I’m almost always listening to music of some sort. Often it’s from my own music collection, ripped from CDs and stored on an external hard drive. Other times I’m listening to streaming music from the Web. I used to listen to Last.fm (and was even a subscriber at one time), and now mainly listen to Pandora. Other times, however, I want something a little different… a little broader in scope than Pandora’s targeted radio stations offer. To this end, I was looking for Google Chrome extensions for streaming radio, and found something I liked right away, and still like after using it for a while. It’s called Radio Player Live.
Radio Player Live is based on Chrome Radio Player (found here: https://chrome.google.com/extensions/detail/hgjdhckebbdoobhniheihpdogeoeelbn), but with a little bit extra thrown in. The biggest difference between the two, other than visually, is that while Radio Player Live comes with more than 150 different station presets available, Chrome Radio Player comes with only five. Now, Chrome Radio Player has an option to view a radio station gallery, but it’s on a different website, and the convenience of the built-in station list (which is automatically updated), was quite nice.
To use Radio Player Live, first click the blue speaker icon in the toolbar. The first time you use Radio Player Live, you’ll be told you don’t have any radio stations to listen to, and to click “Options” to add some to your list. From the options page, you can do more than just add stations. You can adjust your general settings (which plugin is used, whether to autoplay the last station on startup, whether or not you’re a Linux user, and more). You can adjust the appearance of the extension’s pop-up window (by default the window is blue, but you can change the background, header, footer and more to make it perfect for you). You can import and export your station list, and more.
The radio station gallery has (as I’m writing this), 156 different stations. These stations are from all over the world, and cover all kinds of different music types, from rock and jazz to classical and comedy. Adding a station to your list is as simple as clicking the Add button. Once you’re done adding stations, you can organize them, first by genre, and then within the specific genres, so your favorite stations are always easily within reach. And what if you know of a streaming station that isn’t listed? You can add it as well. Simply put in the name of the station and the URL of the stream, and click to add it to your list. You can even assign it a genre so it appears with similar stations.
Once everything is set to your liking, clicking the Radio Player Live icon in the toolbar will show you the pop-up player window. From here, click on the genre that interests you, then on the station you want to listen to. In a couple seconds, you’ll connect and will start hearing that station. You can close the pop-up and the music will keep playing. To switch to a different station, click the icon, choose and click on the new station. The old one will stop and the new one start. Easy! You can also click the stop button to stop the radio, or the pause button to pause the station, which if supported will allow you to pick up right where you left off.
There’s not a lot more to say about Radio Player Live. It’s a simple extension that looks nice, has a lot of good built-in features that – at least to me – make it a nicer option than Chrome Radio Player, and works well. It places a good variety of streaming audio at the user’s fingertips, while still being flexible enough to accept new stations so the user gets exactly the desired listening experience.