Radio Around the World
December 12, 2016 9:46 PM   Subscribe A browsable map of streamable radio stations around the world.
posted by zabuni (24 comments total) 118 users marked this as a favorite
This is one of the most fantastic things I've seen/heard online in ages. Wow. I was just about to do a post on it and you beat me to it.

Apparently, it was created by TRE (Transnational Radio Encounters). It is so awesome to be able to travel around this amazing planet, see the geographic details on the map, listening to the languages, music, ambiance, news in so many countries, far flung corners of the world. Just like that. Boom. One moment listening to music in Bamako, Mali, Almaty, Kazakhstan, Bengaluru, India then swiveling the globe and listening to music in Chalcis, Greece.

I love the Stories part of this website too, in different accents. The History part too around the world, in different languages. Even the Jingles part is cool.

Looking at the globe is wonderful as well, connecting to parts of the world by their radio programs is an interesting sort of intimacy. I like targeting the littler dots in exotic places I've never heard of before.

What a great sound adventure this is.
posted by nickyskye at 10:18 PM on December 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

This is the most amazing thing ever. I love living in the future.
posted by Keith Talent at 10:53 PM on December 12, 2016 [5 favorites]

Fantastic. I'm gobsmacked at how simple and amazing this is.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 3:42 AM on December 13, 2016

Who's keeping the current stations up to date and how? A lot of the stations on the map local to me no longer exist (and some of them I'm pretty sure never existed) so I have to assume it's similar elsewhere in the world.

The "history" tab is the most interesting to me - I'm amazed to find that they have even a short recording of the short-lived Sheffield Peace Radio pirate station.
posted by winterhill at 4:03 AM on December 13, 2016

This is mind blowing! I'll use this, but I'll still go back to Public Radio Fan ( just because.
posted by james33 at 4:21 AM on December 13, 2016

Canadian Tamil Radio? Who knew?
posted by scratch at 5:05 AM on December 13, 2016

Very, very cool. I'm assuming it starts on where you live? Or else that was a wild coincidence that it started with some Toronto talk radio. Then I went to Erie, PA for a strange Christmas story from the 40's then onto Cuba, Guatemala and Costa Rica.
I'll be playing with this all day.
posted by chococat at 5:10 AM on December 13, 2016

Fun! Pilipili FM out of Mombasa, Kenya, is much more conducive to life today than Wintry Mix Ohio.
posted by ChuraChura at 5:17 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is a really nice interface, but in the parts of the world I'm familiar with, the selection is odd, to say the least. In Iceland, for instance, there's a pop station and a crazy right-wing talk radio station (charged for hate speech crazy). In Helsinki, there are stations which I'm pretty sure aren't Helsinki based. Neither place has its public broadcaster, and same was true of most European countries where I roamed. That said, it's been really special to roam around the world with the AM radio on. Got the AM sound, got the radio on. Got the rocking modern neon sound.
posted by Kattullus at 5:25 AM on December 13, 2016 [2 favorites]

Ah, everything old is new again.

I love new radio UIs. These days, you could even do a real radio version of this - there are databases of what's on every frequency and ways to know which ones worldwide are in range...
posted by Devonian at 5:38 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

What something like this really brings home is the desolate state of most radio these days. Certainly in this country, what do we have? A BBC that is far too [small-c] conservative in its output, endless commercial radio jukeboxes spinning Adele all day and a few lacklustre community radio stations running less power than a particularly dim lightbulb.

Where are the progressive, radical voices on radio these days? Why does the BBC have to be the voice of the status quo, not giving space to new ideas and new thinking? In these times more than in any period in recent history, we need the media to question and criticise and bring radical ideas into the public conversation. A few stations are doing it - Resonance FM in London is a bright spot in the dross - but in most areas you're stuck with the same old.

