"...they don’t give you any choice 'cause they think that it's treason."
February 2, 2008 3:19 PM   Subscribe

What would it take to be able to listen to any radio station in the country... on the internet... for free... whenever you wanted?

I was thinking this is something that would have been solved online but I can't find / don't know where to look for it.

Specifically, I'm sick of getting "blacked out" of certain sporting events that are otherwise broadcast on the radio. If that station offers a stream, then it shuts it down for the duration of the broadcast because of whatever contractual arrangements it has with espn or the networks.

So I'm thinking that the same devil-may-care, can-do spirit that has "liberated" so much other copyright-protected material for sharing would have done the same for radio broadcasts. (I suppose this could apply to broadcast television signals as well...)

Also, how illegal would it be to have some sort of system in place that takes actual radio signals out of the air and relays them via the internet?

I'm imagining like a network of receivers all over the country, and then maybe I'd have an interface where I can zoom into a city or broadcast area and then just "turn a dial" so to speak, and see what I can hear...

So maybe there's the problem of needing actual hardware for this? Maybe this sort of device doesn't exist? Are there any other "virtual" ways this could/has be done?

Thanks all!
posted by cusack to Computers & Internet (5 answers total)
This would be very illegal. Technical feasibility? Not very hard, just extremely expensive. As you said you'd need receivers for both AM and FM in across the country. As you want this to be an 'anyone can listen at any time to any station' service each receiver node would have to have multiple receivers, as many as there were radio stations in each area. At this point things get expensive. Each receiver would relay a single stream of each station to a farm of audio distribution servers (shoutcast, windows media server, etc) which would do replication to listeners. The biggest hurdle is legal.
posted by datacenter refugee at 3:39 PM on February 2, 2008

Your idea has already been sued.
posted by rhizome at 3:55 PM on February 2, 2008

The closest thing I can think of is DXTuners. They have receivers based all over the world, but plenty in the U.S., too.

Two unfortunate things:

1. They seem to have frozen new memberships for the time being.

2. In the interests of etiquette, you gotta give up the dial when someone else wants to tune around, so there's no guarantee you'd be left alone to listen to your game for hours on end.
posted by mykescipark at 4:37 PM on February 2, 2008

datacenter refugee - if someone really wanted to get sued and were going to do this for serious they'd probably go with simple hardware and a software defined radio to avoid the need for a distinct receiver for every station...
posted by russm at 4:55 PM on February 2, 2008

Or, just pony up for both Sirius and XM satellite radio. That should cover just about every broadcast sports game that exists in North America. (Tomorrow Sirius is broadcasting the SuperBowl in *8* languages.)

That won't get it online however. (At least for Sirius, most talk stations aren't broadcast online for the very reasons you mention.)

Okay, I realize that didn't really answer your question, but it does seem like it might be an easier way to listen to all the games than what you're proposing.
posted by cgg at 7:36 PM on February 2, 2008

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