How to Listen to the Radio on Your Laptop

By Nick Davis

Your laptop is capable of receiving radio stations including news, talk and music genres.
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A variety of Internet-based radio stations are available that stream your favorite tunes to your laptop as well as broadcast live radio stations. The stations are free to access directly via Windows Media Player and from radio station websites. You can even access local and national radio stations on your laptop. No additional hardware is needed and you don’t need to download additional plugins to receive radio programming. All you need is an Internet connection.

Windows Media Player

Windows Media Player is pre-installed on Windows systems and can access an array of radio stations including talk, sports, music, news and informational stations. Click Start, then “All Programs” and “Windows Media Player” to launch the application. Click the “Media Guide” link to access the application’s Internet-based radio component. Click the “Internet Radio” link at the top of the screen to see a listing of Internet-based radio stations and genres you can receive, such as Latin, Christian Hits, Jazz, Americana and Roots or Rap & Hip Hop. Click on the radio station or genre you want to hear. Adjust your laptop’s speakers to your liking once the radio station starts to broadcast.

Internet-based Radio Stations

Another way to access radio stations on your laptop is by navigating your computer’s Internet browser to Get Up Radio, ShoutCast Radio Directory, National Public Radio or a similar Internet-based radio station/directory. The directories or stations are also free to access and include a user-friendly interface. Click the “Play,” “Listen,” “Listen Live,” “Streaming” or similar button to listen to the live radio broadcast. Click the name of the radio station, if accessing radio stations on the ShoutCast Radio Directory website, to launch the station.

Local Radio Stations

You can also access radio stations on your laptop by entering your favorite local radio station’s call letters, like 100.1, into a search engine and then clicking the radio station's website address to open an Internet stream.


If you don't have a favorite local radio station or you want more of a selection, try Pandora. Pandora is a free online service that requires you to create a user account to access the stations. Once you have an account, follow the on-screen prompts to create a playlist of radio stations and genres you like.