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Simple KDE Trick #1: The right way to listen to internet radio

There are many ra­dios that pro­vide their live sound via the In­ter­net. I find some com­fort in the idea that I can lis­ten to mu­sic broad­cast­ed by a col­lege ra­dio in Wi­chi­ta at mid­night while try­ing to find some­thing in­ter­est­ing in the cre­ative vac­u­um that is the In­ter­net[1].

Since I got broad­band at home 5 days ago, I have been do­ing it. But I had a prob­lem. I am a tuner-­fid­geter. I nev­er lis­ten to a sta­tion more than, say, 15 min­utes. When I don't like two songs in a row, I switch. But switch­ing on­in­ter­net ra­dio is not so sim­ple.

It is triv­ial to find a dozen sta­tions in what­ev­er for­mat you like (say, mid-19th cen­tu­ry thai easy lis­ten­ing), but it is some­what hard­er to choose which one you lis­ten.

You can use a web­site with a ra­dio DB. But it means you need have the web page open all the time, and I find hav­ing a UI the size of my mon­i­tor just to switch sta­tions dis­taste­ful.

So, here is how I do it now:

  • Cre­ate a fold­er some­where, called Ra­dio
  • Cre­ate, if you wan­t, sub­fold­ers for ra­dio for­mats (oldies, jaz­z, what­ev­er)
  • Use one of these sites to find sta­tions you en­joy[2]
  • Drag the link that opens the feed in­to the fold­er of your choice
  • Make sure you have re­alplay or mplay­er con­fig­ured to open URLs and not files. This is not fun­da­men­tal, but it makes open­ing the sta­tion faster and avoids a use­less call to kon­queror, and a point­less progress win­dow.
  • Ed­it the prop­er­ties of the new­ly cre­at­ed kick­er but­ton and set a mean­ing­ful icon.

Now, to lis­ten to a sta­tion, you just click on the quick­browser, nav­i­gate where you wan­t, and click. You will no­tice Re­alPlay­er is even smart enough to switch to the new sta­tion in­stead of open­ing a sec­ond win­dow. Nice, ain't it?If you want to ad­d/re­move/ed­it your sta­tion­s, you sim­ply open the fold­er with the file man­ager, it's right there in the menus.And there you have it, a sim­ple, neat, quick and el­e­gant way to have your very own in­ter­net ra­dio with­out any ex­tra app­s.

The fin­ished pro­duc­t:


[1] Yes, there is a ton of good stuff in the net. There is al­so a bazil­lion times more crap. So, it is not a per­fect vac­u­um, but it is a pret­ty hard one.

[2] These are just two ex­am­ple sites to find ra­dio sta­tion­s:

Roberto Alsina / 2006-04-04 16:16:

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