With many of us still spending not so quality time around the house because of the stubborn coronavirus, I figured this would be an ideal time for a Recommended Stations edition of Tech Rap. An Edison Research study conducted in May of this year showed an increase in Internet radio listening, hitting double digits for the first time. Ten percent of all radio listeners now listen via Internet radio. The study showed the majority listen to spoken word stations such as news and talk, perhaps reflecting our desire to stay up to date on the pandemic and the political ramifications thereof. According to Statista.com, the largest increase in monthly USA Internet radio usage was among listeners aged 55 and over, with seven percent more adults listening to online audio sources monthly in 2019 than in the previous year.
As an owner of a Como Audio music system, you are rather spoiled for choice when it comes to Internet radio. We just recently surpassed 54,000 free Internet radio stations in our data base. With so many stations, we know it helps to cut to the chase and highlight some standouts for your listening consideration. So, without further ado, let us explore seven Tech Rap-worthy stations, review our Top 30 most-listened to Internet stations, and mark a special Birthday.
1. WWOZ: Jazz & Blues; 128 kbps, MP3: New Orleans
Who dat? New Orleans Internet radio station WWOZ playing on a rare pink and piano white Como Audio Duetto.
Topping Tech Rap’s Recommended Stations list is WWOZ. Read on and you will understand why. Broadcasting from the French Quarter in New Orleans, this community station is listener-supported and has been doing its thing since 1980. During one point in its early history, the station broadcast from a beer storage room above a nightclub. DJs would occasionally lower their microphone down through a hole in the floor and broadcast live whatever band was playing in the club at the time!
Nowadays, the station is owned by the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Foundation and is in a different building with no holes in the floor. Tune in at any given time and you will hear legendary artists like Fats Waller, Louis Prima, and Miles Davis alongside contemporary greats like Norah Jones, Pat Metheny, Esperanza Spalding, and Wynton Marsalis, and more than a few names you have never heard of before. They do not call themselves “guardians of the groove” for nothing. WWOZ plays a boat load of different music from different eras, but they pull it off without a single bead of sweat. That is one reason why the station won the Prestige Award for Station of the Year by the Louisiana Association of Broadcasters. I very much enjoyed each time I tuned in, and frankly, found it difficult to stop. WWOZ has earned a well-worn spot in My Favorites list. I think the only con I can manage is their meta data does not identify the songs they play. This information would be especially helpful when listening to lesser-known artists.
With respect to the music, the station is a veritable musical gumbo of blues, rhythm and blues, brass band, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Caribbean, Latin, Brazilian, African, and bluegrass (do not be surprised if they even slip in a little Celtic now and again). I should mention in passing, WWOZ had a sister station, WWOZ 2, which they described as “a work in progress”, dedicated to showcasing “the music of New Orleans and surrounding parts of Louisiana and the Gulf Coast.” However, according to Dave Ankers, “WWOZ-2 is currently only streaming our main signal. We’re a small community station powered by on-air volunteers, and it became very difficult to program two full channels with our available resources.“
Speaking of those special volunteers, another wicked (as we say here in MA) cool thing about this station are their all-volunteer hosts, which as of 2017 numbered 70-75 people. As their site says, “Our show hosts are part and parcel of the music community of New Orleans. Some are musicians, others are loyal live-music devotees. You get the local’s perspective on every show. The station does not provide these aficionados with playlists; each show is unique and hand-picked just for you. What’s more, they are not influenced by commercial considerations (i.e., record labels, music venues, etc. do not pay for play). Pure intent, pure music, pure groove.”
During devastating Hurricane Katrina in 2005, much of the DJs’ private record collections stored at the station were lost. Like a musical miracle, thousands of hours of live New Orleans performances taped by WWOZ were spared from the flood waters. The Library of Congress has since stored, cataloged, and digitized all of them so they never again will be at risk. Louisiana was hit hard last week by Hurricane Laura leaving damage and death behind in its wake, but unlike Katrina, WWOZ was not in its path.
“With respect to the music, the station is a veritable musical gumbo of blues, rhythm and blues, brass band, gospel, Cajun, zydeco, Caribbean, Latin, Brazilian, African, and bluegrass…”
Here are a few other interesting tidbits I uncovered: The WWOZ call letters were inspired by the Wizard of Oz line, “Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain,” meaning the station’s focus is on the music not the person pushing the buttons. Besides “Guardians of the groove”, the station’s other slogan is, “If you can’t live in New Orleans, let New Orleans live in you.” The station exports a little of New Orleans to hundreds of thousands of listeners in about 200 different countries.
