And here’s the script…
For many of us, radio is the soundtrack of our lives. From the time we get up in the morning, until the time we go to bed at night, a radio station, or one that streams live on the Internet, is on in the background.
And while some people prefer to listen to stations that play only music, news and talk radio have an equally important place in the mix. Get into any cab, in any city in the country, and you’re as like to hear talk radio as you are a music station.
Before the arrival of the Internet, bricks and mortar radio stations, or what some people call terrestrial radio, had a significant limitation in our increasingly nomadic society. The broadcast signal that those stations produced could only travel so far.
So for somebody that had once lived in Boston, but was now living in California, they could no longer hear stations like WBZ, WAAF or WFNX.
But now with the Internet, we can hear programming from any station around the world, just as long as that station chooses to stream its broadcasts online.
Being something of a media fanatic, it occurred to me that there would be a real value to having an easy to use site that would serve as a directory of stations across the country with audio streaming feeds. And because stations change formats from time to time, I think it would help to be able to search for stations in a particular market that play a specific format, such as classical music or alternative rock.
My research yielded at least a half-dozen sites that would qualify solely as directories of terrestrial radio stations offering streaming audio. That’s as opposed to Internet-based radio that has no broadcast component.
But even the best of these sites – Newslink.org and Radio-Locator.com – are not especially user-friendly, even though they do offer a comprehensive listing of traditional broadcast stations that have web sites.
According to Radio-Locator, which is affiliated with the WMBR-FM, the MIT radio station, there are over 2,500 stations worldwide that offer streaming audio. So, clearly, people have an interest in listening to terrestrial radio stations that stream online and finding out more information about those types of stations.
Newslink.org is operated by American Journalism Review and has a directory of radio station web sites. But many of the links it has listed are outdated. And since not every station that has a web site necessarily has streaming capability, you really need a quick and easy way to find those that do.
What I’m looking to create is a site that would be streaming radio station guide for Dummies. It would be ultra-focused; stations that don’t stream their programming on-line simply wouldn’t be listed.
Links would lead directly to “Listen Live” portion of a station’s web site. That way, if someone knew the call letters of a given station that they wanted to listen to, they could access the live feed within a maximum of three clicks once they came to my site.
In terms of visual elements, I envision the dominant image on the home page of my site being a large map of the United States with large radio towers on the right and left hand sides of the map. To begin their interaction with the site, visitors would be instructed to move their cursors across the city or state in which the station they are looking for is located.
As the cursor crosses a different city, a list of stations that have streaming audio would pop up, complete with direct links to the stream. One click on the link would bring the visitor directly to the audio stream.
For those who want to search using a musical format, the bottom of the page would have two interrelated pull down menus. The first one would list the variety of stations formats while the second one would have a list of the 50 states and the District of Columbia.
So a typical search might read: Radio stations that play classical music in Maryland. And if someone chose that kind of search, a new window would open up with a list of stations in Maryland that play classical music.
Each station listed would include a link directly to the audio streaming component.
In terms of the nuts and bolts of developing the data base need to make this site work, the Federal Communications Commission has a data base of all the country’s AM and FM radio stations. That data base would have to be reviewed and checked online to determine which stations have streaming audio capability.
Only those stations, with their live audio stream links would be included on my site.