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Listen to a radio station over your phone

  (+17, -3)(+17, -3)
(+17, -3)
  [vote for,

I'd like radio stations to offer a service whereby one can call a telephone number and, through the phone, listen to the station's actual live broadcast. That's it.

It continues to play until one hangs up.

Yes, this is very similar to a lot of things, but I can't find this specific service anywhere. I know there are other ways to listen to radio without using an actual radio (e.g. internet, or mobiles that have radios built in). This is yet another. And it has nothing to do with being on hold.

Let me give an example of when it might be useful.

At the office, you have a multi-line phone with speakerphone capability. No radio. You don't need one - when you want to listen to the radio, you just call the station's broadcast line number on speaker, and listen that way.

It would also be useful if you're in Boston and you want to listen to KVI-AM 570 in Seattle.

waugsqueke, Jul 22 2005

Why do U.S. radio call letters start with W in the east and K in the west (revisited)? http://www.straight...columns/010504.html
From the Straight Dope [waugsqueke, Jul 23 2005]

Radio station call letter origins http://www.oldradio...gins.call-list.html
Also of interest, perhaps. [waugsqueke, Jul 23 2005]

Home Grown Satellite Radio Home_20Grown_20Satellite_20Radio
[theircompetitor, Jul 23 2005]

Dial R For Radio article from Business Week http://www.business...622_0853_tc_212.htm
[theircompetitor, Jul 23 2005]


       I'm almost sure something similar was done with the whole telephone network in a city being used to broadcast music at certain times of night in the early days of telephones, and of course there used to be "dial a disc", but nothing exactly like this has been done. On the other hand, i imagine a mobile 'phone could provide streaming audio from a radio station's website. The difference is that this could be done without recourse to digital technology.
I don't know what i think of this. It would really only apply to people who didn't have internet access of any kind.
nineteenthly, Jul 22 2005

       I've often wondered why this is not being done. Any radio station could provide several "channels" of constant news, traffic, time and temperature, sports or music. It would be handy for anyone with a cell phone who needs quick information.
baconbrain, Jul 23 2005

       I was considering doing this today, because I don't have a radio here. It would be straightforward to set up an Asterisk voip server at home (or even a humble voice modem, if I wanted to tie up a land line). Then I could use up my minutes and take advantage of my unmetered night minutes, call home, listen to a variety of audio content controlled by touch tone. Not hard at all to implement.   

       Unfortunately the phone system only samples at 8khz and cell phones use fierce compression so it would probably only be useful for podcasts and talk.
joeforker, Jul 23 2005

       In the UK, radio stations are only allowed to publish official listening figures to their advertisers (see www.rajar.co.uk), and their advertising rate card is based on those numbers.   

       As telephones are not monitored by rajar, any extra listeners to the radio station via a phone system wouldn't be monitored, and so this wouldn't be attractive to radio service providers.   

       To make it attractive, you'd need a cost efficient technology which could handle tens or hundreds of thousands of callers in order to effect your overall numbers and make it worthwhile.   

       However I agree that as a listener, wouldn't it be nice if this existed?
Fishrat, Jul 23 2005

       couldn't you just have a tiny digi radio embedded into your phone?
po, Jul 23 2005

       Why do all US radio stations have acronym names beginning with a K?
wagster, Jul 23 2005

       wags, only stations in the western US begin with a K. Eastern US stations start with W (the demarcation line is the Mississippi). Canadian stations start with C, except Newfoundland, which start with V (I think because they weren't part of Canada when the call letters got divied up). Cecil's got a dope on it (link). There's also a list explaining where each station name originated in the second link.   

       // couldn't you just have a tiny digi radio embedded into your phone? //   

       Those exist, po. but that wouldn't help with the scenario in the last sentence.
waugsqueke, Jul 23 2005

       I see; and I went away and mused about the fact that you might not want to create an almighty din in public :)   

       would it be cheaper than a call though?   

       I have to vote for this 'cos I'm addicted to the radio.
po, Jul 23 2005

       This is certainly baked by any phone with web access, though not by dialing a number.   

       In the attached link, I proposed doing a poor-man's satellite radio similarly.   

       If you're dialing through the phone network, fidelity is lost. Phone audio is poor in quality, just think back to the recordings you hear during on-hold playback.
theircompetitor, Jul 23 2005

       // This is certainly baked by any phone with web access, though not by dialing a number. //   

       Then it's not baked. This does not use the internet at all. It's a standard phone call.   

       I know the audio won't be top notch, but I'm not concerned about that. If I was, I'd use a radio.   

       I listen to a lot of talk AM anyway, so that wouldn't matter. (You know I'm a big Rush fan.)   

