Do you hear what I hear?
December 1, 2008 7:09 AM   Subscribe

Office Filter: I need to listen to music while working. However, we cannot use streaming music at my job. Also, I work in a cave and traditional radio gets no signals. I don't own a ton of music and really like Pandora and various NPR stations.

Bringing my iPod to work is not really an option because I don't have a great music collection. I really enjoy listening to radio because of the variety and getting to hear stuff that I don't own.

How can I get music at work that is not streaming and radio like? Do HD radios have a stronger signal?

I used to listen to WXPN, KEXP, Pandora, NPR feeds all day long at my old jobs, but now I am without.

I never really figured out the podcast thing with my iPod. I'd end up with very disproportionate amounts of the various shows, like 3 hours of NPR and then 2 podcasts of music. I don't really have the patience to sit there and put 2G of podcasts on one by one.

Ideas, musical/podcast mefites?
posted by sio42 to Computers & Internet (18 answers total) 8 users marked this as a favorite
You may want to look into a Slacker Internet radio. It connects via WiFi for downloading music through preprogrammed "stations" and can be used offline through the on-device cache. Woot has (today only) the first generation device for $54.95 including shipping. If you can't otherwise stream or receive a radio signal, an offline device is really your only option. If you can't spend $, then podcasting seems like your best route, but I can't address it as I don't use podcasts.

Oh, and no, HD radios don't have a stronger signal. They are carried on the same signal as traditional broadcasts.
posted by fireoyster at 7:18 AM on December 1, 2008

Is streaming audio banned/blocked entirely, or just via a browser? Because the 'Radio' category in iTunes has literally hundreds of web radio stations to choose from.

Also, on Podcasts, they'll just fill up on your iPod depending on their regularity of publishing. So if you get half hour NPR shows that update daily, they're going to pile up quickly.

I like Dave's Lounge for working music, and download it automatically once a week. For daily listening, Soma FM is good, if you can connect to it via iTunes.

No idea about DAB radios (I assume that's what you meant by HD), but anecdotally I've heard they get strong signals where analogue is much weaker.
posted by Happy Dave at 7:18 AM on December 1, 2008

I use an iPhone + the Tuner app. Gets any Internet station really, KCRW, WNYC, etc. I use it at my office, and in the shower (with a speaker cradle).
posted by plexi at 7:19 AM on December 1, 2008

I haven't tried it myself, but apparently you can download Pandora MP3s and then load them onto your iPod.
posted by burnmp3s at 7:20 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

I haven't gotten into podcasts myself but I thought there was a way to get iTunes to sync them for you automatically. If you find the right podcasts that seems like the way to go.
posted by valadil at 7:24 AM on December 1, 2008

i forgot to mention - iTunes is a blocked application as is Firefox (?!?!).

something about using up too much bandwidth, yada yada yada.

@fireoyster - thanks for answer about HD radio!

@happy dave - i'll check out Dave's lounge - thanks!

@plexi - *sigh* *wants iphone* *has verizon*

thanks for suggestions! please keep them coming :)
posted by sio42 at 7:36 AM on December 1, 2008

StreamRipper32 will download Shoutcast audio for later playback. It will even save off individual MP3s and the .m3u playlist. Save it at home, burn a CD or put it on a memory stick and bring it in and load it up in WMP, WinAmp, iTunes, etc., then you will not need to access radio servers and stuff like that. Did I mention it's free?

(Re: blocked apps--Surely you have WMP! They wouldn't be so cruel!)
posted by ostranenie at 7:45 AM on December 1, 2008

You can download 2-hour blocks of music programs as podcasts from East Village Radio. I'm partial to The Wax Poetics Record Rundown and Know Your Rights!. Set your iPod to get the 'X most recent unplayed' episodes to maintain an automatically updating, balanced selection.
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed at 7:49 AM on December 1, 2008

Bring your iPod, and subscribe to podcasts. NPR has a lot of them available. There are tons of podcasts about every interest: movies, comedy, science, writing, photography, art, music, etc.

I have a big music collection, but I hardly listen to music on my iPod anymore. I listen to This American Life, Car Talk, Wait Wait Don't Tell Me, Fresh Air, Jordan Jesse Go, The Sound of Young America, Never Not Funny, Skeptoid, and many others.

Spend a couple weeks trying different ones. If you have any varied interests at all, I bet within a month you'll find more than you can possibly listen to.
posted by Fuzzy Skinner at 7:51 AM on December 1, 2008 [1 favorite]

Does your cellphone work? If so then satellite radio might work. I have a similar issue with regular radio, but pushing an antenna wire into the crack between the energy efficiency window film and the frame allows my desktop radio to pick up at least a few strong stations. The local college station comes in well. Loading up podcasts on your iPod is quite doable without overloading it as long as you are efficient about getting them on and off - set them up to last for just a few days and dock your iPod at home every night. (Oh, and a minor style niggle, a lot of us around here think that speaking @ somebody is impolite)
posted by caddis at 7:56 AM on December 1, 2008

I don't own a ton of music

Focusing on this, and not the radio-like aspect: you can get CDs from the library.
posted by The corpse in the library at 8:04 AM on December 1, 2008

I'll put a good word in for StreamRipper (link goes straight to .exe file - I hope). It works as a Winamp plugin - go to, find a good radio station of music you like (e.g. your favorite genre - they're all covered), turn on winamp / streamripper, then let the computer stream and record through the night. Wake up in the morning, drag-and-drop files onto your iPod, and you'd be good to go. Streamripper rips individual MP3 files with the titles and artists of each song so you don't have to. I've got an 80GB hard drive worth of music I haven't heard all of yet - because I'm still streaming and ripping :)
posted by chrisinseoul at 8:06 AM on December 1, 2008

caddis - i thought that the "@" reply was the correct grammar, so to speak. i was actually trying to BE polite - sorry if that backfired :)

i think i'll give streamripper a shot. that seems like it might work.

thanks mefis!
posted by sio42 at 8:30 AM on December 1, 2008

You can run the aforementioned streamripper or just run Audacity while leaving your home computer plugged into pandora all night. You'll have an 8hr mp3 to put on your ipod.
posted by damn dirty ape at 9:14 AM on December 1, 2008

Mr. F's got a Griffin RadioShark set up at home with a recording schedule for a few good local stations. He makes those recordings into CDs or dumps the files it makes to our iPhones/ iPods.

That page also suggests a couple options for capturing Internet radio on a Mac.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 10:17 AM on December 1, 2008

I'll add a vote for StreamRipper!

As for a music source, try

They have a pretty good selection. The 'free' feeds don't really have
enough commercials to be an issue; maybe ~ 4 or 5 per hour.

posted by sandpine at 2:23 PM on December 1, 2008

Seriously. Slacker! I have the same problem at my retail job, so I'm using the Slacker radio to save me. And you can create your own completely custom radio station.
posted by santojulieta at 4:11 PM on December 1, 2008

I was in a similar situation and got a subscription to XM radio, which worked great. The satellite radio had no problem with reception where a normal radio got only static. The only drawback of course is the cost.
posted by platinum at 8:29 PM on December 1, 2008

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