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Like this article? We recommend Using iHeartRadio

Using iHeartRadio

TuneIn's main competitor is iHeartRadio, which is owned by media conglomerate Clear Channel. As you might suspect, iHeartRadio streams more than 800 Clear Channel stations, and hundreds more stations from across the country. Because of the Clear Channel connection, many competing local radio stations don't offer their programming to iHeartRadio, giving listeners a much smaller selection of stations than with TuneIn.

Like TuneIn, iHeartRadio is available as a free app for iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Blackberry devices. It's also available on many "smart" TVs and streaming media devices—and on your computer, of course, at http://www.iheart.com.

Figure 5 shows the Web version of iHeartRadio. There are five tabs along the top of the page: For You (personalized picks), Live Radio, Custom Radio (more on that in a moment), Genres, and Shows. You can browse any of these categories, or search for specific stations or genres using the search box at the top of the page.

Figure 5 Listening to local radio with iHeartRadio

At the bottom of the page is a bar that shows the station you're currently listening to, the currently playing track (if that info is available), and the standard assortment of playback controls. You can start and stop (but not pause) playback, rate tracks thumbs up or thumbs down, and click to view a list of your favorite stations.

To browse for stations in a given city, click the Live Radio tab. From here you can select the country, metropolitan area, and genre you want. In return, you see all the radio stations that fit the description. (If you want to see all stations in a given city, select All Genres instead of a specific genre.)

If your intent is to find stations across the country that fit a given genre (such as all jazz stations, for example), click the Genres tab. iHeartRadio now lists the most popular genres with the top three stations displayed; click a genre to view more recommendations.

Finally, you can search for specific shows across a variety of stations. This is most useful if you're looking for a particular talk radio or news show. Just click the Shows tab, select the type of show you want, and go browsing.

Once you find a particular station, click it. This opens the page for that station, as shown in Figure 6. If it's a Clear Channel station, you can scroll down to view additional content (The Feed, News, Photos, and Videos). Otherwise, click the Play button to start listening.

Figure 6 Listening to a local Clear Channel station with iHeartRadio

To go back to a station you've listened to in the past, you have to be signed into the iHeartRadio service. Then you can click the button with your name on it and select My Stations. Your most-recent stations will be listed here.

In addition to over-the-air radio, iHeartRadio goes beyond streaming radio to offer personalized Custom Stations, built around your favorite artists and tunes. This is a little like Pandora, in that you pick a song or artist, and then iHeartRadio creates an instant playlist of music that it thinks fits that mold. The iHeartRadio catalog includes more than 20 million songs from more than 450,000 artists, so it's a pretty good mix. Click the Custom Radio tab to select a genre or artist and start listening.

The iHeartRadio mobile app works in much the same fashion. The home screen, shown in Figure 7, has three tabs: For You (recommended stations), Favorites, and Perfect For (stations for holidays and events). To browse or search for stations, tap the Menu (three bars) button in the top-left corner and then tap Live Radio. You can then browse by Cities, Stations Near You, Music & Entertainment (genres), and Talk.

Figure 7 The home screen of the iHeartRadio Android app

Figure 8 shows a list of local stations—Clear Channel stations first, of course.

Figure 8 Browsing local radio stations with the iHeartRadio app

A lot of people like iHeartRadio, and it certainly gets a lot of promotion from the Clear Channel radio stations. But I find those close corporate ties somewhat off-putting and prefer the wider variety of stations available with TuneIn. Your mileage may vary, however.

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