While there are plenty of music streaming services these days that allow you to listen to practically any song at any time, some may long for the days of old-fashioned radio — just switch it on and turn the dial till you find something interesting. If you prefer to tune in and check out programming that is out of your control, or listen to a talk radio show like This American Life, or some local station you may never have heard of before, there are plenty of apps out there to help. Here are our favorite radio apps for Android and iPhone.
If you like variety, TuneIn Radio is one of the best apps around for listening to the radio on your mobile device. The app offers a vast library of programs, including local radio shows, sports stations, podcasts, and more. The interface is clean and easy to navigate, and the sound quality is good. Updated versions of the app let you scroll down on the Now Playing screen to access your recent listening experiences and explore personalized recommendations. An updated home page offers quicker access to your local stations and customized recommendations.
Simple Radio combines the benefits of online radio with the simplicity of the radio tuners of the old days. The app lets you tune in to your favorite FM, AM, and online radio stations for music, news, and live sports. With more than 50,000 stations to choose from, you can find your favorites and discover new listening pleasures from around the world. Search by genre to discover new music or by category or search by location. Your favorite free FM and AM stations including NPR, BBC, MRN, WABC, La Mega 97.9, KNBR, and WNYC are always there. Catch up on news, listen to music, and tune in to a range of live sports radio stations to catch the latest action.
If you want a constant stream of great news programs and informative podcasts, NPR One is the holy grail of radio apps. National Public Radio (NPR), purveyor of award-winning journalism, has created an app that makes its content accessible wherever, whenever. Users can listen to their preferred local National Public Radio station, or listen to any of the network’s nationally syndicated shows. In addition to a strong library of NPR programs — All Things Considered, Planet Money, and so on — NPR One showcases podcasts from companies like Gimlet.
LiveXLive, formerly Slacker Radio, lets you listen to your favorite music and watch live streaming performances for free, all in one place. Its worldwide coverage and huge music library offer free access to the music and events, interactive and hand-crafted music stations, personalized recommendations, streaming concerts and festivals, the ability to collect and share your favorite content and create your own playlists, news and sports programming, and a monthly subscription of $4 that lets you listen ad-free at high resolution.
This popular radio app offers a plethora of live radio streams. You can listen to rock, rap, jazz, comedy, sports, or other types of programming, sampling shows from across the country, as well as streams tailored to your interests. The app displays information about the current song and artist, and you can approve of songs you like or disapprove of songs you don’t. For a monthly subscription, you can gain access to additional features, such as the ability to skip tracks or even save them.
With FM Radio, you can listen for free to FM or AM stations, news, sports, talk, and music without having to switch to dedicated station or network apps. It offers an easy way to listen to your favorite local or online radio stations at home or abroad. You can also tune in to popular programming on NPR, KNBR, MNR, WNYC, Xm radio, K love, and more. A sleep timer option is available in the full player, so you can set a timer to automatically switch off the radio when you fall asleep. Its country-wide list lets you sort by country and connect radio stations with a single tap. FM Radio features a smart recommended radio stations list and search capabilities. The app supports Android Auto, letting you access radio stations with the radio app while traveling.
Satellite radio company SiriusXM makes its content available on mobile devices through the SiriusXM app. If you already have a SiriusXM subscription for your car, you get streaming included. Otherwise, you can select a subscription plan that appeals to you, such as Mostly Music or All Access. SiriusXM offers over 200 channels, offering music, news, and even talk radio. The app itself sports a clean interface and a variety of other useful features.
Pandora launched back in 2000 — when the internet was still vast and wild — with a simple goal: Help users find new music they like using bands and songs they already listen to. More than two decades later, after services like Spotify incorporated music discovery features into their own streaming empires, Pandora remains a popular service, and for good reason. You create a playlist by selecting an artist or song you enjoy. Pandora then finds songs with similar musical stylings, while you can upvote songs you like or downvote songs you don’t. The app is cleanly designed and easy to navigate. While it is free, you will have to put up with the ads. Offline podcasts are now available to Plus and Premium subscribers.