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17 October 2014

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How do I listen to internet radio?

If you want to listen to internet radio, all you'll need is 'streaming' software and the address of the internet radio site you want to listen to.

Internet radio is great because you can listen to radio stations from all over the world.


So, for instance, if you move from Northern Ireland to Wales and your favourite station is BBC Radio Foyle you'll still be able to listen to it in your new home!


What is Internet radio

Internet radio is when audio files are broadcast over the internet rather than air waves. It's often the same as you hear from your radio, only you get it via the web.


Some radio sites, such as the BBC's Radio site, also offer a selection of pre-recorded radio programmes for you to choose from.


That means you can play a repeat of a show you missed or choose to listen to a radio programme when you, not the radio station, choose.


Listening to Internet radio

Internet radio can be picked up by any PC which has 'streaming' software such as RealNetwork's RealOne or Microsoft's Windows MediaPlayer.


As long as you have the software on your machine, all you need to do is go to the radio site and click the link to play the radio broadcast.

Normal radios can tune in to any stations broadcasting near by. However, audio software on the web may well have 'proprietary' formats.


This means that you may need the right software for the particular radio station you are listening to.


So, for example, Microsoft's Window's Media Player cannot open .rm files which the BBC uses for its radio stations online. You need RealOne for those.


Getting the software

You can install all of the most popular media players on your machine but perhaps the easiest thing to do first is find a station you like and find out which software it uses.


Look for a link on the radio station's page to the site of the software manufacturer where you can download the latest player.


Be careful to look for the free version of the software. All the major companies have free versions but often don't make them very easy to find so you may have to surf around their site looking for a really small link to it!


After you download it, just install the software and you are ready to go. Look for a 'Listen live' or 'Listen' link.


Finding internet radio sites on the web

If you want to find a radio station, try using radio-locator which searches for radio stations all around the world. It's a bit UScentric though.

If you are using a PC then you'll already have Windows Media Player on your computer. Have a look at's radio pages for a comprehensive list of stations available.





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