How to listen to radio on your smartphone

  • 28 October 2019
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How to listen to radio on your smartphone
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Got your new phone but found out it doesn’t come with a radio app? Here’s how to tune into your favourite station on the go.

Like most things in today’s tech world, radio – and the way we listen to it – has changed dramatically. No longer do we gather around the ‘wireless’ to listen to The Archers!

Radio has evolved, but so have the ways we can access our favourite artists, shows and music. Through the power of the internet and smart technology, we can tune in to the radio through our mobile devices, be it our phones or tablets.

While FM radio was eventually a standard feature on most phones, it’s now fallen by the wayside on many current smartphones – particularly the more expensive ones. Now, if your phone does have a built-in radio app, then this is a pretty quick read. Just make sure you use a set of earphones, as they also double up as an antenna!

However, if you’ve got a blank space staring at you where FM radio ought to be, or you simply want to broaden your horizons, then don’t worry - there are plenty of options for listening to radio stations.  Although you can’t listen to radio transmissions in the conventional sense, you can stream many stations over the internet. In fact, many radio stations have dedicated apps to make it easy to listen online. And there are also dedicated online shows and services that you can take advantage of.

On a Wi-Fi connection, you can, of course, stream away to your heart’s content. However, do bear in mind that streaming radio over your mobile network could use a good chunk of data! If you’re not sure of your limit, it’s easy to find your data allowance and how much data you’ve got left for the month on the iD app.

1.BBC Sounds iOS / Android – Free

If you love listening to Radio 1’s Essential Mix on Friday nights, or catching up with the best panel shows on the weekend, look no further than the BBC Sounds app.

Designed to replace the rather dated iPlayer Radio, BBC Sounds gives you every BBC radio station and over 40 regional stations on one handy platform. If you’ve just missed the start of your programme, you can easily play it from the beginning. Or, just like the iPlayer app, you can catch up with episodes whenever you like or download to listen offline for a limited time.

There’s also a huge choice of podcasts available, covering every genre from news to comedy. Based on what you’re tuning in to, the app will give you recommendations for programmes you might like. And the best bit? Because of the way the BBC is funded, the app is completely free and there’s no ads!

2.TuneIn iOS / Android – Free

Available across all smartphone platforms, TuneIn is a real gem.

With over 100,000 radio stations and millions of podcasts from all over the globe to choose from, there's more music than even in your wildest dreams! You can create your own personalised selection of stations to follow, share your thoughts with other users and receive recommendations of new stations to listen to.

You’ll need to create an account first, but this can be linked to your existing Facebook or Google+ pages to make things even easier. You can also sign up to TuneIn online here.

3.Earbits iOS / Android – free

Looking for something a little different when you listen to the radio? Earbits has you covered: it's completely free and with no adverts, limitations or other disturbances to hamper your listening.

Earbits is designed solely to showcase the music of independent bands and artists and doesn’t include any mainstream content. The chances are you’ve never heard of any of the songs available – so if you’re always on the hunt for new and upcoming music, then this is the app for you. Sign up to Earbits here check out what's available!

4.Beats 1 iOS – free

If you’re using an iPhone or iPad then you’ve got access to Beats 1, Apple’s 24-hour streaming radio station.

Headed up by former Radio 1 DJ Zane Lowe, Beats 1 launched in 2014 as part of the Apple Music subscription service. However, while you need to pay for the main Apple Music subscription, Beats 1 is still currently free to listen to.

By all accounts they play a lot of hip hop – but there’s an eclectic range of presenters, from Julia Adenuga to Matt Wilkinson, so you’re sure to find something you like. Listening to Beats 1 couldn't be simpler, you don't need to install anything - simply open the Music app on your device and you'll find it in there.

And if you’ve got an Android phone but still fancy listening to Beats 1, simply download the Apple Music app from the Google Play Store. Easy.

Tune in and explore!

Once you've got your desired app downloaded and installed on your smartphone or tablet, it’s time to explore an endlessly exciting new world of sounds, which is music to our ears indeed!


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