internet radio upgradePosted: January 14, 2014
Back in early 2012 I bought an internet radio. It has gotten a lot of use.
The idea of an internet radio is to allow one to listen to online streaming radio without having to fire up the desktop computer. Given that my over-the-air radio choices here in Gilroy are quite limited, and given that I don’t really want to start up the desktop until mid-afternoon when I’m working and using my company laptop during the day, the internet radio made a lot of sense.
To use an internet radio you generally need a connect to syndication server, much like what you do when you have an RSS reader and subscribe to feeds. The problem with the internet radio I had was that it didn’t seem like the service that the manufacturer used was terribly diligent about keeping the server up and running. It may be that the design of the radio was not optimal as well. I would frequently get messages such as “Cannot locate DNS” or “Cannot connect to server.” Sometimes it would just hang. Sometimes I would press the button to get my station list and see it come up empty. Certainly the Web site where I maintained my station list was rudimentary and not given a lot of attention.
I had, therefore, been looking at newer internet radios for a while. Then, shortly after Christmas, I really got aggravated when I kept getting an empty station list for a period of hours. I had been doing my research and knew that I had some extra money coming with my year-end bonus. I placed an order with Amazon.
The radio I bought was the Grace Digital Mondo GDI-IRC6000. I’ve been delighted. First of all, the associated Web site is current and up-to-date. It even tells you when the station stream you want to add to your list was last tested, which is usually very recently.
The radio supports ten one-click presets, plus up to a hundred stations that you can add to your stations menu. You can categorize those any way you like. It also allows you to add podcasts, which display in a separate list from the radio stations.
One of the things I love about the radio, and one of the things that makes me confident in the viability of what I bought, is that Grace Digital partners with the major digital audio players. The radio supports SiriusXM. Since I have a SiriusXM account that means I can listen without bringing up the Web-based player on my computer. The radio also supports Pandora. I have dusted-off my long-unused Pandora account have been making good use of that service. I may have more to say about Pandora later. Then there’s a service called DAR.FM, a Web-based service that allows you to record radio programs. Seems you can use the service directly from the radio. I haven’t tried it yet, but it sounds intriguing. There are other partners as well, such as iHeart Radio and WeatherBug.
Then there is the free iOS app that allows you to control the radio if you are connected to the same network. This is great because the radio is connected to our wireless speaker system, and that’s how we listen to jazz in the evenings. When our local jazz station changes programming at 9:00 pm, I can switch stations from my iPad without going into the other room.
This thing has gotten, and will continue to get, a lot of use. I’m pleased.