Trying to stream at work
April 14, 2008 7:28 AM   Subscribe

How can I listen to NPR on my office PC when audio/video streaming is not allowed?

I cannont get streaming audio from Nor can I get video from the usual sources,, etc. Oddly, I can get streaming audio from Project Vibe by setting the "listen now" properties to "Hi Bandwith (FM quality)" and "Stand Alone Windows Media."

How can I replicate this process so that I can listen to NPR?
posted by Juicylicious to Computers & Internet (19 answers total)
Audio and video streaming is typically not allowed in workplaces because it chews up precious bandwidth for long periods of time; if half the office does it, suddenly there's no bandwidth left for the things the company actually needs to do. If you really insist on using your PC to listen to the radio, consider a product like the radio SHARK to give you those extra features like pausing and saving a recording. Or if you don't need those extra features, how about spending five bucks on a cheap radio?
posted by majick at 7:35 AM on April 14, 2008

Just do podcasts on your MP3 player. You get your news on a day lag, but whatever.
posted by OldReliable at 7:37 AM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

Sirius has a few NPR stations I believe. Have you tried the free 3 day trial from Sirius - see if that makes it through and if so an online subscription costs 2.99/month.

(i'm listening now and there is 1 NPR station listed)
posted by doorsfan at 7:48 AM on April 14, 2008

Response by poster: Okay smartypants! The local NPR station plays classical music throughout the entire work day. I cannot install any software onto my PC. Any other ideas?
posted by Juicylicious at 7:50 AM on April 14, 2008

Response by poster: Sirius is blocked :-(
posted by Juicylicious at 7:58 AM on April 14, 2008

Our local NPR station (Iowa Public Radio) also plays classical music all day, but there is an AM version of Iowa Public Radio that has all of the talk/news shows. Took me forever to figure out that This American Life was actually on at 1p.m. on the AM station, not FM.

Kids these days and their fancy FM technology.
posted by sararah at 8:04 AM on April 14, 2008

Seconding the podcast + mp3 player solution. Lots of NPR shows have podcasts.
posted by wheat at 8:30 AM on April 14, 2008 [1 favorite]

If you have a decent connection to the internet from your home, you could try relaying the audio via shoutcast. It's a tad tricky to set up initially, but once configured you'd simply need to know your home IP address. (P.S. although I second Majick's approach...there's a reason why they blocked streaming unfortunately)
posted by samsara at 8:35 AM on April 14, 2008

I know this is an aside, but:

sararah, Iowa Public Radio doesn't play classical on all of the stations. KUNI (which does broadcast in much of the state) plays the news/talk shows all day, although their FM signal is weak in many areas so the AM station is a good fallback.

Juicylicious, if the official policy is that streaming audio isn't allowed over your company's internet connection, than it's likely they'll crack down on whatever site you may use to get around that. I'd look into solutions that don't involve a PC -- either a standalone satellite radio, or using prerecorded shows that you've copied on to a mp3 player or your pc (I've used Radioshift before, although there are probably other programs out there).
posted by mikeh at 8:37 AM on April 14, 2008

It might be old school but you could always buy a cheap fm radio and listen to that...
posted by merocet at 8:42 AM on April 14, 2008

Response by poster: I would be happy to use a personal radio at work. Are there any XM personal radios that work inside a building?
posted by Juicylicious at 8:51 AM on April 14, 2008

I am not sure if you are having problems downloading the content, or you are trying to get around the fact that 'streaming' is not allowed.

If it is the later, are you allowed to download at all?

Can you download iTunes?

Streaming Audio: "A method of delivering audio from the internet to your media player that allows you to play the audio as you are downloading it, rather than waiting for the entire file to finish downloading."

If you are allowed to download, than download iTunes. Download the NPR podcast from iTunes. DO NOT hit play until the download completes (otherwise, you are streaming). Once completed.. listen to the NPR goodness.
posted by B(oYo)BIES at 10:52 AM on April 14, 2008

I would be happy to use a personal radio at work. Are there any XM personal radios that work inside a building?

I'd love to see some data on this - mine seems to work fine in my garage but not in my parkade at work (Sirius Starmate). So, I guess there are a lot of factors here.
posted by Deep Dish at 11:39 AM on April 14, 2008

My office also doesn't allow streaming. I need my sports talk radio during the day, and not being able to stream ESPN radio was quite distressing to me. I ended up buying an old XM Radio (Delphi SkyFi Boombox) and a 50 foot antenna extension cable. I ran the antenna through the drop tile ceiling to a south facing window and I get good reception at my desk.

Sure, you've got to have a boss who'll let you do it, but if you explain that you're doing it because you're trying to stay in compliance with one of their policies, that should help.

posted by jeffderek at 11:48 AM on April 14, 2008

Jeffderek's solution is a great answer.

I would be very careful about trying to get past blocks that prevent you from streaming radio over the office internet connection. If you get caught, you could end up unemployed.
posted by jcdill at 12:20 PM on April 14, 2008

Check to see if your NPR station broadcasts additional channels in HD. If they do, you need to get an HD tuner to pick up those HD channels.
posted by probablysteve at 12:32 PM on April 14, 2008

It might be old school but you could always buy a cheap fm radio...

The problem with cheap FM radios is cheap tuners in the radios. Under decent reception conditions, they may work okay, but maybe in the interior portions of an office building the internal antenna won't help a bit.

I finally spent about $120 bucks (about 10 years ago) on a 'nice' Sangean (branded Radio Shack) portable radio on the recommendation of a ham/AM/satellite nerd I used to work with. That thing is now totally beat to hell and it still works and gets awesome reception even inside of a lot of buildings - even multi-floor brick and block school buildings like I often work in. That radio has shortwave and side-band tuning also, though I seldom use them.

If you are in FM range, I'd highly recommend a nice radio. Totally worth it. Though I've only made one small purchase there, the CCrane site has some good info and reviews on radios, though there are probably better places for reviews out there.
posted by glycolized at 2:29 PM on April 14, 2008

If you have a spare company or personal laptop in addition to the workplace computer, bluetooth and a cell phone plan with an unlimited data could be your friend.

A smartphone would be another option. I'm not currently an owner of a smartphone but I think many (most?) would support streaming as well. Even if your smartphone (assuming you have one) couldn't tap into NPR's stream directly, you could still grab the MP3 podcast version of the shows.

If you don't already have an unlimited data plan, that would be something to consider. Having an Internet connection independent of your workplace would be incredibly useful.

As a postscript, since I just thought of it, the NPR podcasts would probably work on your office computer if downloading files is allowed. Thats probably the easiest way around the blockage, if you decide not to use a cell phone.
posted by pandaharma at 4:53 PM on April 14, 2008

I'm late to the discussion - but I use an XM Radio in a building which has next to no windows. The XM signal arrives two ways - direct line of site off of the satellite and then rebroadcast via FM. It works very well although I am of course much more susceptible to outages of the FM rebroadcast network (which does fail occasionally unfortunately).

I use a Pioneer Inno. I have a dock in the car, at home and at the office. It's worth every penny. Since my employer has the same restrictions as you - it's the only way to go.
posted by djpappas at 5:55 PM on April 14, 2008

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