World Radio Day 2019 is celebrated Wednesday February 13th. This year’s theme is “Dialogue, Tolerance, and Peace” using the power of radio in promoting understanding and strong communities. Broadband technology has had a tremendous impact on radio’s ability to promote dialogue and provide content globally. The audience of a radio station is no longer limited to the physical range of the antenna and wireless transmitter being used. Thousands of internet radio stations from hundreds of countries are available to anyone with an internet connection. Traditional wireless radio stations, internet only radio stations and individuals can stream content over the internet. Technology has lowered the barriers to transmitting and receiving global radio content.
History of World Radio Day
World Radio Day was first proclaimed by UNESCO in 2012 and then endorsed by the United Nation’s general assembly in 2013. February 13th was selected for the annual celebration since United Nations Radio was established on that day in 1946.
Accessing Internet Radio Streams
Multiple hardware and software solutions can be used to access the many radio streams available on the internet. Both open source and commercial Windows, Linux and Mac applications are available for listening to internet radio and other media streams. General purpose hardware platforms such as laptops, smartphones and low-cost single board computers (SBCs) can be used to stream internet radio anywhere around the world. Commercial internet radios are also available for those interested in using a dedicated purpose-built hardware platform. I have a Sangean internet / FM radio at home that connects to my WiFi network and works so well I typically use it every day.
Build Your Own Internet Radio
When researching information for this blog I came across many creative open-source internet radio projects using low cost hardware platforms like the Raspberry Pi. One in particular caught my attention, Pimoroni’s Pirate Radio kit.
(Image source: Scott Raeker)
The Pirate Radio kit consists of a Raspberry Pi Zero, PHAT Beat DAC/amplifier, connectors and housing. Pimoroni has put together a complete tutorial on assembling the hardware and installing the software. Since I had not done much soldering recently or used the Raspberry Pi Zero I decided to assemble the kit for this blog. The Pirate Radio was a lot of fun putting together and very satisfying when it worked the first time I powered it up. The Pirate Radio is Pimoroni part# PIM261 and is available at Digi-Key Electronics.
An intriguing aspect in many of the Raspberry Pi based internet radio projects are the various enclosures people have used to house their radios. A common method is to recycle old radios by replacing non-working tube-based tuner/amplifier hardware with the new Raspberry Pi hardware. I reside in an old farmhouse and one of the “treasures” given to me by the previous owners is an antique radio.
(Image source: Scott Raeker)
Since the internal tube radio is beyond reasonable repair and the wooden housing has so much character I hope to retrofit it with a Raspberry Pi based internet radio in the future.