How to Listen to Any Radio Station with TuneIn

In the age of MP3s, Pandora, and Grooveshark, it’s easy to forget that the airwaves are still being endlessly pumped with great programming via old school AM/FM radio stations. The last device you would expect to cause you to listen to more radio is an iPhone, but the app below will do just that!

Today we’re going to take a look at TuneIn Radio, an app that is sure to help you reclaim your long lost love for good old fashioned radio.

What Is TuneIn Radio?

TuneIn Radio is exactly what it sounds like: an app that let’s you listen to the radio. Big deal right? Wrong. I was fully prepared to be utterly unimpressed with TuneIn, but what I found blew me away.

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TuneInRadio

Let’s look at all the things that make this app so great.

Finding Local Stations

The first thing you should see when you open the app is the browse screen. Here you can search for something specific or simply browse by one of the predefined categories.

screenshot

Local Radio

One of the features you’ll find yourself using the most is the “Local Radio” option. Tapping this link will take you to a page listing all the radio stations available in your area. As this point I was shocked by how many stations I could choose from. I’ve tried competing apps and the list of stations here was far more thorough. Almost every station that I have preset on my car stereo was available right here (only a few of AM stations were missing).

Notice that when you’re viewing a list of stations, whatever is currently playing on that station is listed in gray under the station title. This single feature really boosts the entire radio experience as it is much easier to quickly see what’s on all your favorite stations at once rather than navigating to them one at a time to check manually.

Finding Far Away Stations

I live in Phoenix but grew up in St. Louis and quite often wish I could listen to some of the stations I knew back home as a teenager. TuneIn makes this process super easy. Just tap “Browse by Location” and select your country and the area you’d like to narrow the selection to (in my case Missouri and St. Louis).

screenshot

Browsing by Location

Alternatively, you can run a search for any location right from the browse screen.

screenshot

Searching for a Location

As you can see, running a search for a city will give you the option to browse the stations in that city or select a major sports team and find corresponding sports talk stations. As a sports fan, it’s really nice to be able to quickly check in on the Rams or Cardinals.

Listening and Recording

When you select a station to listen to, you’ll be taken to the “Now Playing” screen. Here you can see what’s on, complete with album artwork and a link to that artist’s Last.FM station. You can also pause and rewind live radio.

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Now Playing Screen

One of the features that really makes this app awesome is the ability to record live radio. Simply hit the “Record” button on the bottom left near the volume slider and a new recording will begin. Your recordings will all be saved to the “Recordings” tab where you can browse, listen to or delete them.

Tapping the button on the top right will add the currently playing station to your bookmarks. These are listed under the bookmarks tab back in the main interface.

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Saving Bookmarks

Options

Tapping the options button on the “Now Playing” screen will take you to the screen below on the left. My two favorite features here are “View Schedule” and “Set Alarm/Timer.”

screenshot

Options Screen

Under “View Schedule,” you can view the entire daily lineup of programs and segments (not specific songs) such as “The Morning Drive” or “Commercial Free Hour.” This works well in conjunction with the record timer when you have specific segments that you want to be sure you don’t miss.

For instance, if an important politician is being interviewed on a specific show, you can check the schedule to see when that show is and set TuneIn to record the hour that the person is on.

Another great feature here is “You May Also Like.” This will help you find new stations that are similar to the one you are currently listening to.

Searching for an Artist

Yet another really cool feature available for finding what you want to listen to is the ability to search stations according to the currently playing artist and/or song.

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Artist Search

For example, in the images above I ran a search for “Queen” and was able to see all the stations that were currently playing either a song with “Queen” in the title or from the actual band Queen.

Account and Web

The final two tabs are “Account” and “Web.” Under “Account” you can sign into your RadioTime account (the web app equivalent to TuneIn). This will allow you to access any presets from your RadioTime right in TuneIn.

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Account and Web

One of the more confusing features is the inclusion of a browser under the “Web” tab. I suppose it was a sort of multi-tasking hack so you could browse the web and listen to music at the same time before iOS 4 came along.

Closing Thoughts

Before finding this app I was a pretty avid iheart radio user (a good free alternative if you’re looking). TuneIn instantly won me over though with its much larger station selection and scheduling/recording features. It is definitely a superior app and well worth the $1.99 if you have any interest in live radio.