Thanks to the wonder of Internet radio, you can personally experience The Big Easy on your Como Audio music system anytime, anywhere, with WWOZ. It will be King Cake to your ears. They truly are guardians of the groove. Groove on.
Trivia: WWOZ has had more than its fifteen minutes of fame. Andy Warhol declared “WWOZ is the greatest station in the universe”, New Orleans alt rock band Better Than Ezra wrote a song titled “WWOZ”, and the station was featured on Treme, an HBO series set in post-Katrina New Orleans.
2. Atomic City: 1950-70’s Lounge & Exotica Music; 192 kbps, MP3: Canada
Get the Geiger counter: Internet station “Atomic City” luminescing on the Como Control app.
Coming in a close second in our list of seven Recommended Stations is the endearing Atomic City. I stumbled upon this fun station purely by accident while searching for something else. Sometimes I find the best stations that way. As I have stated before, one of my Modus Operandi for writing Tech Rap is to expose you to new sounds. Enter Atomic City. I love everything about this station…the music, their mid-century logo, and their self-description: “Are you worried about the international commie conspiracy to transmit mind control waves through modern “electronica” music?…Well, this could be the station for you! We broadcast atomic age easy listening and pop music for the 50’s, 60’s, and early seventies. There’s no need to wear tin foil wrapped ear muffs here! We only broadcast old government propaganda which is actually good for you!”
Sure, Atomic City spins retro-radioactive selections from Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, Nat King Cole, Connie Francis, Elvis, Dean Martin, and Frankie Avalon, plus legendary orchestras like Woody Herman, Percy Faith, Ray Ellis, and Les Baxter, but it is the strange and unfamiliar I really dig. In the words of our favorite space toy, Buzz Light Year, I am “a sad, strange, little man.” Artists like Akin, Perez Prado, Ray Kinney, Mario Nascimbene, Robert Drasnin, Walter Wanderley, Frank Comstock, and Pero Umiliani are what I am talking about. This type of music all but vaporized in a mushroom cloud by the early 1970’s. Atomic City restores the age of musically assured destruction.
Anonymously produced by someone calling himself “Commander Clement ‘Skip’ Bombwell”, formerly of the “USN Space Command”, Atomic City streams its musical subatomic ionized particles out of Toronto. Best I can tell, they have been on the air for at least four years. The station also airs a couple of specialty programs…”Swinging 40’s” airs every Wednesday between 7-9pm EST, hosted by “Cad” (not Cab) Calloway, and “Kon Tiki”, airs Fridays at 7pm EST until Monday at 2am, or as the host “Thomas Aloysius ‘Boats’ Gilhooley” says, “whenever I sober up”. The latter show’s format is described by “Boats” as “…traditional Polynesian artists, a little surf, and eventually swaying hula girls in grass skirts…” Sounds like my kind of program.
“I’m speeding recklessly because I can’t wait to get home and listen to Atomic Radio on my Musica!” Image from Atomic City’s website.
Since I am amongst friends, I will not mince words- Atomic City mixes in some obscure stuff (I had to restrain myself from using another word that starts with “s”). This station is an acquired taste, as indicated by their 133 Facebook followers. If I may be so bold as to give Commander Bombwell some advice: Atomic City would stand out more effectively if it would dial back the pop hits and launch more space age music. Of the many hours I have spent listening, never once did I hear any Esquivel. Also, the play list can become repetitive, which I do not understand considering the music library spans almost three decades. Finally, the volume level can fluctuate depending on the song. To be fair, the latter is hardly unique to Atomic City. I encounter this all the time as a regular listener of Internet radio. Since AC’s original source material was recorded over the course of three decades at different levels, the inconsistent gain is understandable fall out. This is all meant as constructive criticism and is not meant to turn my recommendation into a false positive.
“Since I am amongst friends, I will not mince words- Atomic City mixes in some obscure stuff.”
