One hand on the steering wheel, one hand on the “seek” button. There’s always a better song, you’re going to find it.
If that’s how you drive, you’ve probably always wished there was a search engine for radio. And now there is – for your computer (cars will just have to wait).
Radio Search Engine regularly indexes online radio stations, allowing you to search for a specific song playing…somewhere. You can then listen to the song (usually halfway through), then continue to listen to whatever station you stumble upon. You might find yourself listening to a Japanese top-forty station, but that’s half the fun.
It’s not exactly a replacement for services like Spotify or Rdio, but it’s interesting nonetheless – and is probably more useful for talk radio than anything else. Let’s take a look, shall we?
Searching Every Station
Unlike their locked-down, Aereo suing TV brethren, radio stations long ago added live web streams of their programming to the web. These typically aren’t even region locked, meaning you can listen to the station from your hometown even if you now live overseas.
RadioSearchEngine takes advantage of this fact, as well as the song metadata these stations offer, to make it possible to hear any top-40 song instantly. Head to the site and you’ll see our local stations, to the right of a list of current top songs:
Click any of the song and you’ll be taken to a random station playing it. This will usually occur partway through a song, and occasionally occur after it’s played.
It’s not perfect, but it’s a quick way to hear the better part of almost any song. Once the song is over, you can simply continue listening to that station – or you can click another song. So yeah, it’s not exactly Spotify, but it’s a pretty cool hack. There’s even a search function:
Search for any song or artist and you’ll be shown a number of stations playing them (as seen above). Click to start listening. The service claims around 40,000 songs are playing at any given time, so you won’t find everything you’re looking for.
Even if the artist you want can’t be found, you’ll be shown stations likely to play them soon – typically stations that play music from that particular genre. It’s worth trying.
Podcasts And Talk Radio
I can’t imagine music lovers will fall in love with this site, but I know who might: fans of talk radio. As a big public radio fan, I found this a great way to quickly listen to shows I’ve missed – time zones and differing schedules mean I can listen to California stations play Morning Edition after it stops broadcasting in Colorado:
This isn’t limited to public radio shows, either: pretty much any talk radio show you can imagine can be found this way. The site also serves up podcasts:
Be warned, however, that the site will begin playing podcasts from the first item in the feed. This is fine for shows that delete episodes from their feeds, but shows with complete archives will start at the very beginning (I ended up listening to episode one of The Bugle, which was weirdly nostalgic).
Here’s serial entrepreneur Michael Robertson and the man behind Radio Search Engine talking about his creation:
If you’re not sold on the whole “search” idea, but would like to explore online radio some more, I’d recommend checking out TuneIn. It lets you tune into 50,000 stations worldwide, and offers an easy user interface for the job.
Or, if you’re more into creation than consumption, why not consider starting your own online radio station? It might be fun.
But what I really want to know is what, if any, use you all find for RadioSearchEngine.com. Does it fit into your life, or is it just a novelty that’s interesting in that it exists? Let me know below, okay?