Wednesday, June 14, 2006


I always feel dumb recommending a new discovery. It usually turns out that everyone already knew about it and I was the last to find out.

There are many radio stations available for free on the internet. They are streaming stereo (and mono) feeds that play in RealPlayer, or iTunes, or Windows Media Player.

I enjoy listening to music while I work as well as when I relax, mostly classical but I’m also enjoying jazz more and more. Call me lazy or cheap or both, but I hate acquiring and playing music (inserting the cds, removing them, putting them back in their cases—we’re talking lazy). Radio is perfect for me. It costs nothing and requires almost no effort.

A great resource for classical internet radio is CLASSICAL LIVE ONLINE RADIO. This site seeks to include all the classical stations available on the internet.

Here I found a Netherlands station that plays nothing but baroque and style galant. (Pudinhand Wilson promises an “expose” on style galant which he says “equals” the western European “ear.”) Obviously you don’t want baroque 24/7, but when you do feel like it, their baroque playlist is much deeper than that of an all-era classical station.

The stations are from all over the world. The other day I was listening to a couple of announcers chatting on an Australian Public Broadcasting station. When the man complained about something his female partner told him to “stop sobbing.”

I finally bought a decent speaker system for my computer, $80 at Radio Shack, and I’m astounded at the sound quality. The technology continues to get cheaper, and smaller.

Most of the stations I listen to are all music, with very little voice, and no commercials. My new speaker system reminds me of my pet peeve regarding FM radio—the announcers boost the bass gain on their microphones. So you’ve just finished listening to a rousing symphony at a volume that the neighbors can tolerate, and the announcer comes on with a voice that shakes the entire building like pedal notes.

A low voice is highly prized in broadcasting and real life, and I guess for a radio announcer every performance is an audition, so they use technical tricks to make their voices sound low and full, but it’s really annoying and I’ll continue sobbing about it.

BBC-3 continues to be extremely satisfactory.

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