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[whitespace] Turn On Tune In

Some simple basics put listeners in touch with Internet radio stations

By Traci Vogel

'STREAMING," in Internet radio parlance, does not mean lack of bladder control. Nor does it mean ribbon gymnastics. Streaming means receiving audio content from the Internet "live," in constantly arriving little packets, as opposed to downloading it and listening to it later.

But it is less important to know what streaming is than to know how to do it. Tens of companies are out there, fanatically trying to convince you that their software "radio" (available via download) is the tool of choice--and, as if that weren't confusing enough, there are thousands of radio stations to choose from.

All of the software is based on MP3 technology and, aside from a few small features, is pretty similar. Most of the free devices are certainly sophisticated enough to suffice. The two most popular are RealNetwork's RealPlayer (www.real.com) and Microsoft's Windows Media player (www.microsoft.com), although purists claim neither does the job well enough. Alternatives for Windows include FreeAmp (www.freeamp.org) and Nullsoft's Winamp (www.winamp.com). For Macintosh, there's Subband's MacAmp (www.subband.com/macamp/macamp.html) and Unsanity's Echo (www.unsanity.com/echo.html). Go to www.freebielist.com/webcasts.htm for more freebies.

Now for the stations: www.radio-locator.com is a good place to start. The site can find online stations by location or genre. Live365 (the self-proclaimed "radio revolution"), at www.live365.com, features a well-organized website, and its step-by-step guide makes setting up yourself as a DJ pretty simple.

Although regional locality is not exactly Internet radio's forte, there are a few Bay Area radio stations that simulcast on the Internet and deserve mention:

Web-Fur Internet Radio: an indie mix, www.wub-fur.dhs.org/radio/.

KALX: Berkeley's college station, http://kalx.berkeley.edu/index.html.

KFJC: New and old music "on the edge of obscurity," operated as a teaching laboratory for Foothill College, www.kfjc.org.

KWPT: "The Party"--hip-hop, dance, R&B, www.kwptfm.com.

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From the September 27-October 3, 2001 issue of Metro, Silicon Valley's Weekly Newspaper.

Copyright © 2001 Metro Publishing Inc. Metroactive is affiliated with the Boulevards Network.

For more information about the San Jose/Silicon Valley area, visit sanjose.com.

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