Sunday, December 18, 2016

Radio Garden's dial tunes in 8,000 stations

12/18/2016

Growing up in a small town in Midwestern farm country, radio was my link to the larger world. New York deejay Cousin Brucie introduced me to The Beatles while Dick Biondi at WLS in Chicago delivered The Rolling Stones. Baseball arrives on summer nights from clear-channel AM stations in St. Louis, Detroit and Cincinnati. With my father’s shortwave radio, I could travel the world through the BBC and Deutsche Welle.

I recalled my radio days recently when I heard about Radio Garden, a website that lets listeners roam the globe by clicking into live local broadcasts. The collection includes tiny FM stations in Africa and national broadcasting services on almost every continent. Radio Garden was launched just last week and so far roughly 8,000 stations have signed on.

The station locations are represented as green dots on rotating globe that looks a little like Google Earth. Put your cursor near a dot and the broadcast will materialize, after a few moments of static hiss, along with the name or call letters for the station.

Radio Garden was created using public funds provided by the Netherlands Institute of Sound and Vision. Jonathan Puckey, one of people behind this project, explained the goal of Radio Garden in an interview with Deepak Singh that was posted this week on the NPR website.

"The main idea is to help radio makers and listeners connect with distant cultures and re-connect with people from home and thousands of miles away."

Using his mouse, Singh tuned into a station in Lahore, Pakistan (where they were playing American hits), moved on to Dew Delhi, India, stations in Iran and Ghana, and then to a college radio station in Maine based about 30 miles from his home.

In addition to live broadcasts, the site also offers clips from radio history, stories from people who used radio to cross borders and a collection of station ID jingles like those used by pop stations in the 1960s. When I clicked Jingles, they were playing the musical IDs for WAKY, the Top 40 station that ruled Louisville is AM radio’s heyday.


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Follow me on Twitter @ricmanning and read my technology columns at My Well Being.

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