Has the internet killed the radio station? Not so fast! Internet radio is a burgeoning medium that allows users to listen to various stations from across the world, streaming live music and talk shows to an international audience. Of course, the app you use to listen to and record music and talk shows can make a big difference. From desktop stream recorders to web apps and services bringing you radio shows on demand, check out some of our favorite internet radio apps.
StationRipper is a freemium program that serves as an internet radio recorder for your desktop PC. The free version allows you to record up to two stations and 25 songs per session, handling Shoutcast audio and video streams, iTunes Radio, Podcasts, Pandora and Last.fm. The paid versions remove recording restrictions and let you record of up to 600 simultaneous audio streams. The app also features a "StationSniffer" feature that can read incoming audio streams from your browser.
Another nice freeware listening and recording application is Screamer Radio, which comes with more than 4,000 preset stations sorted by genre, country, language or network, though the selection can be a bit hit and miss. You have the option of inputting your own URLs for a specific internet radio station so you can rip from it. The client interface is sleek and minimal, while still providing a decent amount of options for recording, encoding WMA and AAC to MP3, and the option of recording OGG streams as OGG or MP3.
Streamwriter is a freeware program that hits a lot of the right notes for us. It's got a radio station stream browser with a host of preset stations, an option to input your own station URLs, a built in audio player, and the ability to schedule automatic recordings of a given channel. It even has some additional features such as the ability to define a blacklist of song titles you don't want to record, and a wishlist of songs you always want to record. You can limit bandwidth consumption, define hotkeys for common tasks, and more. Streamwriter gets a lot of things right. Though it might not be the best looking package visually, its feature set of stream browser, media player and scheduled automatic recordings make it a good option for desktop radio recording and listening.
RarmaRadio ties with Streamwriter for our favorite desktop internet radio player and recorder. The feature set of both is similar: stream browser, with the option to enter your own streams, a host of station presets, a built-in audio player, and a scheduled automatic recorder. Both have the ability to download from multiple streams simultaneously, as well as multiple options for tweaking how a file is recorded and where it goes. RarmaRadio, in our opinion, wins out with its interface being a bit more navigable and the stream manager a bit more organized (though your mileage may vary).
NOTE: RarmaRadio will try to install a browser toolbar and change some browser settings, though you can opt out of this at install. Don't let that little fact stop you from getting this program.
Moving on to more modern internet radio apps, TuneIn Radio (Windows, Android, iOS) gives users the ability to listen to any of more than 100,00 live radio stations from every corner of the earth, running the gamut from music, sports, news and more. Users can find and follow their favorite stations and shows, discover related and similar content, listen to podcasts, as well as record and listen offline with the TuneIn Radio Pro app. In addition, a subscription tier, TuneIn Radio Premium includes premium content such as NFL and MLB matches, audiobooks and language learning programs.
iHeart Radio combines the spontaneity of radio shows with the personalized approach of streaming music services to provide a neat fusion of the two. Available on Windows, Android and iOS, users can listen to a wide variety of live local radio stations from all genres, as well as create your own custom, ad-free radio stations from a vast library of artists and more than 20 million available songs. iHeart Radio learns from your music tastes as you listen, creating personalized recommendations, and also includes live music events, themed stations and on-demand podcasts. Of course, as it does shoot for a more radio-like experience, it's mostly about live streams, with the occasional on-demand podcast and talk show.
Rather than trust in the cold logic of machine algorithms, Slacker Radio (Web App, Android, iOS) tries to include a human touch with its curated radio stations and shows, while also allowing a degree of personalized music discovery and custom stations based on your likes and listening habits. Free users have access to Slacker's curated and personalized stations as well as six song skips per hour, while premium plans remove the skip limits, and advertising, as well as allow for a degree of offline listening. That said, Slacker's primarily designed for music to emulate a radio-like experience, rather than taking content from radio stations themselves.