Radio is dead. Or is it? Just because there are hundreds of other ways for us to enjoy music in the digital age does not necessarily mean that many of us don’t still enjoy throwing on a familiar radio station and zoning out to some of the popular tunes or thought-provoking talk shows that they provide.
Content, on the whole, is definitely moving more and more into the realm of the personal. People want things that are created, curated, and aimed solely at them as individuals. This is, without a doubt, the future. And, in many ways, the present. Spotify, for example, and other streaming services like it, use complex algorithms to introduce us to new music that we are likely to enjoy, based on our listening habits. Other sites, like Pandora and iHeart Radio, have taken the idea of radio stations, too, and completely customized them to our tastes.
Instead of simply throwing on a radio station that is loosely based on genre and billboard charts, now you can enter your favorite artist or song and, voila, you have a whole radio station of that artist/song, plus other artists and songs that are stylistically similar. There is no arguing with the fact that this is a much more convenient and personalized way to cater to your specific taste and/or a given mood than traditional radio could ever hope to provide. That’s a given, given the fact that radio stations are meant to have the widest appeal possible, as they broadcast over public radio waves.
However, that does not mean that traditional radio does not still have its charms and advantages. For one thing, a radio station takes the choice out of the matter. And this may sound like a bad thing at first glance but hear me out … Without the burden of having to select yourself what it is that you are going to listen to, you can discover songs that you otherwise never would have thought to look for yourself.
You can also be surprised by a song that you may not have assumed you were in the mood for lifting your spirits or otherwise pleasantly taking you by surprise. Maybe a song comes on, on the radio that takes you back to a simpler time – a time that you weren’t even aware you needed to mentally revisit. The unpredictability, the inability to control it, is one of the greatest strengths of public radio.
And this is also one of the reasons that public radio will never die. People grow tired, from time to time, I think, with always being in control of what they consume. Every once in a while, at least, we like letting go of the reigns and seeing what happens. That is where radio flourished, the audio wild card that we will never fully move past.
However, we don’t always have radios at our disposal. Outside of the car, when is the last time you encountered a radio that can pick up on public wavelengths? Well, lucky for us radiophiles out there, there are online sources that can turn your computer or mobile device into a radio any time of the day or night. Pick up on your favorite local stations live today via streaming technology. Thanks to sites like Online Radio Box, radio is sure to survive well into the digital age.
The Internet radio was invented by American technologist and public domain advocate, Carl Malamud. In 1993, he launched what was called “Internet Talk Radio,” described as “the first computer-radio talk show, each week interviewing a computer expert.” And on June 24th, 1993, this show broadcasted the first live concert over the internet, featuring the band Severe Tire Damage. The technology that enabled this quickly took off all over the world, heading to Ireland in 1994 and back to the States after that.
On November 7th, 1994, WXYC (89.3 FM in Chapel Hill, North Carolina) became the first traditional radio station to broadcast over the internet. WXYC made this happen by utilizing an FM radio connected to a computer system called SunSite (later rebranded as Ibiblio), running software created by Cornell, CU-SeeMe. Shortly thereafter, another station, WREK out of Atlanta, Georgia announced publicly that they also aired online for the first time the same day that WXYC did. From there, the tech spread, and an increasing number of radio stations took to the web.
Today, I am happy to say that just about every radio station can be accessed online. Simply go to a site like Online Radio Box. select your station of choice, sit back, and enjoy.
Online Radio Box has a very simple design. It is basic, but it is functional. It isn’t going out of its way to be anything that it isn’t. And I like this about it. I usually prefer a more experiential site design, but form follows function, as far as I am concerned. And Online Radio Box does not need to be anything more than a page on which you can search for a station, city, genre, language, or country. From there, pick your station and open up your ears.
Additionally, though, Online Radio Box also provides a few browsing options. Browse by state, country, city, etc. Also browse by genre tag, global and national charts, now-playing lists, and top songs in specific genres. Online Radio Box could have stopped at just providing stations for you to stream. But they didn’t. They went above and beyond to offer as many ways to browse the wide world of radio as possible. And that’s all I really ever ask in a site – to go the extra mile.
I sort of already described everything that Online Radio Box has to offer, strewn amid what I’ve written thus far. But, nonetheless, allow me to reiterate everything that Online Radio Box has to offer in a convenient list:
-Live stream any FM or AM radio station, anywhere around the world
-Search/browse stations by genre, language, country, state, city
-Add stations to “favorites” list
-Write and read station reviews
Desktop and Mobile Experience
I was pleasantly surprised to see that Online Radio Box offers an app. For whatever reason, I was not expecting this. But this, of course, only further enthuses my love of this site. The app, much like the desktop site, is pretty spartan. Function over form. There is nothing flashy or very lavishly designed about it whatsoever. Just a list of stations, genres, favorites, and a basic audio player. No frills, just radio.
Pricing and Plans
Both the site and the app are free to use, as a registered user or a guest. There are ads, but they aren’t that invasive or frequent. And they do not interrupt the stream (these ads are separate, of course, from the commercials that radio stations are wont to play between broadcasts). They are strictly visual.
That being said, you can upgrade the app to a Pro subscription in order to get rid of the ads. This can be done for a one-time in-app price of $4.99. Not a bad deal if you ask me, especially given everything that Online Radio Box does for radio lovers.
Suggestions that I have for Online Radio Box
My biggest complaint with Online Radio Box is the fact that you cannot see song or artist data on most stations. This is annoying, I think, for obvious reasons. And I could see how this would be difficult (perhaps impossible, I don’t know) if the radio station in question isn’t specifically broadcasting through Online Radio Box. But it would be cool, still, if Online Radio Box allowed listeners to live update this kind of information at the very least.
All in all, Online Radio Box is a superb way to listen to the radio online. Whether you want to stream your favorite radio stations from home or tune into a radio station in Guam, Online Radio Box makes it possible. No matter where you are – at your computer or on your phone at the gym – Online Radio Box makes it easier than ever to tune in. Other than the fact that song and artist info would be a nice touch, Online Radio Box pretty much ticks every other box when it comes to online streaming of live radio.