Radio App Guide

Posted on December 12, 2011 by admin

The popularity of apps is growing, and the radio industry has been quick to adopt these handy mini-programs.  Of the many hundreds of radio apps now available we have rounded up a few of our favorites.

First published in the Radio Listener's Guide 2012 edition

App is an abbreviation for application. Apps can be downloaded to a device, such as an iPod, iPad (or other tablet device) or smartphone. Many types are available - some add functionality to the phone by, for example, enabling access to BBC iPlayer, Facebook or giving online access to navigation or weather information. There are hundreds of thousands of apps available, including games. Many are free. Paid for apps start from around £0.59 for a game to over £80 for a TomTom app.

In the following pages we’ve included a selection of just a few of our favourite radio-based apps. Many apps, especially the most popular, are available for multiple operating systems.

All the major smartphone OSs have an associated app store. The Apple app store and the Android Market have by far the greatest selection. Free apps sometimes offer limited functionality, and carry adverts. The paid for version will usually be more fully-featured and advert-free.

Downloading apps

Installing an app is usually very simple. Navigate to the app store for your phone, or a third-party site such as GetJar. Find the app, and download it direct to your phone, iPod (or PC). If you download it direct to your phone the whole process, including installation is performed automatically once you select download.

Reciva – The technology provider behind many Internet radios, Reciva’s app gives you access to over 50,000 radio stations worldwide as well as numerous podcasts. The simple and clean interface works well, with rich search facilities that are nevertheless easy to use.  Android/iOS 

Pure Lounge – From one of the main names in UK digital radio, the Lounge gives you a vast range of stations to choose from. Best if tailored to your preferences via the website, but works well once you have. Nice interface (although no iPad specific version).  iOS

TuneIn Radio Pro – The authors’ personal favourite, it gives you access to 50,000 stations worldwide, also allowing you to record them. The quality of the interface makes it stand out, combining ease of use with rich graphic content. There’s also a good alarm clock. 

BBC iPlayer – Needing little introduction, iPlayer in its various forms is THE way to catch up on radio and TV from the BBC, not forgetting that you can also watch or listen live. Slightly complex, but once mastered a lovely app.


RadioBOX – Another variant on the large scale radio player, this one giving you 40,000 plus stations from the RadioDeck, Shoutcast, and Icecast directories. Once set up the interface is nice to use; it is also simple to record live radio. 

Jazz FM – Single-station app that nevertheless works well, giving you a radio player as well as access to the Jazz FM website (plus a visualiser if that’s your thing). Simple to use it’s the easiest way to listen to this prominent national station. 
Android /iOS

Classic FM – In addition to Classic FM this app gives you access to the Capital, Heart, and XFM stations across the UK, as well as Choice FM, LBC, and Gold.  A nice interface, including the station’s website, makes it a very useable app.  Android/iOS

Last FM – Builds a picture of the music you listen to when you ‘Scrobble’ your devices to Last FM, which then makes recommendations for similar music, gives information on concerts near you etc. Can be linked to your friends’ devices as well.

BBC Radio – Simplicity is the key to this app; it gives you access to the main BBC stations in a clear interface. And that’s about it. Note that it is not developed by the BBC, even if the logo gives the impression it is.  Android

Haier Alarm Clock– A simple yet effective clock radio that is typical of the genre, providing alarm facilities that allow you to wake up to music, radio, or the alarm. It also has a sleep facility, and can display the weather. iOS

iHeartRadio – Gives you access to over 800 stations from the good old USA. Has Facebook integration, which lets you build custom stations around your favourite artists and tunes (like Pandora). Nice rich graphic interface. Commercial free but only until 2012.  Android 

Night stand – Similar in functionality to the Haier alarm clock above, this one has slightly more options for the background photo or video. Look and feel is likely to be the key factor for alarm clock apps; try several to see which works best for you. iOS

Radio Portugal – One of a series of apps that focus on radio stations from a specific country. With over 80 countries available, including many lesser known ones, you are not stuck for choice.  A simple but effective interface, including an alarm clock. iOS

Alarm Clock HD Pro – From develop iHandy, this is the author’s choice due to its simplicity, even though there isn’t a specific iPad version. Choose different colours for the display, adjust the brightness, wake up to music or alarm, sleep timer. That’s it; simple.  Android/iOS

Spotify – The new wunderkid, giving you access to a vast range of streamed music and allowing you to build ‘radio stations’ around favourite artists, genres, or specific decades. Available free but better with a monthly subscription. Good enough to worry Apple.  Android/iOS/others

Radio Javan – If Carlsberg did a Persian dance app it would be this one. Live Radio Javan plus numerous MP3’s and videos from their archives. A lovely interface and a fascinating insight into this type of music. Typical of many similar niche radio apps, why not try them out. And/iOS/BlackBerry

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