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Headphones in college radio station WNUW-LP's studio. Photo: J. Waits

Audio Treasures and Unexpected Radio on TuneIn

While exploring the music discovery and listening service TuneIn this week, I was pleased to find many of the radio stations that I was hoping to encounter, including college radio, new low power FM (LPFM) stations, high school radio, public radio, and commercial stations. In addition to traditional radio, TuneIn also has podcasts, audio books, sports, and original content, including live music performances. Digging a bit deeper, I ran across unexpected hidden gems and fell down many rabbit holes full of captivating sounds.

Scanners: Police, Fire, Rail

Perusing my “local” San Francisco stations, the “Internet-only” category was particularly intriguing, as it included scanners from the California Highway Patrol and BART (Bay Area Rapid Transit), as well as numerous police, fire, and rail streams. The voyeuristic journalist in me kicked into high gear, as I eavesdropped on police calls, mundane communications between BART employees, and chatter about a train staffer’s stolen credit card. A few options:

Railroad Radio San Francisco

San Mateo County Law Enforcement

Miami International Airport

Hospital Radio

For quite some time now, I’ve been fascinated by hospital radio, a mostly United Kingdom and Ireland-based radio category. Lore has it that many professional radio personalities got their start as DJs at hospital-based stations. Thanks to the internet, we can now catch some of these station streams even if we are not confined to a hospital bed.

Grampian Hospital Radio (Aberdeen, Scotland)

CUH fm Hospital Radio (Cork, Ireland)

Hospital Radio Ipswich (Ipswich, England)

Experimental Radio and Sound Art

On Radio Survivor Podcast #100, I declared that I hoped to do more coverage on radio art. With practitioners all over the world, radio art has a dedicated community of participants, fans, and even radio stations and podcasts.

NAISA Radio (New Adventures in Sound Art, Canada)

Cities and Memory Podcast – check out the episode featuring sounds from the Djupivogur oil drum sound art installation in Iceland

International Radio

To get an earful of radio from all over the world, one can browse TuneIn by location to find a mix of radio stations in various locales, including Europe, Asia, South America, Africa, and Australasia.

Radio Universidad (Mar del Plata, Argentina)

Radio 1 FM (Tonga)

Mbabule FM (Uganda)


What am I missing? If you’ve run across some compelling audio online, be it quirky or thought-provoking, let me know in the comments.

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