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Listen to radio on-the-go with these Android apps

by Larry Sullivan

Back in the 80s The Buggles sang “Video Killed the Radio Star.” Despite the song’s prediction, radio is still alive and kicking. It has changed somewhat over the years, but is still one of the best forms of communication. Today’s list looks at some of Android apps that allow you to take your favorite radio stations with you wherever you go.

iHeartRadio (Free)

iHeartRadio is probably one of the most popular radio apps for Android. When you first start it up you are given the option of creating an account or just looking for stations. The top menu has Live Stations, Create Custom Station, and My Stations, an area where your favorites are kept for easy access. When you access the Live Station section, you can search by station name or location. The local search option uses your phone’s location to find stations. The other option is to search by U.S. city. Finally, you can search stations by genre, which is broken up into talk radio and music & entertainment.

Overall, the app is very much like its website. There are a huge number of genres and stations to choose from when searching. Within the app there are a number of interesting features: You can filter out stations with explicit content for those under 13. There is also Ford SYNC, which I assume will work with Ford vehicles. You can enjoy the app without logging-in, but to create favorites or share songs you will need an account. This is a free app but I did not see any extra ads in it.

Live365 Radio (Free)

When you first start the app, you can type in what you are looking for or browse through the 23 genre they have listed. Within each genre, there are a number of options from which to choose. Once you have made a selection, a list of the appropriate stations will appear. When a song begins, you can get information on the station and the song. With each song you will be able to like/dislike it, make it a favorite or share with others via Facebook, Twitter and email.

The app is very straightforward and has a few options to it. You can set the streaming mode, the buffer settings (5-25 sec), and the connection quality. You can change the app theme and even scan Livio devices via Bluetooth. There is also a corresponding website. The app features banner ads and radio ads. You can get rid of these by becoming a VIP.

Stitcher Radio - News & Talk (Free)

When the app begins you will be asked to log-in. You can register with Facebook or with an email address. The main reason to use Facebook is so you can share with friends. If you want to listen on the Stitcher website, you will need to log-in there also. You will be asked to select three topics of interest. Based on your interests, the app will create a favorites station which is made up of seven different stations. Once that is done, then you can hit the main screen. Here you have four options: On Demand Shows, Live Radio, Front Page and My Favorites. The custom station that was initially created will be under My Favorites.

The Live Radio section will allow you to search for nearby stations, browse Internet-only stations, or by state, and then city. On Demand Shows section will allow you to search by interest or sources. The Front Page section is the news in various sound bytes. The app does not have a lot of options but you can setup notifications, play your favorites when you start the app, enable sharing, and play new only (probably for programs). The app is ad supported.

TuneIn Radio Pro ($6.99)

TuneIn Radio has a very simple user interface. The top menu has Favorites, Browse and Recordings. The browse button takes you to the main screen that gives you the following areas: Local radio (based on your phone), Recent and Recommended. The radio stations are broken into music, news, sports, talk, location, language, and podcasts. When you go into the music section, then you can select by genre.

You can listen to the app without an account but you can link the app with Facebook, Twitter or email if you like. The app has a nice car mode where main screen is broken up into four large buttons with one allowing voice search. There are a few settings to take note of: push notifications, shake device to find related stations, auto reset and buffer before play. There is also a free version of the app.

XiiaLive – Instant Radio (Free)

Xiialive is powered by Shoutcast. Overall, the app has a very minimalistic look to it. The main screen has all the buttons you will need to access: Top hits, Genre, Search, Favorites, Tags, History, Settings and Player. When you select a button, the menu will move to the top of the screen. The app is pretty much set up to find stations via a genre, not location. Once you find a station you like, add it to your favorites to find it quickly.

The app has a ton of settings. You can set an alarm, turn animations on/off, set to have full screen, and determine the screen timeout. With the app itself you can change the theme, scan options, Bluetooth, stream settings, buffering length, even backup and restore your preferences. If you need help setting up the app, there are videos online. The free version is supported by banner ads but you can remove them with the pro version.