RadioFun.info recommends the best Internet radio stations from around the world streaming free music, podcasts, events, language practice, and more.
All you need is a smartphone, tablet or computer and an Internet connection to enjoy music for free, often without interruptions (ads). Classical, jazz, pop, rock, smooth jazz, lounge, hiphop, ethnic...music of the '20s, '30s, '40s and more—all free. You can use an Internet Radio app if you like—I'll mention some good ones—but they're overwhelming, offering far more stations than you can sort through. They don't tell you a lot about individual stations, which ones are good and which aren't. I do!
Sure, you've got your favorite local stations. But there are 50,000 more waiting to be discovered. For Western classical music, I listen to Boston's WCRB and New York's WQXR online, but also Radio France's France Musique - Classique Plus (Paris, France), Venice Classical Radio (Venice, Italy), and Borusan Klasik (Istanbul, Turkey). In fact, you can find stations that stream a particular composer exclusively: Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Mozart....
Jazz of the 1920s, '30s, '40s... all Elvis, all the time...lullabys for babies... Background music, elevator music, music from the movies—it's all yours, and it's all (or mostly) free.
The problem? There's too much of it! How do you find what you want in 50,000+ stations?
RadioFun.info is here to help, recommending stations I've listened to and liked. I enjoy all sorts of music: Western clasical, jazz, pop, R&B, folk, Mexican norteño, jarocho and mariachi; Turkish arabesk; pop music from Serbia, Kazakhstan and Tamil Nadu (India); Bulgarian and Russian choral; music from the movies. I've even found a didgeridoo station!
I don't listen to everything. Heavy metal is not my sound—I find it ugly and exploitative. I hold nothing against those who like it, but you won't find recommendations for it here because I don't know enough about it to judge.
Radio has been my hobby since I was a kid. I'd listen to short-wave stations from around the world. I even built a transmitter and got a ham radio license (K3GVP). Now, with the Internet, I can listen to stations from any city and country in the world easily, clearly, freely.
Internet radio is audio content (music, podcasts, talk, events) broadcast via the Internet rather than over the air. It is received and enjoyed by means of an Internet-connected computing device: smartphone; tablet, laptop or desk computer, a voice assistant (Alexa, Cortana, Google, Roku, Siri), smart speaker (Sonos, Bose, etc.), or a special Internet radio device.
Most Internet content is streamed for free—no cost to the listener.
Content may be anything audio: music from classical to rock, jazz, folk, ethnic, religious; podcasts and talk on any subject; or events broadcast live from the scene, or recorded. Internet content is not visual (like YouTube), only aural.
Like a traditional radio broadcast, an Internet radio station streams a program in “real time,” meaning you cannot advance or rewind the content. Like a river, it just flows by.
Unlike a streaming music or podcast service (Spotify, Pandora, Apple Music, etc.), you cannot choose the particular songs or works you hear. You will hear the playlist that the station programmers have selected for that particular time period.
If you like music—and who doesn’t—Internet radio is a tremendous gift to you: unlimited free music of every possible kind, from around the world, 24/7/365, available on a device you already own. Though a minority of stations may have paywalls (you must subscribe to listen), most don’t. Some streams have ads (more of that later), but many are completely free and non-commercial, offered for the love of music. You may also enjoy other audio content such as podcasts, talk, and live or recorded events, but for most people, Internet radio means music.
Music? Literally, every kind, and certainly some kinds you like. Besides the expected rock, pop, jazz, blues, classical, dance, oldies, movies, easy listening, you’ll find other genres: lounge, ambient, funk, hip hop, deep house, religious (Christian, Jewish, Islamic, Hindi, etc.); and endless sub-genres: solo flute or piano, salsa, rockabilly, opera, Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, Celtic, K-pop, Christmas, polka, decades (‘30s, ‘40s, ‘70s, ‘80s, etc.), anime, comedy, Bollywood, dubstep. Whatever kind of music you enjoy, there’s a station for it—and probably several, or dozens, or even hundreds.
In fact, you may already be listening to Internet radio. If you listen to your favorite local radio station’s livestream, that’s Internet radio. But you aren’t limited to radio stations within over-the-air broadcast range of you. You can listen to any radio station in the world!
I enjoy classical music on Boston’s WCRB Classical, but now I can also hear New York’s famous WQXR and Florida’s fine WSMR. Having spent years in Turkey, I listen to Turkish music (pop, halk, arabesk, dinî); and in fact a few of my favorite Western Classical music stations are Turkish, like Borusan Klasik and Vizyon Klasik; another is Italy’s Venice Classic Radio; and of course Germany has all sorts of stations featuring its unbeatable roster of classical composers, orchestras and performers.
If you can get an app offering thousands of stations, why visit RadioFun.info?
The answer: Guidance and Ease-of-Use.
RadioFun.info provides a simple, comprehensible way to enjoy Internet radio.
Like so much else in life today, the Internet and apps offer only tsunamis of information—way too much info to make sense of. Travel websites offer 50,000 crowdsourced ratings and opinions about 10,000 hotels when all you want is one good, trustworthy review. YouTube offers helpful videos for fixing things—dozens of them! Must you watch all of them to see which is most helpful? You have to spend time sorting through the junkpile to piece together the answer you want.
