The “old way” to listen to radio broadcasts from around the world was to buy yourself a shortwave radio and to put up a half decent outdoor antenna.
As a news and media junkie I got a lot of my international news this way for decades.
But then around 1989-1990 the Cold War ended and public sector broadcasting budgets were slashed in the recession that followed.
Then technology intervened with the rise of the world wide web in 1992 followed by high speed internet connections becoming readily available in most urban areas around the world.
Audio streaming (and later video) suddenly became a practical way for folks to listen to radio stations. There are even “stand alone” black boxes designed for this purpose.
The streaming audio links that you’ll find on this site are mainly to public and campus/community radio stations. Aside from stations in my local Toronto area, I’ve avoided links to commercial stations.
It’s on the public and campus/community stations where you’ll find the most interesting programming and music. Commercial stations sound pretty much the same wherever you are.
What I’ve tried to do as much as possible with the audio links on this site is to provide you with a direct link to the audio stream so that you can play the stream in your favourite media playing software.
This isn’t always possible as some radio stations make use of Adobe’s proprietary Flash Player plugin while a very small number of stations make use of it’s competitor Microsoft Silverlight (the free software implementation for GNU/Linux users is called Novell Moonlight).
Radio stations like making use of these cutesy graphical music players mostly as a means to serve additional advertising content to you. But that’s unfortunately the web we’ve inherited.
On the other hand, extracting audio streams from Flashplayer has become a bit of a sub hobby of mine! I’m finding new ways to extract the “real” stream as I go along.
Enjoy exploring the links! If something has become outdated, drop me a note in the comment box below!