The way listeners obtain their music has changed drastically over the course of the last few decades. As digital downloading has dwindled and streaming continues to grow in use, radio remains a primary form of distributing audio content. Over 15,000 commercial radio stations currently operate within the United States, and streaming is in part responsible for radio’s revitalized use for music distribution. As new forms of mass media continue to grow in popularity, radio persists as a popular medium for content distribution.
While listening to audio based content through a terrestrial receiver isn’t common anymore, radio stations have been utilizing the streaming model for a number of years. Internet radio is made possible through the use of data transmission to emulate the distribution techniques of terrestrial radio. Most stations simulcast their live broadcasts through their websites, bypassing the restraint of a transmitter and reaching listeners from across the world. As use of the internet has evolved beyond the computer and is available to every smart device, radio is now listenable from virtually anywhere.
As people continue to use their smart devices as their primary means for playing music, a broadening spectrum of apps designated for aggregating content from radio stations are beginning to surface. While competition is posed by streaming platforms such as Spotify, radio stations are still essential for a personalized and purposeful curation of music that exceeds the algorithmic limitation of automated streaming platforms. Applications such as TuneIn and Radioplayer fill the gap for distribution, compiling stations together as a way to enhance visibility and please listeners who crave versatility from their music content.
The affordable accessibility of both radio broadcasting and audio recording equipment make it possible for any music enthusiast to participate in the realm of radio. With as little as a microphone, mix board, and computer, starting a station has now become more feasible than ever. An unthinkable level of versatility can be employed, since whether or not the station is fully or partially automated, and whether it broadcasts continuously or part-time, are totally up to you.
Radio was conceived as a technology for the people, and the internet has brought back that purpose. The accessibility and ubiquity of streaming now makes it possible to enjoy and employ radio at any time and in any location.