How do you listen to streaming audio on an Android smart phone?

Update:There is a better way: www.engineeringradio.us/blog/2011/03/tunein-radio/

Ahh, since I posted about my android, a few readers have emailed me and would like to know. If you have tried to stream audio using a smartphone web browser, you have found out that it simply doesn’t work.  The web browser is unable to decode the radio station stream because most of them are in AAC, AAC+, HeAACv1 or some other codec.  At this point, most people give up on the idea and move on. I, on the other hand, determined that it should be doable.

First, I attempted to down load a few apps, but they either crashed or didn’t do what I wanted or weren’t in the right language, or something.

Clear Channel has something called iHeartRadio, which is a clearing house for mobile users that want to listen to Clear Channel radio streams on their iPhones.  I don’t know, once you have heard one Kiss-FM station, you’ve heard them all as far as I am concerned.  Most other Clear Channel programming is boring and uninspired.

What I finally ended up doing was going to Moodio and reading up on a few things.  Here is a good step by step way to use Moodio to listen to radio station web streams on any mobile device.

  1. Be aware that not all data plans are the same.  ATT, Sprint, and others now cap data transfer and charge extra if a subscriber goes over.  Know your plan.
  2. On a regular computer, go to Moodio (http://www.yourmuze.fm/)
  3. Set up a user account
  4. Select from there list, the stations you want to listen to.  They have many US stations as well as many from Europe.  If the station you are looking for is not there, you can request that it be added.
  5. Select the default data rate.  Since I have unlimited data, I chose the highest rate for the best sounding audio.  Others may want lower data rates so as not to exceed data caps.
  6. Point your mobile device web browser to www.m.yourmuze.fm
  7. Log into your account
  8. The stations on your listen list will be displayed.

That is a lot of steps to take.  Somebody has to be very into radio or a radio station to do something like that.  A forward thinking radio station or group will be writing or paying somebody to write mobile streaming apps for their stream(s).  A forward thinking radio station or group would then feature links to these apps prominently on their web pages.  Very prominently if they are in a PPM market.  Ahem, very prominently if they are in a PPM market.

That is what a forward thinking radio station would be doing…

Pandora and me

I finally broke down and purchased a smart phone.  Instead of the ubiquitous iPhone however, I opted for a HTC Incredible Android phone.  Not that I have any distaste for Apple, Inc.  Rather, it is more because of the lack of ATT coverage in areas where I travel and the new data plans from ATT.

The phone is great, I enjoy the functions, the GPS navigation tool, gmail, news, and all the other apps.  It fills many roles while I am out gallivanting around earning a living.

HTC incredible Android phone with Pandora App

I have tried Pandora in the past on my computer.  I found it to be okay, not great.  I guess my main issue was it seemed a little boring just listening to music.  It was good music, and when I interacted with the programming, voting a song up or down, the music selections got better.  But it was distracting to interact while I was trying work on the computer and in the end, I turned the volume down an it became background noise.

In the car, I figured, things would be different.  I could listen to Pandora the same way I listened to my car radio.  Lots of music would be great and not distracting at all.

Except…  I found it to be… boring.  The music was great but the whole thing lacks personality.  I suppose we are blessed around here with several radio stations that play new music.  With Pandora there was almost no new music, even if I created a new music radio station.  Further, it seemed like something was missing:  human interaction.  I enjoy hearing the deeeejay talking about some band factoid or some such.  Just listening to music endlessly left me wanting something more.  Perhaps that is just me.

Whilst on the road to various places, I like to listen to WEQX in Manchester, VT; WDST, Woodstock, NY; WKZE, Salisbury, CT; WXPK, White Plains, NY.  All of those stations have personality and play great music.  They also stream audio, which means I can listen to them on my phone.

So Pandora gets a meh, the phone gets a thumbs up.