Quirks aside, Atomic City is a 30-kiloton musical blast to the cochleae. Liberate yourself from those tin foil-wrapped ear muffs and overexpose yourself to some lethal levels of musical radiation. Kick back and mix an extremely dry martini with two large olives as you thrill to Atomic City on your Como Audio music system in your basement space-age bachelor bomb shelter. Smoking jacket optional.
Trivia: According to a 2018 article on MIT Technology Review.com, Rydberg Technologies of Michigan is experimenting with a new atom-based AM/FM receiver with “an antenna consisting of a cloud of excited cesium atoms, zapped by laser light that flickers in time to any ambient radio waves”, making the device “more or less insensitive to the kind of electromagnetic interference that can render conventional antennas useless.”
3. Arpeggio Radio: Classical; 128 kbps, MP3: Portugal
Classical on a classic: A Como Audio high gloss piano black Musica set to Internet station “Arpeggio Radio”. Photo by Peter Skiera.
UPDATE: Arpeggio Radio is no longer streaming due to a server problem. However, they created a Spotify Playlist.
I freely admit I know very little about classical music which is why that genre is not well represented in Tech Rap articles. The only classical station I can personally pass on is WQXR in New York. Listener-supported WQXR (128 kbps, MP3) is widely regarded as one of the best classical music stations in the US, and it is New York’s only all-classical station. It was also this country’s first commercial classical station, going on the air in 1936. Not surprisingly, it ranks #5 in our Top 30 stations list which you will find toward the end of this article. The station describes its format as presenting “new and landmark classical recordings as well as live concerts from the Carnegie Hall, Metropolitan Opera, the Chamber Music Society of Lincoln Center, and the New York Philharmonic, among other venues. WQXR also broadcasts essential destination programs including the Metropolitan Opera Radio Saturday Matinee Broadcasts, New York Philharmonic This Week…”
One of our customers recommended station is NPO Radio 4 (192 kbps, MP3: the Netherlands). This is a most curious station because it strongly aligns itself with the classical genre, yet depending on the day part, plays other types of music that are definitely not classical. Their website hints at this: “…different formats of recognizable programs adapted to the time of the day. For the listener who loves classical music and is in the middle of life.” During my listen, I heard a few classical pieces followed by a very satisfying contemporary jazz set comprised of songs by CTK, Wade Long, Phaze II, and Lou Mizzoni, before the station returned to its classical format. The station also broadcasts over 350 live classical concerts a year.
Turning our attention to our number three Recommended Station, in preparation for this article I asked our Customer Service staff if they had any favorite Internet stations they wished to suggest to our customers. Our Senior Customer Service Advisor, Bryce Dort, advised me of classical music station Arpeggio in Lisbon. What I like about this station is their emphasis on relaxation. Even the station’s ocean logo will put you at ease. Their slogan is “Classical Comfort”. Broadcasting since 2017, the station describes itself as “your classical life soundtrack. Every time you need a relaxing ambiance…you can use the cool mix of classical music that we deliver. Here, you can find the biggest classical hits, along with less-known pieces… all handpicked to fit your mood. Now, sit back and enjoy the Arpeggio flavor.” Dort says he started listening to this station “because it was a customer’s favorite classical station. I helped him find and save it, and I ended up saving it as one of My Favorites, too. It shows all the piece’s information (Composer, Opus number, etc.) …without having to look for it with the [remote’s] “i” button.”
Guitarworld.com defines the word Arpeggio as “a series of notes played one by one that consists of the notes within a particular chord.” My interpretation of the station’s use of the word is that the station wants you to slow down and take life one step at a time. I concur. Tune Arpeggio on your Como Audio music system and decompress from the stress of life.
Trivia: Classical composer Franz Joseph Haydn died in 1809. Soon after, his head was stolen by phrenologists. It was finally reunited with the rest of his body in 1954.
4. Time Machine: Variety; 96 kbps, AAC: USA
Radio to go: Internet station “Time Machine” sounding great on the portable Como Audio Amico and Amica. Photo by Peter Skiera.
Given this station’s name and the authentic, vintage WNBC-AM radio jingles frequently interspersed between song sets, Time Machine presumably pays homage to the long-deceased, legendary New York AM station WNBC. “Time Machine” was the name of a popular nightly music show on WNBC that focused on music from the 1950’s-1970’s, replicating the classic sound of AM radio during those years. I also credit WNBC and New York stations 1010 WINS and WNEW-AM for sparking my interest in getting into radio professionally, an industry I worked in for almost seven years.
