HOW TO: Listen to Streaming Radio on the iPad
Many of us enjoy internet radio and the excellent selection it provides over mainstream radio. And for a large subset of that group, internet radio is only radio we can bear to listen to.
So how do we get streaming internet radio goodness on the iPad? The good news is that is possible, and basically just works once you get it going.
Simpler than you think
The solution is rather surprising – we use Safari to stream! Amazingly enough, Safari allows you to stream radio in the background even when the application is not open. I have had mixed results as to whether the streaming is interrupted by opening other tabs and other applications while streaming.
Presumably this is to do with the limited ram to go around. If anyone can definitively establish what interrupts streaming, please post in the comments.
Step-by-Step to listen to Internet Radio
Here’s an example of how to do it using the popular internet Drum & Bass station: Bassdrive.
1. We navigate to the Bassdrive.com homepage. Notice the listen links in the top right hand corner.
2. Click Tune in at the quality you’d like to listen. Anything less than 128k is going to be unpleasant if its an mp3 stream. If your station offers an AAC+ stream, it is comparable to a 128k mp3 stream. The browser loads a pls or m3u file containing the stream information.
3. Safari should being to stream the station. Keep the tab open and browse in other tabs to your heart’s content. Using other applications is also possible as the stream will remain running even when Safari is not the currently running app.
Jumping off points
If you’re wanting to try this out and don’t know where to start with radio stations, try Shoutcast.com – a large directory of internet radio stations running for a very long time now. Click the “Tune In” button next to a station you want to listen to and when presented with a popup window, select “Listen in my own player”, the second option. Your browser will be fed a .pls or .m3u file, which will open and begin streaming.
Any hacks on how to make this better? Can you work out what circumstances it works and doesn’t work in? Post your iPad expertise in the comments and share with the community.