Archive for General Drivel

Christmas Radio Countdown – Day 9

Ready for a holiday island getaway? Christmas flavored with island breezes and gentle surf, but without all that sunburn and sand getting into the most annoying places? Drop by the Christmas channel on the Aloha Joe radio network – Christmas favorites from Hawaii. For reals!

Check it out on channel 1 of the Aloha Joe web site, of search for “Aloha Joe Christmas” on TuneIn Radio. And … aloha!

Christmas Radio Countdown – Day 8

Back to the grind – another week, another monday, and it’s time to get a little poppy. Okay, a lot poppy. 181 FM’s “Christmas Power” is loaded from top to bottom with teen-something, 20-something, top-40, boy-band, American-Idol, flavour of the moment acts that will probably be gone and forgotten by this time next year. If One Direction and Miley Cyrus and the cast of Glee are not your cup of tea, you might want to pass on this one. Otherwise, enjoy.

Check it out on the web (warning: 181.FM uses those bogus “confirm navigation” dialogs when you try and close the window) or get him on your TuneIn app by searching for “181 Christmas power”.


Christmas Radio Countdown – Day 7

Sunday is the perfect day for some mellow grooves – you want to kick back, chill, and enjoy some downtime before jumping into another hectic pre-Christmas week. Why not try “Holiday Jazz” form JAZZRADIO?

Yeah, they capitalize it. Whatever.

Check it out on the web at JAZZRADIO or search for “Jazzradio holiday jazz” on TuneIn Radio, and enjoy some hot licks on a cool December day.

Christmas Radio Countdown – Day 6

A quickie for your Saturday morning – from the Sky collection of digital broadcasts comes the SKY.FM Christmas Channel. Lots of orchestral and traditional vocal work, with a decided (and for obvious reasons, unsurprising) emphasis on artists out of the U.K. Click here for some direct web action of search for “SKY.FM Christmas” on TuneIn.

Santa out!

Christmas Radio Countdown – Day 5

Hey! It’s the first friday of the countdown, and time to pull out one of the big guns. If you have read this blog in Decembers past you know that I am a big fan of “Xmas In Frisko” from the gang out at SomaFM. It takes equal parts of your sweet old grandma and that creepy drunken uncle that nobody liked, mixes ’em all up, slaps a tattered bow on top and sticks it under the musical tree. You might hear some Bing Crosby, you might hear some Oscar the Grouch, you might hear The Little Stinkers* … you might be happy, you might be offended, but you will never be bored.

Check it out borwser-style at SomaFM or search for “Xmas In Frisko” on your TuneIn app. Ho ho ho indeed.

*”I Farted On Santa’s Lap” is one a classic.

Christmas Radio Countdown – Day 4

Today’s selection is a little bit generic, but sometimes generic is exactly what you need. “Always Christmas Radio” from 1.FM in Switzerland is the kind of thing you can put on at the office or at home when you just want have that traditional this-is-the-Christmas-music-I-grew-up-with kind of feeling. Bland? Yes. But if you need some bland, this is the way to go. Little repetition, lots of familiar stuff, and they run the feed 365 days a year so if for some reason you need some holiday music in July you know you can get it here.

You can get the web feed here or search the TuneIn app for “1.FM Always Christmas”.

Christmas Radio Countdown – Day 3

Three words for you: New Age Christmas. And no, I’m not kidding. GotRadio’s “Heavenly Holidays” is a rather sedate blend of instrumental cuts for the crystals-n-channeling set. I freely admit that this is not really my cup of tea … but if you are at the end of a hectic day and need something that will turn your brain into mush and still keep you in a Christmas frame of mind then this is the audio stream for you.

Get it on the web here, or search for “GotRadio Heavenly Holidays” on TuneIn. Just don’t try to operate heavy machinery afterwards.

Christmas Radio Countdown – Day 2

Let’s change gears in a big way for day 2. SomaFM’s “Christmas Lounge” stream is about as non-traditional as it gets, but still manages to respect the vibe and the message of the season. The foundation of the playlist here is big band and traditional jazz combined with a healthy layer of classic 50s and 60s lounge vocals. You can turn this on behind a dinner gathering or a quiet cocktail gathering and feel like your are having a swinging little gathering backstage at a classic Vegas dinner show.

