How to Stream a Radio for Free
By Lee Simmons
Updated September 22, 2017
Items you will need
Broadband Internet connection
Headphones or computer speakers
The Internet provides easy and free access to thousands of streaming radio stations 24 hours a day. Radio streaming is the real-time broadcast of radio over the Internet. Whether it is your local public radio station, or a radio station that broadcasts from the far reaches of the world, a broadband Internet connection brings it right to your computer. Many stations stream over the Internet for free and finding them is as simple as a few clicks.
Select a browser, and make sure you're on a broadband connection. Large amounts of data are needed for streaming real-time radio online and a broadband will accomodate it far easier than a dial-up. Additionally, most Internet browsers are capable of streaming radio, including Explorer, Firefox, and Safari.
Find a radio station. Thousands of stations stream over the Internet. Finding one that offers the type of music or programming you seek requires a little research. You can try a one-stop service streamfinder.com, which focuses on music stations. If that's not enough, you can do a simple online search of your own with the terms "radio" and "streaming." Many stations display their programming offerings by genre, such as folk, Latin, and talk radio.
Click "Play" next to the station you want to listen to. Depending on the type of streaming service, this will open a new window or page that displays that particular station. Each station typically includes some basic controls, including volume and display functions. Commercial Internet radio streaming services such as Live365.com include advertising on their free stations, with an option to purchase a membership to bypass ads.
Click on the window's "X" or "Close" function to close out of the radio stream.
Open iTunes on your computer (iTunes is available from Apple.com as a free download). iTunes is a popular destination for free radio streaming that does not require opening a separate Web browser.
Click "Radio" on the left-hand menu.
Choose a stream you want to listen to. For instance, click "Public." This expands a list of public radio stations available for listening.
Double-click the station of your choice. For instance, double-click "KCRW Simulcast." This opens the radio stream for KCRW.
Adjust the volume control in the top left corner of the iTunes window to set the loudness.
Click the button with the square icon in the top left corner of the iTunes window to close the radio stream.
Minimize the amount of downloading you do while listening to streaming radio. Downloads can disrupt the audio stream.
Lee Simmons has 10 years of reporting experience covering a variety of issues for publications in South Carolina, California, and Texas. He also covered music industry issues for Soundcheck magazine and Bizmology.com, among others. Simmons earned a journalism degree from the University of Texas. He lives in Austin.