FM radio has not disappeared. If anything, it evolved. You can now listen to a number of your local radio stations from anywhere in the world. These stations are available for streaming online, in a browser or from a dedicated application.
Linux offers a handful of quality, modern applications for streaming Internet radio. If you haven’t got into the habit of listening to the radio on your computer yet, now might be the time to start.
Shortwave is an Internet radio application designed for the GNOME desktop. This means that it has the advantages that generally apply to GNOME software. It’s simple. It’s smooth. And it has a responsive design that feels as good on a phone as it does on the desktop, if not more so.
Shortwave has over 25,500 stations available. The home page pushes you to many popular options to get started. You can read them or add them to your own personal library for easy access later.
In desktop format, currently playing stations appear in a panel on the right side. In mobile format, the station appears at the bottom. At those times when you are listening to a radio station playing music, if it provides stream metadata, then Shortwave will also provide the option to download the track.
GNOME is the default desktop interface for most popular versions of Linux. This includes Fedora and Ubuntu. So if you’re new to Linux and have found yourself on a GNOME-based distro, Shortwave is likely to be the better-integrated and feature-rich option.
To download: shortwave
Tuner is an elementary OS application, although you can install it on any Linux distribution you prefer. The basic OS docking station keeps the app close, and the sound indicator lets you pause and play your station without leaving the current app. If you’ve fallen in love with the Elementary OS, then Tuner is a bit of a no-brainer.
But what about the app itself? Tuner’s search box does a great job of finding stations, but if you don’t already know what you’re looking for, Tuner focuses on helping you find new stations.
There’s a “Discover” section that serves as the home screen, plus a section for “Trending” and another marked “Popular.” And if after searching among these you haven’t found what you are looking for, there are music genres like “Classical”, “Electronic” and “Jazz” listed in the sidebar. When you know exactly which station you want, mark it with a star and come back to it whenever you want.
Tuner is comparable to Shortwave in terms of functionality and feel. It is also one of the more affordable options to consider. But for those of you digging into something a little simpler or more technical, what you’re looking for is further down.
To download: Tuner
3. Good vibes
For some people, the above options are fine, but they are a bit more. Where is something simpler?
Goodvibes is a basic Internet radio client for GTK-based desktop computers. It will not be the first choice for computer beginners, because you need to know the M3U format of Internet radio. Indeed, even though Goodvibes comes with a few built-in stations, you have to manually add new stations using an M3U URL. Goodvibes does not help you find new stations. It’s up to you to do this in a web browser.
But there is a certain audience that prefers this type of application. It is a KISS style app the same way Arch Linux is KISS. Goodvibes comes with the essential features to play and manage internet radio stations without any extras.
If Shortwave feels too GNOME and Tuner feels too basic, then that alone might be a reason to try Goodvibes. It’s a bit more independent of the desktop.
To download: Positive vibes
Alright, so Goodvibes leaves you wondering what radio stations exist. And even with Shortwave and Tuner, you may still need help eliminating the volume of options. This is where GNOME Radio comes in.
GNOME Radio, originally known as GNOME Internet Radio Locator, will help you find Internet radio stations based on their location on a map. It can help you find stations near you, what’s happening in the area you may have wandered off to, or just pretend you live halfway around the world for a day.
Once you find a station, you don’t need to switch apps to start listening. You can click on the station or enter a station name in the search box to start playback.
It’s not the most mature project, but it’s one to watch. The developer has a blog that you can keep an eye on as the app develops. GNOME Radio’s approach is fun and different from the others on this list.
To download: GNOME Radio
5. Advanced radio player
On KDE Plasma, you don’t need a full app to play a radio station in the background. You can do this using a widget instead.
KDE makes it easy to upload new components, such as widgets, to your Plasma desktop. Check out our general overview of how KDE’s “Get New” buttons work.
Once you are all set up, your internet radio stations will be available on your panel where you can start or stop them at any time. Like Goodvibes, you’ll need to manually add internet radio links from a preferences window. The widget itself slides out of your panel and contains minimal information. The idea here is not to be entertaining, but accessible.
To download: Advanced radio player
You have not found what you are looking for ?
There are many ways to listen to Internet radio from your Linux desktop. If you don’t want a full app or a dedicated widget, you can choose not to install anything extra. Instead, turn to the music player you already have installed.
Many music players like Rhythmbox and Clementine offer the ability to add Internet radio streams. Or, if you prefer, you can turn to several websites to stream radio stations in your browser.
The 5 Best Websites to Listen to Radio in Your Browser
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