Internet Radio Explorations: Got Radio

I used to be a huge shortwave radio buff in my teens [1] but that was before cable TV and the Internet came to Pakistan and became affordable to the general public. I never really got into Internet radio, though. I was never in a situation where I could. At home cable TV ruled because we got our first satellite dish antenna a good ten years before broadband and at work I never got the time or the bandwidth.

The one time I did get into 'net radio was when I was working for InterActive Communications and I would listen to Radio Free Virgin quite a lot. Even then, I'd only tune in when I was working late because during the day I was office DJ -- playing music from our pooled CD and MP3 collection via large speakers connected to my workstation -- and, besides, there was rarely enough bandwidth to get a good, high quality stream going before 6pm.

So it's only recently -- thanks to having broadband Internet but no cable TV at home and full days on my laptop at work or university -- that I've really started to get into Internet radio...and there's a lot of catching up to do. So far I've used both Windows Media Player and Real Player to explore radio stations and that's been a lot of fun. I've also checked out Australian stations, NPR, VOA, and, of course, the BBC (with its really nifty iPlayer). They've all been good too.

I'm still in 'net radio investigation mode, though, and I'll share my thoughts on it as I learn more. For now let me just recommend to you Got Radio which has a really good selection of music channels, all of which are on-demand (i.e. if you don't like a song you can press next and move on to the next track in the playlist). The quality of the stream isn't all that great for an audiophile like me (though it sounds alright on my Altec Lansing laptop speakers) but the music selection is really good. And if you sign up (US$4.95/month or $26.95/year) you get a high quality, ad-free stream instead. I don't think I'm quite ready to do that yet, but it's something I might consider for the future.

For more on Internet radio in the future, stay tuned to this blog.

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[1] Ooh, now that's an idea for another blog post: my days as a shortwave radio buff. I should write about how I got introduced to the BBC back in the late '80s (my father used to listen to their MW service every morning and evening) soon after which I became a real radio geek, building SW antennas and keeping a logbook and all.

Ah, the good old days...listening to the latest news, talk, and music from the BBC, VOA, Radio Australia, Radio Moscow, and everything in between. Of course I had a lot more free time in those days. Time enough to sit for hours on the balcony listening to the Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, live coverage of the '92 Olympics, and music from all over the world.