How to tune in to internet radio on your Mac with iTunes and VLC

How to listen to streaming internet radio stations using iTunes and VLC media player on the Apple Mac. Listen to talk shows, sport, news and music.

Streaming video services on the internet seem to get the most attention these days, but video never killed radio and there are some great stations. Tune in and listen on your Apple Mac.

Video requires your sole attention and it is very difficult to watch a video and do something else at the same time. If you try to watch something and work, you end up doing both badly. You miss bits of the video and when your attention is on it, you are not working, so your productivity goes down. Work takes longer than it otherwise would.

Radio is different and it can be on and playing in the background while you get on with other tasks. It is far less distracting and some people actually like to have music playing while they work because it helps them to concentrate. You can work on your Mac or even do other tasks away from your computer, but within earshot. With external speakers you can be anywhere in your home while listening to radio.

If you have an Apple Music subscription, you can listen to any music you want and it is excellent, but streaming internet radio can offer something different.

  • Listen to foreign language stations from all parts of the world
  • Listen to local radio with local news and bulletins
  • Listen to talk radio shows, such as news, comedy, sport and more

There is simply more variety with internet radio and local stations.

Internet radio streaming with iTunes

If you have left iTunes with the default settings, internet radio is hidden. Here is how to find it and tune in to streaming radio.

1 Edit the menu

Click the media menu button in iTunes and notice that there is no radio option. Click Edit Menu.

iTunes media menu on the Apple Mac

2 Add internet radio

These are all the items that can appear on the menu. Tick the box next to Internet Radio.

Add Internet Radio to the iTunes media menu

3 Go to Internet Radio

Now that Internet Radio is on the menu, select it to see all the streaming radio stations.

Select Internet Radio on the iTunes media menu on the Apple Mac

4 Double click to listen

The stations are organised into categories and expanding a category lists all the stations. Double click one and it starts playing within a few seconds. Like old style FM radio, internet radio stations are advertiser supported, so expect an advert or two while listening.

Listen to streaming internet radio in iTunes on the Apple Mac

Also notice how much variety there is and there are many more music styles than you get with Apple Music.

Internet radio streaming with VLC

VLC media player is one of the best tools of its type for the Apple Mac (see The best video players for the Apple Mac for watching movies). In addition to playing videos, it also enables you to listen to streaming internet radio.

There are some radio services built in and already on the menu in the sidebar, such as Icecast Radio Directory, but I prefer TuneIn Radio. This is an addon that provides access to many stations that just aren’t in other directories, such as local ones. It supports many regions around the world with local radio, such as US, UK and Europe, Australia, Asia, South America and others.

Here’s how to to add TuneIn Radio to VLC media player.

1 Use the Addons Manager

If you do not have VLC media player, download it from videolan.org. Run it and click the VLC menu. Select Addons Manager.

Use the Addons Manager in VLC media player to add new features

2 View VLC addons

The next window shows the addons that are installed in VLC. Make sure All is selected at the top and click Find more addons online.

Find addons for VLC media player

3 Install TuneIn Radio

TuneIn Radio is on the list of addons. Select it and click Install. (The Install button becomes Uninstall and can be used to remove addons.)

Add TuneIn Radio to VLC media player on the Apple Mac

4 Listen to TuneIn Radio with VLC

Select TuneIn Radio in the sidebar and the radio categories are displayed. 

TuneIn Radio in VLC media player on the Apple Mac

Just look at those categories. They are not like Apple Music or even other internet radio. There is News, Talk, Sports, Local Radio and more.

5 Explore the stations

Expand the section you are interested in and double click radio stations to begin streaming.

Find local radio using TuneIn Radio in VLC media player

Do you listen to streaming internet radio stations on your Mac? What software do you use?

 

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