I've found internet radio to be a great way to find new music I've never heard before and rediscover old music I'd forgotten about. The stations are run by people who like and are knowedgable about the genres they program and who have taste and judgment.
The website we'll be going to is called Live365. Their basic service is free. An optional paid membership eliminates the ads.
Registering is easy, but once you've done that, they don't automatically guide you through all the steps you need to complete to get the audio stream to play properly, so here are basic step by step instructions for getting set up.
Getting the audio stream to play properly, especially using Windows Media Player, is much easier, and in some cases only possible, if you use Internet Explorer
, not Firefox.
Click (or copy and paste, or type) this link to go to: http://www.live365.com/
Click the link, at the upper right corner: "Log In or Sign Up".
Fill out the information in the New Member section.
Username should be a screen name, not your real name.
Make up and enter a good password (random characters). Write it down so you remember it.
Click Join Now.
They send you a confirmation email containing a link that you have to click to complete your registration, so go to your email inbox and do that.
Whenever you log in, check the "Remember me" box, so you won't have to log in every time you return to the site. (The only time you should not
check "Remember me" is if you are on somebody else's computer or a public computer such as at a library or internet cafe. If you check "Remember me" while you're on a public computer, the next person who uses that computer could log into the website as you, and you don't want that.)
After logging in for the first time, you might (or might not; I don't remember) automatically be taken to your Member Profile to fill in some information. Whenever you are filling out a form like this (at any site), pay close attention to which fields are required (they usually have asterisks next to them) and which are optional. You might consider some of the optional items (like income) to be none of their business, so leave it blank. You don't even have to give your first and last names, only your Username (screen name).
Enter whatever information you want them to have.
Check or clear the Newsletter checkboxes, depending on which ones you want to receive.
When done, be sure to click the green Save Settings button at the bottom
Now some settings need to be configured:
Go to their home page (if you have trouble getting back there, use the link above).
Click the "My Account" link, way down at the bottom of the page.
The first screen is your Member Profile. Fill in the blanks as described above, if you haven't already.
At the top of the page is a row of "tabs".
Click the "Listen Settings" tab and fill these in as follows:
Choose a Connection speed based on the speed of your internet connection. This is a very important setting. If you have problems with playback later, check here to ensure that the selected speed isn't higher than your internet connection can handle.
MP3 Player = Windows Media Player
Ad Filter = check any boxes for types of ads you don't want to hear. I've never heard any of those types of ads, anyway, though.
Click the green Save Settings button at the bottom.
That's all the setup you really need to do.
Now let's set up some stations. For this example, we'll use the Bluegrass genre.
Near the top left is a link to the Live365 home page (a red circle with "365" in it). Click that.
Near the top left, click the tab "Browse Genres".
Scroll down to find Bluegrass, and click it.
This is a list of stations.
Here are ones I recommend:
Americana Central Radio
Next to each of them, at the far right, is a plus sign (+) in a square green button. When you hover over it, it says, "Add to my Presets". This adds it to your Favorites list (where we'll go in a minute).
For each of the above stations, click the +.
At the top of the screen, click the Favorites tab.
On this page, you should find your 4 stations.
Now the big test.
Choose a station, and click the yellow button to the left of it (its mouse hover popup says "Click to listen")
A separate player window will open.
With any luck, the station will start to play!
It will play until you click the square Stop button or close its window.
While it plays, you can do whatever else you want online: write mail, go to other websites, etc. The little player window must be left open, but you can close the Live365 window in Internet Explorer, if you want (the window that is currently showing your "Favorites"). If you're on dialup internet, page load times will be slower than normal while you're listening.
I think that introduces you to the basic features you need to know to get started. I originally had a difficult time getting it to play on my computer, but I think the streamlined procedures above will work smoothly (fingers crossed!). If it doesn't play, there are some Help topics at Live365, or post here and I'll try to help troubleshoot.
--If you change any of your "Listen Settings" preferences, it may be necessary to delete your Live365 cookie to restore proper functioning. In Windows XP, the cookie is in this folder C:\Documents and Settings\User\Cookies, where User is the name of your logged-in user account (often the default name for this user is Owner). Deleting the cookie is a first-try solution to several problems I've had.
--To use Windows Media Player, the WMP add-on must be enabled in Internet Explorer. By default, it usually is enabled, but if you need to check it, in IE7 click Tools > Manage Add-ons > Enable or Disable Add-ons. Look for two Windows Media Player add-ons. The file for one of them is called "wmp.dll". That one must be enabled. The second is called "wmpdxm.dll". I don't know what that one does, and it doesn't seem to be required, but if you are still having problems, try enabling it, too.