With the advent of digital radio, there's space on the dial for more stations than ever before but we're still stuck with the same lazy shit. The cost of appearing on DAB is falling fast, and new start-up stations are popping up in a lot of areas, but they're just another version of ye olde pop music radio. Podcasts and online streaming exist, but there's the problem of discovering new content. If something is on the radio dial in an area, it will insert itself into the conversation in a way that an internet stream doesn't.

Even stations that started out with laudable aims tend not to stay that way - for instance, the station that is meant to be aimed at LGBT audiences in Manchester simply blasts out EDM non-stop 24 hours a day with very little content. Most of the community radio stations seem to be staffed by people who wish they were on commercial radio but weren't slick enough to get a job there and sound like no-budget versions of Heart FM.

I have always loved listening to the different radio output as I've travelled the country over the years, but these days I tend to stick with Radio 2/3/4 wherever I go because what little local programming exists on Heart/Capital/Smooth/etc is so dull and identikit that it's not worth sitting through it. You know that on Radio 2 you're going to get programmes of reasonable quality and no ads. Meanwhile, it doesn't matter if you're listening to Pirate FM in Cornwall or Moray Firth Radio in the Scottish Highlands, it's just the same junk. It's sad.
I love new radio UIs. These days, you could even do a real radio version of this - there are databases of what's on every frequency and ways to know which ones worldwide are in range...
I like the various internet-connected SDRs that are popping up in locations around the world now. Most of them are aimed at HF radio enthusiasts and radio amateurs so they tend to be limited to just the medium- and short-wave bands rather than FM, but it's still interesting to get an unfiltered look at what's actually going out on the air in different places in real time. A lot of internet streams are edited - for instance, several of the French stations I listen to detect my UK internet connection and stream British ads to me in place of the French ones. Most US station streams are geo-blocked altogether.

Part of what I like about this type of interface, and the SDRs (where you are literally tuning a radio in software at someone's house in another city and listening to what comes out) is the discoverability of stations you'd normally never seek out if you had to search the web conventionally to find them.
posted by winterhill at 6:23 AM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]

This is a really fun way to sort of browse stations as an adventure. It's a delight.

If you find yourself with more straightforward questions like "Does the area I am driving through have an NPR station?" or "Does the bluegrass station I heard driving through Missouri still exist?" or "What kind of [genre] stations can I find that stream online?" you might check out, as it excels at giving that kind of info quickly.
posted by DirtyOldTown at 6:59 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

very Contact, much vibe.
posted by blue_beetle at 7:27 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

This is awesome.

After playing with this for an hour, I think two thirds of the world's population is listening to some form of Christmas music right now.
posted by cmfletcher at 7:36 AM on December 13, 2016

This is great (to add to the chorus). If you like jazz, Moscow's Jazz 101 has nothing but classic jazz, one cut after another, no IDs (so have your Shazam/SoundHound handy), just the occasional station ID ("Dzaz Sto Odin!"). My day has been improved.
posted by languagehat at 8:14 AM on December 13, 2016 [5 favorites]

(I guess "classic jazz" isn't unambiguous; they've been playing Sonny Rollins, Sonny Clark, Ben Webster, Earl Hines, Bucky Pizzarelli, Zoot Sims, Jimmy Raney, and now Lee Morgan.)
posted by languagehat at 8:18 AM on December 13, 2016

This is fun I shall enjoy trawling around.
Reminds me of oh so long ago (early 80´s) listening to Radio Free Grenada on HF whilest on night watch running south down the Red Sea and the propogation was right.
posted by adamvasco at 8:41 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Just FYI, running the Ghostery extension, I had to pause blocking of web trackers for the site to load.
posted by Celsius1414 at 10:13 AM on December 13, 2016

This is such a great idea. It's not working well for me, though, as most stations in Spain and especially South America I tried were just not accessible. Is this browser-dependent? I tried FF and Chrome with no improvement.
posted by the sobsister at 10:20 AM on December 13, 2016

I have to say this is fantastic, in what can only be described as amazing serendipity I immediately found a reggae dub station based out of Cyprus (!!!!).

