iPhone radio apps

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Posted 22 Jul 2012 in Reviews, Soulville

Many people rely on radio apps to listen to music or news on their iOS device when they are on the go. This doesn’t include apps like the Amazon Cloud Player app which plays only music you own. These apps are dedicated to bringing you awesomeness, one tune at a time. Some apps we’ve talked about here at The Pink C before include TuneIn radio and Stitcher. We won’t cover those in depth again here but they are potentially good apps to pick from and are listed below. All apps listed here are free to download and use. Extra perks might cost money. Hope you find something great to use to keep you going day to day!

Musicovery – Musicovery’s website has been around for years but now they’ve released an iOS app that mimics the functionality. If you’re not interested in paying a monthly fee, you only get to play music on your device that meets your mood, genre or decade. Semi defeats the purpose of having the app if you wanted a larger range than what fits on your device. If you’re ok with a fee ($10.99 for 3 months; $37.99 for a year), you get three other features – ability to get and play recommended MP3s, play recommended MP3s offline, and access premium features on Musicovery’s website. You get a month trial for free when you download the app. As a side note, you’ll see several references to a second Musicovery app, Musicovery Radio. As of the publishing of this blog, we’ve still never located it :(

iHeartRadio – An oldie but a goodie. This app has gone through some updates since I initially used it four years ago. You can log in but also choose to skip making an account. You’ll need an account to save stations or create your own station. You have the option of making this account using your email or logging in with Facebook. Within iHeartRadio you can find an existing radio station from most places in the United States or make your own station, similar to making a station in Pandora (choose an artist or a song and the station is created using that info). The playback is pretty good over wifi and over data networks. There is an iPhone version and an iPad version. You can also access iHeart on their website and on many other portable devices.

Pandora – The favorite of many users. Pandora has been around a while and the use of it is fairly simple. Pick a song, pick and artist and Pandora will make a radio station based on that. You can share the station or buy the tracks from iTunes. Want to see the lyrics? Click a button. As with other apps,  to save stations you’ll need an account. Accounts with Pandora are free but you can purchase a premium account for a month ($3.99) or a year ($36). Pandora One (premium account) allows you to not have to listen to ads, get higher quality sound, and use the desktop application. You can use Pandora via their website, on home devices like TVs that have apps, or using other portable devices.

Public Radio – The Public Radio app allows you to look at and listen to public radio stations in the United States. It is from the maker of the This American Life app. Pick a station then listen or view the schedule for that station for the day. Some radio stations or programs are available on demand, such as Fresh Air, The Moth and Radiolab. If you’re listening to a program on demand you can rewind 30 seconds as opposed to just dragging backwards. The stream works well over wifi but is slower over data networks. Live stream works better than on demand when using data networks. A cool feature of this app is the ability to set an alarm using one of the stations available.

rad.io – The rad.io app is a bit neon in color but don’t let that fool you. You can access radio stations in the US, in Canada, Madagascar, etc. Many many countries. Many many languages. It works fairly well over data network. The buffering time is less than with the Public Radio app. You can use the app to set a timer until you go to sleep (up to 120 minutes) and set a wake up alarm. You don’t have to log in to set favorite stations, but you can create an account. Like several of the other apps, you can list to rad.io online and via other portable devices.


PRI – The Public Radio International app lets you listen just to programs produced by Public Radio International. You can listen live or listen to pre-recorded programs. It’s easily laid out and works over wifi or data networks. You can also read news stories and watch video news stories on the app. If you’re not one for a lot of frills and want talk radio, this app would work well. If you want more, look elsewhere for an app that includes the same programs. You can also listen online or download app for Android.

SlackerSlacker radio requires that you create an account to listen on their iPhone app. You can login with Facebook or use your email to create an account. If you’re not a fan of having to provide your zip code or year of birth or gender in order to create an account, skip this app. Not usual info besides the zip code. Once you get past that, you can listen to ESPN Radio or other premium radio channels by genre. You can search by genre, artist or song title. If you’re a premium user you get a few more perks like being able to listen to stations with only one artist in it, no ads, lyrics and the ability to play stations without any data connection. The free version allows you to cache content to listen to when you don’t have a wifi connection. If you want to subscribe to Slacker Radio Plus it’s $3.99 a month. Slacker Radio Premium is $9.99 a month. More on the subscriptions here. Overall the app seems a little clunky, particularly when trying to find something to listen to and listening to it, but once you have a station, you’re good to go. You can listen to Slacker radio on their website or on personal and mobile devices. The website seems like the best option right now for adding stations to your account, then just listen on the go.

radio.comradio.com is similar to several other apps here.What’s pretty hot is while the app has several features, it does give you a tutorial when you start so you can figure out how to work it. To use the app you can choose to login with email, login with Facebook or just listen without logging in. You can search for something to listen for or browse music, news, sports and local stations. You can set sleep timer, scrobble to last.fm, and choose audio quality settings. It works well over data networks and wifi. Even though you can search stations by location, there are not very many stations even in large locales. For example, you can only choose from 3 Atlanta area music stations and there is only 1 Atlanta area news station. If you’d like to see your listening history, you have to register with radio.com. You can also listen via the website or on Android. As a side note, the radio.com app powers Yahoo! Radio’s app.

Other apps to check out –

NPR News & NPR Music – Both highly recommended and tested by The Pink C

Spotify (requires a Facebook login for new users)  – Not tested by The Pink C but recommended by many many friends

Stitcher Radio – Tested and recommended by The Pink C

TuneIn Radio (free version) – Tested and recommended by The Pink C (recommended for music, not for sports)

What radio apps do you use? What do you like? Have more to add on any we mentioned here?

Have a great listening week! We’ll be back soon with our annual Back to School series. This year we’ll be covering some of the cool tech you might use in school, textbooks buying 101, study skills, and how to entertain yourself when you’re not in class. See you soon!

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