Happy World Radio Day! In honor of this annual celebration, I’m exploring Radio.Garden and listening to stations from all over the world. Launched just two months ago on December 13, 2016, Radio Garden is a website where one can navigate to streams from different stations by mousing over a globe. It reminds me a bit of my childhood exploration of far away stations on my family’s vintage radio (complete with static!) and is also the logical successor to Zoomout’s wonderful college radio map (now Soundtap). Luckily for us radio geeks, Radio Garden’s globe spinning interface is even more satisfying.
In the past 24 hours, I’ve listened to stations on most continents, including some from Mexico, Greenland, Australia, Brazil, Ukraine, Poland, Senegal, Oman, Russia, Philippines, Madagascar, India (where I heard a metal station of all things), Sri Lanka, Egypt, Bulgaria, Iceland, Turkey, Cuba, Canada, Uganda, New Zealand, Romania, Colombia, Namibia, Hong Kong, Belarus, and Moldova. I love hearing music from different regions, particularly from the Middle East and Asia, as I feel like I’m being transported to far away lands. As I scan through, it’s also unnerving to hear familiar-sounding Western music and even cliched American-style radio jingles and station identification on the radio dial in far-flung locations as well.
According to Alec Badenoch, one of the folks behind Radio Garden, “Radio.Garden allows listeners to explore processes of broadcasting and hearing identities across the entire globe. From its very beginning, radio signals have crossed borders. Radio makers and listeners have imagined both connecting with distant cultures, as well as re-connecting with people from ‘home’ from thousands of miles away – or using local community radio to make and enrich new homes. Four different layers of the interactive globe allow listeners to dive into radio’s border-crossing…”
Radio Garden is a bit addictive, particular for a radio nerd like me. In addition to all of the radio streams, one can also scan the globe for radio stories, radio history and jingles. There’s even a great story about those creepy numbers stations that were used by spies. It’s an ever-growing project, so I will continue to check back for more radio treats.
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