Surfing the Waves: Radio thrives on the Web

Will radio be left behind in the digital age? Probably not. Radio
survived both the television and video revolutions, and is now
proving its staying power by adapting to the online revolution.
Transforming radio waves into bits, radio stations far and wide are
carving out a niche on the Net. The sounds echoing across these
sites may not be quite up to broadcast standards, but they do
stretch the boundaries of a medium still dominated by text and
graphics.

Radio surfers need to first download
Real
Audio
, software that turns bits back into sound. While
you’re in the Real Audio homepage, check out the story on the World
Wide Web that ran on National Public Radio’s All Things
Considered
. You’ll be able to hear the recorded broadcast
on your Mac or PC. National
Public Radio
has its own Web site featuring audio
recordings of breaking news stories, transcripts, and listings of
NPR affiliates across the country.

Several radio sites focus exclusively on the digital revolution.
RadioNet, a
regular program from Santa Cruz, California’s KSCO AM, covers
computer technology and trends, telecom policy, and privacy issues.
On the east coast, PSEUDO!
Online Radio
, a show from WEVD AM in New York City,
delivers a mix of industry news, analysis, and multimedia celeb
interviews with guests like
ECHO’s Stacy
Horn and cyberpunk novelist William Gibson. This show, which skates
a fine line between poseur hip and delirious geekdom, is
particularly interesting because it is interactive.

Smaller independent and alternative radio networks also have a
presence on the Net, although often without the ear candy offered
by larger services. Via Gopher,
Pacifica
Radio
, the progressive national radio news network,
makes available transcripts on a range of topics, including the
communications revolution. Pirate radio, the clandestine
do-it-yourself broadcasting movement, has also infiltrated the
online community, where newsgroups like
alt.radio.pirate are at the ready for tech tips
and war stories. One of the most unusual sites we found was the
Radio
First Termer Home Page
, a ‘pirate radio station that
operated in South Vietnam circa 1971.’ According to the host, the
recorded broadcasts archived here provided an ‘irreverent
alternative’ to Armed Forces Radio, but beware: listener discretion
is advised.

Want to know if your favorite radio station is online? MIT’s
list of

radio stations on the Net
features links to over 500
stations that run the gamut of formats, from music (rock,
classical, jazz, alternative, country) to news and public affairs
to international broadcasting.

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