I’ve been a fan of radio since I was a kid. My father, in fact, is an audio engineer and got his start engineering at various radio stations. Like many my age, radio was the only way to discover new music. Today, 95% of my listening to any media, news, or music is on the radio. I’m lucky enough to live in a market with several really great public and independent stations so it remains a great way for me to discover the new stuff.
But in that group of stations I listen to is also a number of Internet radio stations. I’ve been a fan of Internet radio since, well, I was introduced to it by Apple. You see, even in the earliest versions of iTunes, Apple included an impressive array of existing Internet radio stations one could listen to in iTunes. For many years now, when I fire up iTunes it is principally this list of stations I have turned to. I have long listened to radio in iTunes far more than my own music collection (crazy, I know).
This week marks the release of Apple’s new Music service and apps. Many like me are still trying to wrap our heads around what, exactly, Apple Music is but I think that is largely because it is trying to be so many things at once. But the one thing I got right away was their new Internet radio station, Beats 1. I’ve only been listening to Beats 1 for a couple of hours but it really is fantastic so far. Everything one would hope Apple would offer in a radio station of it’s own making — smart, well curated, globally focused.
So, now that so many are finding enjoyment in Internet radio and many are discovering the idea for the first time, here are just a few of the great stations I’ve listened to for years now:
KCRW Eclectic 24 — A streaming service of Los Angeles Public Radio, this is always incredibly well organized and curated collection of music that delivers on it’s name. It is heavy on new releases and I know that almost every time I listen I hear something I’ve never heard before but love and have to check out more of. I’ve discovered so many great artists through here alone that I’m sure I never would have heard before. It’s fantastic.
Radio David Byrne — This is more of a shared, looping, playlist. Sometimes put together by David and other times put together by his friends. There is usually a theme (May was African Pop, for instance) and the flair is towards the international and world music. But, it is always well done and lots of fun to listen to.
Soma FM — This is actually a collection of themed streams but all of them are great. My favorite of the bunch has long been Groove Salad, a melange of downtempo and chill electronica. It’s the one I like to put on when I’m just hanging out, having a dinner party, or just want to have some music playing in the background while I work. This is, I think, the first Internet radio station I ever listened to.
This does not even begin to scratch the surface of the wonderful Internet radios stations that are out there. There literally is something to fulfill every taste. If you are new to the idea of it and are enjoying Beats 1, I urge you to to check out the many others that have been out for a while.