8 Apps for Radio Listening and Recording on your Mac

Radio is a technology that has evolved a great deal, and it doesn’t seem to show any sign of disappearing. It’s very convenient to just turn on the radio and get a continuous stream of music for hours, without having to choose anything yourself. It’s very practical, and a brilliant wat to find new music!

However, local radio stations aren’t usually very good. Sometimes you want to listen to a station that plays a certain genre, or a specific talk show that isn’t aired on your local radio stations. That’s where online radio comes in.

There’s an amazing number of online radio stations out there, and plenty of variety to choose from. But of course, you’ll need something to listen to those stations. Today, we present you some of our favorite software picks for radio listening and recording.

iTunes

iTunes

You might not be aware of iTunes’ radio capabilities. They’re not particularly impressive or in-depth, but they work well. You might have to go into your iTunes settings to activate this feature. Once you do you’ll see a “Radio” tab on your library. If you click it you’ll have access to a bunch of categories, where you’ll have plenty of radio stations to pick from.

As far as functionality goes, the iTunes Radio player is lackluster. You can add your own stations, even though iTunes already comes with an impressive number of radio stations. But unfortunately there’s no way to mark stations as “favorites”, you can’t record what you are listening to, and you can’t even search for keywords within stations.

It’s simple, but not very useful. If you already use iTunes, you might as well stick with it for your radio listening, unless you want a more complete app.

Price: Free
Requires: iTunes 2 or higher
Developer: Apple

Radium

Radium

Radium is a simple menu bar app that allows you to listen to pretty much any radio station you desire. You can import stations from iTunes, or from a URL, or you can just search a keyword, such as “indie” to bring up a handful of radios that meet that keyword.

Once you are listening to a radio station, it will bring up a Growl notification every time a new song starts. There’s a history log of every song you’ve listened to, and you can share your songs with Twitter and Facebook.

You can even add subscription radio sites, like Last.fm and Sirius. The best part is that everything is managed through your menu bar in a very simple manner.

Price: $24.95
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
Developer: Catpig Studios

Last.fm

Last.fm

Last.fm is one of my favorite websites. It’s a music social network that also has a radio, and can keep track of everything you listen to (making for some fascinating statistics).

Last.fm also has a Mac client that has various purposes. One of them is to “scrobble” (send to their website) what you listen to, another is to interact with the songs you listen to (love them, tag them, share them, get info of them, etc.). But the most useful feature is probably the radio.

Last.fm’s radio is very different from any other app. It gathers info from what you listen to, and only plays tracks that you might like based on what other people with a similar music taste listen to. It’s a great tool for discovering new music that you will actually like. The only downside is that if you are not in the US or the UK, you have to pay for the radio service.

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or higher
Developer: Last.fm

Snowtape

Snowtape 2.0

Snowtape is one of the most complete radio players I have ever seen. It’s full of features: it can record audio, it can schedule radio programming, it can add pretty much any station you tell it to, it can send your recordings to iTunes, it can scrobble your plays, and it comes preloaded with an impressive amount of radio stations.

Its main feature, like its name says, is that it can record the music that you listen to (and it does a great job of it). It lets you edit your music and find artwork for it. The downside: the price. It’s very expensive, but it’s also great. It even found nearby stations to my location.

Price: $33
Requires: Mac OS X 10.6 or higher
Developer: Vemedio

Pulsar

Pulsar

Pulsar is exclusively a satelite radio player, meaning you need an account and a subscription to a satellite radio service like Sirius in order to take full advantage of it.

It has a nice iTunes-like interface, along with support for features like “Favorites”, pausing, and Growl support. The negatives: it only supports satellite radio, and it can’t record audio. This is pretty much a desktop solution to streaming Sirius on your browser.

Price: $20
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
Developer: Rogue Amoeba

PandoraOne

Pandora One

Pandora is similar to Last.fm; a radio service that plays music that you might like based on your music taste. Pandora One is a deluxe service that you can pay for in order to get a bunch of extra features.

One of those extra features is access to a desktop app that allows you to use Pandora from your desktop. This app runs on Adobe AIR and doesn’t do much other than give you the Pandora experience on your desktop.

Price: $36/year
Requires: Adobe AIR
Developer: Pandora

FStream

FStream

FStream is a free alternative to all the pricier options we have listed above. It’s very barebones, it barely has an interface. It doesn’t come preloaded with any stations – you’ll have to look for those by yourself.

Once you add a source, it’ll keep it in its log, so that’s good. It also lets you record songs and it has an equalizer. That’s about it. It’s super basic and it doesn’t do much, but it’s also free!

Price: Free
Requires: Mac OS X 10.4 or higher
Developer: Source Mac

Radioshift

Radioshift

Radioshift is made by the same people that make Pulsar, and they’re both very similar, except that Radioshift is not focused solely on satellite radio services.

It has a very simple iTunes-like interface, and it’s really easy to get used to it. You can search radio stations or you can browse the popular ones provided by the app. Various types of recording are possible, but they’re not quite as easy to use as several of the other applications featured here. You can also easily favourite stations, and subscribe to them. It has a solid interface, and it’s easy to understand, but it’s a fairly expensive option.

Price: $32
Requires: Mac OS X 10.5 or higher
Developer: Rogue Amoeba

Conclusion

As you can see, there are plenty of options out there for listening to the radoi on your Mac. Most of them cost a few dollars, but it’s a small price to pay if you’re a big radio fan. While you may find some good free alternatives, like iTunes, they tend to lack a few features that you might want to use.

If you think you’ll use a radio app a lot and would like to take advantage of features like recording, you might want to go for an app like Radium or Snowtape. Otherwise, you could probably live with iTunes’ radio features.

Would you like to recommend any other software? Are there any that you use that we didn’t include in this roundup? We’d love to hear about them in the comment section below!