Thanks to the Internet, virtually everywhere in the world you can listen your favorite radio station as long as it is broadcasting over the Internet as well; which most stations do today anyway using either Microsoft's WMA or Real's RealPlayer formats.
So I have a couple of Bookmarks for my favorite radio stations, some of them are local stations (Munich radio stations), some of them I can not listen (over antenna or cable) anymore since I live in Munich (my good old Hessian radio stations like FFH and Planet Radio (not to mention HR3, "the best radio station in town" (and my all time favorite station) which is unfortunately streaming via a propriety format which requires a special application from the Frauenhofer Institute (which invented MP3 10 years ago anyway)) but it's always "hard" to get the URLs for the streams and I wonder why?
For me it makes sense for several reasons to have the (deep linked) streaming URLs instead of a typical browser pop-up windows which has the Media Player embedded anyway:
- I don't have my Internet Explorer open all the time (okay, not really ;-) but at least I would like to have the option to listen the radio stream without having it running)
- I want to listen the radio streams with my (W-LAN connected) Pocket PCs also (while I'm in the office, abroad in hotels or in my own sleeping room) and these embedded pop-up players don't work with Pocket Internet Explorer but the streams works great with the Pocket Windows Media Player (10 Mobile).
- I found a nice (and free) Windows Media Center Edition plug-in called Web Media (RC1.3) which lets you easily add Internet Radio stations to your Media Center Edition:
This is pretty cool for me since the Media Center Edition 2005 isn't supporting standard FM radio if you have configured the MCE to receive TV via DVB-T instead of analogue TV.
However, thanks to this plug-in, now I can also listen local, national and international FM radio stations (as well as typical Internet Radio stations, for sure).
But back to the problem - doesn't matter if you need the URLs for your Internet Explorer Favorites, Pocket PC Mobile Favorites or Media Center Edition, you always have to check the source of the embedded Media Player to get the URL and copy it to your Favorites manually:
That's so annoying and I don't get it at all - what's the idea behind it? Is it because of the ad-banners some stations serve? Come on you radio station managers, you don't believe at all, that I'm sitting in front of the pop-up all the time and watching the window while I listen to your station and recognizing the ad-banners; you don't - don't you? 8O Hey, we are talking about radio, something which is running in the background and something I'm listening to - not watching!
Or is it because of the bandwidth? Do you have the feeling I'm steeling you the bandwidth if I listen your station via my own Media Player and not via your pop-up windows where the same Media Player is running anyway? Nah, this can't be the reason - for sure you have to pay your hosting service the bandwidth, nothing is free (like I have to pay for the::unwired bandwidth also), but either you interrupt your program for the commercials anyway or you have an ad-teaser before the stream starts, etc. So what's the idea?
While I was configuring (and refreshing my IE Favorites) my Media Center today, I just found one radio station I would like to positive highlight here which simply provided the link to copy/paste it: Radio Gong here in Munich
They have the URL just on the Web-Radio page as well as a embedded version if you don't want to copy/paste it. Well, that's what I call service.
Since I'm not working in the media/broadcasting/radio world, maybe I have missed something important - the "reason why" for not providing the (deep link) URL and maybe somebody can enlighten me - I still don't get it at all. For all the rest of us, what's your experience with web radios and do/how do you use it?
Cheers ~ Arne