Many thanks to SWLing Post reader, Bob Chandler (VE3SRE), who leaves the following reply to our WiFi Radio Primer:
I have been streaming online radio using a PC for a number of years using a really simple programme for the GNU/Linux operating system called “Radio Tray“. Radio Tray is a tiny programme written in Python that uses the Gstreamer “back end”.
This programme is so small, that you can turn that old 1990’s vintage Pentium II laptop that’ gathering dust in a broom closet into an internet radio. Just choose a very “lightweight” distribution of GNU/Linux.
For instance, on an old “original” Asus EeePC netbook, with a 900 MHz. Celeron processor, 512 MB RAM and a little 4 GB solid state hard drive, I installed the “Debian” distribution but used the lightweight “JWM” window manager for the GUI. JWM isn’t pretty, but it works great!
You can get “Radio Tray” using the package management system of just about any GNU/Linux distribution. I know for sure it’s in the “repos” for Ubuntu, Debian, Arch and Fedora along with all of the derivatives. Unfortunately, it’s not available for Windows and MacOS. But, the GNU/Linux OS is “free as in freedom and free as in free beer” as they say!
All of your radio station “bookmarks” are stored in a simple “bookmarks.xml” file that makes it a breeze to copy your bookmarks from computer to computer. Over the years I’ve accumulated a thousand or more (I’ve lost count) internetradio stations in Radio Tray.
Radio Tray is capable of handling just about any streaming format.
My online “dx challenge” is finding the “real” stream URL of the station that’s often buried inside of browser based “Flash” players. But, since these days most radio stations outsource their audio streaming to one of about half a dozen streaming audio providers, once you’ve figured out the provider’s URL pattern for one station, you’ve figured them all out.
I’m able to figure out the “real” stream URL about 90% of the time. Some are easy, while some require a bit of detective work.
That also means that I don’t depend on streaming aggregators, since stream URL’s are changing all the time and sometimes it takes the aggregator a while to do an update. I can just update a station that I’m interested in myself.
Here’s the website for “Radio Tray”
I also wrote a blurb about radio tray on my own (very much neglected) website a couple of years ago.
Thanks, Bob! I was not familiar with this app–seems like a simple addition to any PC.