to http://www.tunein.com.

After you sign up or sign in to your free account, the TuneIn website displays some recommended stations, based on your past listening experience, along with playback controls for the currently selected station at the bottom of the page (see Figure 1). Use the menu bar at the top of the page to access stations by location, format, or name. (To search for a specific station, enter the call letters into the search box at the top of the page.)