I love Spotify and Pandora and Apple Music and all of the other streaming music apps. You can hear exactly what you want to hear any time of day. It’s awesome. Truth be told, it’s a little boring too.
That’s why I love a little app that’s flown under the radar for even die-hard music lovers. Radio Garden is a free app for iPhones and Android devices that brings in tens of thousands of radio stations broadcasting live 24 hours a day. Here’s how it works:
The app displays a 3D globe of the world with satellite imagery. As you rotate the world with your finger the app tunes in radio stations on the screen. It’s like the search button on a car radio. The screen is covered by thousands of little green dots, each representing a different station. A circle on the screen locates one of those dots/stations and begins playing what the station is broadcasting at that moment.
I scanned the globe and found a reggae station in France, an 80’s rock station in Bologna, Italy and more American rock/pop stations in Argentina, Bolivia, and Ireland. But I also found stations playing music from that geographical area. For over an hour I listened to a station in Nuuk, Greenland playing music I did not understand. It was almost like I was there.
Radio Garden started in 2016 as an exhibition project commissioned by the Netherlands Institute for Sound and Vision. By 2019 the team turned it into a small independent company. The apps were completely redesigned in 2020 and the app is gaining in popularity around the world.
The Radio Garden team says they’re updating the “garden” daily by planting seeds (connecting more stations). The Radio Garden team says in the app description that they want to bring “distant voices close”.
The apps are free with only a couple of ads showing on the screen or playing before tuning in a station.
Give it a try. You may find something you love that you’d never hear otherwise.