TuneIn Radio for Android: App Pick

BreakingModern — Radio is one of those incredible things. I just can’t believe we all got together to make it exist, but we did, and here we are. There’s good news, too. Radio isn’t dying. Despite the myriad ways one can listen to music, radio stands strong, partly due to apps like TuneIn. TuneIn is a handy app and web-browser that contains over 1000,000 radio stations and four million podcasts, which can all be listened to with a click.


Getting Oriented

Both the TuneIn app and browser service are free to use. The browser is available without an account, but to open up the app and play music you’ll need to register — Google+ and Facebook auto-logins are currently available, so don’t worry. Log in and you’ll find a list of radio stations and podcasts and, if you’re connected via a social account, you can see what your friends are listening to and which stations are in your area.

At this point you can listen to pretty much anything, real-time or pre-recorded. Type “tech” and you get popular podcasts about technology, while “jazz” populates with smooth, experimental or eclectic variances. Both radio stations and podcasts are mixed in seamlessly, providing the user with the most sound possible.

General categories appear in the app to guide you to specific interests, like “music” or “sports” or “trending.” Click one of these and you get a more specific breakdown, like music from a specific decade (70s) or a specific genre (Tango.) Music should be playing by now, whether through a live radio stream or pre-recorded podcast.


Adding stations is encouraged because it helps TuneIn to find more stations you might like. The algorithm for this is magic. For instance, liking Alternative Rock and then streaming KCRW’s Morning Becomes Eclectic spawns a handful of podcasts and stations that play similar music. You probably haven’t heard of any of these new stations — they’re broadcast in rural Maine or buried in the deep recesses of the Internet, but you can listen now.

The basic user will love the “Recently started songs” feature, which shows up right in the TuneIn home screen. This displays songs you are interested in that just started playing on live radio. It’s a super-scan of all the FM stations (like, really, all the stations in the world) and then lets you pick one perfect song. And like that you’ve added to the stations you like, broadened your preferences and increased the depth of your streaming collection.

In-App Mechanics

The actual play screen is very slick too. You can mute the radio easily, follow a station or song or artist and you can share to a host of social media with a click. There’s a three-line pop-out button that lets you look at station’s profile, view its schedule and view the entire playlist you are listening to. Talk about data. You can also set an alarm or sleep timer from this screen, in case you like falling asleep to desert sounds.


If you’re streaming radio in the car (because the stations available to you are sub-par), there’s a designated Car Mode with big buttons. Lastly, both the app and browser let you browse freely while streaming the station. You can access the currently playing by tapping the upper right-hand volume-looking button. I love this feature because it really lets you navigate the app while listening to your choices.

Freedom of Choice

The greatest part about TuneIn is freedom of choice. The music, talk radio, sermon or live interview isn’t algorithm based like Google Play Music or Pandora, but grounded in real humans who hand-picking songs and talk about current topics. You can stream just about any BBC station, NPR and a host of other news networks in different languages too, for those multilingual politicos out there.


There are no listening limits, no skip limits and no real commitment — just radio, streamed directly to you. The only real issue is not getting to control exactly what is played, but that’s part of appeal too. TuneIn is available for Android on Google Play, Apple iOS, Windows 8.1 and Kindle for free, and there’s a fancy Pro version for $9.99 that lets you listen without ads and with the (incredible) option of recording the broadcast to your phone for later listening.

Check it out.

For BMod, I’m Daniel Zweier.

All Screenshots: Daniel Zweier

Feature Image: By Kashirin Nickolai (http://www.flickr.com/photos/nkashirin/5325053378/) [CC-BY-2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Daniel Zweier

Author: Daniel Zweier

Based in Oakland, Daniel Zweier covers culture, travel and tech here at BreakingModern. Follow him on Twitter @dbzweier and on G+ at +DanielZweier

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