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October 21, 2013

Tuning in to radio apps on your Lumia

For those that like to rock, these apps will suit you.

Video may have killed the radio star (remember that one?) but you can easily resuscitate the victim with your Lumia and an array of free radio apps in the Windows Phone Store.

While you can certainly pay for music (such as CDs or online downloads), or you can subscribe to any number of excellent streaming music services (like Nokia Music with MixRadio which fills our office with sounds each day), you can also find some really solid radio apps that will have you humming along in no time.

For the time being, we’re going to spin the dial past apps like Pandora, Soundtracker, Spotify, Aupeo and others so that we can tune in to those apps that truly play radio stations, like the kind you find on the AM/FM format.

Let’s start with the one whose name says it all: FM Radio. It has a simple user interface, but it does cut to the chase. One thing to note – as they do in their app description: Windows Phone 8 needs the Lumia Amber update to play the FM Radio app. Without the update, you will not be able to listen to FM Radio.

A little more style and finesse is available in the TuneIn Radio app. You can see stations by music genre or location (stations are available worldwide), as well as by language (from Aboriginal to Yoruba – and everything in between). You will also find news and sports radio stations. In fact, there are more than 70,000 different stations to choose from worldwide. Each station displays what is currently playing, as well as information about the DJ that is currently on the air, if available. You can find music for different holidays, and music festival tie-ins, too (such as SXSW). There are ads periodically while you listen, but nothing that gets in the way of your listening experience. TuneIn does not require any registration to use the app – just pick a station and go. (If you like Alternative Rock, look for “The Dump – Internet Radio” – it kept me rocking.)


In the U.S. there are some other radio apps that are certainly worth a listen – and naturally there are plenty of regional offerings in the Windows Phone Store. One is iHeartRadio which you can set as a lock screen, and you can use location-based services within your phone to select stations near you. The app does require a one-time sign-up for use, but it is free. iHeartRadio offers every genre, from news, talk and sports to music of all types. As you might expect, you can search by music type, as well as by State. If you choose to login with the app, you also have the option to “create” your own radio stations, based on specific artists or song titles. You can pin stations to the Start screen. They will also suggest stations based on types of situations or times of day, such as studying, the gym or ladies night (not sure why that last one might apply to me), and you can set a sleep timer with the app if you want a little music before going to bed.


And whilst we’re talking of Radio apps, it would be rude not to finish on our very own Nokia Music with Mix Radio, which comes out of the box on Nokia Lumia smartphones and offers unlimited music streaming free of charge, without adverts or sign ups and sign ins. With the ability to seed three artists to create your own mixes, or choose from hundreds of expert curated mixes, you can even download mixes for offline playback free of charge, which is perfect for saving data and those times without reception. Recent updates have brought increased personalization to help get closer to the music, making it the simplest way to discover and explore music you love.

Do you listen to the radio with your Lumia? What is your go-to app for music on the go? Share your suggestions in the Comments below.

image credit: Andrew Morrell photography