Radio is—always has been—my hobby. As a boy, I was an avid shortwave-radio listener. In high school I got my license to operate a ham radio station (K3GVP). During decades as a travel writer, I listened with pleasure to the music of dozens of different countries and cultures. (My favorite Internet radio stations today include Zhuldiz FM from Kazakhstan, Vaanam FM Tamil from India, Smooth Jazz Max from Italy, La Mejor Monterrey from Mexico, and Arctic Outpost playing WWII-era Big Band tunes from Spitsbergen, Svalbard, Norway, not far from the North Pole.)
As a guidebook author, I learned how to take a huge amount of information about a foreign destination and condense it into an intuitive, readily comprehensible narrative of what you wanted to know, when you needed to know it. I was writing “User’s Guides” to entire countries! Now I’m writing a guide to make the vast, complicated world of Internet radio easier for you to enjoy.
I’m doing it as a hobby, for free. Unlike “influencers” and other Internet shills, I’m not beholden to commercial interests. This is not how I make my living (it’s still from travel writing). I write about what I like, and what you may like.
So have fun! RadioFun.info !
You’ve already got what you need. You may already know that you can go to a favorite local station’s website on your smartphone or computer, click on “Listen Live” or “Listen Now,” etc., and hear the livestream. Or you’ve downloaded and installed the station’s Apple or Android app and listen that way.
Well, most every other local radio station in the world also has a website, and livestreams, and maybe even an app. And if they don’t, there are dozens of Internet-radio-listening websites and apps that link to thousands of stations. And besides the over-the-air “legacy” stations with livestreams, there are Internet-only stations, government and corporate stations, and hobby stations.
One good radio app (such as Receiver, by appsolute GmBH of Germany; or TuneIn of San Francisco CA) can give you access to thousands of stations.
Receiver, my current favorite, boasts 40,000+ stations, offers a clean, intuitive interface available in many languages, and works on many devices, including laptops and smartwatches. You pay a small one-time fee for this app—well worth the price!—but many other apps are completely free, though ad-supported. Look for it on your device's app store.
The ads on apps range from unobtrusive through useful and bearable to annoying and unbearable. Choose your app carefully (or pay the small app fee), and ads won’t be a problem, and may even be useful sometimes. People who offer you good content for free deserve having a way to pay their server, bandwidth, development and other bills.
Note that paying for an Internet radio app may do away with advertisements generated by the app, but the radio stations you listen to may broadcast their own ads, visual or aural.
A dedicated Internet radio set looks like a traditional radio: a box with speakers and controls. Some have traditional radio functions such as over-the-air AM/FM reception, clock-radio wake alarm and sleep timer. Some require batteries and/or an electrical power connection. Here's an example.
For best performance, an Internet radio set may require a cabled Internet connection (Ethernet) and/or a wireless (Wifi) connection. Many also feature Bluetooth technology so you can play audio tracks from another device—your smartphone, for example—through the Internet radio set’s speakers. The direct Internet connection can assure excellent sound quality—no signal problems as one sometimes has with over-the-air broadcasts.
If you’re in the market for a new clock radio or music radio, you may wish to consider an Internet radio set. You get all the functions of a traditional over-the-air radio as well as all the possibilities of Internet radio streams. Indeed, you may ignore over-the-air reception of your traditional favorite FM stations and opt for their livestreams instead, making higher-quality sound possible.
One thing to consider when you shop for a set: some sets require you to use a particular radio-streaming service or app, such as Skytune.net, to select stations. If you require reception of particular stations, you may wish to explore the stations delivered by the service to assure you’ll be able to listen to the stations you prefer.
Remember, you already have a device from which you can enjoy Internet radio: your smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer. It’s not essential to have a dedicated Internet radio device.
Internet radio is not “free music” that rips off artists. Internet radio stations must pay royalty fees for their use of music, podcasts and other content. Stations must notify Mechanical Rights Organizations (such as ASCAP, BMI, GMR, and others in locations around the world) of which content is broadcast and pay the fees which make their way to the artists/content owners.
If Internet radio stations pay artists but don’t charge subscription fees, how do they pay their bills?
Ads, both visual and aural, are the main source of revenue.
Audio ads are common: usually 30 seconds long, they may play when you first listen to a station. They may or may not repeat periodically after that. I find these occasionally of interest, otherwise easy to ignore or to silence (just mute your device for a minute, until the music starts.
Small visual ads may also appear on your screen during play. On some Internet radio apps, a full-screen ad, perhaps with video, will pop up and play for up to a full minute. It may try to fool you to click on it to download software or go to a website. These can be very intrusive and annoying. I avoid radio apps and stations that use them.
A station or app may be sponsored by a business. In some cases, the business is making a cultural contribution to the community, and there is little promotion. The “gift” of the station is itself the promotion: “we’re good guys—we give you free music!” This is great, and I thank them for it.
Affiliations are programs whereby a station or app may recommend a product or service (on Amazon.com, for example). If you go to the website of that product or service and make a purchase, the station may receive a small commission. (This does not raise the price you pay—it's already included in the price everyone pays.)
Stations may run contests with sponsored prizes, giving the manufacturer publicity (for which the manufacturer pays the station). They may organize live events and sell tickets. They may request donations from listeners.