Back in the day, WNBC-AM was the 50,000-watt flagship station of the NBC radio network. It went dark thirty-two years ago. A moment of silence if you please. During my school summer vacations I used to listen to this station from my parent’s modest beach cottage. If the wind was right, the signal migrated into southern Rhode Island just enough for it to be listenable on my AM radio. I credit WNBC for giving me my first exposure to Don Imus and Howard Stern. I used to get a kick out of hearing Imus do his radio evangelist character, Billy Sol Hargis. As for Stern, I distinctly recall one broadcast in which Stern, upset with afternoon drive host Soupy Sales, cut the strings on Sales’ piano live over the air. Other noteworthy hosts included Murray “the K” Kaufman, Wolfman Jack, and Cousin Brucie. Interestingly, short-time WNBC-AM Program Director Bob Pittman went on to found MTV in 1981.
Without getting into all of the gory details, in 1987, WNBC-AM was sold to the company that owned NY sports station WFAN-AM. At the time, WFAN was at 1050 on the AM dial and did not have a great signal, so WFAN took-over WNBC’s 660AM frequency and 50,000 watts of transmitting power (WFAN still occupies that position to this day). With that, WNBC’s nearly seven-decades of broadcasting was swiftly and mercilessly brought to an end.
“…Stern, upset with afternoon drive host Soupy Sales, cut the strings on Sales’ piano live over the air.”
During one of my Time Machine listening sessions on my Musica I enjoyed sounds by the Moody Blues, Three Dog Night, Bobby Darin, Michael McDonald, Jethro Tull, Billy Joel, Toto, and Le Freak. Whew! The take away? Don Imus is no longer with us, Howard Stern moved to pay satellite radio, and WNBC 660AM will never again grace our ionosphere, but Time Machine allows us to relive a little of its musical glory days.
Trivia: During a live afternoon drive traffic report in 1986, WNBC-AM traffic reporter Jane Dornacker was killed when the helicopter she was riding in crashed into the Hudson River. Pilot Bill Pate sustained serious injuries but survived.
5. Sun FM Beachradio: “Beach Music”; 257 kpbs, AAC: The Netherlands
A radio with a view: The Como Audio Musica in high gloss piano white tuned to Internet station “Sun FM Beachradio”. Photo by Peter Skiera.
Our customers have a standing invitation to let me know about the stations they listen to most. John Figliozzi, one of our customers whom I would classify as a sage when it comes to Internet radio, regularly keeps in touch with me and recommended Internet radio station Polynesie la 1ere (128 kbps, MP3; French Polynesia:), telling me “it’ll make you feel like you’re resting in a hammock between two palm trees sipping on a Mai Tai taking in the warm island breezes.” If you prefer something a little less exotic and a little more mainstream, try Recommended Station number five, Sun FM Beachradio from the Netherlands. Streaming at 257 kbps in the AAC audio codec, it is one of the best-sounding stations in our data base.
The Netherlands may not be your first choice for a tropical getaway, but it does sport some beautiful beaches, and that is the country where Sun FM Beachradio originates from. Interestingly, the station puts on a “vacation in Spain” twist as they explain on their website: “Sun FM beach radio makes you happy: with lots of Spanish music and international design, news, and a wonderful summer holiday feeling that you really enjoy. Spanish atmosphere, cheerful, positive, nice! You quickly feel completely on vacation! Sun FM Beach radio follows the rhythm of the beach. A wonderful and unique radio station that certainly does not sound the same all day long! A special ‘mood flow’ in which every record has been thought about the moment of broadcasting follows your mood all day, from getting up until late in the evening. That way you can keep listening all day. Just like on the beach, after a lively afternoon, in the evening the peace returns to enjoy and relax. A listening panel, in which adult women are emphasized, has indicated what people feel about certain records, and the timing thereof. You can also hear that. In addition to a wonderful summer music mix, you will hear quips all day long in multiple languages about the Costa del Sol: about the expensive yachts in Marbella, have breakfast on your balcony with swaying palm trees on the beach, buy a real Rolex for 15 euros in Torremolinos , tear with your Lamborghini, rented for an hour or not, or go shopping in one of the huge shopping centers. In short: fun!”
