Around the world in 108 MHz

A radio transmitter in Greece. (William Warby, Flickr CC)

Despite many proclamations of its impending demise, radio lives on. In part, the medium survives because it has integrated with the internet. When I broadcast my Great Northern Radio Show last month, I heard from listeners in Alaska, Italy, Spain and beyond. And yet I still think of the casual listener driving across Northern Minnesota, who found the thing simply by accident.

It’s this combination that gives radio hope of enduring through whatever technology comes next. And good thing. Radio might help us better understand the world.

Radio Garden Live lets you experience the live streams of radio stations around the world in a visual interface. So, you can spin the globe and click on a dot in another land. At once, you’ll be listening to a live radio signal from that place.

I can assure you, this is a great way to lose track of your day.

But it also provides fantastic perspective. Across the vast United States, radio broadcasts are plentiful and varied, but mostly in English. But in Europe, adjacent dots might beam out in different languages. Nevertheless, time, temperature and weather reports can be identified in most languages.

In America we often fail to realize how far our popular culture has reached. I could find American music around the world, with disc jockeys pronouncing “Led Zeppelin” and “Ozzy Osbourne” in distinct accents. Aside from a few small stations in large metro areas, we don’t get that same experience with foreign music here.

We also see the places where political oppression prevents the free use of internet to broadcast live streams of popular radio stations. It’s hard to find much to hear in China. North Korea is dark, as is much of the Middle East.

Billions of people. Some heard, and some not.

Most astronauts talk about the experience of seeing the whole world all at once from space. They all seem to believe that such an experience makes the wars, conflicts and arguments of terrestrial Earth seem petty.

Well, it’s not possible for all of us to travel to space. But we can listen to the world, even if we can’t see it. And that’s a start.

Listen: Radio Garden Live


  1. Bill Hansen says

    I use this site for domestic public radio:

  2. The beauty of radio is, it’s not a monopoly. We can tune to WMNT NORTHERN MINNESOTA TALK, 650am between 11:00am – 2:00pm for example….verses the 92% liberal MPR, NPR or PBS. We have a choice.

    Now it’s time to address social media. Why should the U.S. Government favor social media companies in a way that they don’t favor radio, tv or print media?

    Tech companies, like Facebook, Google, Twitter….they’ve gotten huge. They have gotten powerful and rich on the backs of special immunity that they get from the federal government, what’s called section 230. They’re monopolies, and they’re very powerful. And they’re using their power to shut down viewpoints that they don’t agree with, usually conservative. We need to ask, do they really deserve these special deals and special carve-outs that have allowed them to get so big and rich?

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