Internet radio has gone through a phase of rapid development and is now an extremely popular way to access music and talk radio stations around the world. Gone are the days of painstakingly tuning in to your local station and hoping to find a programme that will interest you.

Now, the choice is virtually endless, with an international menu of different music styles, talk topics, languages and cultural approaches. All available via the internet; you just need to choose your hardware, sign up to a radio streaming service and off you go.

Getting started

Although there are several options for devices that access internet radio, from smart speakers to car radios and even your mobile phone, it is important to choose one that will fit with your lifestyle. A portable speaker is ideal for people who want to listen to the radio in all kinds of places, not just at home and to share the experience with others. Smart speakers also offer excellent sound quality and attractive versatility that works well for home listening, plus they can double up as music speakers and smart-enabled devices that link to useful communication services such as Amazon Echo. In fact, you can get the best of both worlds with a portable smart speaker by asking Alexa to switch to your favourite internet radio station while you are pottering about the house. All you have to do is ask: ‘Alexa, play Radio One’ or ‘OK Google, play Classic FM.’

Turn up the volume

Next, you will need to sign up to a free or paid-for service that enables you to access radio stations via the internet. These vary in what they offer, and include services such as Spotify, Slacker, Pandora or iHeart Radio. Choosing the right service for you and your family will depend largely on which services your smart speaker or internet radio enabled device is compatible with – a speaker specialist will be able to help with this selection. The majority of streaming services offer access to thousands of stations all over the world and you can pay for added options with some of them for ad-free listening, for example, or other useful customisation functions.

The personal touch

Streaming services are becoming more and more sophisticated and some are now able to use complex algorithms to create a customised recommended station list based on how you rate individual songs or talk shows that pop up during your search. The more you listen, the more the service learns and tailors its search results to meet your personal tastes. Don’t forget to carry out regular searches for podcasts too, which can be tailored to your exact likes and preferences. This is a great way to discover new radio stations and programmes to listen to via internet radio.

The future

If you are still hesitating about whether to invest in smart speaker technology for the home, or as a portable option, the rise of internet radio should be more than enough to convince you. The technology is here to stay, and the choice of radio stations will continue to expand, making it easier than ever before to find an old favourite or challenge yourself with a brand-new genre. As we spend more and more time with our smart speakers at home and on the move, so internet radio will evolve to keep pace with demand and go on offering an amazing choice of music and talk entertainment.