My only real complaint was that the interface can take a while to navigate as you get deeper into the menus and want to back out. For instance, when you’re listening to one of your bookmark stations and want to change, you have to exit the “Now Playing” screen and make your way to the bookmark tab to change to another station. As a seasoned commercial dodger, I think it would be great to be able to switch between bookmarked stations with a single tap from the “Now Playing” screen.

Leave a comment below and let us know what radio apps you’ve tried and how they compare to TuneIn Radio. I’d also be interested to see how many of our readers even listen to the radio anymore so be sure to leave your opinion on the subject.


Summary

TuneIn Radio allows you to listen to and record over 40,000 radio stations. You can browse by location or language, bookmark your favorite stations and search for stations based on the currently playing song or artist. The huge station selection and recording features definitely put this app a step above the rest.

9
  • http://gobarnstorm.com Aaron Babcock

    Wow. This looks awesome. I’m going to download this now and give it a try. I could see myself using this app all the time. Thanks for the review!

  • Funkfish

    Question: Can I listen to the BBC stations with this? Specifically Radio One if so I’m sold. If not do you know of any iPhone apps that can do that?

    • Howdy

      Yes it does. I have mine set so when opened it goes to that exact station:D

  • Kris Gosser

    Quick question: Does this find the web streaming version of a radio station, or actually grab the AM/FM feeds and pump them to the app?

    The reason I ask is all sports on radio stations are blacked out in the online streaming versions of them. And sometimes, you know, I just want to put on the Brewer game on the radio… but alas my iPhone will not support that unless I have an MLB app. But if I can get the actual AM station…

    • http://www.coroflot.com/joshuajohnson Joshua Johnson

      It has dedicated sports streams so I assume you’ll be able to listen… but I’m definitely not 100% certain!

  • http://www.thegraphicmac.com James

    I also live in Phoenix, and have been looking for an app that works with AM 620 and 910 – does this app get them?

    And what affect does this have on the battery?

    • cjred

      battery will drain faster as you are using data to listen to radio.

  • Scott Snyder

    I have been listening to TuneIn Radio since it premiered in the app store. It is without question a superior app, and allows you listen to any genre of music/talk that interests you. I am an avid radio person, and while I often use my mp3 player for entertainment, I use the radio applications just as much. There is something about having the addition of a live personality on the air, that still adds so much.

    I would hope that people continue to support live radio, and help keep an age old medium alive and well.

    And I stongly suggest adding the TuneIn radio app to your iPhone. You will not be sorry.

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  • Mo

    i cant get the radio to tune, lasts for a second then buffers forever, then i give up. Are my settings wrong, should i be doing something to get better reception?

    • beckysue

      I just downloaded the app and found the same issue. Did you ever get this resolved?

  • http://simplyblog.net Miguel Wickert

    This app is amazing. Completely worth every penny. Highly recommended, as I enjoy listening to Chicago radio here in Tulsa.

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  • Ricky

    The best streaming radio app without a doubt.

  • TuneMeIn

    Nice review. The purpose of the “Web” button is to allow you to enter a URL that may be unknown to the TuneIn Radio app, but you know is a valid streaming source. Maybe it’s even your favorite radio station in the world! Once you get it playing, you just add it to your “My Presets” list–joy!

    I’ve found things can get a little tricky because sometimes a link that works fine in a PC browser turns out to be a mere container that points to the real stream. If the link begins with http:, then this is likely to be true. Such a link will not play in “Web”. You might get an error like “Load failed: frame load interrupted”.

    Solution: from your PC, right-click and download the file from the http: link. Open it with a text editor. You might see a top line of [Reference], followed by lines with Ref1=… Ref2=… The link you want is whatever follows Ref1=, with http: replaced by mms:. Or at least that’s what worked for me.

    • TuneMeIn

      I should have added that some capabilities I mentioned may only come with TuneIn Radio Pro, which is the $0.99 upgrade (as of 6/9/2011). I’m not sure. The main extra feature you get with Pro is the ability to record streams.

    • http://www.facebook.com/WongWayRadio Keith

      Unfortunately that does NOT work with icecast2 stations such as mine.

  • [email protected]

    Do you know how I can transfer tunein recordings to my PC?

  • Ken

    I’ve started usign this app this week and I think it is a great app. My only suggestion would be, I would love to be able to record a live program while listening to a pre-recorded program. Currently, when I listen to a pre-recorded program, the live recording stops. Maybe future release of Tunein will incorporate this feature?

