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It may seem strange to think that there are people still alive today who were born before the introduction of what we call “radio”.

If you asked the average person what the word “radio” means to them, they might think of their small, plastic kitchen radio that they have on in the background while making breakfast, or the built-in device they listen to in their car on the way to and from work.

These two types of radios alone have already been around for a long time, but as we push further into the 21st Century, the concept of radio and radio stations continues to develop with advances in technology.

Instead of FM frequencies, web radio stations have so-called stream-URLs, over which the particular programmes can be listened to on a smartphone or computer. However, these stream addresses are not particularly clearly arranged or memorable.

For over a decade we’ve had the ability to call up any song we can think of and listen to it directly over the internet, or store thousands of them on our computers, and since the introduction of smartphones, we’ve had almost constant easy access to music when we’re on the go.

So, why not offer the same easy access to radio stations? Whether you’re listening with your phone, your computer, or in your car, imagine being able to tune in to any radio station you can think of, from any style or genre, from every corner of the world.

This is what radio.net is all about.


What is radio?

So, although you might think of a radio as being an electronic gadget, the word has many meanings and definitions. For example, the verb (“to radio someone”) means to send energy with waves from one place to another without the need for wires, whether it’s from one room to the next or country to country. A piece of equipment called a “transmitter” sends out the radio signals, which are picked up by a “receiver”.

This is why the 1930’s and 40’s term “wireless” was used for household radios, as the concept was relatively new.

Many people expected radio to become irrelevant with the rise of mp3 players and iPods in the early 2000’s, but it still has a lot of uses. As far as music is concerned, many people prefer radio simply because it provides them with new music they wouldn’t necessarily hear if they only used mp3 platforms.

Radio is still important in both more-developed and less-developed countries. In many developing countries such as Thailand and Nicaragua, it’s used as an educational tool for teaching topics such as nutrition and health education. In South Africa, there are more than 150 independent radio stations, whereas 30 years ago there were only 10 on the entire continent of Africa.


The History of radio

Despite Nikola Tesla’s demonstration of a wireless radio in 1893 in St. Louis, it was Guglielmo Marconi who transmitted the first radio signals across the Atlantic Ocean in 1901, and became known as the father of radio. In the following years leading up to the First World War, radio was primarily used to send messages to and from ships via Morse code, but was not used commercially. During WW1, it was almost exclusive to the military.

In the early 1920’s, radio began to rise in popularity amongst civilians. In the USA, the Pittsburgh radio station KDKA became the first to be officially licensed by the government, and its parent company Westinghouse began selling wireless radios to the public. In the UK, the Post Office received almost 100 requests for licences from would-be broadcasters, and so decided to set up the BBC.

By the beginning of the Second World War, it had become a common family past time to sit around a wireless radio listening to programmes and news broadcasts. During WW2, the radio was vital in relaying news of the war to families all over the UK, and was an effective tool for boosting public morale.

With the arrival of television in the 1950’s, radio programming schedules began to shift from serial shows to the playing of popular music. FM stations overtook AM stations, and the concept of the Top 40 was introduced, later becoming a key factor in the evolution of rock and roll.


The US Radio Airplay Chart

#TitleArtist
1Don't Wanna KnowMaroon 5 ft. Kendrick Lamar
2Scars To Your BeautifulAlessia Cara
3Bad ThingsMachine Gun Kelly x Camila Cabello
4CloserThe Chainsmokers ft. Halsey
5Shape Of YouEd Sheeran
6Side To SideAriana Grande ft. Nicki Minaj
7Let Me Love YouDJ Snake ft. Justin Bieber
8Love On The BrainRihanna
924K MagicBruno Mars
10Fake LoveDrake
11I Don't Wanna Live ForeverZayn | Taylor Swift
12StarboyThe Weeknd ft. Daft Punk
13Black BeatlesRae Sremmurd ft. Gucci Mane
14I Feel It ComingThe Weeknd ft. Daft Punk
15Water Under The BridgeAdele
16StarvingHailee Steinfeld & Grey ft. Zedd
17Treat You BetterShawn Mendes
18Cheap ThrillsSia ft. Sean Paul
19MercyShawn Mendes
20This TownNiall Horan

Financing of radio stations

There are two main categories that radio stations fall into when it comes to financing, which are public broadcasting and commercial broadcasting.

Public broadcasting

Public broadcasting is when a radio or TV station draws its funding from either the public, the government, or both, with the objective of public service rather than financial gain. To make it easier to explain, let’s use the BBC as an example. Listening to a BBC radio station doesn’t require any form of payment, however if you watch live BBC TV, you have to pay a license fee every year. This money is like a tax that the British government uses to help fund the entire BBC, and so when you watch or listen to their stations, you won’t see or hear any advertisements.

Commercial broadcasting

Commercial broadcasting is when a radio or TV station is owned by a company or corporation, with the goal of financial gain, and exists without government funding. Instead, they rely on the common practice of advertising the products of other companies, which these companies pay the stations to do.

In America, commercial broadcasting has been the norm since the beginning of radio, whereas Europe began mostly with public broadcasting, and has since moved further towards commercial.


What does radio.net offer?

Registration is not an absolute requirement for users on radio.net. The free service offers you the following:

  • The ability to search for specific radio stations over our search bar.
  • An exciting selection of stations and recommendations:
    • The Top 100
    • Weekly station tips put together by our editors
    • Local stations from your area
    • Popular stations
    • Recommended stations
    • Stations most heard by our users
  • A filter to sort stations into genres or topic for those who want to listen to current news stories, classical music, reggae, rock, or hip hop or to find similar content within the chosen category.
  • The radio.net magazine, inspired by station recommendations, interviews and reports.
  • The monthly newsletter presents the best magazine articles and eye catching new radio stations.
  • The interactive world map enables the discovery of new radios from around the world.