       // would it be cheaper than a call though? //   

       That's a good point. If I understand correctly, in the UK you pay for phone use per-call, even for local calls, correct? In the US and Canada, local calling is not charged per call, it's a flat rate service. So the call here wouldn't cost anything additional (unless it was long distance), whereas you'd have to pay for it there.
waugsqueke, Jul 23 2005

       AOL and others are planning radio by phone services but the intent is primarily focused on music delivery via cell phone and not as [waugs] proposes here. Sirius and XM have plans along those lines as well.
bristolz, Jul 23 2005

       I wouldn't mind using actual cell phone minutes on this, but then, I never use all of my minutes anyway.
shapu, Jul 23 2005

       Some cell phones have a small FM receiver in them. I've not seen many in the UK, but I'm living in India at the moment and every other bugger has got one.   

       On the other hand, they work well with an iTrip...   

       Dial a radio: Guess this could be similar to the 'dial a commentary' services you get for football matches etc. Except they cost loads.
Jim'll Break It, Jul 23 2005

       [waugs], see link. There was also a patent on the various technologies that might be used issued in July. There are so many patents in the field I'm honestly too lazy to search through all, but this has been baked for years, at least in prototypes, and certainly proposed long ago. A good idea, certainly.   

       Rush is so over dude. I listen to Cramer.
theircompetitor, Jul 23 2005

       Today's landline telephones are more similar to mobiles than they used to be, so maybe there will one day be a convergence to the extent that it will be possible to do this in a similar way to a mobile with web access and the ability to receive streaming audio. I know this is an analogue plan, which actually is very appealling. On the subject of registering users, couldn't some form of caller ID work? In fact, wouldn't that be more accurate than how advertising is usually monitored? Then again, the advertising problem wouldn't exist for the BBC or NPR, would it?
nineteenthly, Jul 23 2005

       Analog, yes 19thly. Precisely. No cell/mobile (unless that's the kind of phone you just happen to be calling on), no internet, no registration, no streaming, no nuthin' but dialin' up and list'nin'.   

       Thank you to everyone who pointed out all of the other ways to do this. I did reference these in the idea, though.   

       IT, it would fill the hole where one would find people who want to listen to radio on their regular telephones but can't.   

       Let me expound on my example. My company's intranet doesn't allow access to virtually any site that isn't directly related to the company. This is pretty common, I would think, so streaming audio via internet is out of the question for a lot of people. Sure, some mobile phones have built-in radios. I don't have one of those.   

       So if I want to listen to the radio at work, I'd have to bring a radio to work. Since I already have a multi-line phone on my desk, why couldn't I just use that instead? I'd like to be able to hit line 3, dial up my local talk AM station on the speaker, and listen that way. If I get another call, I put the radio line on hold and take the call.   

       Or dial up any station. Maybe I'd like to listen to a local Tampa or Phoenix station for a change.   

       tc, Cramer's going to have a cardiac arrest on the air one of these days.
waugsqueke, Jul 23 2005

       Hey, I'm a big Rush fan too!...but you probably don't mean the band from Toronto, eh?
goober, Jul 23 2005

       ever listened to Fishy, waugs?
po, Jul 23 2005

       I don't know, goober, I kind of picture waugs as a Monday warrior. But I think he's pretty feisty the rest of the week, too.
theircompetitor, Jul 23 2005

       Got YYZ playin' as we speak.
waugsqueke, Jul 23 2005

       Is that a code name for me?
blissmiss, Jul 25 2005

       Thanks [waugs], having read your links I don't think I'm any the wiser, but at least I now know that the K doesn't stand for anything in particular. Sounds like some old bloke made it up.
wagster, Jul 25 2005

       Much needed. One of the buildings I work in can’t receive radio, and streaming is disabled. Torture I tell you.
Shz, Jul 25 2005

       It used to be possible in the early 1980's to listen to London's Capital Radio (and other stations, I'm pretty sure) on the phone. I lived in London at the time, but frequently had to work in Sheffield, and used the phone to listen to my "local" news and music. Of course, it helped that I worked for BT and so the calls from the exchange were free. However, telephony 3KHz bandwidth is not ideal for music.
AbsintheWithoutLeave, Jul 25 2005

       I've called in to a radio show once, and was put on hold. The hold music they use? Their own radio station, of course. So, just call in, request hold, and if anyone picks up just ask to be put back on hold.
Worldgineer, Jul 25 2005

       Yes, you are missing at least these things: landlines and transmitters that are at a distance beyond their range.
bristolz, Jul 25 2005

       Ah. If the company disapproves of waugsqueke listening to radio via his PC, then I woud be surprised if they didn't also object to his listening to radio via his phone. And if they don't, then perhaps they would be open an appeal for Internet radio. Then again, Scott Adams has made a career out of highlighting contradictory company policies.
DrCurry, Jul 25 2005

       Why eat a waffle when you can have oatmeal?
bristolz, Jul 25 2005

       Is that a bluetooth waffle?
DrCurry, Jul 25 2005


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