  • Mary

    I recently switched to TuneIn Pro on my Android but the screen shots look nothing like what I am seeing. How old are these posts? Could it be the difference between iPhone and Android?
    I really want to be able to set up future recordings but haven’t been able to find out how to get them.

  • Connie

    Can I use tunein radio at the gym to manually tune in to their TV’s to watch different programs?

  • guna

    when i move away to another application like safari etc, my song stops
    why doe it stop when i move away from tunein
    this was ok until yesterday, now sure if i had click something?

  • Adele

    I want to be able to add a radio station like 89.1 or anything else to listen to which I can use at a gym or something like that, Any advice on which app I can use on my iphone 4?

  • DJ

    I have found that all of the channels listed that are owned by Clear Channel are never available. Seeing how the majority of stations are owned by CC this makes the majority of station unavailable. If the station is not available then please don’t list it. “Not available” message really gets annoying after awhile.

  • Patti Wheeler

    I love this app…when I first started using it I could surf the net or email with music still playing. Now every time I try the music shuts off. I am using an iPad 2 …wonder what happened?

  • Khandu

    Question:

    Can you tune into a specific station number that’s in your area?

    Ie… Going to a drive-in movie they give you a FM station that the movie is playing on.

  • Roberto Muvdi

    iHeartRadio and Tunein Radio are two wonderful radio stations, but iHeartRadio is got a big advantage since you can change station with the push of a button.

  • Suzanne

    I absolutely love this app after recently discovering it. I have been constantly “tuned in” ever since…this is way better than even my standard radio. Much better reception, especially of AM stations, and a vastly larger choice of stations. I love the oldies from the 60′s and there is a huge selection of these stations. Ditto classical music as well as talk and news programming. It’s the best of old radio as we knew it and then some. I’ve already told several friends about it. Thanks Tunein for my very favorite app!

  • Todd Steere

    I’ve loved this app for quite some time. I’m shocked how many people still do not know about it. I do use (I Heart Radio) for the clear channel stations. I use Tune-In for the rest. I have noticed that some stations I have previously listed in my pre-sets are now not available for streaming. I’m wondering if others have experienced these issues and I am wondering if more and more stations are not allowing streaming through Tunein. They now claim 70,000 stations, but I am wondering how many of them you can actually stream because of this issue.

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  • Candice Burnett

    Use to love this app but it FREEEZES all the freaking time very annoying.

  • Sparky

    No one here asnwers the question definatively ” Can You tune in the TV Stations at the GYM” I understand they are mostly Clear Channel and if not how? Using Bluetooth Headsets at the Gym does not require a plug wire for an antenna>>

  • sandy brown

    Hi. First I love tunein! All last year I listened to Wor station talk radio with Dr Ron Hoffman and Joy Browne. Now the New Year …not available…what happened! Is this temp? Sandy

  • http://www.facebook.com/WongWayRadio Keith Parquette

    initially. . .I WAS impressed with TuneIn-until I found out that icecast2 stations such as mine will not work with it.

  • Michael

    Do you know if all content is allowable ? I would like to use this to listen to The NY Mets but I have found other Internet radio sites don’t allow MLB to be broadcast over Internet radio I presume because they want to sell subscriptions.

  • Gayle

    I downloaded this radio app to my kindle fire and I love it, but had trouble finding AM stations. Are they available?

  • J MacKinnon

    I am unable to remove/delete old recordings I used to be able to but the delete option no longer comes up when I hit edit help please

  • bharat

    it is free.i can lising without internet

  • Lee

    Well Tune In Radio Is Nice But I Have Notice When You Type In A Band They Didnt Have Anything So Again Why Is Tune In Radio Awesome….I Mean It Says You Can Type In A Band Name….

  • http://www.griffindailynews.com/blog/17798860/lumin Muriel

    Right away I am ready to do my breakfast, after
    having my breakfast coming again to read further news.

  • http://kittykitty.site40.net learn more

    Howdy just wanted to give you a brief heads up and let you know a few of the pictures aren’t loading correctly. I’m not sure why but I
    think its a linking issue. I’ve tried it in two different internet browsers and both show the same results.

  • http://9comparateurcomplementairesante.wordpress.com meilleures mutuelles

    Super, bonne article, j’ai appris quelque chose. Cela me paraît fort intéressant. A bientôt.

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