And interesting little twist is how the playlist varies from the daytime hours through the evening and into the deep of night. During the day there are quite a few remix tracks – christmas cuts from old-school icons like Julie London or Dean Martin that have been recharged with modern beats and bass lines. As the evening wears on the playlist leans towards more traditional swing and big jazz combo work, and when midnight comes around the trance and deep house stuff starts to come out. It keeps the stream fresh and and intriguing around the clock, and means that you will never have to get up and hunt for something “more appropriate” as the mood changes.

As with all the SomaFM channels, you can find “Christmas Lounge” on a multitude of internet radio aggregators, or you can listen online via the web at If you are using the TuneIn Radio app, search for “Soma Christmas lounge” to get a direct hit.

If you are entertaining and want a “set and forget” solution for your Christmas audio, this is definitely the way to go.

Christmas Radio Countdown – Day 1

It’s no secret that I like pretty much everything about Christmas: Lights (lots of lights), decorations, baking, cooking, corny old Christmas TV specials, and of course Christmas music. I know there are a lot of people who think that Christmas music shouldn’t start until December 1, or at least the American Belated Thanksgiving but – in the true spirit of the season – screw them. Once we are within a month of the big day, it’s game on.

Unfortunately, your local radio station probably makes a complete hash of this. Even if they are already on the Christmas bandwagon they are probably playing the same 30 or 40 songs over and over and it gets pretty miserable after the first day or so. So it’s time to ditch tradition and branch out into on-line radio. There is something for everyone, you can keep things fresh all season long, and (best of all) you don’t have to listen to some vapid DJ exhorting you to be the seventh caller right now to win a fabulous prize pack of crap. It’s just music, lots of music, and ho ho ho all month long.

Let’s start with the (sort of) traditional. Happy Christmas Radio has been my “average day” go-to choice for the last three years. The playlist leans heavy on the classics, but with a lot of arrangements and artists that you simply do not hear on commercial radio. They add just enough poppy new stuff to keep you interested (although I might back off on the boy bands just a bit) and wrap it all up in a big commercial-free bow. This is definitely a “safe for everyone” choice. If you are sitting at your desktop you can listen via the web here, and if you are mobile you can find them on the TuneIn Radio app by searching for “Happy Christmas Radio”.

How To Listen To Radio

You might think that is a pretty stupid title. Everyone knows how to listen to radio, right? You turn on your radio and, well, listen.


Things get a little more muddled, however, when you try and listen online … especially if you are doing in from a mobile device. Pretty much every broadcaster has a mobile app these days, and the one thing they have in common is that they all suck. Hard.

Over to the right we see a typical mobile app from a typical broadcaster*. Looking at the interface we can see that it has a volume bar, and a “stop” button and … um … well, that’s it. No PVR controls, no playlist, no bookmarking, no auxiliary data … no nothing.

Did I mention the part where these things suck? Hard?

Worse, you have to grab individual sucky apps for each and every broadcaster, cluttering up one of your screens or folders with a big collection of suck. Ugly icons, too.



Fortunately, there is a better way. Grab yourself a copy of the “TuneIn Radio” app for your smartphone or tablet and listen to radio with all of the features that you would expect would be standard on any listening app. Take a peek at the screen and you see snooze and alarm functions, browsing and bookmarking, playlists, sharing, and a full set of PVR controls for pausing, skipping back, replay, skipping ahead … in other words, all of the basics that you would thing would be in any mobile radio app that wasn’t actually written by complete idiots. Better, it offers pretty much every on-air and internet-only radio station in a single app, and includes off-beat fun like closed-circuit college broadcasts, podcasts, community stations, and even police radio.

And how much does it cost? Why nothing, of course. It’s free (as in beer) and if you really want to go all out there is a 99 cent premium version that adds a “record” button to the controls.

So now the title makes sense. The bingo-callers and other assorted on-air fenderheads constantly pimp their “listen live” apps as if they are something other than complete shit. But now that you know how to listen to radio, you can avoid all of that, grab yourself a copy of TuneIn and … um, tune in. For real.

*NOTE: Some people might say I am being unfair using Rogers as my “typical broadcaster” since they are renowned – not just across Canada but around the world – for their rich legacy of technical ineptitude and shitty service. But the rest really aren’t any better, and Rogers more than deserves the abuse. So deal.