Sun FM’s meta data does not identify the songs being played, but you will be too preoccupied imagining the soft, warm sand between your toes, the cool, gentle waves, and the heavenly bodies walking by. Let Sun FM take you away even if you are just relaxing in a cheap lawn chair in your backyard watching your worn sprinkler do its thing (while sipping a Mai Tai, of course) while listening to your portable Como Audio Amico. As the station says, “wherever you go, take the Sun with you.” Wait. Did they say I could buy a Rolex for 15 euros?
Trivia: Spain’s Costa del Sol has a mild climate, features miles of beautiful, white sandy beaches, receives over 3,000 hours of sunshine per year, has the largest concentration of golf courses in all of Europe, and welcomes 6 million tourists a year (prior to the pandemic).
6.bOp! 80’s: 80’s Music; 65 kbps, AAC: Australia
A totally righteous radio: The Solo in hickory by Como Audio tuned to Internet radio station “bOp! 80’s”. Photo by Peter Skiera.
I have many fond memories from the 1980’s even though my peers considered me a dweeb (and probably still do). I am not ashamed to admit I love the songs from that era, along with so many other things. Murder She Wrote, MTV, and The Golden Girls made their TV debut during the 80’s. Back to the Future, Ghostbusters, and ET were smash movie hits. Women were into spandex and leg warmers, kids were into hanging out at video arcades, and Sony came out with the Walkman. What a decade.
What I like most about our number six Recommended Station from Sydney, in addition to the bitchin’ sound quality, is bOp!80’s like, totally rad playlist. When a station restricts its format to a particular decade, they often box themselves in to rotating the same old tired hits. Gag me with a spoon. Not so with bOp! 80’s. You will definitely hear a chunk of standard 80’s war horses, but you will also hear less-familiar cuts that prove equally gnarly. The station’s description nails it: “Get on those ripped tights and perm that hair. We’re heading back to the 80’s with the biggest and best hits.” Some of the artists I heard during one prolonged listening session included George Michael, Belinda Carlisle, Genesis, Talk Talk, and Starship. Dude- I cannot remember the last time I heard Belinda Carlisle, so that was like, choice. As an added bonus, there are no commercials. Outrageous!
So, where is the beef? It is in your Como Audio music system when you are tuned to bOp!80’s. 1980’s, here I come (again), but with much less hair this time around. Duh.
Trivia: Michael Jackson’s “Thriller” was the best-selling album of the 1980’s, spending 37 consecutive weeks at number one. The single “We Are the World”, co-written by Jackson, was the best-selling single of the 1980’s.
7. Circle of White Light Radio; 128 kbps, MP3: Ireland
Step into the light: The Como Audio Duetto in hickory tuned to Internet station “Circle of White Light Radio”. Photo by Peter Skiera.
With the chaos of coronavirus, it is comforting whenever you can surround yourself with positive energy. Circle of White Light Radio is a curious, nay, a controversial (my opinion) talk station in Ireland that concerns itself with a new way of thinking. It rounds out our Recommended Stations list at lucky number seven. As host Alan James puts it on his website, his station focuses “on every day solutions and looking at better ways to think and to step outside of our ‘3D thinking cage’ and to apply different methods which challenge our current belief systems. I aim to interview guests that will enable and empower our listeners to re-evaluate their current beliefs and offer new approaches to thinking that would be based on a 5D level of consciousness.” The station’s jingle puts it more succinctly: “Focusing on solutions and thinking different.” Streaming at 128 kbps, the quality is quite good, which is somewhat unusual for a station that does not play any music.
James experienced a kind of spiritual awakening in 2004. Six years later he started Internet radio station “Open Your Mind”, which was on the air for almost nine years. Circle of White Light Radio is his latest adventure. The program is broadcast live every Sunday at 7pm BST, which converts to an inconvenient twelve midnight for those of us residing across the pond on the east coast. No worries, because the shows are continually rebroadcast. Whenever I tuned in, the main topic, as one might expect, was the pandemic. The guest discussions were wide ranging to say the least…frequencies, clouds, Wi-Fi signals, time jumps, aging backwards, the deep state, face masks, and love and happiness. A lot to process in one sitting.
“With the chaos of coronavirus, it is comforting whenever you can surround yourself with positive energy.”
