As much as I hate to say and don’t want to admit it, I remember when television was young, when color TV was all the rage, and 8-tracks were the hippest technology since 45’s. Back in those days radio was about to die.
One of the funnier aspects of predicting the future is that those who do tend to forget or don’t study the past. Radio was supposed to die decades ago; back when television became the way to spend an evening at home. Along came 45’s, 8-tracks, Cassette tapes, CDs, DVDs, the internet, iPod and iTunes– all of which were to usher radio into the history books– yet radio is still around.
Yes, there’s a difference between surviving and prospering, but radio stations– thanks to the internet– have access to a larger audience. For Mac, iPhone, and iPad users, there are plenty of internet radio apps, Apple’s iTunes still has a large radio section, and Apple’s Beats One is one of the most listened to stations on earth.
Or, spend a few bucks on the Instaradio app and get access and easy management to thousands of internet radio stations all over the world. Mac, iPhone, iPad, and, yes, Apple Watch and Apple TV. Using internet radio is about as easy as using a radio.
Instaradio, as with many internet radio apps, starts with a built-in playlist, but you can search the world to find and add others. Also built in is a Sleep Timer, Autoplay, and an option to open in Apple Music or Spotify.
My favorite is the iPhone version, but Instaradio also runs on Windows PCs. I installed and tried the Apple Watch version but more as a test than a way of life. Your wrist just isn’t a good place to listen to radio. Earbuds or AirPods or headphones are best.
As internet radio station apps go, Instaradio is basic, but missing a few features that tell me why podcasting continues to be a growing medium. Podcasts are stored. Radio stations are live, and most internet radio station applications do no have a recording function so you can find and save specific programs.
A quick search of ‘internet radio’ on the Mac App Store reveals plenty of challengers, most with the same problem. No try-before-you-buy option.
Checking internet radio station apps by the all important Release Date filter brings up the sad news. Few of these apps get updated frequently and that’s telling. It tells me the Mac App Store isn’t doing well, and it tells me that apps that have not received an update in six months should be considered abandonware and removed. That’s not likely to happen, but you see the issue.
One that frustrates but gets used– Mac, iPhone, iPad– is iHeartRadio. It’s cumbersome to use, works great– when it works– and has access to many radio stations. For free. So, you get what you pay for.
If anybody owns the internet radio app space it’s probably Apple and Internet Radio on iTunes. It’s free, but with commercials here and there, and with a large selection that fits about any taste. And, say what you will about the media mall we call iTunes, it works.