Most of you know what Internet radio is. For those who don’t, it’s simply radio programming transmitted over the Internet as a stream (rather than a download like a podcast). Usually, but not always, the programming is associated with a normal broadcasting station and mirrors their on-air content.
The benefits of Internet radio are several:
- Variety: You can listen to programming outside of your normal radio range. I regularly listen to stations in Los Angeles, Duluth, Boston, Houston and Colorado Springs. There are even Internet Radio stations in countries all around the world.
- Time Shifting: For network or syndicated programming you can listen at different times due to time-zone shifting or station schedules. Often on weekends I don’t get up in time for the NPR Weekend Edition but I can catch it from stations in the Mountain or Pacific time zones.
- Quality: Many stations stream high quality audio – much better than you get on an AM signal and often better than a distant FM signal.
- Freedom: If you live in an area where your local stations all have crappy programming you can find something more to your liking somewhere else. Since our local public radio stations imploded recently, I’ve been getting my radio fix from a wide range of stations. There is an all folk music station I listen to in Boston, a station that carries Old Time Radio programs on the weekend, and several stations with unique local programming. I’m still looking for one that streams Dr. Demento!
Of course the downside is you can’t do this in the car. You are not, however, tied to your computer to listen to Internet radio. With a low-powered FM stereo transmitter (I purchased the FM25B kit from Ramsey Electronics) you can listen anywhere in your house. Ramsey and other manufacturers have a number of models in a wide price range.
With the FM25B connected to my PC and using a simple wire antenna, not only can I listen to Internet radio anywhere in the house, but in the garage, out on the deck or when out working in the yard.
It’s perfectly legal within FCC Part 15 regulations though if you get interference complaints you must change your operation to eliminate them.