To give you the full monty, I disagreed with some of the guests’ viewpoints. There were some dubious statements posited that I was quite surprised the host did not challenge. Having worked in commercial radio for over six years including a stint as Operations Manager for a national talk radio network, I consider a good talk show host as a sort of traffic cop if you will. I queried James on that point. “My opinion is not important”, he replied in his email to me. “It’s up to the listeners to form their own opinion on what the guest says. I do not want to influence the listeners with my opinion.”
Just the same, it was fascinating to hear alternate takes on events and learn more about positive thinking in action. My summary cannot do the station justice, so it is best to tune in on your Como Audio music system for yourself and “factory reset” your mind with some white light.
Trivia: Norman Vincent Peale wrote over forty books, but his best-known was his New York Times best-seller, “The Power of Positive Thinking”, published in 1952. Peale’s book was a guide to achieving an optimistic attitude leading to a better quality of life. It sold over five million copies worldwide.
Como Audio’s Top 30 Countdown
In January of 2019 I wrote a Tech Rap article in which I published a list of our Top 30 most listened-to Internet radio stations. With the help of our Internet radio station aggregator, here is an updated list. This latest list is remarkably consistent with last years. As with the first list, Radio Swiss Jazz from Switzerland, a superb-sounding traditional jazz station, is still the favorite amongst all Como Audio listeners and remains our top favorite station as well.
|1. Radio Swiss Jazz (Jazz; 97 kbps, AAC: Switzerland)|
|2. Rás 1 (Classical; 95 kbps, AAC: Iceland)|
|3. WCRB Classical (Classical; 192 kbps, MP3: MA)|
|4. BBC World Service (News; 56 kbps, MP3: UK)|
|5. WQXR 105.9 FM (Classical; 128 kbps, MP3: NY)|
|6. Mvyradio (Rock; 97 kbps, AAC: MA)|
|7. BBC Radio 6 Music (Rock; 97 kbps, AAC: UK)|
|8. BBC Radio 4 (News/Talk; 97 kbps, AAC: UK)|
|9. Rás 2 (Rock; 97 kbps, AAC: Iceland)|
|10. France Inter (News; 128 kbps, MP3: France)|
|11. WNYC 93.9 FM (News/Talk; 97 kbps, MP3: NY)|
|12. Bylgjan 989 (News & Pop; 128 kbps, AAC: Iceland)|
|13. NPO Radio 1 (News/Sports/Talk; 192 kbps, MP3: Netherlands)|
|14. Radio 1 (VRT) (Rock; 129 kbps, AAC: Brussels)|
|15. Classic FM (Classical; 128 kbps, MP3: UK)|
|16. france info (News/Talk; 128 kbps, MP3: France)|
|17. Deutschlandfunk (News/Talk; 128 kbps, MP3: Germany)|
|18. Radio Italia (Pop/Rock; 128 kbps, MP3: Belgium)|
|19. Ö1 (Classical/Jazz/World Music; 192 kbps, MP3: Austria)|
|20. La Premiere RTBF (Full Service; 97 kbps, AAC: Switzerland)|
|21. BBC Radio 3 (Classical/Jazz/World; 97 kbps, AAC: UK)|
|22. Radio Swiss Classic (Classical; 97 kbps, AAC: Switzerland)|
|23. France Culture (News/Talk; 128 kbps, MP3: France)|
|24. FIP (Pop; 128 kbps, MP3: France)|
|25. Klara (VRT) (Classical; 133 kbps, AAC: Brussels)|
|26. SomaFM – Left Coast (70’s Rock; 65 kbps, AAC: CA)|
|27. WBUR 90.9 FM (NPR News/Talk; 48 kbps, MP3: MA)|
|28. BBC Radio 2 (Pop/Rock; 97 kbps, AAC: UK)|
|29. WGBH Boston Public Radio (NPR News/Talk; 97 kbps, MP3: MA)|
|30. RTL (News; 128 kbps, MP3: France)|
How to Find Our Recommended Stations
Preset keys all full? Store additional Internet radio stations in My Favorites. Photo by Peter Skiera.
To experience any of these fine Recommended Stations on your Como Audio music system, with the unit on and in Internet radio mode, go to Station list > Stations > Search stations > Enter the station name, select “OK” from the box on the right, and then select the station from the list. Once tuned, you can save the station to any one of the front panel presets by pressing and holding the desired preset key until you see the confirmation message appear on the display, or briefly press the round Play/Pause key on the remote control to save it to My Favorites if you have previously registered your system on the free portal.
