Best way to timeshift FM radio?
January 10, 2012 11:44 AM   Subscribe

How can I best record over-the-air FM radio broadcasts to listen to later?

I'd like to time-shift a couple of FM radio broadcasts I enjoy; I'm often away from radio when they're on.

I currently have an ancient PC with a Leadtek WinFast card that works okay. However, the PC is on its last legs and probably won't see the end of 2012, and various things about the WinFast card are flaky and annoying.

I also have a Cowon D2 device, which receives and records FM radio, but output formats are limited and there's no timer option. (Also, reception isn't great.)

I've been looking at Radio Shark and similar devices, but they don't seem to be made or supported much these days.

The ideal solution would probably be a USB device I could plug into my iMac, but I haven't seen anything like that (aside from the possibly flaky, no longer supported Radio Shark).

I could also consider replacing the dying PC; if I did that, a dual-boot Windows/Linux solution would be much preferred over the single-boot Windows setup I have now.


* over-the-air FM radio recording
* timer
* decent reception
* ease of use, minimum of fuss, and reliability are huge bonuses

So: what are my best options for automatically time-shifting these radio shows? Details, specific products, and any other specifics you can think of would be much appreciated.

posted by kristi to Computers & Internet (7 answers total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
Best answer: I have RadioSHARK that I did that with. Pretty cheap, gets the job done.
posted by Blake at 11:50 AM on January 10, 2012

Just to make sure: are you 100% positive that these shows aren't already available as podcasts?
posted by downing street memo at 12:42 PM on January 10, 2012

If the OTA FM stations are also broadcast over the internet, you could get a copy of TotalRecorder and use that for recording them as mp3 files, then moving them to your D2. It's how I get radio I want onto my Cowan. My PC has something very non-standard about it's audio card; I'm not sure what, but TR is the only program that works for recording on it.
posted by still_wears_a_hat at 12:57 PM on January 10, 2012

Can't help you if you insist on using your computer. However, back in the day I did a lot of recording off FM broadcast, and I used a VCR (the Hi-Fi kind that does stereo). Just set it up to record, but from external input, not its tuner. Come back later, rewind, and you're good to go.
posted by Rash at 2:16 PM on January 10, 2012

Of course you'd also need a receiver, to plug into the VCR's audio input.
posted by Rash at 2:18 PM on January 10, 2012

Response by poster: Sorry, just to clarify - these are not available as podcasts or streams. FM is my only option here.
posted by kristi at 3:37 PM on January 10, 2012

Best answer: I like my Sangean PR-D8 a lot. It has a timer and lets you record broadcast radio shows to MP3s on the SD card in the radio. Super easy at about $150. It will Not let you pre-program the timer with different frequencies and it'll break up long broadcasts into multiple file (but will play them so they sound like one), but these are minor limitations for me. You can also use the line-in jack or microphone to record to the SD card, which is a nice bonus.
posted by okbye at 7:37 PM on January 10, 2012

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