These days, instead of listening to radio on the morning or afternoon drive time commute, we’re listening to the iPhone– music, podcasts, internet radio. Say what? Internet radio? How is that possible? Isn’t radio dead?
Internet Radio’s Killer Feature
Internet radio is not new. It’s been around since, well, the public internet took over the world back in the mid-1990s. Radio didn’t die when movies became popular, and radio didn’t disappear when television became popular, and radio didn’t go away when the internet arrived.
Radio adapted. Here’s one way it lives and prospers. SonicWeb. This preferred Mac app isn’t the first to bring internet radio recording capability to the Mac, but it’s easy to setup and use, and it’s affordable.
SonicWeb lets you create a personalized radio station made up of programs from other internet radio stations. Thousands of stations and programs are listed. SonicWeb splits up the radio streams and puts them into a playlist that works a little like the iTunes player. That means you can find internet radio stations, record them to your Mac, add them to a playlist, and timeshift the stations and their programming to fit your schedule.
The SonicWeb user interface isn’t anything to write home about. The new, lighter motif makes it difficult to find what you’re looking for, assuming you know, and more than a bit confusing to use the first few times you attempt to find and record a station. If you can get over the clumsiness and can figure out how to use SonicWeb without hair loss or nerves-induced skin rash, what you’ll get works pretty well.
Audio playback is gapless, blending one station to another as if they’re a single stream. And, get this, SonicWeb does AirPlay on newer Macs running Mountain Lion. It even works with Apple’s Remote. I think of it as the Battlestar Galactica of internet radio apps. It’s got everything, but it’s a bit cluttered and clumsy.
However, in defense of SonciWeb and internet radio, there are lots of features and options, so there’s a natural learning curve.
Fortunately, for road warriors, there’s an iPhone and iPad version that’s a bit easier to use, and costs less, and yet another reason to use your Mac less, and Apple’s iDevices a bit more.
Most of my radio listening these days is on the go, but pre-programmed. I prefer the iPhone version to the Mac version, simply because of convenience, but the iOS version also has controls for Apple Watch.