“Radio Swiss Jazz from Switzerland, a superb-sounding traditional jazz station, is still the favorite amongst all Como Audio listeners and remains our top favorite station as well.”
Hint: To get the tuned Internet radio station logo to fill the display on your Como Audio model, briefly press the center Menu knob while tuned to a station. To return to the standard display, press the Menu knob in again.
At 257 kbps in the AAC audio codec, radio station “Sun FM Beachradio” from the Netherlands requires a healthy amount of bandwidth. Photo by Peter Skiera.
God Save the Stream
If an Internet station is streaming at very high quality, which most of these Recommended Stations do, they require a lot of bandwidth. If you have multiple Como Audio systems grouped, that increases the strain on your network even more. If you perform a speed test on your network, do not focus solely on download speed. Instead, pay particular attention to “Jitter”, as that is more important than speed. Your speed is most likely fine, but the lower the Jitter, the better. If your network’s Jitter measures greater than 15-25ms, your network is probably congested and you could experience issues streaming high quality Internet stations. If your Wi-Fi network is not up to the task it will result in the station frequently connecting or loading. If you experience this and would like some tips to address it, please refer to the “Buffer Zone” section in this past Tech Rap.Trivia: On average, Como Audio’s Internet radio aggregator adds 900 new free stations per month to our radio station data base.
Happy Birthday Tech Rap!
It was two years ago this summer I was approached by our International Marketing Director, Duncan Pool, to write a monthly article for our then relatively new blog. Up until that point our blog had been a repository for company news and press releases. Frankly, not a very compelling reason to visit the blog. Unbeknownst to Pool, I love writing, learning, interviewing, and I enjoy painting pictures with words, so I did not need very much persuading. I had authored all of our user manuals, crafted marketing materials for our products, and in my mid-twenties I wrote feature articles for a popular Beatles fanzine out of Connecticut called “Good Day Sunshine”. I interviewed such music luminaries as Billy Preston, Badfinger, Doris Troy, David Peel, Jackie Lomax, Derek Taylor, Mark Lewisohn, Alistair Taylor, and others. I would call the blog articles “Tech Rap”, though not every article would necessarily be technical in nature. I was a little nervous about how Tech Rap would be received. Little did I know I would still be at it two years and almost 40 articles later.
Tech Rap quickly proved to be a lot more time consuming than I ever expected, but every so often I would receive an email from a reader expressing how much they enjoyed a Tech Rap article and look forward to the next new post. We are, by nature, quick to complain, yet not nearly as quick to praise, so those kinds of emails make the effort all worthwhile. Thank you for making Tech Rap a success. If you like our little blog, please let others know about it even if they are not Como Audio customers (yet). And as always, if you have any comments, suggestions, or would like to advance a topic for a future Tech Rap, please feel free.
I would like to point out that some older Tech Rap editions have been relegated to the “Archive” section of the blog. This will be done semi-regularly in order to keep the main page from becoming too congested. Also, Tech Rap: Celebrating Vinyl has been updated with an exclusive interview with inventor Don Poynter, and Tech Rap: Crowdfunding Music, Part 2 has been updated with an exclusive interview (and picture) with the Harp Twins. Though I try to provide plenty of response time, sometimes artists are not able to get back to me by the time the article “goes live”, but I update articles as time allows.
“Unbeknownst to Pool, I love writing, learning, interviewing, and I enjoy painting pictures with words, so I did not need much persuading.”
Looking ahead, can you believe next month is October already? Where did the summer go? Be on the lookout next month for a Tech Rap Halloween Edition I hope you will like. There will not be another Recommended Stations article until sometime early next year, so I will leave you to explore Internet radio on your own for a while. In the meantime, if you come across any Internet radio station(s) you wish to endorse, please let me know about them at firstname.lastname@example.org, because you know how much I love letting everyone know about new ways to enjoy the music.
Next Tech Rap: A Monster Party
General Manger Peter Skiera lives in southern MA, worked in radio broadcasting throughout New England, and also worked for Cambridge SoundWorks, B&W Loudspeakers, and Tivoli Audio for 15 years before joining Como Audio in 2016. If you have a comment or would like to suggest a topic for a future Tech Rap, Peter can be reached directly at email@example.com