I had no particular reason or motivation to look at that part of the Earth, but started listening to it a bit and one hour later it was still on, and these DJs are badass! Some of the best reggae/dub playlists I've ever heard.

Enjoy for yourself: Cyprus Dub Community
posted by jeremias at 11:25 AM on December 13, 2016 [1 favorite]

Winterhill -

I agree with a lot of what you say about diversity and conformity in radio, but in some respects it's the same as in other aspects of publishing. A good radio station needs a lot of skill, commitment and imagination, and unless you are exceptionally talented, energetic and have a lot of free time, you're going to need to pay people. And there are a lot more places to go and things to do on the Internet.

Against that, two things. First, in some areas there is still a lot of diversity and experimentation - I can get my fill of weird and lovely music that would never trouble a commercial playlist practically any time I like, and in programme form with attached humans rather than el-rando shuffle.

And second, it's never been easier to set up a pirate station. As an experiment, I bought a 5 watt stereo transmitter off eBay for about twenty quid/thirty bucks, set it up in my apartment and strung a so-so antenna out of the window. I found a spare frequency, plugged in some distinctive but not obviously come-and-get-me-uncle-charlie audio, and went wandering around my neighbourhood with a little FM radio on headphones. Listenable range was a good half-to-three-quarter miles radius, and in a big city that's a lot of people. It wouldn't have taken much extra effort or expense to have increased that range considerably. I haven't (yet) repeated the experiment with digital radio, but I know that it's not far off being as simple and cheap, these days. (And you should see what the hams are doing with digital TV these days.)

The game has changed. I, too, miss the days when UK cities and regions had their own distinctive local voices on commercial radio and TV, but even well-intentioned and helpful efforts by Ofcom to re-establish that sort of broadcasting have failed. Things have moved on. But radio is still there for people to take up and create with, if they wish.
posted by Devonian at 12:37 PM on December 13, 2016 [3 favorites]

Give me KEXP or give me death! Oh man, I miss that Seattle non-profit station. Rock for the people!
posted by Abehammerb Lincoln at 3:14 PM on December 13, 2016

KPFT (streaming live from is one of the only reasons I could ever bear even the idea of living in Houston again. (Not that I'm going to move to flippin' Houston. Jesus. Just saying, is all.) KPFT is the most fantastic radio station I've ever come across. A *ton* of volunteer DJs, amazing musical programming with a different show every 3 or 4 hours, programming of all kinds, Democracy Now, etc and etc.

KPFTs tower was blown down by the KKK the first week they started broadcasting and they were up and running again within a week and haven't stopped broadcasting since. I am not an atheist but I absolutely *loved* listening to The National Atheist Hour because I always heard some of the sanest, most decent, most civil ppl ever calling in or interviewed or what-have-you. A woman asked me once what it's about, I was bragging on KPFT and she asked me what is KPFT about and I told her it's just the best and she had to give it a whirl, and she a relatively conservative person, she did tune in and found a show hosted by a coven of lesbian witches and I'd bet $28,483.46 she's never turned her dial to The Mighty 90 (KPFT 90.1 FM) ever again. I was so proud. I was so happy. I was a KPFT evangelist! One night I was leaving Houston, late on a Friday or Saturday night, tuned into The Mighty 90 and they had this crazy gay guys show came on at like 1 AM, and it was right at Christmas and they played some of the funniest, craziest, most profane, most disgusting holiday songs I have ever heard -- it was outstanding! It was the best! It was so hard to leave the broadcasting area that night, these guys were having a blast and so was I until they faded out, 65 miles outside of Houston maybe ....

I love me some KPFT...
posted by dancestoblue at 12:25 AM on December 14, 2016 [3 favorites]

Witness, sibling!
posted by Devonian at 1:30 AM on December 14, 2016

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